Leadership


Ian Griffis, Chairman, Denver, Colorado

Ian Griffis

Chairman

Mr. Griffis is Chairman and co-founder of Griffis Residential. He serves on the Investment Committee for Griffis Premium Apartment Fund III, LLC as well as the prior Funds.  In this capacity Mr. Griffis oversees and refines a time-tested investment strategy developed over nearly three decades. Additionally, Mr. Griffis has primary responsibility for managing Griffis Residential’s family office and individual investor relationships.  He is also involved with the Experience Management Team effort and the Guest Culture Initiative.

 

Mr. Griffis began his nearly 30-year real estate investment career in 1985 during his senior year at Colorado College. Together with Buck Blessing, Mr. Griffis made an initial residential acquisition with capital raised from fellow Colorado College students (including David Birnbaum). Building on this initial investment and several soon to follow, Mr. Griffis and Mr. Blessing founded Colorado Springs-based Griffis/Blessing, Inc. in 1986. Prior to selling his share of the company to Mr. Blessing in 1997, the firm had become one of the most prominent vertically-integrated real estate investment and management companies in southern Colorado.

 

Subsequent to the sale of his share in Griffis/Blessing, Mr. Griffis continued to manage and co-manage this legacy investment portfolio while creating new opportunities through Griffis Investment Company, Inc. and affiliates.

 

In 2004, Mr. Griffis joined with his previous business partner, David Birnbaum, in the formation of Griffis Group of Companies, LLC (dba Griffis Residential). Building on Mr. Griffis’ earlier success in creating single-asset investment partnerships, Griffis Residential began with the launch of the Griffis Value Added Fund, LLC in 2005 – a discretionary private equity real estate fund focused on multifamily investments. This initial Fund has been followed by the Griffis Premium Apartment Fund, LLC (ca. 2008) and the Griffis Premium Apartment Fund III, LLC (ca. 2013). With a 29-year track record including successful investments in office, retail and industrial, Mr. Griffis has served as a general partner or managing member of approximatley 8,000 apartments, the exclusive asset class for Griffis Residential.  Mr. Griffis has succesfully navigated various market cycles without losses including the RTC crises of the late 1980s and more recently the Great Recession.

 

Mr. Griffis holds a B.A. from Colorado College and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Fountain Valley School.

David Birnbaum, Chief Executive Officer, Denver, Colorado

David Birnbaum

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Birnbaum is Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Griffis Residential. Previously he was an investor in one of Mr. Griffis’ early real estate partnerships and then a partner (87-88) with Mr. Griffis and Mr. Blessing in Griffis/Blessing, Inc.

 

After selling his share in this early venture, he earned his MBA and subsequently returned to Colorado to work for the Trammel Crow Company and later The Nature Conservancy. In 1993 Mr. Birnbaum moved to Moscow where he co-founded JD Logistics – a contract logistics and warehousing company. During his ten years as its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Birnbaum successfully led the company through an extremely challenging business and management environment including the 1998 financial crisis. During his tenure the company became a market leader with a substantial client roster of prominent international companies. During his tenure, Mr. Birnbaum oversaw the company’s expansion into multiple new markets, managed the company’s sale (1998), and relocated the company’s headquarters to London, where he continued to serve as its CEO from 2000-2003.

 

As Griffis Residential’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Birnbaum directs the Firm’s investment activities including expansion into new multifamily markets and implementation of the investment strategy, acts as its Chief Compliance Officer with respect to the Registered Investment Advisor Act, and has day-to-day responsibility for corporate strategy, and building and maintaining Griffis Residential’s relationships with institutional investors.

 

Since the founding of Griffis Residential, Mr. Birnbaum has worked with partners Ian Griffis and Tom Barta to create a vertically integrated real estate investment and management company and build a $650m multifamily portfolio. Leveraging his experience leading his previous company through the global financial crisis of 1998, Mr. Birnbaum successfully guided Griffis Residential through the Great Recession, during which time the Firm accounted for nearly 100% of the distressed Class-A multifamily investments executed in Denver.  

 

Mr. Birnbaum holds a B.A. from Colorado College and a M.B.A. from Dartmouth’s Amos Tuck School. Mr. Birnbaum serves on the Investment Committee for the Jewish Community Foundation of Colorado and on the Russian and Eastern European Acquisition Committee for London’s Tate Museum.

Tom Barta, Chief Operating Officer, Denver, Colorado

Tom Barta

Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Barta joined the Firm in 2005 and since 2007 has been a partner with Ian Griffis and David Birnbaum in Griffis Residential. Previously serving as the Firm’s Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Barta is currently the Firm’s Chief Operating Officer.  He also serves on the Investment Committee for Griffis Premium Apartment Fund III, LLC as well as the prior Funds.

 

Mr. Barta has day-to-day responsibility for leading and managing the Firm’s on-site property management efforts, developing its distinctive management culture, and fulfilling Griffis Residential’s brand promise – “It’s about you.”  Mr. Barta also oversees the implementation of the Firm’s asset management initiatives and ensures that there is direct partner-level involvement in day-to-day asset-level activities. Additionally, Mr. Barta manages the corporate staff and oversees financial and back-office operations.

 

Prior to joining Griffis Residential, Mr. Barta served as the Corporate Controller for Westmoreland Coal Company from 2001 - 2005, where he oversaw all financial and accounting functions at that publicly traded company.  From 1994-2001, Mr. Barta worked in the audit practice of the Denver office of KPMG and was a manager at the time of his departure.

 

Mr. Barta holds a B.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder and is a Certified Public Accountant.