Velma Hart, Foundation Director
Velma Hart is a proven and respected nonprofit financial professional who has worked for a wide variety of nonprofit organizations over her career in several capacities. However, her passion and home is in the area of finance, which she considers to be the heart and soul of business. She advances this thinking for the clients of her own small business, Velma Hart and Associates by “changing business for the good” for those who engage her firm located in National Harbor, Maryland. Velma currently also serves as the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer for the Diamond City Foundation. Prior to this assignment, she served as the Chief Financial Officer of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, National Finance Director/Chief Financial Officer for AMVETS National Headquarters and has held various positions with organizations such as The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) and the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). She was also a Secretarial appointee to the Advisory Committee on Women Veterans for the Department of Veteran Affairs leaving that post in 2009, is a proud honorably discharged Army Reserve veteran, a 2005 ASAE Fellow and earned her Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation. She has also been a frequent commentator for CNBC and MSNBC and is published on the topics of finance and diversity and inclusion. Velma first children’s book “Courage in the Fire,’ published in late 2016, addresses another of her passions on the subject of childhood bullying and her for Christ as her Lord and Savior. Her Christian walk fuels her desire to help others through her work. Velma is an innovative thinker with vision and leadership; and, is known for her strategic focus in moving companies and organizations forward in their goals. Her abilities and success has garnered her many recognition and award opportunities over her career. She has also served on various nonprofit boards, including as Past Chairman of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and as Past Treasurer for the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation boards. She currently serves as Treasurer for the USA Cares Board of Trustees as well as in other volunteer capacities for organizations across the country.
Rob Rule, President CEO, LLC Management Board
Rob has over 42 years of experience as a General Contractor. In 1985, he entered the Real Estate Development world in residential and commercial developments in the San Francisco Bay area. When he returned to his home state of Montana he brought with him a knowledge and an experience that he could not have gotten in Montana. He is responsible for bringing Costco, TJ Max, Lowes, Bed Bath and Beyond Chilis, Macaroni Grill and several other national chains into Helena. It was his efforts that created the Custer Avenue I-15 Interchange which allowed Helena’s new commercial district to take place. He has a strong background in construction consulting, finance and accounting, as well as construction management and business operations. Rob’s education is in Finance/Accounting and Business Administration from the University of Montana. Rob is the President/CEO of Diamond Hills Project, LLC and Diamond City Development, LLC. He is on the Board of Directors for 4 major manufacturing plants which are relocating into Diamond City Montana. Rob been a major player in bringing the vision of Diamond City to the point it is today and gives all the glory to God.
Brent Perschon, VP, COO, LLC Management Board
Brent has over 45 years of experience in the construction industry. He has owned and operated Perschon Associates Construction since 1993 and is an owner and member of management in Diamond Hills Project, LLC. Brent has specialized in residential and commercial construction from Utah, the Seattle area and now in Helena Montana. His portfolio showcases hotels, restaurants, office complexes and high-end custom homes. Brent is one of few builders in the Helena area to be Nationally Certified as an Energy Star builder. With all of his vast experience, he will create the Diamond City Building Department.
Hank Shaffeld, Investment Relations Director, LLC Management Board
A life-long Oregon resident, Hank grew up on a dairy farm in Ontario where he was managing all aspects of crop production and dairy operations before earning his college degree. From there he hired on with US Bank as a consumer loan officer eventually working his way up to management and commercial lending. In 1994 Hank ventured into business ownership by purchasing a mobile glass repair and replacement franchise which he grew from nothing to include seven regions with sales volume that exceeded half of the entire franchise. Driven by his lifelong dream of owning a log home, in 2004 Hank closed his glass business and became a self-taught log home builder. Since that time, he has operated Gold Valley Log Homes selling and constructing log homes while training and consulting clients how to make their log home dream a reality. Hank serves as a managing member of Diamond Hills Project, LLC and spends his free time with his wife Pamela of 33 years and two grown sons Tyler, Brian and their families, personal construction projects, church activities, hunting and extended family.
