Norman Jenkins – Chairman
Mr. Norman Jenkins is the Founder and CEO of Capstone Development, LLC, a real estate acquisition and development company focused on hotels, as well other classes of investment grade commercial real estate. Capstone has two related business units: Capstone Management Services, which operates third party and company owned hotels; and Capstone Procurement, which is a full-service firm.
Prior to the launch of Capstone, Mr. Jenkins was Senior Vice President of North American Lodging Development, and a Corporate Officer of Marriott International, Inc. In his role as SVP, Mr. Jenkins led complex development projects, which included: transaction structuring; financing; and real estate acquisition. In 1992, Mr. Jenkins joined Marriott as Senior Manager, in the Corporate Internal Audit Group. His other executive roles include: Tax Director; Acquisition Executive; Finance Director; Vice President & CFO, Ramada International; Vice President, Global Operations, Ramada International; and Vice President, Owner & Franchise Services. Mr. Jenkins was the architect of Marriott’s diversity ownership initiative, which received industry accolades for developing top tier minority investors, owners and franchisees.
Mr. Jenkins began his professional career at McDonald’s Corporation, where he held management positions in finance and operations. He serves on a number of boards which include: The International Franchise Association Diversity Institute; The Executive Leadership Council; The Metropolitan Community Development Corporation; Howard University’s Business School Board of Visitors; Howard University’s Hospital Board of Governors; and is past President and CEO of the National Black Accountants.
Mr. Jenkins holds a BBA in Accounting, from Howard University, an MBA from George Washington University, and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Mr. Jenkins resides in Suburban Washington, DC with his wife and two children.
Dr. Michael Dechert – President & CEO
Dr. Michael Dechert is the founder and Principal of the Michael S. A. Dechert
AIA/MSD Associates, LLC, an Alexandria, Virginia based architectural and design firm. Dr. Dechert was also a lecturer at Catholic University of American, Washington, D.C.’s, School of Architecture and Planning.
Previously, Dr. Dechert worked at Arthur Cotton Moore Associates, Washington, D.C., and was a part of the development team for the mixed-used development, at Washington Harbour, and the development of the Rosewood Hotel, on the Georgetown Waterfront. Additionally, Dr. Dechert has also worked for Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum. (HOK).
Alain Ghonda – EVP & Chief Strategy Officer
Mr. Ghonda is the founder and Principal of the GHOKIAL GROUP, an International consulting group based in Maryland, USA that advises people and companies He has extensive expertise and contacts in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Mr. Ghonda is also a principal in Congo Real Estate Group, a real-estate development company based in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mr. Ghonda is currently developing two properties in Kinshasa (the Capitol).
After his studies in the Republic of Congo (Formerly Zaire), Mr. Ghonda moved to the United States where he currently resides. Prior to being an entrepreneur, he had a successful career with VERIZON, a world leading telecommunications company.
Michael Paul – Senior VP of Business Development
Mike Paul has over 20 years of experience in engineering design, construction, supply chain development and logistics. At Elephant Global Holdings, he leads the infrastructure and logistics teams, as well as corporate partnerships through joint development agreements.
Mr. Paul’s past project portfolio includes working with Morrison Knudsen (now part of URS) on a U.S. jail project; working with Earth Tech (now part of AECOM) and the Driggs Corporation on an I-95 widening, interchange and railroad crossing project in Virginia. Additionally, Mr. Paul worked with JA Jones (now part of Fluor Corp) on the first US Army Housing Privatization Contract, at Fort Carson.
Additionally, Mr. Paul held an executive position with a global US Department of Defense contractor, with supply chain contracts, on four continents. Furthermore, he was the head of supply chain development, operations, and logistics over the course of those six years. Most recently, Mr. Paul has been working with a global urban planning and civil engineering firm, helping establish projects in the emerging world, as well as establishing a dedicated cargo airline for the African continent.
Mr. Paul holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a Master’s degree in Business Administration.
Eugene Dibble – VP of Business Development
Eugene H. Dibble IV serves as Senior Vice President for Capstone Management Services. His specific focus is on business development, assisting the other executives in identifying and targeting new business opportunities.
Mr. Dibble started his hospitality career as co-founder of Madison Park Hotels & Development, a diversified full service hotel company focused on development, acquisitions and management. Mr. Dibble worked primarily in strategic planning, financing and business development. He worked closely with senior management at several of the leading brands, in exploring business opportunities.
Prior to Madison Park, Mr. Dibble spent over 25 years in the entertainment business. He served in a number of roles relating to venue management, business development, sales and marketing, and content development. He served as Director of Special Events for the City of Chicago, responsible for producing such high profile events as the Taste of Chicago, International Blues Festival, International Jazz Festival, and numerous Neighborhood Festivals. In 1991, Mr. Dibble led a group on the acquisition and management of a major conference and exhibition center. Later he served as SVP for Cardenas-Fernandez & Associates (CFA), a major Hispanic entertainment company. He led the strategic planning which lead to the acquisition of CFA by SFX Entertainment. Shortly thereafter, Clear Channel Entertainment acquired SFX and Mr. Dibble was recruited to service as VP of Music, focused on the Latin/Urban market. Moreover, he then served as Senior Consultant to the Chairman, focusing on content development.
In 2008, Mr. Dibble formed the Main Street Initiative; a small business advocacy group targeting increased visibility and support for US small businesses, with a special focus on reinforcing the relationship between small businesses and community banks. Dibble also serves on the Board of ECTA, and a member of National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers.
Mr. Dibble holds a BA in Philosophy from Duke University and graduate studies in Urban Planning at the University of Illinois Chicago. He resides in Chicago with his wife and two daughters.
