Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Scott F. Schaeffer
Chairman
Scott F. Schaeffer has served as the chairman of our board since January 2011, our chief executive officer since February 2013 and as our president from February 2013 to August 2014. He also served as the chief executive officer of RAIT Financial Trust, or RAIT, a real estate investment trust, from February 2009 to December 2016, its chairman from December 2010 to October 2016, its president from February 2008 to January 2014, its chief operating officer from February 2008 to February 2009, its co-president and co-chief operating officer from December 2006 to February 2008 and its president and chief operating officer from September 2000 to December 2006. As described below and in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016, or the annual report, IRT completed transactions to internalize our management and separate from RAIT in December 2016 and Mr. Schaeffer resigned from RAIT in connection with our management internalization. We refer to these transactions as our management internalization. Mr. Schaeffer served as the vice chairman of the board of directors of Resource America, Inc. (NASDAQ: REXI), a specialty finance company, from 1998 to 2000, the executive vice president of Resource America from 1997 to 1998, and a senior vice president of Resource America from 1995 to 1997. Mr. Schaeffer also served as president of Resource Properties, Inc., a wholly owned real estate subsidiary of Resource America, from 1992 to 2000. Mr. Schaeffer served as a director of Resource America until October 2002. Mr. Schaeffer holds a Bachelor of Science in Commerce from Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Mr. Schaeffer was selected to serve on our board primarily because of his substantial involvement in the acquisition and financing of apartment properties over his career in real estate. In addition, in the period prior to our management internalization, as the chief executive officer of RAIT, he was uniquely capable of committing our advisor’s resources to help us identify, acquire and finance investments in apartment properties.
William C. Dunkelberg
William C. Dunkelberg, Ph.D., has served as one of our independent directors since February 2011. Dr. Dunkelberg has served as the chairman of the board of directors since July 2005 and member of the audit committee since 2003 of Liberty Bell Bank, a publicly-traded commercial bank chartered in New Jersey. Dr. Dunkelberg serves as a Professor Emeritus in the College of Liberal Arts at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after having served as Professor of Economics from 1987 to his retirement in 2012 and as Dean of the School of Business and Management from 1987 to 1994. He has served as chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business, a nonprofit industry association representing small and independent businesses, since 1973. Dr. Dunkelberg was a consultant to the National Federation of Independent Business from 1970 until he accepted the position as chief economist. He has served as Economic Strategist for Boenning & Scattergood, an independent investment banking firm, from April 2009 to June 2016. He co-founded Wireless Energy Solutions, a private company, in July 2009, and continues to serve on its board of directors. He previously served as a member of the board of directors of NCO Group, Inc., a public provider of business process outsourcing solutions, from 2000 until the company was sold in November 2006. Dr. Dunkelberg holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Economics and a Doctor of Philosophy in Economics, each from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Dr. Dunkelberg was selected to serve on our board of directors, or the board, primarily because of his expertise in economics and banking and his experience as a director of both public and private companies.
DeForest Blake Soaries Jr.
DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., D.Min., has served as one of our independent directors since February 2011. Dr. Soaries has served as a director for the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York since January 2009, a position which he previously held from February to December 2003. In this capacity, he served on the affordable housing committee that reviews and approves housing development projects for government funding. Since 1990, he has served as the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, where he currently leads a congregation of 7,000 members. Since January 2015, he has served as a director on the board of directors, or the Ocwen board, of Ocwen Financial Corporation (NYSE: OCN), a publicly traded financial services holding company engaged in the servicing and origination of mortgage loans, and serves as a member of the audit committee of the Ocwen board. From 2004 to 2005, he served as the first chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), appointed by former President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. From 1999 to 2002, Dr. Soaries served as Secretary of State of New Jersey. In this capacity, he served for three years on the Governor’s Urban Coordinating Council that guided state policy on real estate development, most of which was apartment real estate development. Dr. Soaries was a professor at the Drew University Theological School in Madison, New Jersey from 1997 to 1999, Kean University in Union, New Jersey from 1993 to 1994 and Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey from 1992 to 1993 and an assistant professor at Mercer County Community College in Trenton, New Jersey from 1989 to 1991. He has led the development, ownership, conversion and management of several apartment projects as a community development executive and is currently developing a mixed-use property with approximately 80 senior housing units. Dr. Soaries holds a Bachelor of Arts in Urban and Religious Studies from Fordham University in Bronx, New York, a Master of Divinity from Princeton and a Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Soaries was selected to serve on our board primarily because of his diverse background in banking, community development, apartment properties, government and as a director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York.
