People Space: Changes at Slate, new faces at AY, RISE, Sienna…

Managing Editor
  • Jan. 13, 2022
IMAGE: Blair Welch is a co-founding partner of Slate Asset Management. (Courtesy Slate)

Blair Welch is a co-founding partner of Slate Asset Management. He will also serve as interim CEO at Slate Grocery REIT. (Courtesy Slate)

Slate Asset Management has announced two significant management changes at its grocery and office REITs.

At Slate Grocery REIT (SGR-UN-T), Blair Welch has taken over as interim CEO for David Dunn, who is stepping down. At Slate Office REIT (SOT-UN-T), Charles Peach is to take over the role of chief financial officer.

Welch is founding partner of Slate Asset Management, the external manager of Slate Grocery REIT. He will serve as CEO until a successor is hired to replace Dunn and will also remain a trustee with the REIT’s board.

He previously served as Slate Grocery’s CEO from its inception through 2014 and has been a trustee since its inception. Welch will work with Dunn and other senior managers over the coming weeks to facilitate the transition.

Dunn had been with Slate since 2015, holding progressively senior roles within the firm.

At Slate Office REIT, Peach will become CFO after the closing of its acquisition of Yew Grove REIT PLC. He will replace Michael Sheehan, who is stepping down to pursue other opportunities.

Peach is currently CFO of Yew Grove, an Irish-incorporated trust dual-listed on Euronext Dublin (Ireland) and the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange. Slate expects to close the transaction in February.

Peach has nearly three decades of experience in capital markets. He started his career with Bear Stearns’ financial analytics and structured transactions group before joining Nomura’s exotic credit trading group.

In 2012, Peach joined the Parapet Capital Advisors management team. He and the team established the Yew Tree Investment Fund targeting Irish office and industrial property.

The Yew Tree fund portfolio was purchased by Yew Grove at IPO. In 2018, Peach became a director of Yew Grove and was appointed its CFO.

Sigmund becomes CEO at RISE Properties

RISE Properties has completed a five-year succession process with the promotion of Barrett Sigmund to CEO of the B.C.-based firm. Co-founder Dave Kirzinger will continue on with RISE as its chairman of the board.

Sigmund joined RISE in 2017 as president, with succession as part of the plan. With over 15 years of industry experience, Sigmund had oversight of all property operations, acquisitions and investment management.

During his tenure, Sigmund established joint ventures with global institutional investors and expanded many of those relationships into multiple projects. His role has been expanded to include more emphasis on governance, sales and marketing.

Sigmund graduated from the University of Washington Foster School of Business with an MBA in 2008. He is based in the RISE U.S. head office in Seattle.

Kirzinger helped found RISE in 2012. As board chair, he will continue to lead RISE’s ESG efforts and to provide governance and implement strategic planning. Kirzinger remains based in the RISE Canadian head office in Victoria.

Benoit, Dedier hired by Avison Young

Avison Young has hired Marie-France Benoit as director of insights – Canada, and Arlene Dedier as principal and executive vice-president and Canadian practice leader, project management services.

Based in Montréal, Benoit will work closely with Avison Young’s local market team and be responsible for developing and implementing its insight and analysis program in Canada.

Benoit brings over 15 years of experience in delivering market analytics and strategic solutions to the CRE sector, working for Altus Group in roles of increasing seniority – most recently as senior director, strategic development. Prior to this, Benoit spent six years in the media, with Espace Montreal.

She has a bachelor of commerce from Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business and is a graduate of Université du Quebec à Montréal’s executive MBA real estate program. Benoit serves on the board of directors for CREW Montreal.

IMAGE: Arlene Dedier is principal and executive vice president and Canadian practice leader, project management services, at Avison Young. (Courtesy Avison Young)

Arlene Dedier is principal and executive vice-president and Canadian practice leader, project management services, at Avison Young. (Courtesy Avison Young)

Dedier brings three decades of experience in project management, commercial real estate and architecture – including 11 years at Colliers Project Leaders in roles of increasing seniority. While at Colliers, she served as the North American executive champion of diversity and inclusion and was awarded the 2020 Catalyst Canada Honour, Business Leader Award for building an inclusive and diverse Canadian team.

For the past eight years, Dedier has been a member of the CREW Network. She is a member of NAIOP, an associate member of American Institute of Architects and a green associate CaGBC LEED.

Dedier is a graduate of Carleton University’s School of Architecture and holds the PMP designation from the Project Management Institute.

Boniferro joins Sienna board

Paul Boniferro has been appointed to the Sienna Senior Living board of directors, effective Feb. 1.

A labour and employment lawyer, Boniferro was the national leader of people and practices at McCarthy Tétrault, where he practised for over 22 years.

After extensive experience advising governments as legal counsel, Boniferro served for two years as Ontario’s deputy attorney general and as the senior Crown law advisor to the Ontario government.

Mini Mall Storage gets new U.S. head

Mini Mall Storage Properties Trust (MMSP Trust) has hired Raheem Amer to head its U.S. operations. MMSP Trust is a mutual fund trust held by Calgary-based Avenue Living Asset Management.

Amer, formerly of Devon Self Storage and Extra Space Storage, has been a strong advocate of using functional technology to enhance storage assets. Part of his new responsibilities will be to apply this knowledge across the MMSP Trust portfolio.

He will also be charged with continuing to source and invest in properties to consolidate the sector, maximize value through capital expenditures, customer service and necessary property enhancements.

The trust had acquired 12 U.S. stores prior to the close of 2021.

Parsons takes new role at C&W

Cushman & Wakefield has brought in Michael Parsons to lead its dispute analysis and litigation support (DALS) practice in Canada. The practice combines due diligence, finance and real estate expertise to support dispute and litigation matters involving commercial real estate.

As senior vice-president and Canada practice lead, Parsons will work closely with Brian Kriter, executive managing director, who leads Cushman & Wakefield Canada’s valuation and advisory efforts.

Parsons has 15 years of experience providing litigation support and expert witness testimony for commercial litigation, rent arbitration, shareholder disputes, matrimonial disputes, expropriation, professional liability and more.

He has prepared appraisals and technical reviews and consulted on a wide array of real estate and related matters on behalf of legal counsel, developers, investors, private and public entities, financial institutions and government agencies for all property types.

Parsons is an AACI with the Appraisal Institute of Canada, a professional land economist, a member of the Ontario Expropriation Association and an Urban Land Institute member.

He earned his MBA from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management; a diploma in urban land economics from UBC’s Sauder School of Business; and a bachelor of environmental studies, honours urban and regional planning, from the University of Waterloo School of Planning.

Mateluna now with Colliers Edmonton

Andres Mateluna has been named associate vice-president, industrial at Colliers’ Edmonton office.

Mateluna has been in the industry for the past 10 years, with over eight years on the JLL industrial team. He has been involved in many different projects representing both tenants and landlords.

Mateluna holds a bachelor of commerce degree as well as a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Alberta.

He’ll join David Kraus, who recently rejoined Colliers along with Paul Belter, in seeking to grow Colliers’ presence in the market.



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…

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