Georgia McLaughlin – VP of Real Estate
Georgia McLaughlin is a Certified International Property Specialist who serves dual roles with Elephant Global holdings. Mrs. McLaughlin leads the real estate project financing and construction technology teams. Mrs. McLaughlin has over 20 years experience in real estate development, finance, construction and sales.
Georgia worked with Long and Foster Real Estate, Inc., the largest independent real estate firm in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. She handled general brokerage transactions and directed residential and commercial portfolio management for corporate, institutional, international, and individual clients. Her work has earned her national recognition.
Previously, Georgia worked in the real estate department of MCI Communications, where she was involved in leasing, acquisitions, antenna rights, development and negotiations of commercial real estate transactions.
Additionally, she is an advocate for affordable housing and has worked with HUD and several regional organizations focused on developing affordable financing and sustainable communities.
Ms. McLaughlin is a member of the International Economic Development Council and has a Masters in real estate finance from Georgetown University.
Loral Blinde – VP of Aviation Services
Loral Blinde is a senior executive with over 30 years of experience working with high performing teams to improve effectiveness and enables organizations to achieve lasting, measurable results. Mr. Blinde has held leadership positions in government, large corporations and successful turnarounds. In each case, Mr. Blinde’s breadth of knowledge, drive, creativity and focus on a process of goal setting, measurement and action plans has made a positive impact on people, performance, and profits of the companies in which he works.
Prior to joining Executive Partners, Mr. Blinde served as Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Administration at AirTran Airways. He played a key role in the company’s turnaround, restructuring a three (3)-fold growth in employees, aircraft and cities served. Revenues soared from $400M to $3B, as AirTran became the lowest unit cost domestic airline, ranked #1 in the Airline Quality Ratings, while simultaneously maintaining a positive culture of open communication and friendly service. Throughout his 12 years at AirTran, he worked with the CEO and the Board on ethics in succession planning and executive compensation. Mr. Blinde was a member of the small executive team that worked with AirTran’s Board on all aspects of the merger with Southwest Airlines. He was selected to lead AirTran’s integration teams in partnership with leaders at Southwest to combine the cultures and the work processes of the two (2) respected airlines.
In addition to his work with AirTran and Southwest, Mr. Blinde gained additional hands on experience in airline operations, safety, training and customer service during his six (6) years at Northwest Airlines.
Prior to commercial aviation, Mr. Blinde held human resource and labor relations leadership positions in manufacturing, financial service and state government.
At Sinclair and Valentine, he served as the top HR and Labor Relations executive during the company’s leveraged buyout gaining valuable change management skills in helping lead the graphic arts company through three (3) ownership changes, in five (5) years. Mr. Blinde also worked with Frito-Lay, Inc. to turn around one of its worst performing manufacturing facilities through plant floor empowerment processes. Mr. Blinde involved employees in both hiring and training activities by working to implement work rule changes.
As an officer with CUNA Mutual Group, Mr. Blinde led human resource teams to expand the financial services company’s sales force and restructure credit insurance work processes. During the challenges prior to“Y2K,” he negotiated side letters to attract, train and retain critical unionized IT programmers.
Mr. Blinde began his career at the State of Iowa as Labor Counsel, representing the Governor’s office in negotiations, arbitrations, and contract administration with 35,000 unionized state employees. After just months on the job, unexpected staff changes and the pressing implementation of a new comparable worth law provided Mr. Blinde an early, visible and lasting experience in successfully leading people through complex workplace changes.
Mr. Blinde holds a Law degree, a Masters in Industrial Relations and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Iowa. Mr. Blinde lives in Orlando where he serves on the Central Florida Junior Achievement Board.
Joseph F. Gatt – Senior Partner
Mr. Gatt is owner and strategic advisor for the International Operation of several large companies. He brings over 40 years of international business success as both a corporate executive and owner of several prominent enterprises.
Mr. Gatt owns Intercel World, LLC (IW) and GF Solutions LLC (GFS). GFS is focused on acquiring and growing innovative private companies across a variety of sectors, including clean technology, low income housing to include schools, clinics, defense/intelligence, consumer products and healthcare, while IW is in the telecom, internet space. His extensive contacts also involve him in the large Country wide infrastructure.
His extensive experience was acquired in the aerospace industry, hotel development, and wireless communications.
He is widely known as a world-wide cell phone pioneer (honored as a Top 50 Technology Pioneer for Africa for the 20th Century), launching cell phone service to 13 African nations through his Intercellular Companies, and also owns and operates Intercel Telecoms Group, Inc., a global Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) technology and service provider, serving five continents.
His extensive breadth of international success spans well beyond technology innovation and advancement. In his early career, which began in the late 1960’s, after receiving his BA from Hunter College in New York City; he became an executive at Pan Am Airways. This also included hotel operations (Intercontinental Hotels), which ultimately lead to Mr. Gatt heading its entire African development. At the time, he was President and CEO for Air Zaire.
He has developed and owned hotels on the European continent; and is a record-holding pilot in his own right. Mr. Gatt oversaw the operations for the development of several airports. Moreover, he arranged major international agreements for all the companies he in which he was associated.
Mr. Gatt remains also very active in arranging major international VoIP agreements between large international telecoms and U.S. carriers, such as AT&T, either through Intercel or independent firms that engage his services.
Gerard Leval – General Counselor
Gerald Leval is a Partner at Arent Fox (Washington DC), with a practice that ranges from international commercial and corporate transactions, to conventional real estate transactions. Furthermore, this includes numerous nonprofit entities in various fields. Mr. Leval has a broad base of transactional experience. Since joining Arent Fox in 1981, Mr. Leval has been engaged in an extensive transactional practice. He is a member of Arent Fox’s business and international groups.