About

Leadership

Sylvan Road’s seasoned leadership team brings together top professionals with diverse experience including investment management, real estate, operations, finance, and technology.

Executives

Gavin Kleinknecht
Gavin Kleinknecht
Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder and Managing Partner

Gavin Kleinknecht is Co-Founder, Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer of Sylvan Road. Gavin has been involved in all phases of Sylvan Road’s development since its inception in 2012, including the launch of the firm's investment management business, building the vertical operations from scratch and the design of the firm's proprietary software. He currently oversees all facets of the business and is focused on driving the company through vision, inspiration and innovation. He is passionate about a purpose-led and values-driven culture, creating a business environment where everyone succeeds. Gavin started his career practicing law in real estate and business transactions, but after ten years of practice, he made the decision to complete the transition to the principal side of the business. Gavin is an experienced real estate investor and venture capitalist, with over 20 years of success in structuring transactions, building businesses and generating outsized investor returns. In addition to his dedication to his family and the firm, Gavin is committed to serving his community through charitable giving and hands-on projects. Gavin participates in long distance running events and can often be found walking his neighborhood while on work calls. Gavin received a BA from the University of Vermont, and a JD from the Emory University School of Law.

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Oliver B. Chang
Oliver B. Chang
Co-Founder and Managing Partner

Oliver Chang is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Sylvan Road. Oliver is responsible for managing the company’s long term strategic direction. He also creates the firm’s macro views on housing, the SFR sector and the emerging industry landscape. Nominated for Industry Person of the Year by Private Equity Real Estate for his work as a pioneer in the single family rental industry, Oliver is a thought leader for institutional single family investing, having authored the seminal research paper on the industry in 2011. He has invested over $1BN in the asset class for investors, and advised government agencies on housing policy. His housing research and opinions have been cited in the media at outlets including CNBC, NPR, Reuters, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. Before co-founding Sylvan Road, Oliver served as Morgan Stanley’s Head of US Housing Strategy and is best known for correctly predicting the trajectory of home prices since 2007. He focused on all aspects of the housing market including home price dynamics, supply and foreclosure issues, demand and mortgage credit concerns, and the relationship between home prices and mortgage performance. Oliver pairs pragmatism with creativity to deliver concrete results. Respected as a credible voice in decision making, with an intuition to understand complex business priorities, Oliver turns abstract vision into concrete reality. When he’s not embroiled in complex strategic analysis, Oliver can be found on the ski slope. He is an avid and accomplished skier, with a goal to ski on every single continent (he’s completed three continents so far). When he's not chasing powder, you may find Oliver playing the violin. In fact, he is a virtuoso, he was a first violinist in the American Youth Philharmonic and performed at Kennedy and Lincoln Center. If that’s not enough, Oliver is an accomplished chef, with an expertise in French cuisine and an aspiring mixologist specializing in classic cocktails.
Oliver received a BS in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

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Marc Halle
Marc Halle
Chief Investment Officer

Marc Halle is the Chief Investment Officer at Sylvan Road where he is responsible for portfolio and asset management as well as data analytics and investment strategy. Marc believes we are judged by our ability to deliver risk-adjusted returns to clients over time and we stand by our record as a testament to the prowess of our investment professionals and the strength of our firm culture. He joined Sylvan Road from Park Lane Investors, a boutique real estate private equity firm he founded, which invested across the public and private real estate markets. Prior to Park Lane, Marc was the Chief Investment Officer and Global Head of real estate securities at PGIM Real Estate (Prudential), where he served as a member of the Global Management and Investment Committees. Marc also launched and led Prudential’s US Real Estate Private Equity business. Marc has worked in portfolio management and other real estate positions for Alpine Management, Evergreen Asset Management and W&M Properties (Empire State Realty Trust-NYSE: ESRT). Marc has received several awards for portfolio management, was named one of “America’s Best Mutual Fund Managers” and has been widely quoted in the financial media. He holds an MBA from New York University and a BS, magna cum laude, from Tufts University College of Engineering. Feel free to ask Marc about his backstage dinner with Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones in Shanghai.

