Jim Walter, President
Jim founded the first Crystal Creek Capital entity in January of 2009. Prior to forming Crystal Creek Capital, Jim co-managed the real estate strategies for Nevada Pacific Consulting (“NPC”). Mr. Walter also served as the Executive Director of The TVRC Education Foundation located in Jackson, WY. During his tenure, Jim acquired a 2,300 acre ranch located in Dubois, WY and oversaw the development of a world class ranch camp facility. The TVRC Education Foundation and Teton Valley Ranch Camp have been recognized as leaders in the camp industry.
Jim received a Bachelor of Arts from St. Lawrence University and was a grant recipient from the School for Social Innovation at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. He serves as a trustee of the Antonio V. Glassberg Educational Foundation.
Thomas J. Saylak, Chairman
Thomas J. Saylak is the president of Teewinot Holdings, the private investment holding company for the Saylak family interests, which invests in a broad array of traditional and alternative asset classes. In turn, Teewinot Holdings is a primary investor in Crystal Creek Capital Fund I.
Prior to forming Teewinot Holdings, Mr. Saylak spent over 27 years as an investor focusing on distressed and underperforming commercial real estate assets around the world. Following graduate school, Tom served as a Principal in Trammell Crow Ventures (“TCV”), the firm’s opportunistic real estate investment arm, where he was responsible for completing over $5 billion of investments between 1987 and 1992.
Following Trammell Crow, Mr. Saylak co-founded and for over 9 years was co-head of Blackstone Real Estate Advisors, one of the largest and most successful real estate managers in the world. During his tenure at Blackstone, he and his partners created four real estate investment partnerships with more than $4 billion in total equity commitments, and completed over $13 billion of real estate investments, financings and restructurings. The completed investments comprised over 30 million square feet of office space, 35,000 hotel rooms, 15 million square feet of industrial warehouse space and 30,000 apartment units. Investment structures included direct asset purchases, privatizations of real estate operating companies, acquisitions of impaired debt positions leading to asset control and newly-originated high-yield structured financings.
Over the nine year period from the inception of Blackstone’s real estate investment activities in 1993 through his withdrawal in 2001, Mr. Saylak and his partners invested $2.8 billion of equity capital in 110 transactions and generated returns on realized investments of 45% with an equity multiple of 2.4 times. Blackstone and its investors harvested over $2 billion of realized investment profits during Mr. Saylak’s tenure. Mr. Saylak was responsible for all aspects of the Blackstone’s activities, including day to day operational management of the 60-person professional and support staff, fundraising initiatives, investor relations, financial reporting and asset management.
Following Blackstone, Mr. Saylak served as President of Merrill Lynch Global Commercial Real Estate (“GCRE”), the fully-integrated commercial real estate division of Merrill Lynch which at the time had over $1.6 billion in annual revenue, 500 employees, and operations in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. He retired from Merrill Lynch in 2006 to form Teewinot Holdings.
Mr. Saylak has served as a Director of three NYSE-listed companies: Cadillac Fairview Corporation (then the largest owner and operator of retail centers in Canada), Interstate Hotel Corporation and Prime Group Realty Trust. He is a Trustee of the Grand Teton National Park Foundation, and a Trustee of WETA, the PBS affiliate in Washington, D.C . He is also past Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Texas A&M University Foundation, and formerly served as Chairman of the Foundation’s investment committee.
Mr. Saylak received a BBA in 1982 from Texas A&M University (magna cum laude) and an MBA in 1987 from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, where he graduated with high distinction and was designated a Baker Scholar.
Mark Berry, Vice President of Operations
Joining Crystal Creek Capital in 2022, Mark is responsible for the firm’s operations, which include asset management, human resources, and project oversight. Prior to joining Crystal Creek Capital, Mark spent ten years at Grand Teton National Park Foundation as its Chief Operating Officer executing a variety of public-private capital development and real estate acquisition projects within the national park. He was previously Vice President of a general engineering contracting firm in California, and has extensive experience in fundraising, capital construction, and real estate projects in the non-profit sector in Jackson, Wyoming. Mark earned a B.A. in geography from the University of Oregon.
Aaron Drucker, Principal
Aaron is a Principal at Crystal Creek Capital, where he is responsible for investment underwriting and structuring, as well as deal origination. Prior to joining Crystal Creek, Aaron worked in the Investment Banking Division at UBS in New York, where he executed a number of M&A and financing transactions across the energy, industrials and infrastructure sectors. Aaron received a Bachelor of Arts with honors in History and Economics from Emory University.
Adrian Barton, Project Manager
Prior to joining Crystal Creek Capital, Adrian spent two decades working in facilities and project management for the Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons hotel companies. With a background in luxury hotel operations and asset management, Adrian brings to CCC a blend of technical and project management skills developed overseeing 100’s of millions of dollars’ worth of new build, redesign and renovation construction in the Caribbean, Hawaii and the Rocky Mountain region. A highly effective business leader, Adrian focuses on getting deep into the numbers and schedules on any project he oversees to uncover threats to assumptions, opportunities for savings, and to maximize outcomes and returns for all stakeholder groups.
Brian Kelley, Chief Financial Officer
Prior to Crystal Creek Capital Real Estate Advisors, Brian held roles as the CFO of Fine Dining Restaurant Group, CFO of Teton Resorts and Vice President of Finance and Administration for MetWest Terra Hospitality and the Terra Resort Group. Brian has built his career on becoming a strategic partner to operators by the creations of controls, procedures and reporting that protect assets while providing the actionable business intelligence to allow operators to focus on top line revenues, employee development and guest satisfaction. Brian’s experience also includes roles as a Corporate Finance Director with Gold Key|PHR and Area Controller with Vail Associates. Brian holds an Accounting degree from the University of Missouri and is a licensed CPA.