Ron Cullen, Architectual & Planning Director, LLC Management Board
Ron Cullen is the owner and licensed architect of Cullen Architecture & Design located in Helena and licensed in Montana, Idaho, and Washington and is NCARB certified. Ron enjoys working alongside his daughter Cienna Cullen – LEED, AP Cullen Architecture & Design has over 42 years of experience. Mr. Cullen has earned a reputation for creating quality designs while capturing the traditional character of the past and to preserve the Historic character of the real Montana. Traditional design has always been and will always be a significant part of his vision and passion. Cullen Architecture & Design’s production capabilities thrive on the new challenges of the technological demands of each new project. Ron will be the lead architect on the Diamond City Project and will become the Planning Director of the new Planning Department of Diamond City.
Paul Easley, Electrical Director, LLC Management Board
Paul Easley is the CEO and President of High Country Electric Construction, Inc. and Mr. Electric of Denver, Incorporated. Paul’s strong track record of over 26 years of business success and a solid background in business management, project development, project management and oversight make him a valuable asset to each project endeavor he undertakes. Paul’s determination, goal orientation, and “let’s find the solution” attitude make him a valuable member on every project, committee, or endeavor he undertakes. Paul possesses the talent and ability to gather information, requirements and expectations to build the infrastructure behind the dreams and goals of various projects to make those dreams a reality. Paul’s superb client satisfaction ratings are driven by his ability to understand the scope and needs of any particular project and deliver an end result that supersedes requirements or expectations.
R. L. “Jack” Giacomazzi, P.E., Construction CEO
Jack’s construction career started as a laborer for Pacific Gas and Electric Company installing underground gas lines in California. This included shovel work, jack hammers, welding, and boring lines under roadways. After two years, he began college to study civil engineering. While attending college, he worked as a surveyor for Placer County Engineering Department mainly for road construction. Beginning as a Chain Man, he soon advanced to Instrument Man and Party Chief. Upon graduation with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from California State University, Sacramento, Jack was hired by Bechtel Power Corporation, a world class engineering and construction enterprise, to serve as a Field Engineer on a Nuclear Power Plant in Connecticut. His duties there included supervising the concrete work on the Reactor Building housing the nuclear reactor and steam generators. After two years of top performance, Jack was transferred to the Home Office in San Francisco to serve as a Construction Coordinator, a position that served to effect communication between the design team and field construction team thus improving construction efficiency. While working in San Francisco, Jack sat for the professional engineering exam and became a registered Professional Engineer in California. He later acquired that professional status in Oregon and Washington. Jack’s last assignment in his seven year career with Bechtel was as a Senior Field Engineer for a Coal Fired Power Plant in Oregon. That position had him overseeing the subcontractor, Atlas Iron Works, for the fabrication and erection of the structural steel for the building that houses the turbine generator. This subcontractor was not performing well due to their in-house management issues and Jack had several meetings with them to correct their problems. As a result of those meetings, Atlas asked Jack to take a position with them as their Manager of Projects and Operations. While managing Atlas Iron Works in Portland, Oregon, Jack’s leadership resulted in Atlas completing the fabrication and erection of the structural steel for the twin 23 and 27 story office towers in downtown Seattle at Fourth and Blanchard. These building are all black with sloped roofs and are often seen on television views of Seattle with the Space Needle in the foreground. US Steel used a photo of this building for an advertisement in the trade magazine “Engineering News Record” promoting the use of structural steel in building projects. Jack’s high-rise experience took him to Denver, Colorado to serve as the Project Manager for PCL Construction Company, Canada’s largest construction company building high-rise projects in America. This twin tower project, known as Dominion Plaza, located at 17th and Welton in downtown Denver is 20 and 30 stories.
