Meet the team
Daniel Smolensky, SIOR
« Our goal is to receive a letter of reference from our clients; it validates that we’ve all won. »
Daniel Smolensky is a Founder and Principal of TMG. Since 1994 Dan’s successful experience at some of the largest real estate firms in the world coupled with a personal desire to stake his claim fueled him to launch The Modal Group in 2008, merging with Taurus Realty Partners in 2015. Dan has completed transactions in excess of $500 million and 10 million square feet in industrial and office properties. Dan’s last brokerage position was with CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) when they acquired Insignia/ESG, where he enjoyed being a market leader and the dominant broker in the northwest/O’Hare sub-market of Chicago. That led to a position with First Industrial Realty Trust one the world’s largest owners/developers of industrial properties where Dan was charged with identifying buildings to purchase and executing transactions to feed the company’s $9 Billion of REIT and pension fund capital. Dan has worked on real estate opportunities in every major market in the US, Canada, and Europe. Dan lives near Wrigley Field in Chicago and enjoys spending time with his wife and two boys, boating, golfing, taking road trips, and the rooting for Chicago sports teams.
- SIOR — Society of Industrial and Office Realtors
- CSCMP — The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals
- IANA — Intermodal Association of North America
- NARS — North American Shippers Association, American Rail Shippers
- AIRE — Assc. of Industrial Real Estate Brokers
- REAA — Real Estate Advisors Association
- CHICAGO BOYS & GIRLS CLUB
- EMANUEL CONGREGATION
« In our world, Tenants are everything. »
Marat Safir is a Founder and Principal of TMG. Previously Marat was the President and founding principal of Taurus Realty Partners. It was his vision of a firm, solely focusing on industrial tenant representation, that spearheaded the creation of Taurus Realty Partners in 2007, merging with The Modal Group in 2015. Prior to Taurus Realty Partners, Marat spent almost 10 years at UGL/Equis, one of the largest tenant rep real estate firms in the world. As Vice President at UGL, he was instrumental in developing an industrial practice group. His impact has gone beyond Chicago where he is a significant resource to corporate clients throughout the country. Marat has had tremendous success in evaluating and executing solutions for corporate clients and their industrial needs for nearly twenty years. Since 1996, Marat has been involved in over 375 lease and sale transactions totaling over $850 million in value.
Currently, Marat lives in Chicago’s West Loop with his wife & their two dogs. In his spare time, Marat enjoys hitting the slopes out West for some skiing and playing lots of tennis. He is a self-proclaimed Roger Federer fanatic.
- JUF — Jewish United Fund
- ADA — American Diabetes Association
Andrew Corken, SIOR
« Repeat business is the highest compliment I’ve received over the years. »
Andrew has nearly 30 years of experience in industrial and office real estate strategies for corporate occupiers. He specializes in representing clients to help achieve maximum savings on overall occupancy costs and operational and supply chain efficiencies.
Andrew has completed over 400 transactions in excess of 50 million square feet and 240 acres of land for development. He has executed many multi-state site selection projects and sophisticated strategic planning consulting assignments. He has represented companies to complete leases, lease renewals, lease extensions, property purchases, and build-to-suits including the BMW build-to-suit in Minooka, IL, and Sears build-to-suit in Romeoville, IL that both won the prestigious NAIOP build-to-suit of the year award.
Prior to joining TMG Andrew was a senior-level Vice President at CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) for 22 years in Chicago where he was regularly one of the top producers. He is also a member of the Society of Office and Industrial Realtors (SIOR).
- SIOR — Society of Industrial and Office Realtors
- CSCMP — The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals
Chicago Executive Office Manager Estela Richards joined TMG in 2015. She has over 10 years’ managerial and administrative experience. She assists in the development and implementation of company policies and procedures; manages and oversees the administration of HR policies, programs, and practices within the company; and assists the Project Management team as the Client Services Liaison.