Richard D. Gebert
Richard D. Gebert has been a director of Independence Realty Trust, Inc. since October 2017. Since 2016, Mr. Gebert has served as a board and audit committee member of The Association of Corporate Growth (ACG Global), a membership organization focused on middle market growth since 2016. Prior to that from 1995 to July 2016, he was an audit partner of Grant Thornton LLP, a national accounting firm. In addition to serving as an audit partner with Grant Thornton LLP, Mr. Gebert held the following additional roles at Grant Thornton LLP: (i) member of the Senior Leadership Team from 2013 to 2016, (ii) East Region Managing Partner from 2011 to 2016, (iii) Managing Partner of Philadelphia Office from 1999 to 2011, and (iv) member of the Partnership Board from 2003 to 2011. Mr. Gebert began his tenured career as a Staff Accountant at AG Epstein Co in 1979, where he worked until the company merged with Grant Thorton. Mr. Gebert was a certified public accountant, and he holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.
Melinda H. McClure
Melinda H. McClure has served as one of our independent directors since June 2017. She served from 2006 to 2018 as the principal shareholder of Democracy Funding LLC, a registered broker-dealer and its affiliates focused on providing capital markets and advisory services to government agencies including the United States Department of Treasury and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as well as to private sector financial services and real estate companies. Ms. McClure served as Senior Advisor of Freedom Capital Investment Management, an alternative asset investment manager from 2013 to 2016. Ms. McClure served on the board of directors of the Bank of Georgetown, a privately held community bank headquartered in Washington, D.C. from its inception in 2005 to its sale to United Bank in 2016. While a director of the Bank of Georgetown she served as the chairman of the strategic planning committee, and as a member of the compensation committee. Ms. McClure served in numerous positions at FBR & Co, an investment bank, from 1991 to 2006 including, as senior managing director of investment banking where she focused on providing capital markets and advisory services to middle market financial services and real estate companies. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Richmond. Ms. McClure was selected to serve on our board because of her extensive leadership experience in the asset management, financial services, and real estate industries.
Mack D. Pridgen III
Mack D. Pridgen III has served as one of our independent directors since September 2015 when he joined the board upon the consummation of the Trade Street Residential, Inc., or TSRE, acquisition in accordance with the merger agreement relating to the TSRE acquisition. From June 2012 to September 2015, Mr. Pridgen served as a director of TSRE, including service as chairman of the board and the audit committee and as a member of the nominating and corporate governance committee. From October 2007 until February 2015, Mr. Pridgen served on the board of directors of AmREIT, a shopping center REIT, serving as audit committee chair and a member of the executive committee and the pricing committee. From 1997 until March 2007, Mr. Pridgen served as General Counsel, Vice President and Secretary of Highwoods Properties, Inc. (NYSE:HIW), a commercial REIT that owns and operates primarily suburban office properties, as well as industrial, retail and residential properties. Prior to joining Highwoods Properties, Inc., Mr. Pridgen was a partner with the law firm of Smith, Helms, Mulliss and Moore, LLP, with a specialized focus on the tax, corporate and REIT practices. Mr. Pridgen also served as a tax consultant for Arthur Andersen & Co. for 15 years. Mr. Pridgen received his Bachelor of Business Administration and Accounting degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his law degree from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. Mr. Pridgen was selected to serve on our board because of his legal and accounting financial expertise and experience with TSRE and other public REITs. Mr. Pridgen’s knowledge and experience in the area of accounting and tax, with a focus on REITs and his experience as a former executive with a publicly-traded REIT, as well as his familiarity with TSRE’s portfolio and the multi-family business more generally, contribute to the mix of qualifications and experience the board seeks to maintain.
Richard H. Ross
Richard H. Ross has served as one of our directors since September 2015 when he joined the board upon the consummation of the Trade Street Residential, Inc., or TSRE, acquisition in accordance with the merger agreement relating to the TSRE acquisition. Since February 2016, Mr. Ross has served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Branch Properties, LLC, or Branch, a private real estate investment firm focused primarily on high-quality, grocery-anchored neighborhood and community shopping centers located in the southeastern United States. Prior to that, Mr. Ross served as chief executive officer and president of TSRE from February 2014 to September 2015. Prior to that, Mr. Ross served as chief financial officer of TSRE since August 2013, having previously served as a financial consultant to TSRE from February 2013 to August 2013. In March 2011, Mr. Ross founded Chiron Consulting, LLC, an independent financial and operations consultancy, where he worked until becoming TSRE’s chief financial officer. From April 1998 to December 2010, Mr. Ross served as the chief financial officer for Branch. From April 1997 to April 1998, Mr. Ross served as the chief financial officer of Gearon Communications, a developer of wireless and telecommunications networks in the U.S. From November 2014 to February 2016, Mr. Ross was a director of Plymouth Industrial REIT, Inc., a real estate investment trust focused on industrial properties. Mr. Ross is a Certified Public Accountant in the states of Florida and Georgia. Mr. Ross was selected to serve on our board because of his accounting and financial expertise and experience with public REITs and his familiarity with TSRE’s portfolio and the multi-family business more generally.