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David Pustylnik
David Pustylnik
Chief Development Officer

David Pustylnik is the Chief Development Officer at Sylvan Road. David is responsible for the firm's capital markets, real estate brokerage and general business development activities. He joined Sylvan Road from HSBC Bank USA where he was a Managing Director in the Global Markets and Banking division focused on structured solutions and illiquid credit distribution. Prior to joining HSBC in 2020, David was a Managing Director at Citigroup Global Markets where he spent nearly 19 years having entered the Salomon Smith Barney undergraduate analyst training program in 2001. David was a Managing Director within the Structured Solution business inside Global Spread Products from 2017-2019. David was hired onto the Mortgage Sales desk within the Global Securitized Markets business upon completion of the analyst training program working in that group from 2003-2017. David holds a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from the University of Richmond. On a personal note, David is a first generation American, born in Brooklyn, NY. Russian was his first language. He attended college on an athletic scholarship and currently coaches youth lacrosse and football. He is married and the father of two wonderful little people, a daughter and a son.

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Brian Fox
Brian Fox
Chief Marketing Officer

Brian Fox is the Chief Marketing Officer at Sylvan Road. In this capacity, Brian brings to the firm over three decades of experience from high-profile roles at top tier companies. Prior to Sylvan Road, Brian was President and CEO of Franklin Capital Partners and CCO at Raistone Capital. Prior to this, Brian was the Chief Marketing Officer at MetLife Investment Management, where he helped grow the firm’s iconic brand into a $630 billion behemoth around the globe. While at MetLife, Brian served as a key member of the management team and was instrumental in helping to double the size of their commercial real estate business. He also helped to diversify the firm’s equity portfolio, in part through the $5.4 billion sale of PCV-ST, one of the largest residential real estate transactions in world history. At Sylvan Road, Brian leads the vision, strategy, and execution for all facets of marketing, with accountability for the success of brand management, corporate identity, reputation, communications, public relations, media relations, client and employee pronouncements, new products, the company’s public-facing initiatives, and digital media account management. Combining his proven business instincts with an unprecedented disciplinary work ethic, Brian continuously exceeds expectations in high stakes environments, positioning himself as a key member of the leadership team and a driving force for growth. Brian has been interviewed extensively by the national print, cable news and broadcast media outlets. Brian is dynamic, entrepreneurial, and performance-driven; he has a collaborative working style, takes personal accountability, is driven by intellectual curiosity and the desire for marketplace execution. When he’s not working, you might find Brian driving (too fast) in his vintage Triumph Spitfire convertible roadster, or on some high-adventure backpacking trip with his son, preferably in some exotic or remote location in the world.

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Robert A. Lee
Robert A. Lee
Chief Innovation Officer

Robert Lee is the Chief Innovation Officer at Sylvan Road. Rob’s role at Sylvan is to build new streams of revenue by visualizing and implementing those business opportunities, specifically by utilizing technology so that Sylvan can continue to accomplish its vision for best-in-class operations. Rob is a lifelong entrepreneur with a focus on alternative investing including real estate, capital raising, technology, entertainment and manufacturing. Most specifically, his career has been heavily focused in the real estate industry, including construction, development, property management and architecture. Rob was part of the original team at Sylvan Road where he played a pivotal role in helping to pioneer the institutional asset class which has become Single Family Rental (SFR). Additionally, he was part of the exit of the Havenbrook family of operating companies which owned and managed over 4,000 properties into the public markets. Rob is focused on helping investors and partners to achieve their vision by orienting them towards action. Over the years, Rob has built a reputation as a thoughtful, trusted, pragmatic, highly approachable leader. He conveys a highly credible and respected voice. He focuses on driving business outcomes, through a multi-disciplinary, progressive, innovative vision. He intuitively sees the threads of opportunity that wind through an organization, brings them together into a coherent whole, helps others to amplify their thinking, and drives material business advantage. He is a dynamic leader who inspires others to action. Rob has a master’s degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree from Emory University. When he’s not working, you might find Rob entertaining any (or all) of his FOUR daughters, traveling to some extraordinary resort venue, or generously entertaining friends and family while captaining his wake surfing boat on Lake Hartwell.