Estela’s creativity, drive, and leadership make her a critical component of the TMG team. She is responsible for all office procedures and uses her organizational skills to ensure smooth operations in a busy work environment. She thrives on challenges and is always looking for opportunities to expand TMG’s platform. Her commitment to excellence is ever-present in her relentless pursuit of customer satisfaction and loyalty she exhibits professionally and personally.
Estela completed undergraduate studies at Trinity International University (“TIU”) and continued her education in the field of Organizational Leadership at TIU. She earned an MBA degree from TIU in 2018.
Estela has been a resident of Chicago since she moved from Tirana, Albania in 2000. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her two children and friends, exploring the beautiful outdoors, hiking, biking, running, music, and traveling. She is always rooting for the Chicago Blackhawks, Cubs, and of course Da Bears.
EDUCATION / AFFILIATIONS
- Trinity International University
- Chicago Police Memorial Foundation
- Park Community Churh (Member)
- Puerto Rican Police Association (Member)
« We are arming our clients accurate and reliable information so they can make the best possible choices. »
As the Director of Marketing and Research, Jill is responsible for designing and maintaining effective marking collateral as well as providing TMG with in-depth and competitive market intelligence. With 5 years of commercial real estate experience, she is responsible for marketing and research across all services lines. This includes collection and analysis of market data, GIS analytic services, employment mapping, advertising, maintenance of proprietary databases, public relations, and communications initiatives.
Prior to joining TMG, Jill spent two years working at Transwestern as a part of the research and marketing teams. In this role, she was responsible for data collection, analysis, and the creation of dynamic marketing collateral to effectively relay the information to be used both by brokers and clients. Prior to Transwestern, Jill had the opportunity to work at Bradford Allen Realty Services as the Research & Communications
Coordinator. As the Research & Communications Coordinator Jill was responsible for providing detailed market analysis and research knowledge for both the downtown and suburban teams as well as the management of the firm’s public relations and social media platforms.
In addition to her experience in commercial real estate research, Jill spent almost two years at DTZ as a Broker’s Assistant. In this role, she was responsible for the creation of marketing collateral for a team of up to 12 brokers as well as assisting them with the creation and maintenance of propriety databases and used for both the brokerage team and their clients.
- Member of Internet Marketing Association, Midwest Chapter
- Recipient of 2017 American Red Cross Heritage Award through volunteer work with Turning the Tide for Hurricane Relief
- Volunteer at St. Jude’s Chicago
- Former Make-A-Wish Ambassador for Tranwestern’s Chicago office
Including organization of fundraisers, event planning, and cobranding event marketing collateral.
- Former EMT-B for Altamont Rescue Squad in Altamont, NY
« Genuine service requires you to put the needs of your clients first and foremost. »
Ryan Phillips, a Chicago area native, specializes in building relationships with his clients and tailors how he conducts, analyzes and negotiates real estate to match each client’s goals. Ryan has completed over 250 transactions totaling more than two million square feet. He has experience in multiple areas of real estate including industrial and office, as well as corporate real estate incentives. Over the years he has been recognized as a “Rising Star” and a “Game Changer” in the industry.
Ryan enjoys playing golf, coaching youth sports, cooking, and spending time with his wife, daughter, and son.
- AIRE — Assc. of Industrial Real Estate Brokers
« We always go the extra mile because we are looking for relationships not deals. »
Morgan Mellske is a part of the TMG office brokerage team, specializing in office tenant representation. Morgan represents a diverse client base in lease negotiations and relocations locally and nationally. Morgan is a native of Chicago growing up on Taylor Street and the Bucktown/Wicker Park neighborhoods. He attended the prestigious Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary School and then pursued his undergraduate degree at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota majoring in Business Marketing and he was a member of the golf team. Morgan enjoys introducing friends to his “secret” Chicago spots and is an active basketball, hockey, softball player and an avid golfer.