John Rule, Research Director
John started his career in his father’s footsteps spending his first two years as a construction supervisor at Rule Construction. With a passion for geology and the environment and his skill at research, John is responsible for compiling all information regarding the Environmental Impact Studies for Diamond City and has created the official Environmental Assessment Report for the State agencies. He works closely with the engineering department on the development’s layout to avoid any unnecessary impact on the environment and wildlife that lives on the property. Since he started working on this project in 2006, John was married in 2007 and has had 3 kids. In 2012, he took a second job at Lowes and within 6 months worked his way up into management. Now, after 5 years, he is the Assistant Store Manager of Sales, being number 2 in command at the Helena store. His drive and knowledge has lifted him into business experiences that will allow him the ability to step into his father’s shoes in about 10 years to finish constructing Diamond City. What really makes John stand out from others is his passion for life and family. His ethics and honesty are the reason that he is so loved everywhere he goes and to all that know him.
Scott Harris, Green Technology
Even though Scott Harris has no special certifications or college degree he has a passion and a drive to know more than scholars when it comes to the science and technology of the building industry. You would never know by the way he conducts himself that he has only attended college for one year. Most of his livelihood was derived as an automotive mechanic in order to raise his family, but that was not where his heart was. Scott has always had a passion to care for our environment. He has exalted himself far beyond some of the technological minds in the world because of his drive and willingness to do the hard work. Scott possesses a particular skill set that will allow Diamond City to exceed the technologies of Masdar City, the currently top ranched technological city in the world. Why? Because he knows that God holds the keys to unlock the knowledge that only He can give. That is the link that others miss. Scott is a tremendous team member for Diamond City because of the technical knowledge he has brought and the people that he has brought into our organization.
Jerry Christman, Roofing Director
Jerry was born and raised on a farm and ranch in southeast North Dakota. He went to a one-room school house until 5th grade. His mom cooked on a wood burning stove. There was no running water, no television and no telephone until 6th grade. Jerry has 14 years of education. He played football, basketball, softball and golf and has participated in sports as a coach for his son and many children from the Montana City area for several years. He does not coach golf. He’s not that good! Jerry started roofing 43 years ago and eventually started his own business, Christman Roofing, 20 years ago and serves mostly the Helena and Montana City area. His crews have travelled to Wyoming, North Dakota, Idaho and all over Montana. His company supports benefit programs for local police, veterans, churches and local events for children. Many of his family members have been involved in the business over the years. He employs approximately 20 people. Jerry is a family-oriented man who is very involved with and devoted to his children and community.
Ben Lesofski, IT Technology
Ben is a computer professional with a demonstrated ability to understand very complex and detailed systems. He has an ability to work with and visualize abstract ideas and turn them into meaningful and practical applications. He is a big picture visionary who solves problems. Ben is a wonderful addition to the Diamond City team and has been brought on to help direct the new cutting edge computer technology throughout the city.
Patty Lesofski, Real Estate
Patty has a solid performance history supporting and promoting numerous projects and ideas whether as a real estate agent or business partner or VP of marketing. Her enthusiasm is infectious and people are attracted to her kind spirit. Patty brings people together and helps everyone become a part of the team. Her driving vision and her coordination ability is what makes her stand apart in a fierce business world. That’s why she has been the acting office manager for the past several years.
Norb Roth, Fire Marshall
Norbert Leo Roth: Mr. Roth is a retired Fire Battalion Chief from the Helena Fire Department and a retired Senior Patrolman and Sergeant of the Helena Police Department in Helena Montana. He holds degrees and certificates from Carroll College, Naval Construction Class A School, Montana Law Enforcement Academy and the National Fire Academy. He is an experienced Arson Investigator, Crime Scene Investigator, Building Inspector, EMT-1 with special training in Vehicle Extrication. Mr. Roth is a very extinguished man with many achievement awards. He is a family man, married for 44 years with 3 children and 9 grandchildren with a combined total of 1 PHD, 4 Masters Degrees and multiple Bachelor Degrees. Norb will be working closely with Brent Perschon in the Building Department and will establish the Diamond City fire department and serve as the Fire Marshal.
