People Space: New faces, titles at Colliers, AY, Altus, OMERS, Mackenzie…

Managing Editor
  • Jan. 21, 2021
IMAGE: Lucas Atkins, president of capital markets in Canada for Colliers International. (Courtesy Colliers)

Lucas Atkins, president of capital markets in Canada for Colliers International. (Courtesy Colliers)

Colliers International (CIGI-T) has hired Lucas Atkins as president of capital markets in Canada. Atkins will focus on increasing market share on behalf of significant owners of commercial real estate globally.

He joins Colliers with nearly 20 years of experience in real estate, including investment banking, private equity, business development, mergers and acquisitions, development and equity and debt capital raising.

Atkins spent many years with Raymond James, including as managing director and head of real estate.

During his career, Atkins has been involved in over $30 billion of real estate transactions across a variety of real estate asset classes and has assisted in raising over $25 billion in public, private and joint venture capital, and cross-border financing activities.

Altus promotes Probyn to global role

Altus Group (AIF-T) promoted company veteran Alex Probyn to global president of its property tax business. Probyn was previously president of U.K. property tax. He will lead and execute global strategy, financial objectives and operating plans, including strengthening alignment of the property tax solutions and go-to-market model globally and formalizing its technology and data approach.

Probyn has over 25 years of experience in property tax advisory. He has a deep understanding of the company’s property tax business and a track record in growing and tech-enabling the U.K. tax business. In 2017, he led the successful acquisition and integration of CVS, which doubled the size of the U.K. tax business and drove strong revenue and earnings growth.

Altus has also hired Russell Schreiber to the new role of chief operating officer for global property tax. Throughout his 30-year career, he has held senior leadership roles with FICO, Swiss Re and Ernst & Young.

Succeeding Probyn as president of U.K. property tax is Robert Hayton. Previously executive vice-president, empty rates and property tax in the U.K., he’s been with the company over 20 years.

OMERS shuffles senior executives

The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System has restructured its senior leadership team, including new positions for Ralph Berg and Annesley Wallace.

Berg moves from global head of infrastructure to become global head of capital markets. Berg, a former Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse executive who joined OMERS in 2013, will replace the retiring Ken Miner in April.

Wallace, formerly OMERS’ chief pension officer, will take on Berg’s former role as global head of infrastructure. Wallace previously worked with SNC-Lavalin before moving to OMERS Infrastructure in 2012.

Both Berg and Wallace will have executive vice-president titles.

Marks moves to Mackenzie

Mackenzie Investments has brought in Lesley Marks as its chief investment officer (equities) as part of the succession plan for Tony Elavia, its former executive vice-president and CIO who recently retired.

Marks is half of Mackenzie’s new two-CIO model, created in recognition of the firm’s growing size and multi-boutique structure. She will partner with Steve Locke, who was named CIO (fixed income and multi-asset strategies) in November.

A seasoned investment leader with more than 25 years of experience across asset and wealth management, Marks spent 22 years with BMO Global Asset Management and BMO Wealth Management. Most recently, she served as CIO and head of investment management of BMO Private Wealth (Canada).

She managed over 80 investment professionals, had overall responsibility for BMO’s Private Wealth Investment Management platforms and led research, product, trading and investment strategy.

Previously, she served as senior vice-president and CIO (fundamental investments), BMO Global Asset Management Canada where she led the Canadian active equity and fixed-income investment teams.

Marks is a CFA charter-holder and holds an MBA from Richard Ivey School of Business and a bachelor of commerce from Queen’s University.

AY adds Pickles, expands Edmonton valuation team

IMAGE: Scott Pickles has been hired to head up real estate and infrastructure consulting services at Avison Young. (Courtesy Avison Young)

Scott Pickles has been hired to head up real estate and infrastructure consulting services at Avison Young. (Courtesy Avison Young)

Avison Young has added real estate and infrastructure consulting to its services, hiring Scott Pickles to head up the initiative.

Pickles brings nearly two decades of experience to Avison Young, having provided real estate advisory and infrastructure consulting services to public, not-for-profit and private sector clients across Canada. A registered architect, he has worked as a strategic advisor, a sustainable real estate developer, and in various roles within municipal government.

