Officers & Directors

Officers & Directors


George Bell
President & Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Bell has been the President & Chief Operating Officer of Gadsden Growth Properties since June of 2016. Prior to joining Gadsden, he worked with Memory Matters which focuses on the development of facilities dedicated to the control and remission of Alzheimer’s. These facilities are constructed as a “Home Model” and focus on the patient’s condition rather than simply being a controlled space where people are housed and made comfortable until death. Prior to that Mr. Bell was Chief Operating Officer for Talk Media TV where he was responsible for implementing day-to-day operations, compliance, sales, personnel and business development. He was Regional Manager for Fort Sill National Bank for over 12 years, and prior to that worked with Mr. Hartman as his Chief Operating Officer of Next Advisors where he was responsible for oversight of compliance, reporting, cost containment, financial oversight, audit, and securities reporting. Mr. Bell was Head of Insurance Services for First Cleveland Securities and has extensive experience with human resources, health insurance, D&O/E&O insurance, the structuring of medical savings accounts, and 401k retirement plans.
Michele Pupach
Corporate Counsel
Ms. Pupach has been an attorney with FC Global Realty Incorporated (previously known as PhotoMedex, Inc.) since 2004, and became corporate counsel for the company in 2012. She joined the Gadsden Growth Properties group upon its acquisition of FC Global and oversees the legal and regulatory compliance areas for the group. She previously was corporate counsel and director of compliance at Resco Products, Inc., and began her legal career at Surgical Laser Technologies, Inc. as a staff attorney for that company. Ms. Pupach has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism from The Pennsylvania State University. She received her law degree from Widener University School of Law and her Doctorate of Law in Taxation from Villanova University School of Law.
Brian Ringel
Corporate Controller
Mr. Ringel is a certified public accountant (CPA) with over 15 years of experience in public accounting, audit and SEC regulatory compliance. Prior to joining Gadsden Mr Ringel was Vice-President of Finance and Controller for American Standard Energy where he managed all functions of finance, accounting and reporting for the publicly traded energy company. Mr. Ringel was Audit Manager at Grant Thornton, and international accounting and consulting firm, where he worked with both public and private companies in multiple different industries across the U.S. Prior to joining Grant Thornton, Mr. Ringel was an Associate and then was promoted to Audit Manager at KPMG a global accounting firm. Mr. Ringel holds an Masters in Accounting from Brigham Young University as well as a BS in Accounting from Brigham Young University.

Board of Directors

Douglas A. Funke
Independent Board Member
Mr. Funke was elected to the Board of Directors of Gadsden REIT in April of 2019. Currently, he is the Chief Executive Officer and Portfolio Manager of the Berkeley Street Real Estate Income Fund. Mr. Funke is responsible for identifying, sourcing, structuring and managing the investments for the Fund. As Portfolio Manager he oversees the daily operations and he sets the investment guidelines for the Fund. Mr. Funke is also a member of both the Investment Committee and Risk Committee at Berkeley Street Real Estate. He also is a Managing Director and Head of The Americas for Iceberg Real Estate (Forum Partners spin-out entity). Mr. Funke and Iceberg Realty act as a sub-advisor and manager of the Berkeley Street Real Estate Income Fund. He is also responsible for bottom-up research for the Income Plus, Alpha, and Special Situations Fund strategies.

