Meet the Ridgeline Capital Partners Team

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Jeffrey Axley

Founder and Managing Principal

Jeff Axley founded Ridgeline in  2013 and is responsible for directing the investment and growth strategy of the firm and managing all company transactions. Jeff has over 24 years of real estate experience, having invested and managed over $2.8 billion of gross assets during his career. Before founding Ridgeline, Jeff worked for Hillwood on acquisitions, joint ventures, equity structuring, asset management, and debt financings. He was responsible for asset management of an opportunistic equity fund with a gross asset value of $800 million with investments in office buildings, industrial, hotels, and master-planned communities. Jeff also managed debt financings on a separate $1 billion portfolio.

Before Hillwood, Jeff worked with JPI and Allegiance Development, responsible for the financial aspects of capital market transactions and asset management on several multifamily and retail development projects encompassing over $600 million in development cost. Previously, Jeff worked on several real estate consulting assignments with Alvarez & Marsal, a major corporate restructuring advisory firm. Before that, Jeff worked on value add office acquisitions totaling over $1 billion in gross value with the Archon Group, a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, and Presidio Investments, a subsidiary of Hunt Investments.

Jeff received his BBA in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Brenda Blake

Chief Financial Officer

Brenda Blake is the Chief Financial Officer for Ridgeline Capital Partners, bringing over 27 years of experience in financial management, operational leadership, and profitability enhancement. Brenda is responsible for overseeing corporate and property accounting and reporting. Brenda previously served as Chief Financial Officer with Crow Finance and Realty and McCaslin Development, where she was responsible for financial analysis, investor/lender relations, and asset management. In addition to 12 years of real estate development experience, Brenda also includes 5 years in the audit department of KPMG (formerly Peat Marwick Mitchell and Co.).

Brenda received her Bachelor's in Accounting from the University of Texas at Arlington and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Brenda is a nationally known author and has received several professional awards and honors, including the Accounting Excellence Award (TSCPA Educational Foundation) and was selected as one of the CPA of the Year Award (TSCPA Fort Worth Chapter). Brenda is an active member of CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) and is on the CREW in the Community board effective May 2010 and REFEA (Real Estate Financial Executives Association).

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Dugan Smith

Director of Operations

Dugan Smith is the Director of Operations for Ridgeline Capital Partners and brings over 30 years of financial management, operations execution, and asset acquisition/disposition experience spanning a variety of industry segments. Dugan is responsible for overseeing all business operations for Ridgeline. Before joining Ridgeline, Dugan held senior leadership roles across financial services organizations, including traditional and non-traditional financing, service and distribution sectors, and various manufacturing verticals. Former leadership roles have included positions at GE Capital, predecessor organizations of J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo Bank, and several small/mid-cap private organizations.

Dugan received his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Houston with a double major in Accounting/Finance and is certified in Six Sigma.

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Ward Eastman

Director of Acquisitions

Ward is the Director of Acquisitions for Ridgeline Capital Partners and brings over 16 years of experience across the commercial real estate spectrum. Prior to joining Ridgeline, Ward engaged with a Carolinas-based investor to identify adaptive re-use and mixed-use acquisition and development opportunities in Texas. He spent the bulk of his career serving 60 institutional clients in the office sector on top brokerage teams, successfully completing over 500 transactions.

Ward received his BBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Oklahoma.

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Linda martin

Linda is an accounting professional with over 25 years of experience focused in Commercial Real Estate, family office and partnership accounting. Her many roles have included senior portfolio accountant, assistant corporate controller, and home office controller. Special projects have included accounting system conversions from Skyline to Yardi and from QuickBooks to Intacct. Linda is adept at analyzing processes for improvement opportunities.

Linda received her BA in Economics and Finance form the University of Texas at Dallas.

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Manas Agarwal


Manas is the Analyst for Ridgeline Capital Partners and assists in the underwriting process as well as Asset Management. His career started as a Chemical Engineer in the Pharmaceutical industry and later transitioned to Finance. Before Ridgeline, Manas worked in equity analysis and research with focus on the Chemical and Metals industry.

Manas received his Bachelors in Chemical Engineering from IIT Roorkee, India and Masters from the University of Melbourne, Australia. He is currently a CFA Level 3 Candidate and is working towards completing his Charter.