Ross Real Estate Services is a nimble company with the ability to craft our approach to the unique context of each project. This enables us to provide ideal investment opportunities for property owners, investors, and developers. Our staff holds professional and advanced degrees in finance, architecture, landscape architecture, property management and law, providing a broad understanding of real estate.
Douglas Ross, President
Doug became President in 2004 and is responsible for management and direction of the company’s overall activities, he is often seen out on the properties and is known to many of the residents. Prior to joining RRES, Doug established Ross Architecture, Inc. in 1992, and was a recipient of the AIA Chicago Young Architects Award in 1999. The firm designed a winning entry for the City of Chicago’s Green Homes for Chicago competition and in 2001 received an AIA Chicago Distinguished Building Honor Award for a residential project. Doug’s background and experience in design and construction has been a tremendous asset in identifying overlooked real estate investment opportunities, overseeing property construction projects, identifying proper and quality property maintenance and managing long term capital improvements.
Doug Chairman of the Highland Park Housing Commission was formerly Vice Chairman of the Design Review Commission and is a member of the World Presidents Organization. He is currently the president of The 18th and Wabash Corp. a 170 unit not for profit SRO in Chicago. President of the Charles and Rheta Kramer Foundation. He is past director of the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architecture, a member of both, the Urban Land Institute and Lambda Alpha International, and a past director of Thresholds, a psycho-social service agency in the City of Chicago. He is a licensed Real Estate broker, as well as a licensed Architect. Mr. Ross earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental design from the University of Colorado in Boulder and received a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.
Karl Hilgendorf, Senior Administrator/ Analyst
Karl has been with Ross Real Estate Services since 1986 and is a walking encyclopedia of the rules and regulations concerning HUD financed and insured properties as well as staying on top of the ever changing world of affordable multi-family finance. Karl chiefly handles corporate responsibilities, asset valuations, budgeting, due diligence and annual financial statements, as well as managing a myriad of compliance, insurance, IT and regulatory requirements.
Karl has worked in the real estate industry for 36 years and is a Licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of IL. He earned a BS in Landscape Architecture and an MS in Real Estate Appraisal and Investment Analysis from the University of Wisconsin.
Jim Weglarz, Vice President of Development
Jim is responsible for overseeing Property Acquisition, and Financial Structuring. Prior to joining RRES, he was at the Illinois Housing Authority. During his 4.5 years at the Authority, he was recognized as an Industry expert. Most recently, at IHDA, he was Manager of Business Development for the Multifamily Financing program. His responsibilities covered originating IHDA loans, including tax exempt bond financing, creating new lending programs, and establishing partnerships with the affordable housing development community. Jim has a strong background in underwriting multifamily real estate transactions involving various federal and state subsidy programs.
Jim is a MBA graduate of DePaul’s Kellstadt School of Management Post-undergraduate; he served 2 years as a member of the United States Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic in Community Education. His experience prior to IHDA, include serving as a Bank America Banking Center manager and a program manager for a national Microenterprise Association. He sits on the Building Committee for Sarah’s Circle, a non-profit women’s shelter in the Uptown community of Chicago. Jim is a member of the Real Estate Investment Association (REIA) and the DePaul Real Estate Alumni Association (DREAA).
Prior to receiving his Master’s degree in Real Estate, he earned an undergraduate with a double major in Psychology and Sociology in 1996 from Colorado State University. He earned his master’s degree in 2008.
Rebecca Smithers, Managing Broker/VP of Operations
Becky is a real estate industry veteran since 1977 and joined RRES in 1992. She is responsible for directing all financial, management, leasing, and maintenance operations in accordance with the company policies and of any affiliated federal/state agency, or contract administrator. This includes the implementation of all staff training and development, compliance monitoring, budgeting and fiscal controls, grant writing, as well as developing resident retention programs.
Becky values the company philosophy that we work hard to take good care of the people we work with and work for each day. Becky is a licensed real estate broker, graduated from Clarke College in Dubuque, IA and is a Member of the Illinois Association of Realtors, and is a IREM-ARM Designate/CPM Candidate, a Specturm-C37 Designate and is Fair Housing Certified by the John Marshall Law School.
Erica Willis has been in the property management industry for 23 years, 12 of which have been with RRES, Inc. Erica began her career in student housing in 1993 and has since obtained experience with conventional, tax credit and section 8 communities. She started with Ross Financial Services, Inc. as a Leasing Agent and was promoted to Property Manager and eventually a Regional Supervisor.
Her specialty is the turn-around of affordable housing communities, building relationships with residents, training other property managers and approaching each challenge she faces with a positive attitude. Erica has an associates degree in marketing and bachelor of arts degree. Erica holds her IL leasing license, is a member of IREM as an acredited residental manager, a certified Tax Credit Specialist with NAHB, a Blended Occupancy Specialist and Certified Occupancy Specialist with NCHM.
Dolly is the Comptroller at Ross Real Estate Services, managing all financial reporting for our properties and corporations. Dolly has been with RFS since 1988 and oversees the accounting department, financial statements, cashbooks, accruals and payroll. Dolly supervises the Bookkeeper/Accountant staff and enjoys taking on new challenges in the financial department. The many accolades RRES receives for the timeliness, detail and accuracy of its financial and compliance reporting is due to Dolly running a tight ship.
Joseph has been working with RRES since 1998 he founded/owned his construction company since 1987. Joe oversees, trains and is responsible for maintaining the high standards of our maintenance staff. Joe observes, and coordinates specifications and bids for our capital improvements and will act as construction manager for major projects which is a great asset in controlling cost and quality of construction. Joe is also a frequent winner of the company golf outings.
Christy has been with Ross Real Estate Services since 2005 and adds support to our management staff. She handles all daily activities from finance to apartment rentals and tenant management. Christy also is our leader in our efforts to link additional services and opportunities for our residents. Christy is a licensed real estate broker and earned an AA at Black Hawk College. When not at RRES, she spends time with her husband and 13-year-old triplet daughters.