Bill Corette Jr, Building Department
Bill Corette Jr. earned his college degrees from the University of Montana in business and history. After graduating, he became a project manager for JCC Homes, California’s largest custom home builder. His many assignments included assisting in the creation of the CC&Rs for several developments. Bill went on to help coordinate more than 20 projects and 400 homes for JCC while yet in his twenties. Corette built several more custom homes and began large scale custom remodeling before returning to Montana in 2004. Corette won the people’s choice award for the Parade of Homes in Missoula, MT in 2005 for a 3,000-square foot addition and full scale remodel on the famous Blackfoot river. Bill has continued to remodel all sizes of houses across Western Montana for the last decade. Bill brings a diversity of talents and will work under Brent Perschon in the building department.
Ken Vidar, Development Consultant
Kenneth Vidar is a commercial real estate veteran of 44 years specializing in investment counseling, exchanges, syndication, estate building and development. In short, Ken deals with all facets of the commercial/investment real estate world. Ken shares his expertise and experiences while addressing various conferences and groups across the United States. He is proud to be a recipient of the National Association of Realtors’ Campbell Trophy for the Most Outstanding Commercial Investment Transaction in the United States for 1981. Ken’s many contributions to the profession reflect his philosophy of “giving something back to the source from which he has risen.” He is active in committee work at a local, state and national level and has served as a former Vice President of the Northwest Region and past president of the Northern California Chapter of the Certified Commercial Investment Members (CCIM), and First Vice President for the Society of Exchange Counselors (SEC). Ken also taught CCIM classes across the United States for the National Association of Realtors as well as his own authored classes in Creative Real Estate. Ken and his wife Mary Ellen live in Bozeman, Montana. They have four children and eight grandchildren which keeps them busy in their spare time.
Ken Knudson, R. E. Marketing consultant
Ken is a retired Navy Lieutenant Commander who served 23 years in military service and has the equivalent of a master’s degree in Human Resource Management. After his military career, he became a real estate broker in Hawaii and Montana for 30 years. Ken’s most recent experience in real estate is in farm and ranch management and sales. Ken was raised on a farm in Montana and was raised on hard work. Upon his return to Montana in 1985 he spent 30 years in management and operations of Knudson Farms. He is a life time member of his masonic lodge, Scottish Rites and the Shriners. Ken is also a member of five military organizations consisting of the Vietnam Veterans of America, The American Legion, Disabled Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Military Officers Association of America. Ken is the ideal professional in all that he does and loves helping others, especially those in need. He is very active in his church and local community affairs. Ken is a true example of a patriot.
Greg Oaklief, Marketing Director
Oaklief Creative is the owner of an award-winning advertising/marketing firm that has a long track record of working with destinations, developments, builders and high-end products for homes. With over 30 years of experience in the advertising and marketing field, Oaklief Creative has developed a refined sense of what works and what strategies will get a message to break through the clutter of the marketplace. Greg adds a great depth to Diamond City and he will be treasured.
