WNC & Associates
Dan Garrett has 24 years’ experience in affordable housing, almost 30 years’ experience in real estate. He currently works for WNC & Associates, a private Low Income Housing Tax Credit Syndicator, and is part of the Midwest team that is responsible for origination efforts in the Midwest, along with Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Alaska. Prior to joining WNC, he founded a development company and worked for a regional tax credit syndication company. He has been a part of over $300 million of equity being placed into affordable housing in 20 U.S. states and has participated in over 70 projects in the state of Iowa. Dan earned a bachelor’s degree from Wartburg College and a master of public administration from Drake University, and lives in Des Moines, Iowa.
Midwest Housing Equity Group
Scott Fitzpatrick is the vice president – business development officer for the northeast region of Midwest Housing Equity Group. He is responsible for all affairs and activities in the northeast region, including identifying and contacting potential investors and developers along with assisting the acquisitions department in the closing of all approved developments in the northeast region. He previously was the acquisitions manager for MHEG. Prior to joining MHEG, Scott led the acquisitions and underwriting process for Mountain Plains Equity Group and was an acquisitions manager for National Equity Fund. Scott has over 25 years’ experience in LIHTC industry and over 30 years’ experience in the real estate industry. Scott is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in finance. Scott has been with MHEG since 2012.
Iowa State University Extension & Outreach
Abbie Gaffey has been a Community Development Program Specialist for Iowa State University Extension & Outreach since 2006. She received a bachelor’s degree from Wayne State College and a master’s from Iowa State University. Abbie works as part of the Local Government and Housing Knowledge Team on a variety of statewide projects including affordable housing, the Marketing Hometown America program, strategic planning, and organizational development. Prior to joining Extension, she was Sioux City’s Community & Economic Development Project Coordinator administering U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development housing, neighborhood revitalization, and economic development programs. She has also previously worked in nonprofit organizational planning and as a newspaper reporter. Her other areas of expertise include historic preservation, grant writing, and municipal planning. Abbie also serves as a board member for Iowa Community Development, Siouxland Area Agency on Aging Senior Housing Board, Sioux City Farmer’s Market Board of Directors, and the Community Housing Initiatives, Inc. Board of Directors.
Mary Ann Dennis
Maryann Dennis retired from The Housing Fellowship in February 2020 after 27 years with the organization. Maryann facilitated its growth and reputation as one of the premier Community Housing Development Organizations in Iowa. She has extensive experience in working with low-income neighborhoods and families along with the administration of federal and private funding sources. Maryann is a certified Housing Development Finance Professional through the National Development Council. She holds a master’s degree in social work administration and social development from the University of Iowa. Maryann volunteered with Housing First, Permanent Supportive Housing, Housing Trust Fund of Johnson County, Iowa City’s Invest Health team, and Affordable Housing Coalition of Johnson County. Maryann was appointed to the Iowa City Riverfront Crossings Inclusionary Housing Ad Hoc Committee, Johnson County Housing Task Force, Equity Advisory Committee of the Iowa City Community School District, along with the Board of Directors of United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties.
Polk County Housing Trust Fund
Eric Burmeister came to the Polk County Housing Trust Fund in 2010 after a 30 year career in real estate development and finance. A graduate of Drake University Law School, he has represented developers of notable commercial and residential redevelopment projects in the Des Moines metro area, including, the historic Kirkwood Hotel, Brown Camp Lofts and the Newin Dairy Lofts. Eric has a long history of involvement in the Des Moines community, serving in leadership positions with The Polk-Des Moines Taxpayers’ Association, The Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute and most recently on the executive committee and board of trustees of Grand View University where he also teaches part-time in the business department. He is interested and active in several Des Moines neighborhood associations and is currently serving on steering committees as a community representative for affordable housing issues.
Jennifer Cooper is vice president and manager of commercial real estate for Bankers Trust Company in Des Moines. The Bankers Trust commercial real estate portfolio of $2 billion is comprised of retail, industrial, office, and multifamily loans as well as an emphasis in senior housing, hospitality and medical facilities. After graduating from Arizona State University in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in finance, Jeni worked for Wells Fargo for 14 years. During her time there, she served in a number of roles – lender and manager for commercial real estate, manager of residential construction lending, community development officer, loan portfolio auditing, and credit analysis. Jeni is a currently serving with H.O.M.E., Inc., Iowa Housing Partnership, Neighborhood Finance Corporation, Midwest Housing Equity Group, and Development Committee for the Polk County Housing Trust Fund. She is also a state-appointed board member for the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Jeni earned the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation.
Habitat for Humanity of Iowa
Lisa Houser believes every person deserves a decent place to live and started her housing career in 2008 with Habitat for Humanity of Marion County. In 2012, she transitioned to executive director with Habitat for Humanity of Iowa and continues to serve in that role today. For the past 20 years, Lisa has held various leadership roles with non-profit organizations. Lisa was appointed by Iowa’s Governor to serve on the Empower Rural Iowa Initiative Task Force. Lisa is a member of the Iowa Rural Development Council and serves on the Board of Directors for the Iowa Housing Partnership. She volunteers with various community organizations and activities in her hometown of Monroe, Iowa. Lisa received her bachelor’s degree in child and family studies/psychology from Northwest Missouri State University and attended the University of Iowa, master of social work program. Lisa also holds a Certificate in Community Development Finance from the University of New Hampshire.
Region XII Council of Governments
Rick Hunsaker is executive director of Region XII Council of Governments. He also serves as executive eirector of three affiliate non-profit corporations: Region XII Development Corporation, Council of Governments Housing, Inc., and Region XII Housing Corporation. Region XII COG began working in housing in 1991. COG Housing, Inc. is the designated local housing trust fund through the Iowa Finance Authority. The COG also offers a variety of land use and planning services to its local governments and is the designated USEDA economic development district and IDOT Regional Planning Affiliation for its service area. Rick is an active member of the Iowa Association of Councils of Governments and was elected to the executive committee of the National Association of Development Organizations in 2019. He also serves on the board of the Midwest Assistance Program and several local non-profit boards. Rick is a certified Housing Development Finance Professional through the National Development Council. Rick is a graduate of Drake University holding a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees.
Conveyance Law, PLC
Larry James is an attorney with Conveyance Law, PLC. He focuses on transactional real estate and corporate law, including platting, sales and leasing transactions, entitlements, and entity documents. He works closely with developers on land development, historic tax credit and LIHTC projects, as well as large market-rate multifamily and mixed-use developments. In addition to his law practice, Larry is president of Laneways Development, LLC, a Des Moines based development company focused on urban revitalization.
Vera French Housing
Bret Mills serves as president for Conlin Properties, Inc., which he joined in 2011 after serving as the director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) for the state of Iowa. Prior to working in economic development, Bret served as the executive director of the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) after serving as its CFO. Prior to joining IFA, Bret worked at the Iowa Treasurer of State’s office as a deputy treasurer. He has also enjoyed his service to various community organizations. Bret has bachelor’s degrees from the University of Iowa and Drake University as well as a master of business administration from Drake University. He is a CPA, has also earned the HCCP designation, as well as NDC’s Housing Development Finance Professional.