- Young Professionals Board for Horizons for Youth
- FXW Alumni Committee
- Saint Mary’s University Alumni Committee
- Saint Ignatius Alumni Basketball League
« Our approach offers unparalleled access to data and insights that are critical to the decision making process. »
Andris Lizenbergs is an Advisor on the TMG brokerage team specializing in industrial tenant representation. Andris brings extensive business experience with a focus on the construction industry. His consultative approach is designed to bring new ideas and solutions to ensure that client goals are met. Both locally and nationally, Andris manages lease negotiations and relocations. Andris grew up in Evanston, IL where he attended Evanston Township High School. He then went on to the University of IL where he played men’s club volleyball and majored in political science. Today Andris resides in Evanston and enjoys golf, paddle tennis, and spending time with his family and three young children. He is active in the American Latvian Youth Association and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
- American Latvian Youth Association
- Latvian Center Garezers
- Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
« Our Construction team’s expertise on getting projects completed on time and on budget impacts the near-term to get our client into their space and the long-term happiness of the client and the employees. »
Michael Smolyansky is a Senior Vice President of Construction at TMG. Michael’s extensive and diverse background in construction includes all aspects of project management in areas such as commercial, residential, restoration, and industrial.
His career in construction began in 2000 with a custom home development firm where he handled all phases of new construction projects. Later, Michael joined a restoration company that specialized in residential and commercial reconstruction of properties after disasters that grew exponentially under his supervision.
In 2008 Michael started GCPRO, LLC that is presently operating as a leading full-service restoration contractor in the Chicagoland market. The company is a preferred vendor for most major insurance carriers as well as a preferred contractor for multiple property management firms and not-for-profit organizations.
Throughout his career, Michael has been involved in the development and growth of several organizations, including GCPRO, LLC that has been excelling in the industry for many years.
Michael’s progressive vision, dedication, and desire to excel helped him learn and adapt to a variety of construction market sectors and clients across the industry.
- Wyndham hotel
- Katz and Katz Realty
- Elkay Plastics
- Venture One
- Cosmo Films
- Northbrook college of
- Dendor Construction
- Lamarco Systems
« Always go the extra mile and keep projects on time. That’s how we maintain such a high level of customer satisfaction. »
Anna is an integral part of the TMGC team and acts as a client liaison, specifically in coordinating and monitoring various procedures. In her role, responsibilities include providing on-going support to contractors/vendors involved with current projects, facilitating and coordinating meetings with contractors and tenants, oversight of design meetings to assure scope and content are clearly outlined to minimize change orders, maintaining activity checklists for each project to sustain predictable completion of critical schedule milestones, managing local municipality relationships and permit process, managing and maintaining all audit-required documents.
In a construction career that has spanned approximately 10 years, Anna was an Assistant Project Manager for a Midwest multi-family developer. During this time, she managed to fine-tune her skills by assisting with the estimating process for budget and Scope of Work for the lead Estimator, coordinating with Construction Management team to ensure a streamlined transition and completed understanding of any given Project, leading discussions regarding pre-construction planning, developing and implementing project procedures, and detailed review of the Scope of Work, Contract Timelines, Benchmarks, and Payment Schedules and Permits required.
Qualities such as self-motivation, strong communication, and a bit of humor have enabled Anna to be a fundamental component of the value chain in the overall tenant experience that TMGC provides. Quick fact, Anna is fluent in Polish and is a ballet dancer.
- Trudeau Corp.
- Precision Marshal Steel
- USA Bouquet Company
« As our client’s trusted advisor we provide end to end solutions. »
Ken’s construction experience began in 1985. Over the last 30 plus years, Ken has worked at some of the largest firms in the real estate industry including The John Buck Company, Cushman & Wakefield, Grubb & Ellis, and DTZ UGL Equis Corp. Ken’s Project management expertise includes; bid negotiation, strategic sourcing, material management, due diligence, Tenant Improvement & new ground-up construction management, budget & schedule management, and real estate strategy. Ken has been engaged in millions of square feet in multiple market sectors including office, industrial, education, high-tech, automotive, GSA projects, data center, law firms, manufacturing, and healthcare. Projects range from national portfolio design and construction, spec development, and office interiors. A sample of clients Ken has represented includes Allianz, Bally Total Fitness, Kimberly Clark, Zurich Insurance, Littlefuse, American Hospital Association, USG, Willis Tower (Sears Tower), Version Wireless, Flextronics, Nippon Express and The Joint Commission.