Brian Maier, Websites Director
Brian was born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1967. He earned his BAAS in Electronics Engineering in 1988. He then worked for Duncan Aviation in Lincoln as an Instrument Technician for 10 years. He enjoys building websites and working with people to see their business and dreams go online. He has built an app for a Christian radio station that has a global mission to share the gospel. One of his first personal websites was JesusJoy.com back in 1999. Brian loves Jesus, family, and the freedom God has blessed the USA with. He has been blessed with an awesome wife and 5 wonderful kids… all precious gifts of God. His 2nd child Shelbie suffered with Cerebral Palsy and was called to heaven at the young age of 4. He has learned to trust and thank God for everything…. being a Christian doesn’t mean things will be easy…our hope and gift is in our eternal reward. Faith given by the grace of Jesus Christ’s blood shed on the cross for all to freely believe… or reject. He enjoys playing and watching all sports, hiking, water skiing, hunting, and fishing. He enjoys being involved with his church and community, his wife’s teaching career, and his children’s activities. His dream is full-time mission work alongside his beautiful wife, God willing on a tropical island. He and his wife love Christian music and concerts, and long walks together. Together they are humbled to support children with Hope Center Uganda and Compassion International. Faith hope and love, the greatest of these is LOVE ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13
Travis McKenzie, Log Homes Director
Travis McKenzie is the member owner of Greenbuilt Home Design LLC and Naturecraft. His construction management company specializes in designing and building high quality luxury log and timber frame homes. He brings nearly 25 years of construction experience to his clients and his projects. He is a nationally recognized general contractor from the Rocky Mountain region and works in both the residential and commercial markets. He brings award winning focus to his projects with exterior architecture as well as interior design. Ron’s valuable experience benefits his clients who desire to build their dream home in mountainous regions that pose special design challenges. His success will be an asset to Diamond City as it starts the process of building in the beautiful Boulder Valley of Montana.
Les Vossler, Community Affairs
Les Vossler is a volunteer fireman for Boulder and has resided there for 50 years, becoming a solid pillar in his community. Everyone in Boulder loves and respects Les. He has been in the construction industry for 40 years. His further experiences include working for 10 years in retail for JC Penney’s. Les owns several rentals throughout Boulder and always seems to have a building project going in order to help others. He sits on the variance board for Boulder and serves the community every way he can. His primary goals include to serve his family and community. His motivation comes from a clear direction from God and keeping His will at the forefront of all he does.
Jim Bates, Senior Political Advisor
JIM Bates was born July 21, 1941 in Denver, Colorado. Being raised in orphanages and foster homes, Jim wanted a better life and at age 14 began working on a farm in Mankato, Kansas. Nothing came easy for Jim. He enlisted in the US Marine Corps in 1959, where he earned 3 meritorious promotions, was recognized with Proficiency Pay for his outstanding performance and also participated on the boxing team. After leaving the Marines Jim worked two jobs, as a loan officer at Bank of America and as an aerospace contract administrator for Rohr Corp and Solar Turbine while attending college at night. Jim eventually earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from San Diego State University. In 1971, Jim started his career in public service and was elected to the San Diego City Council where he authored America’s most restrictive No- Smoking Ordinance. In 1974, he defeated the incumbent, to be elected to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors where he served as the youngest chairman in history for that County. In 1982, he was elected to the United States Congress, where he was cited as the Outstanding Freshman of his class. During this time, he authored The Stratospheric Ozone Protection Act to close the hole in the Ozone layer. Jim was a visionary ahead of his time. Currently working as a government consultant and the senior political advisor for Diamond Hills Project, LLC, he resides in Mission Hills near his daughter Jennifer and grandchildren Anthony, Siena, and Nicolette in San Diego, California. His story exemplifies earning a place in the American dream no matter what life deals you.
Collin Perschon, Civil Engineer
Collin Perschon was raised as an avid outdoorsman and loves spending his time with his family hunting and fishing. He went to College at Lewis and Clark State on a full ride scholarship for his pitching arm. He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Mets. Then the unthinkable happened in his senior year. His shoulder was torn to the point that his baseball career was over before it even began. He returned to college at the University of Idaho and was studying engineering. Collin has spent over 18 years in the construction industry and was forced to turn to that. Collin could not ever do anything without being the best. As a result of his drive to be the best, his award-winning timber frame homes were often featured in the parade of homes. Collin adds a unique element and depth to the team for Diamond City. We expect great things from people driven to be the best. Then again, all of our team members are the best in their field.
