Partners

 

Arthur M. Gellman, Partner

Arthur M. Gellman is one of the three founding principals of The Benchmark Group. He has extensive business experience, particularly in real estate where he has a lengthy background as an owner, investor, developer and operator of residential and commercial real estate in several areas of the United States.

Mr. Gellman has been instrumental in the establishment of several joint ventures, which were formed to generate multi-site strip shopping center developments in many geographic areas of the United States. Benchmark’s involvement in these ventures include site selection and acquisition, zoning, site planning, tenant leasing and financing of commercial projects.

Mr. Gellman received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado in 1965, and received a Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree, Cum Laude, from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law in 1969.

George I. Gellman, Partner

George I. Gellman is also one of the three founding principals of The Benchmark Group. He has had extensive real estate experience as an owner, investor, developer and operator of real estate projects throughout the United States. Mr. Gellman is actively involved in analyzing real estate acquisitions. He coordinates several of Benchmark’s divisions. Mr. Gellman is also very active in negotiating commercial tenant leases and initiating relations with potential tenants.

Mr. Gellman received a Bachelor of Arts Degree, Cum Laude, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1969. In 1972, he received a Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from the Northwestern University School of Law, where he was the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology.

Clarke H. Narins, Partner

Clarke H. Narins is one of the three founding principals of The Benchmark Group. He is President of Benchmark Financial Group Inc, Benchmark Development Corporation, and several other major Benchmark affiliates, having served in this capacity since January 1984. Mr. Narins participates in investment real estate acquisition and divestiture, private placement securitization of real estate, marketing of limited partnership investments, investor reporting and relations.

Mr. Narins received a B.A. degree from Hobart College in 1973 and an M.B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Management in 1976. Mr. Narins received his certification in New York State as a Certified Public Accountant in 1979 and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants.

 

Leadership

 

George O. Bergantz, Vice President

George Bergantz first became associated with The Benchmark Group as a consultant in 1997 and joined the company on a full-time basis in 1999. His roles included multi-family acquisitions and dispositions, office park development and investor relations.

Mr. Bergantz graduated from Brown University with a major in international relations and earned his M.B.A. degree at the Simon Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Rochester. He is a member of the National Multi-Housing Council. Prior to joining Benchmark, he was executive vice president of Buffalo Ventures, a regional investment banking firm. Prior to Buffalo Ventures, he was a senior officer of Niagara Frontier Hockey LLP, owner and operator of sports properties including the Buffalo Sabres and HSBC Arena.

Mark T. DelleBovi, Vice President – Construction

Mark DelleBovi joined The Benchmark Group in 2001 in a newly created position. In this capacity, Mr. DelleBovi works closely with all aspects of Benchmark’s organization. He oversees commercial development projects in addition to all multi-family residential capital improvement and development projects.

Over a 27-year period prior to joining Benchmark, Mr. DelleBovi served as project manager and project superintendent with the firms of Nichols, Long & Moore; Ciminelli Construction; and John W. Cowper Company. Some notable projects that Mark helped manage are the construction of the Buffalo Hilton Hotel, Buffalo General Hospital, Walden Galleria Mall (Cheektowaga, NY) and Carousel Mall (Syracuse, NY). Mr. DelleBovi attended the University of Connecticut and the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Martin J. DelleBovi, Executive Vice President, Director – Real Estate

Martin DelleBovi joined The Benchmark Group in 1984 as leasing manager and special projects coordinator. He now directs all commercial real estate activities within Benchmark and oversees the Commercial Property Management Division, which manages and leases over 50 properties totaling 2.7 million square feet. Mr. DelleBovi also leads Benchmark’s Commercial Development Division, which develops power centers for national home improvement centers, regional grocery chains and discount retailers throughout the eastern United States.

Mr. DelleBovi is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science Degree in business administration. He is a past board member of the Building Owners and Managers Association and is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers. Prior to joining Benchmark, he worked as a property/construction manager and leasing agent.

Steven J. Longo, COO

Steve Longo joined Benchmark in 1994 as controller. In 1998, he was promoted to Chief Financial Officer and made Chief Operating Officer in 2004. Mr. Longo acts as a liaison between executive management and ownership, chairs the firms’ management committee, and his responsibilities include strategic planning, MIS, tax and accounting.

Mr. Longo is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of New York and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He is a graduate of Canisius College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in accounting and earned his Masters of Business Administration Degree at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Prior to joining Benchmark, he was a senior manager at KPMG Peat Marwick. Mr. Longo is treasurer of the local chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and is on the Board of St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation.

Lorraine O’Connor, Vice President – Director Affordable Housing

Lorraine O’Connor has been a part of the Benchmark team since its inception in 1983, initially serving as risk manager for the entire Benchmark portfolio of residential and commercial assets. In 1997, Ms. O’Connor became the chief compliance manager within Benchmark’s Affordable Housing Division.

Ms. O’Connor was promoted to Vice President – Director for Affordable Housing in 2015. She now oversees Benchmark’s portfolio of affordable and subsidized properties. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for both the National Leased Housing Association (NLHA) and the Southeastern Affordable Housing Management Association (SAHMA) where she is also a Regional Director.

Ms. O’Connor holds the Advanced Certified Professional of Occupancy (ACPO) designation through NAHMA. She is a graduate of Empire State College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in business management and economics.

John F. Rehak Jr., Director – Acquisitions & Development

John Rehak Jr. joined the Benchmark Group in 1998. Drawing on his extensive experience in commercial real estate, Mr. Rehak is responsible for identifying, evaluating, negotiating and closing on quality commercial and multi-family residential properties throughout the eastern United States. Mr. Rehak also originates debt financing with respect to new acquisitions, development transactions, and refinancing of portfolio properties.

Mr. Rehak is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he majored in history and was a member of the varsity golf team. For the five previous years prior to joining Benchmark, he was senior director at the mortgage banking firm Holliday Fenoglio Fowler. Previously, he held positions with Fleet Bank’s commercial real estate group and the Empire of America Realty Funding Corporation.

Margaret E. Shotwell, President – Benchmark Apartment Management, Inc.

Margaret Shotwell was chosen by Benchmark to head up its conventional apartment management division in 2000. At that time, the company divided its apartment portfolio into conventional and affordable properties in recognition of the significant growth that had taken place in its apartment holdings. Ms. Shotwell developed a thorough knowledge and understanding of Benchmark’s apartment operations through her work as accounting manager (1994), assistant controller (1996), and controller (1998).

Ms. Shotwell is a graduate of Canisius College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in accounting. In addition, she is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of New York. Prior to Benchmark, she was a supervising senior accountant at KPMG Peat Marwick with a focus that included mortgage banking, construction and real estate development.

Jeffrey A. Withee, CFO

Jeffrey Withee joined Benchmark in 2005 as Director of Finance. In 2006 he was promoted to Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Withee’s responsibilities include securing financing and insurance for the firm’s portfolio; capital budgeting; assisting with investment analysis; and participating on the firm’s insurance, benefits and management committees.

Mr. Withee is a graduate of Illinois College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history/political science and German, and earned his Masters of Business Administration and Masters of Arts (history) Degrees at Mississippi State University. Prior to joining Benchmark, he was a financial planning specialist and financial advisor at Smith Barney Citigroup. Mr. Withee is on the Board of Directors for the Amherst Youth Foundation and Amherst Symphony Orchestra Foundation. He is also a member of the Williamsville Lions Club and Amherst Gaelic League.