Our Professionals

Kurt Bender

FOUNDER & PRINCIPAL

Kurt founded Bender Companies in 2011. He has more than 14 years of experience in commercial real estate investing, operations, project management, and finance.

As Principal, Kurt oversees all operations and financial responsibilities of the companies multi-family assets. He is directly responsible for overseeing and leading the team of area managers. With over $250 million of investment experiences, he directs the firm’s investment strategy. He leads the team on sourcing potential acquisitions, analyzing investment proformas, and deal negotiation.

Prior to Bender Companies, Kurt spent seven years working alongside his grandfather in his commercial real estate business. He started by learning the fundamentals of property management and maintenance. As a result, Kurt’s attention to detail and hands-on experience has proven to be a strong foundation for Bender Companies’ successful operations.

Kurt’s success is driven by his motivation to always improve and by developing strategic partnerships. His respected experience has led to a seat as board president of two Chicago area real estate associations. He is also an emerging leader in various networking groups and REIA’s. His interests include basketball, traveling, and trying new restaurants.

Mark Barnes

DIRECTOR OF INVESTMENTS

Mark joined Bender Companies in 2020. He brings a diverse background with over 15 years of investment real estate, operations, finance, strategy, and project management experience.

In his role as Director of Investments, Mark manages the firm’s investor relationships and identifies investment opportunities to expand Bender’s Midwest multifamily portfolio. He is also actively involved in the financial oversight and strategy for Bender’s existing assets under management.

Mark has experience in a wide range of multi-housing transactions, having advised for institutional, regional, and private middle market investors and developers throughout the Midwest. Prior to joining Bender Companies, Mark was a Director for JLL (and previously HFF) focused on multifamily investment sales and equity raises.

Mark holds a bachelor of science in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA with a finance concentration from Loyola Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business.

He is actively involved in the Real Estate Investment Association (REIA), and also gives back to his community through programs such as the Chicago Lights tutoring and mentoring program.

In his free time, Mark enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife and two young daughters.

Jon Stocker

Director of Capital Projects & Renovations

Jon joined Bender Companies in 2021. He brings a diverse background with over 15 years of real estate construction experience and has been responsible for the development and project execution of over $1B in commercial ground up or value-add multifamily, retail, hospitality, and office assets around the United States.

In his role as Director of Capital Projects and Unit Renovations, Jon manages the firm’s project execution to help drive value creation through unit renovations and property improvements. He is also actively involved in capital budgeting and value-add strategy for targeted new acquisitions.

Prior to joining Bender Companies, Jon was Director of Development for Convene and oversaw project execution in the Midwest region. During his time he led the project execution and delivery of over $110M in office and hospitality space. Prior to Convene, Jon was Vice President of Development and Partner with RedMill Capital, and helped spearhead the development and project execution of over $230M in retail assets around the United States. 

Jon holds a master’s degree in Real Estate Development from Columbia University and has a bachelor of science in Landscape Architecture from Ball State University. 

In his free time, Jon enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time with his wife and two very active young children.

Michael Scaletta

Director of Asset Management

Michael joined Bender Companies in 2021. His background includes Finance, Accounting, Marketing & Operations.

In his role as an Director of Asset Management, Michael’s responsibilities include monitoring and analyzing the performance of value-add programs, developing and executing operating budgets, overseeing capital projects, and facilitating all lender requests.

Prior to Bender, Michael led teams in the sales, hospitality, and accounting departments.

Michael has earned his Bachelor’s degree in Finance with a Minor in Marketing from Northeastern Illinois University.

In his free time, Michael enjoys exercising, golfing, and watching his Chicago sports teams.

Aaron Babcock

Regional Manager

Aaron joined Bender Companies in 2021 with more than 20 years experience in property management.

In his role as Regional Manager, Aaron oversees the day to day operations of the multi-family properties within the portfolio.  He provides supervision for leasing operations, maintenance, and project management with a focus on improving revenues and net operating income.

Prior to joining Bender Companies, Aaron was a Senior Vice President for Seldin Company and has worked with numerous property types including Student, Market Rate, LIHTC, and Senior in markets around the country.  Aaron has a desire to mentor team members to help them achieve their greatest potential both personally and professionally.

Aaron holds a BS in Computer Science and Classics from North Central College, an MA in Educational Leadership from the University of Northern Iowa, and a MBA from University of Nebraska with an emphasis in Marketing.

In his free time, Aaron enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter while also finding time to follow Chicago area sports teams.

Gabriela Lopez

Regional Manager

Gabriela joined Bender Companies in 2022 with over 8 years of experience in property management.

In her role as Regional Manager, she provides oversight of operations for the multi-unit properties within her region. Gabriela provides guidance to property managers, leasing, and maintenance staff with a focus on process implementation and training, project management, as well as oversight of income/expenses and financial reports for each property.