« It is an important goal of mine to present TMG advisors as they truly are; good human beings, with the intentions of helping clients find the right solutions with passion and transparency. »
As TMG’s Marketing Associate, Leila assists with graphic design, photography, video marketing, and social media initiatives across all of the company’s service lines. She also works closely with the Director of Marketing and Research and has assisted with the creation of their digital marketing strategy and the company’s rebranding.
Leila attends DePaul University with a concentration in Graphic Design and Marketing.
Education & Affiliations
- Current undergraduate student at DePaul University, Chicago
- Former Student of The Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois (Ai)
- Alumna of Harold Washington College (CCC), Associates in Liberal Arts
« Quality, trust and client advocacy are the foundation of every transaction. »
Alex began his career in the construction industry in 2010 in the residential sector, specifically hands-on experience as a carpenter and handyman. He gained essential knowledge of the industry through his experience working in the field, and the management and operation of complex apartment, as well as low-income housing, renovations. During this time, he developed his management skills as a Project Manager at GCPRO, making an easy transition into TMGC’s commercial operations. His background spans a variety of project typologies including multi-tenant commercial and industrial, retail, office, healthcare, and manufacturing.
Alex was added to the TMGC team in 2019. His core responsibilities include managing all aspects of multiple construction projects. This includes design, estimating, scheduling, client satisfaction, subcontractor procurement and deployment, project budget/cost/document control. He also reviews construction documents, closeout documentation, and coordination of project team members during construction administration. His skills bring assurance of attention to detail and allow him to meet each unique challenge with a strategic and creative solution. His many years of experience make him an asset in the estimation process, providing clients with a fair and realistic expectation of construction and project costs. Alex brings his unique skill set and the ability to understand and meet client’s diverse project requirements with respect to schedule and budget.
- Boys and girls of America
- Elkay Plastics
- Ten South Management
- US Post Office
« My goal is to cultivate lasting partnerships for our team and our clients. »
As a 25+ year, exclusive tenant representation, commercial real estate broker, Vickie leads local/national business development and relationship management efforts for TMG’s Client & Corporate Services group, as well the firm’s Project Management/Construction Services groups. She has been involved in all aspects of commercial real estate, including corporate space renewal, relocation, built-to-suit, building, and land purchase/sale, subleasing, master planning (growth and rightsizing), and consulting.
In addition to maintaining her continually growing list of clientele, Vickie has experienced great success in designing custom, best-in-class strategic real estate plans, devising and implementing comprehensive solutions for real estate portfolios and on-going maintenance and monitoring of said plans.
Vickie has secured several Fortune 100 clients throughout her career, including Bacardi USA (portfolio), Sodexho, Kimberly Clark Corporation, YWCA, Cargill, Duracell, Sealy, Yellow Cab Management, Assurance Agency, Woodfield Convention Center and Cors, Inc.
Vickie is also the owner of a corporate CPR/AED & emergency training and certification company, has two teenage sons, and competes in national racquetball tournaments across the country.
- 1888 Mills
- Assurance Agency
- Bacardi USA
- Cargill, Duracell
- Cors, Inc.
- Fieldwork Chicago
- Foundation for
- Kimberly Clark Corporation
- Miller Resource Group
- Optimus Solutions
- Pulte Home Builders
- Sandler O’Neil Partners
- Sealy Posturpedic
- Tetra-Tech EM
- Universal Health Services
- Woodfield Chicago
- Northwest Convention
- Yellow Cab Management