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Brendan McGill
Brendan McGill
Chief Legal Officer

Brendan McGill is the Chief Legal Officer at Sylvan Road. Brendan is responsible for the legal and compliance functions for the firm platform. Prior to Sylvan Road, Brendan served in a variety of roles at Invesco Ltd., leading teams across corporate legal, global corporate development, and Americas strategy and operations functions as the company significantly expanded across markets. Before Invesco, Brendan served as an Assistant General Counsel at Mohawk Industries, Inc. and Senior Associate at Alston & Bird LLP. Brendan’s legal practice has focused on M&A, corporate governance, securities regulation, corporate finance, and general commercial matters across a range of industries. Brendan began his career as a law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He holds a BA in Political Science from Duke University and a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law. When he’s not in the law library, Brendan is an avid outdoor enthusiast who also enjoys spending quality time with his wife and two beautiful children.

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Amy Merkley
Amy Merkley
Chief Operating Officer

Amy Merkley is the Chief Operating Officer at Sylvan Road. Amy is responsible for the daily operations of the company. She maintains an explicit focus on process, operational rigor and actionable metrics. She is meticulous, precise and exacting. Amy embodies the perfect balance of vision and practical execution. She connects with her team in a way that creates lasting and accretive solutions for the business. Amy brings more than 20 years of professional experience to the firm. Her skills and leadership have been focused on developing and delivering technology-driven business services and solutions, providing outstanding customer service and driving profitable revenue growth. Amy has a background in managing complex operating businesses and joined the firm from Precision Aviation Group where she was the Chief Operating Officer. Amy has held various executive operational roles across the aviation aftermarket and healthcare industries, including at Meggit, PLC where she was responsible for the financial and operational performance of a $600MM+ aftermarket business across 27 sites, Honeywell International where she was responsible for a $200MM business, Eaton Corporation and Humana. She holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. Amy is also a six sigma blackbelt and she has served as a lean facilitator and consultant across many organizations. In her free time, Amy is an avid hiker and nature lover. She has hiked across the country, including a high adventure backpacking trip across the Grand Canyon. Amy and her husband live in Colorado where they are able to hike nearly year-round.

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Jeffrey Smith
Jeffrey Smith
Chief Technology Officer

Jeffrey Smith is the Chief Technology Officer at Sylvan Road. With over 20 years of technology leadership experience, Jeff is responsible for ensuring that the technology direction, execution, and cybersecurity posture aligns with the Sylvan Road vision and business strategy in providing vertical integrated, disruptive technology. Jeff has applied human centered design to drive digital upskilling and innovation at scale. Jeff prides himself on leveraging technology to drive consequential change. Prior to joining Sylvan Road, Jeff held the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Pacific Premier Bank, a $21B AUM regional bank out of Southern California. Prior to the Bank, Jeff was Senior Vice President for Carrington Mortgage and Vylla Homes providing technology platforms for each area of a residential real estate transaction including; mortgage origination, mortgage servicing, title and escrow, property preservation, fund analysis and analytics, and broker services. Jeff also has several years of experience in the hospitality/gaming field spending several years building, modernizing, and renovating the famed Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach and Las Vegas. Jeff holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Webster University and a M.B.A from the University of Phoenix. A former member of the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, Jeff has a passion for all things music and performance. In addition, Jeff is a lifelong aviation enthusiast and private pilot.

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Robert Zeman
Robert Zeman
Chief Financial Officer

Robert Zeman is the Chief Financial Officer at Sylvan Road. Rob is responsible for all of the company’s financial functions, including accounting, audit, treasury and corporate finance. His career spans more than 35 years of varied experience in financial management, business leadership and corporate strategy. Rob has a background in financial and operations logistics and joined the firm from Coregistics where he was the Chief Operating Officer. Robert has held CFO and executive operations positions across a variety of logistics-intensive companies focusing on perishable wholesale distribution where as General Manager he helped grow the business from a single distribution facility to 17 distribution centers nationwide with sales growing from $75M to $4B. At Atlanta Provision Company as CFO he oversaw financial management and M&A activity for the business. Rob is an energetic and spirited leader who galvanizes his team to act, while at the same time, is grounded in prudence and discretion that appropriately levers the business. Rob has the ability to translate operational performance into improved financial understanding and foresight. Rob turned down a full ride scholarship in music to pursue a BA in Finance from Michigan State University, he also holds an MBA from Kennesaw State University. When not working 18 hours a day, Rob lives in the remote north Georgia mountains where he enjoys hiking and cooking to promote health, wellness and sustainable energy.

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