Prior to joining Bender Companies, Gabriela worked for several property management companies and has managed various types of properties, including small walk-ups, low-income housing, Section 8 housing, high rises, mixed-use, and new construction properties with teams of various sizes. Gabriela’s goal is to use her experience to simplify processes in efforts to optimize team performance and increase net income.

Gabriela earned her Bachelor’s in International Business and Spanish from Dominican University’s Brennan School of Business.

In her spare time, Gabriela enjoys spending time with her two sons and trying new restaurants in Chicago.

Naomi Wolfe

Regional Manager

Naomi joined Bender Companies in 2023 with over 10 years of experience in property management. In her role as Regional Manager, she provides oversight of operations for the multi-unit properties within her region, optimizing property performance. At the core of her pursuits, Naomi is a leader, demonstrating good stewardship and financial acumen to ensure success.

Prior to joining Bender Companies, Naomi worked for national, award-winning developers and property management firms, managing diverse portfolios. Her ability to work vertically, aligning projects with strategy and effective teamwork, has resulted in groundbreaking achievements in the Multifamily space. Naomi’s goal is to use her analytical and managerial experiences across the industry to further the viability and stabilization of our workforce housing markets. Liaising between on-site team members and senior leadership, she seeks to maximize profitability within each asset.

Naomi holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, is a member of both local and state apartment associations, and earned her Certified Apartment Manager credential (CAM). Her commitment to the Multifamily industry is highlighted through her persistent advocacy for property management stakeholders and volunteering as a member of both local and state association Boards.

In her spare time, Naomi enjoys traveling with her family, maintaining her physical fitness, and chasing coastlines from lakeshores to oceans.

 

Connor Boyer

Senior Investment Analyst

Connor joined Bender Companies in 2022 and serves as an Investment Analyst. He is actively involved in evaluating and executing new investment opportunities for Bender’s multifamily portfolio, including
underwriting, due diligence, and deal execution.

He brings experience in a variety of real estate transactions in both multifamily investment sales and
residential mortgage lending.

Connor earned his Bachelor of Science in Finance and International Business from Indiana University.

He currently resides in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago and enjoys traveling, exploring new restaurants, and is passionate about personal fitness.

Christopher Carmona

Senior Property Accountant

Christopher joined Bender Companies in 2023 with over 7 years of real estate experience.

As a Senior Property Accountant, Christopher’s responsibilities include preparing financial reports, processing accounts payable and accounts receivable, managing deposits and reconciliations, and assisting the broader team with underwriting.

Prior to Bender, Christopher held various positions at one of the largest residential brokerages in the US, where he propelled growth and business performance.

Christopher holds a degree in Economics from Bates College.

Beyond the world of real estate, Christopher is an avid traveler who appreciates exploring new places and learning about different cultures.

Isabel Vaintrub

Property Accountant

Isabel joined Bender Companies in 2021. Her background includes customer service, administrative and managerial experience.

As a Property Accountant, Isabel’s responsibilities include preparing financial reports, processing accounts payable and accounts receivable, managing deposits and reconciliations, and managing collections.

Before Bender Companies, Isabel worked for a small multifamily property management company where she was crucial in creating an organizational foundation for company growth. 

Isabel earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology and Linguistics at Lawrence University.

In her free time, Isabel enjoys playing video games, making dumplings, working out, and playing with her rescue kittens, Shrimp and Fozzie.

Tracy Johnson

Administrative Assistant

Tracy joined Bender Companies as an administrative assistant in 2023. Her background is in social services and library metadata management.

Tracy earned her Bachelor’s in Linguistics from Lawrence University and her MSW from the University of Chicago.

In her spare time, she enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, watching movies, and knitting.

Kelsey Geraghty

HUMAN RESOURCES

Kelsey joined Bender Companies in 2019. Coming from both customer relations and HR backgrounds.

As the Human Resources Manager, Kelsey handles recruitment strategy for the organization, makes sure policies and programs comply with labor laws and regulations, and builds a company culture.  Kelsey also runs payroll, and helps manage benefits.

 

Kelsey earned her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Lawrence University.  At school, Kelsey was VP of Programming for her school’s chapter of Delta Gamma Fraternity.

In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, music and walks with her daughter and Shiba Inu puppy.

Emma Lake

Marketing Associate

Emma joined Bender Companies in 2023, leveraging her background in Marketing and Sales to contribute to the company’s success.

As the Marketing Associate, Emma takes charge of all marketing functions, including the management of advertising contracts, marketing materials, and leasing analytics. Her role involves offering valuable insights on enhancing the efficiency of the marketing department’s day-to-day operations.

Emma holds a recent bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Marquette University.

In her free time, Emma enjoys baking, listening to country music, and indulging in reality tv.