As a green MBA and LEED 2.0 accredited professional, he also integrates sustainable development and environmental, social and governance factors.

Avison Young has also expanded its real estate valuation and advisory business in Alberta, hiring Ryan Miller, Joel Andresen and Nancy Brown join Avison Young (Edmonton office) from Colliers.

Miller, one of Alberta’s top appraisers for the last five years, has more than 20 years of experience and joins as a senior vice-president.

Andresen, who brings a decade of experience in commercial real estate, has appraised more than $12 billion worth of real estate across all major asset classes with a focus on income-producing properties; he also joins as a senior vice-president.

Brown brings 25 years of experience across property management and appraisal; she joins as a client services coordinator.

Frei new EVP at Equiton

Equiton Capital has appointed David Frei its new executive vice-president, national sales and client solutions. He joins Equiton Capital with more than 20 years of investment industry experience.

Previously, Frei was a senior portfolio manager with Fiera Capital Corporation. Prior to Fiera, he worked at Infrastructure Ontario and as a director with BMO Capital Markets.

Frei will be responsible for expanding Equiton’s investment platform to new institutional and high-net-worth clients.

SmartStop promotes Edwards

Bliss Edwards has been promoted to executive vice-president – Canada, for California-based SmartStop Self Storage REIT, Inc. The move follows SmartStop’s continued expansion in the region, and Edwards’ ongoing contributions to its joint venture with SmartCentres in Toronto.

Edwards joined SmartStop as managing director – Canada in 2019, and has overseen all areas of Canadian property acquisitions and development, quadrupling its pipeline of net rentable square feet.

Edwards previously spent four years with Dymon Storage as senior director of development, and prior to that, spent 10 years in land use planning approvals with public and private organizations.

Edwards holds an honours bachelor of environmental studies in planning from the University of Waterloo and is a registered professional planner.

MacPherson new partner at Alignvest

Alignvest Student Housing Inc. (ASH) has hired Trish MacPherson as a partner.

MacPherson most recently ran an independent consulting business and spent 14 years with Canadian Apartment Properties REIT (CAPREIT) as executive vice-president, operations and vice-president, sales and marketing.

Responsibilities included revenue management, leasing and marketing, investor relations, customer experience, commercial and field operations, and development for CAPREIT’s portfolio across Canada, the Netherlands and Ireland.

Prior to CAPREIT, MacPherson worked in public relations, sales and marketing in diverse industries. She acts as a mentor for Toronto CREW and sits on the advisory board of a real estate software company.

MacPherson received her BScH from Queen’s University and her MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University.

Runia leaves Deloitte for NLGC

Michael Runia has joined Ottawa-based Nautical Lands Real Estate Group as a partner and chief investment officer. He’ll be involved in capital raising, overall banking relationships and oversight of asset management and Investment activities.

Runia was previously a vice-chair with Deloitte Canada, where he had also served as managing partner for Deloitte’s private company and mid-market business; as managing partner for its Ontario business; and as leader for the Latin America mid-market business.

He was also a member of Deloitte’s executive committee and of several global and national leadership teams.

Runia is a fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants Institute in Canada (FCPA, FCA), holds a CPA designation in the U.S. and is a member of the Young Presidents Organization.

Goldenberg becomes VP at Lennard Commercial

Jay Goldenberg has been promoted to vice-president at Lennard Commercial Realty in Toronto. Goldenberg, a sales representative, focuses mainly on the tenant side of the business, assessing client needs and requirements and conducting negotiations on their behalf.

Prior to joining Lennard Commercial, Goldenberg worked as a leasing agent at Esbin Realty Corporation for two years, where he specialized in listing downtown retail stores, successfully negotiating and closing many retail deals.

He holds a bachelor’s degree with a business major from Coker University in Hartsville, S.C.



Don is a veteran editor and journalist with four decades of experience in print and online news, including 20 years at the Ottawa Sun. Prior to joining RENX, Don was…

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Don is a veteran editor and journalist with four decades of experience in print and online news, including 20 years at the Ottawa Sun. Prior to joining RENX, Don was…

Read more




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