Home / Team

Jeffrey Axley   |   Founder and Managing Principal

Jeff Axley founded Ridgeline in late 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 $2.5 billion of gross assets during his career. Prior to 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.

Prior to Hillwood, Jeff worked with JPI and Allegiance Development where he was responsible for 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. Prior to 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.

Brenda Blake   |   Chief Financial Officer

Brenda Blake is the Chief Financial Officer for Ridgeline Capital Partners, bringing over 27 years 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 as well as McCaslin Development where she was responsible for financial analysis, investor/lender relations, and asset management.  In addition to 12 years of experience in real estate development, Brenda’s experience also includes 5 years in the audit department of KPMG (formerly Peat Marwick Mitchell and Co.).

Brenda received her Bachelors 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 recipients 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).

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.  Prior to joining Ridgeline Dugan held senior leadership roles across financial services organizations including both traditional and non-traditional financing, service and distribution sectors and a variety of 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 double major in Accounting/Finance and is Six Sigma certified.

Rahul Kathuria   |   Analyst

Rahul assists in the underwriting and asset management of investments.  Prior to Ridgeline, Rahul worked in investment banking tasked with creating financial models and drafting investment proposals.  Rahul holds a Bachelor’s degree from Delhi University and a Master’s degree from the ICMA Centre.