Marilyn Melkonian is the president and founded Telesis Corporation in 1985. She has over 30 years of experience in housing policy, neighborhood regeneration, planning, development, and finance. She serves on several boards, including the Eisenhower Foundation, the Brookings Institute’s Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy, and Common Cause. She founded the National Housing Trust in 1987 and currently serves as its chair. Former positions include Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing at the Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Carter; General Counsel for Lucasfilm Ltd; and counsel to the architecture firm of John Carl Warnecke & Associates. She practiced law for 15 years in New York and Washington, D.C. and is a graduate of Stanford University Law School.
John joined the Telesis development staff in 2013. His work has focused on the acquisition and rehabilitation of multifamily apartment buildings in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. Before Telesis, he served overseas in the United States Peace Corps. He completed two years of service as a community and economic development advisor in the Republic of Panama. Working with his Panamanian counterparts he developed tourism infrastructure in a rural farming community. At the University of Maryland, John studied urban sprawl and researched innovative financing structures for transit oriented development as a Shriver Fellow.
Prior to joining Telesis in 1998, Georgia worked in the legislative and executive branches of government. She has national and international public affairs experience, including implementation of legislative and managerial programs, conducting media relations, and coordinating conference and travel projects. She has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Pittsburgh.
David represents Telesis and its affiliates in their operations and housing, real estate, and tax credit transactions. His work at Telesis includes structuring and negotiating complex real estate and tax credit financings, raising investment capital, managing litigation, overseeing compliance activities, and providing legal support for all of Telesis’s ongoing business. Prior to joining Telesis in 2006, David advised state and local governments, multilateral development banks, investment banks, and public and private companies on tax-exempt finance and project finance transactions, governance issues, securities regulation, and enforcement matters, and he served in the general counsel’s office at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he worked on housing finance and civil rights. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
ASSOCIATE PROJECT MANAGER
Jenny came to Telesis in 2012 after working for the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development as a Project Manager for the Community Legacy program. Prior to that, she worked at Bon Secours of Maryland Foundation as a consultant on a housing rehabilitation program for homeowners and as a fundraiser for the nonprofit. Jenny was Executive Director of Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity for seven years creating homeownership opportunities in Northeast Baltimore. She was the Assistant Director of the Tenant Advocacy Project for 4 years after graduating from the University of Maryland, Baltimore with a Master’s in Social Work. She also received a Bachelor of Art from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Laura recently joined Telesis from the German Marshall Fund of the United States, where she served as intern to the Urban and Regional Policy team. Prior to GMFUS, Laura worked as the administrative assistant for the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, under IG John Sopko. She holds a Masters in International Planning and Sustainable Development from the University of Westminster, London and a B.A in sociology from the University of Mary Washington.
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Laura recently returned to Telesis after serving as Executive Director of Lantern Community Services, a supportive housing nonprofit, and Chief Program Officer at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, a New York-based settlement house serving 20,000 people annually. Laura has a longstanding commitment to high-impact projects that bring change to low-income and distressed communities. While at Telesis previously, Laura led the redevelopment East Hills in Pittsburgh and laid the foundation for the Barclay regeneration in Baltimore. In 2007, she served as Deputy Commissioner of New York’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Laura serves as Vice Chair of Women in Housing and Finance in New York. Laura earned her A.B. from Princeton and her J.D. from Georgetown.
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
Bertrand has extensive experience in commercial and residential real estate development and finance, including affordable housing. His developments include single family and multifamily housing, rental and homeownership; office, retail and mixed use complexes; new construction and substantial rehabilitation; and land development. He has arranged debt and equity financing utilizing private and public sources, FHA insurance, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac credit enhancements, private offerings, and a variety of public subsidies and tax credits. Many of his projects have involved working with residents and their representatives. Bert’s work as an attorney has included both private practice, as a partner in a large law firm, and public service, as executive assistant to the Federal Housing Commissioner and general counsel of the California Department of Housing and Community Development.
Quinn is a project manager for the Baltimore office, working on developments with various financing structures including Low Income Housing Tax Credits and New Markets Tax Credits. She manages the development process, financing, and design from initial underwriting through stabilization. Before joining Telesis, Quinn worked as a Development Manager and Financial Analyst at Dantes Partners on a portfolio of 7 projects, $200 million in total development costs, and more than 575 units of affordable housing. Prior to that, she was Program Officer at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, providing technical assistance, grants management, and no interest loans to more than 30 nonprofits working in Washington, DC. Quinn is a graduate of American University, with both a Masters of Public Policy and Bachelors of Arts, and she is certified by the National Development Council as a Housing Development Finance Professional (HDFP).
DIRECTOR OF LOCAL ECONOMIES PROGRAMS
Michael H. Shuman is an economist, attorney, author, and entrepreneur, and a leading visionary on community economics. He’s directly of Local Economy Programs for Telesis Corporation, a nonprofit affordable housing company, and currently an adjunct instructor at Bard Business School in New York City and at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. He’s also a Fellow at Cutting Edge Capital and at the Post-Carbon Institute, and a founding board member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). He is credited with being one of the architects of the 2012 JOBS Act and dozens of state laws overhauling securities regulation of crowdfunding. He has authored, coauthored, or edited nine books. His most recent book is The Local Economy Solution: How Innovative, Self-Financing Pollinator Enterprises Can Grow Jobs and Prosperity. One of his previous books, The Small Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition (Berrett-Koehler, 2006), received as bronze prize from the Independent Publishers Association for best business book of 2006. A prolific speaker, Shuman has given an average of more than one invited talk per week, mostly to local governments and universities, for the past 30 years in nearly every U.S. state and more than a dozen countries.
VP / DIRECTOR OF TELESIS BALTIMORE
Catherine has 15 years of real estate development and community development experience, including public and private sector experience. At Telesis, she is responsible for the management of a large scale, multi-phase neighborhood redevelopment project and oversees both homeownership and multifamily rental development. Catherine has responsibility for projects throughout the development life-cycle, from conception through lease-up or sale. She has extensive experience working with community partners and meeting with community groups and leads multi-disciplinary teams of design, finance and construction professionals on both single-family homeownership projects and mixed-income and mixed-finance redevelopment projects. Catherine came to Telesis from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) where she served as the Program Manager of HPD’s HUD Multifamily Preservation Loan Program. In this capacity, she was responsible for the direction of a new loan program targeted to finance the rehabilitation of large distressed multifamily buildings. Prior to that, she was a Project Manager in HPD’s Division of Special Needs Housing. From 2003 to 2005, she was a Presidential Management Fellow with the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund). Catherine is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and received her Master of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
MIRIAM JULIANNA SUTTON
Miriam Julianna joined Telesis in 2015 as Executive Assistant to Marilyn Melkonian, a role she spent two years in. Recently she has transitioned to a role as a Community Coordinator working with the staff of our various community centers. She is trained in organizing by the Gamelan Institute’s Ntosake program, which translates to “She who walks with lions, she who caries her own things.” She earned her Bachelors in International Relations as a member of American University’s Global Scholars cohort where she focused on sustainability in urban areas. She received distinction for her senior research on the use of jump-outs by MPD in Washington D.C.
ASSISTANT PROJECT MANAGER
Ashley joined Telesis in 2018 after working for the Development Finance Initiative (DFI) as a Development Associate. DFI is an affiliate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Government and collaborates with North Carolina communities to provide finance & real estate expertise. Prior to DFI, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer with the Rocky Mount-Edgecombe Community Development Association. Ashley holds Master of City & Regional Planning and Master of Public Administration degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Psychology from Winston-Salem State University.