Prior to Iceberg he was a Managing Director and Global Portfolio Manager with Forum Securities based in Greenwich, CT. At Forum, Mr. Funke managed and oversaw the Americas. Before joining Forum Partners, Mr. Funke was a Managing Director at BeachStreet Capital where he advised hedge funds, institutional money managers, high net worth clients and public and private companies on real estate and real estate related investments. Mr. Funke began his investment career at Morgan Stanley where he was a Managing Director and a Portfolio Manager of Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s US Real Estate Fund and the Morgan Stanley Special Situations Fund. He was the first employee of the fund and helped raise assets under management from $5.0 million in Morgan Stanley seed capital to $7.0 billion of institutional assets; today the fund is in excess of $25.0 billion in assets under management. Mr. Funke was responsible for the day-to-day investing of these funds and managed the bottom-up stock picking and research effort. In addition to his duties as Portfolio Manager, Mr. Funke sourced, structured and executed private investments for both the Morgan Stanley US Real Estate Fund and the Morgan Stanley Special Situations Fund. Douglas Funke holds an AB in Economics and Political Science from the University of Chicago.
B. J. Parrish
Independent Board Member
Mr. Parrish has served as the Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of Cibolo Creek Partners, LLC since 2005. He has been a Director since 2013. He is responsible for the financial management of Cibolo and the 12 limited partnerships of which they serve as General Partner. Mr. Parrish is also instrumental in the raising of capital through both the equity and debt markets for all the company’s investment ventures. Prior to Cibolo, Mr. Parrish served as the Vice President of Cibolo’s predecessor company, Midland Red Oak Realty where he was involved in the formation of a $100 million credit facility, as well the acquisition and disposition of over $200 million worth of commercial real estate assets across the southwest United States. Prior to Midland Red Oak, Mr. Parrish was a financial analyst and a manager of investor relations with Southwest Royalties, Inc., a privately held oil and gas exploration and production company. Mr. Parrish also serves on the Board of Directors of Memory Care America, an Alzheimer’s and dementia residential care operating company with facilities in Texas, Arkansas, and South Carolina. Mr. Parrish received a BBA in Finance and an MBA, both from the University of Texas Permian Basin.
Kristen E. Pigman
Independent Board Member
Mr. Pigman joined the Gadsden Board of Directors in 2019 with Gadsden’s acquisition of FC Global. Having served as a member of FC Global’s Board of Directors since June 2018. As President of The Pigman Companies, LLC, or TPC, Mr. Pigman coordinates acquisition, planning, financing, development, construction, and disposition of commercial real estate projects for TPC, its partners, and institutional and corporate clients. Before the creation of TPC in 1994, Mr. Pigman was a titled officer and partner of The Koll Company of Newport Beach, CA. Prior to joining Koll in 1989, Mr. Pigman was President of The Sandpiper Companies, a real estate development firm headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona; and an executive with Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Group. He served as President for five years of the Sacramento Valley Chapter of National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, or NAIOP, and was a member of the National Board of Directors of NAIOP and Vice Chairman for the NAIOP National Office Development Forum. He also was Vice President of Development and a member of Board of Directors for the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization, Chairman of the Building Industry Association Commercial Developer’s Council, and a member of numerous other trade organizations and Chambers of Commerce. Mr. Pigman has been and continues to be involved in a number of charitable organizations, including The Comstock Club, Easter Seals, the American Lung Association, the Police Athletic League, the Leukemia Society, The Heart Foundation, the Principal for a Day Program, and the Boy Scouts of America, having attained the rank of Eagle Scout in that organization. Mr. Pigman graduated with honors from The Mercersburg Academy in Mercersburg, PA, accepted an English Speaking Union “Jr. Rhodes” Scholarship and took his ‘A’ levels at The Truro School, Truro, Cornwall, UK, attended Rollins College in Winter Park, FL on a baseball scholarship, and earned a B.S. in Economics cum laude from The University of Maryland. Mr. Pigman was selected to serve on the board of GPI because of his extensive real estate development experience.
James Walesa
Independent Board Member
Mr. Walesa is a member of the board of directors. Mr. Walesa has more than three decades of experience in financial services with an emphasis on the energy industry. In 1988, Mr. Walesa founded the Asset Management & Protection Corporation (AMPC), where he currently serves as its Principal. AMPC started from scratch and today manages over $500 million. Mr. Walesa is a licensed registered representative and Principal carrying FINRA licenses 6, 7, 22, 24, & 63 through Triad Advisors. Mr. Walesa and AMPC clients continue to provide startup capital for energy and real estate related companies. Mr. Walesa entered the energy industry in 1992 in the Permian Basin. He and some of his clients were original investors in Basic Energy Services (BAS: NYSE) and Southwest Royalties, now part of Clayton Williams Energy (CWE: NYSE). His prior experience includes serving as a founding member of the Offshore Energy Center in Galveston, Texas, and serving as a registered representative for First Investors (FIC), where he became the youngest vice president in firm history at age 26. Mr. Walesa previously served on the board of NASDAQ-traded Company (NASDAQ: CBF). and currently serves as the chairman of the board of Citadel Explorations (NASDAQ: COIL) and a member of the boards of Caerus Hospitality, and AmpliSine Labs. He was the Chicago Chairman for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and is a member of the Alzheimer’s Alois Society in recognition of his leadership and support of the Alzheimer’s Association to prevent and cure dementia related disease. Mr. Walesa received a BS in Business Administration from Rockford University.