Tom Davis, Concrete Director
Tom Davis was born February 21, 1960 in Minnesota. At the age of 14 he began working for his uncle in the concrete trade where he was taught the value of a hard day’s work and job well done. Eventually Tom started his own business in Residential foundations and flatwork, later expanding into Commercial work. Tom has the distinction of completing the Tioga’s Liquefied Natural Gas facility, the first in North Dakota. Other projects include Office Buildings, Hotels, Nursing Homes, Churches, Court Houses, and Community Buildings. Tom never asks his crew to do something he cannot do himself and works right alongside them to ensure accuracy in execution and a high quality finished product. With a passion for outdoors, hunting and fishing, Tom has always dreamed of living in Montana. Those that know Tom also know the things most important in his life are his 3 children and 8 grandchildren, with whom he cherishes spending time with and teaching them about hunting, nature and God. Over 40 years of concrete experience has not been without challenges both in business and in health, but overcoming those challenges with determination, true grit and the grace of God defines Tom’s character. Tom has joined Diamond Hills Project, LLC as Concrete Construction Director and is looking forward to putting his wealth of knowledge, equipment and enthusiasm to work.
Brandon Perschon, Public Relations
Brandon Perschon comes to us with over 20 years of customer service management experience in the construction industry in many directions. Out of those 20 years, 14 were spent with a fortune 500 retail store that averaged $30,000,000 in sales per year. He managed the operations of the store for 7 years and the other 7 years were spent managing the merchandising side of the business. Brandon was known as the guy who could help in all areas of the store. More importantly he is a dedicated father and husband who loves to serve in his church and has been involved with youth groups and scouting for most of his life. He will serve under his father, Brent Perschon as his direct assistant, learning what his father does so that one day he can step into his father’s shoes to complete Diamond City.
Michael Homeier, Securities Attorney
Michael Homeier’s practice focuses on securities (including EB-5, equity crowdfunding, and private offerings), general business, corporate, transactional, and business financing law. His over 30 years’ experience primarily on behalf of medium-sized and startup businesses emphasizes the drafting, negotiation, and review of securities offering documents (Private Placement Memoranda PPMs, Subscription and Partnership Agreements, Accredited Investor confirmation, and investor procurement agreements); contracts, including commercial contracts, financing agreements, factoring packages, intellectual property licensing agreements, new media, technology, and commercial contracts; and entertainment industry agreements for both production houses and industry professionals. An integral part of Michael’s practice includes a comprehensive “entity practice” involved with the formation, structuring, maintenance, and dissolution of corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships, both in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Michael earned his J.D. from the University of Southern California (as a Legion Lex Scholar), and his B.A. in Political Science and History (with Highest Departmental Honors in History) from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the EB-5 Securities Roundtable, Invest in the USA (IIUSA, the EB-5 regional center trade organization), the U.S. Naval Institute, and the Screen Actors Guild-AFTRA.
NES Financial, 501(c)3 Financial Director
NES Financial is a Silicon Valley financial technology (FinTech) company providing technology-enabled solutions and services for the efficient back and middle office administration of complex financial transactions. Serving private equity, commercial real estate, and Fortune 1000 clientele, we offer industry-leading fund administration, loan servicing, specialized EB-5 administration, and 1031 tax deferred exchange services. Our unwavering commitment to data security, operational redundancy, and compliance reporting is evidenced by 11 consecutive years of successful independent audits of our technology, processes, and financial controls. Today, NES Financial services over 225 funds, administers over $75B of 1031 assets annually, and has worked with over 550 EB-5 projects. For more information, visit nesfinancial.com. Coleen Danaher is the Vice President of Business Development for NES Financial, specializing in EB-5 administration solutions. Possessing over 20 years of financial experience with 1031 tax deferred exchanges and EB-5 transactions, she has worked with a wide range of industries, including financial institutions, real estate, and oil and gas. In the EB-5 sector specifically, Coleen has been deeply involved with all aspects of the program for over seven years. Working with Regional Centers, developers, and investors, she is extremely knowledgeable about EB-5 escrow, fund, and loan administration as well as the EB-5 visa process. Coleen has authored several articles and blogs and is a frequent presenter at events across the country.