Our Team

CEO

Elzie L. Higginbottom, Chairman

Elzie L. Higginbottom has been involved in real estate financing, development and management of single and multifamily, and commercial real estate for more than forty-five years.  Mr. Higginbottom is the Chairman of East Lake Management Group, Inc. 

In 1965, Mr. Higginbottom joined Baird & Warner, Inc. and participated in an extensive real estate program with emphasis on real estate management and finance.  He established and directed the Government Assisted Multifamily Finance Division that produced an annual loan volume of $50 million to $100 million for twelve consecutive years.

In 1975, Mr. Higginbottom established ELH Properties, a predecessor firm to East Lake Management and Development Corporation.  As a result of his vision and guidance, East Lake became one of the pre-eminent minority-owned and controlled real estate development and management firms, in the Midwest.  In 1983, Mr. Higginbottom resigned his position as Mortgage Vice President with Baird and Warner, Inc., to devote more of his energies to the operations of East Lake and to pursue other business investment opportunities.

Mr. Higginbottom has been recognized in numerous trade and news publications as a major developer within the Chicago Metropolitan Area.  As a compliment to his property management expertise, Mr. Higginbottom received the coveted “Minority Entrepreneur of the Year” Award from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1984.  Mr. Higginbottom was the first recipient of that prestigious award.  In 2000, Mr. Higginbottom was inducted into the Chicago Association of Realtors (CAR) Hall of Fame for his work in redeveloping numerous Chicago communities.

Mr. Higginbottom has been principal developer of several thousand units of housing on scattered sites and neighborhoods around the Midwest as well as serving as principal developer or co-principal developer of several highly recognized ventures within Chicago’s Loop and River North Area, including 200 North Dearborn, a 47 story, 309 unit luxury residential/commercial development; The Hermitage on Huron, a 26 story, 241 unit luxury residential development; and 1250 North LaSalle Street, a 17 story, 202 unit luxury residential development, including rehabilitation of the adjacent Swedish Club. Mr. Higginbottom has also been committed to revitalization of Chicago’s underserved communities. In particular, he has been instrumental in catalyzing the renaissance of the historic Bronzeville neighborhood. Developments of distinction include:

In addition to his real estate work, Mr. Higginbottom is a Trustee at Illinois Institute of Technology, and a Member of the After School Matters Board.  He was past chairman of Governor’s Workforce Investment Board.  His philanthropic efforts include support for Mercy Hospital, Children’s Memorial Hospital, Boys Town Chicago, and Operation PUSH, among many others.

In addition to his real estate work, Mr. Higginbottom is a Trustee at Illinois Institute of Technology, and a Member of the After School Matters Board.  He was past chairman of Governor’s Workforce Investment Board.  His philanthropic efforts include support for Mercy Hospital, Children’s Memorial Hospital, Boys Town Chicago, and Operation PUSH, among many others.

Eileen Rhodes, President

Ms. Rhodes is East Lake’s President.  She is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the property management company.  The Project Executive for the CHA portfolio reports directly to Ms. Rhodes as do the CFO and the management team for East Lake’s conventional portfolio.  Ms. Rhodes has been acting in an asset management and property management capacity for over 15 years.

Previously Ms. Rhodes was responsible for overseeing all aspects of East Lake’s considerable development portfolio: from financing to design to construction management to occupancy.  Projects she developed include comprehensive HOPE VI redevelopment projects in Chicago and Decatur, Illinois, several multi-unit residential rehabilitation projects and several single family for-sale housing developments. Her development department also constructed or rehabilitated several commercial/office facilities. 

Ms. Rhodes came to East Lake from the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) where she was the Program Manager for HUD’s HOPE VI Program.  In that capacity, her responsibilities included: developing revitalization plans with city officials, CHA residents, and community activists; creating and overseeing program budgets; coordinating implementation of supportive services programs; relocating hundreds of CHA residents; developing housing finance strategies with private developers, city officials, and financial experts; and writing funding applications.  While at the CHA, Ms. Rhodes was responsible for developing community based revitalization plans for the Cabrini Green Homes, ABLA Homes, Dearborn Homes, and Robert Taylor Homes with a total of over 7,500 units of housing. The total HOPE VI budget was approximately $150 million.

Before going to the CHA, Ms. Rhodes was the Director of Programs for the Chicago Dwellings Association (CDA), a not-for-profit housing development corporation.  At CDA, Ms. Rhodes oversaw the management of 728 units of affordable rental housing; prepared successful applications for federal, state, and local funding; coordinated the completion of a major capital improvements project; and supervised the daily operations of the corporate office.

Ms. Rhodes received her BA from Georgetown University and her MA from Erikson Institute.  At Erikson Institute, Ms. Rhodes completed a nine-month internship with a well-respected welfare-to-work program and has extensive volunteer experience working with inner city youth and advocacy groups.  Ms. Rhodes has her real estate broker’s license from the state of Illinois.

David A. Turner, Chief Financial Officer

David A. Turner, MSA CPA joined East Lake in January 2012 and serves as East Lake’s Chief Financial Officer, overseeing the accounting and IT departments.   David is a Licensed Certified Public Accountant.  He holds a Master’s degree in Accounting and an Executive Certificate in Management, from Bradley University.  He is responsible for all aspects of accounting including financial reporting, accounts payable, accounts receivable and payroll and benefits. 

Prior to joining East Lake, Mr. Turner spent 16 years at Caterpillar Inc, with assignments in Aurora, San Diego and the Peoria area.  In his most recent role, Mr. Turner served as the chief accountant for Caterpillar’s Global Facilities Department.  The department served as the worldwide property manager for Caterpillar’s global workforce locations.  During his tenure, Mr. Turner held various positions within Caterpillar including; Business Support Manager for the Caterpillar Production System and Global Finance & Strategic Support Divisions, International Controller for the Solar Turbines Customer Services Division, Audit Manager, and Cost and Business Analysis Supervisor. 

Since 2003, Mr. Turner has served as adjunct accounting instructor at Robert Morris University, teaching courses in introductory and intermediate financial, cost and managerial accounting.  He holds professional memberships in the National Association of Black Accountants and the Illinois CPA Society.

Mr. Turner has a Bachelor of Sciences in Accounting from University of Illinois – Urbana and a Master’s Degree in Accounting from Bradley University.


Development Team

John Higgins

John B Higgins is a Development Manager at East Lake Management and Development Corp.  Mr. Higgins is involved in all aspects of the company’s development business including design/planning, financing, entitlements, project management, and leasing. 

Mr. Higgins has 20 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry with extensive experience developing mixed-use, commercial and industrial projects.  Prior to East Lake, Mr. Higgins was Vice President at Higgins Development Partners (HDP) where he was involved in the development of over 2 million square feet of commercial real estate across the U.S and Canada.  Prior to Higgins Development Partners, Mr. Higgins was a Director in LaSalle Bank/ABN AMRO’s Real Estate Capital Markets group where he financed over $2 billion of commercial real estate projects.

Tyler R. Holland

Tyler R. Holland is a Real Estate Development Manager at East Lake. In coordination with East Lake’s in-house development team, his responsibilities include site planning, financial modeling and strategy, entitlement work, construction management, and community engagement. Property types include affordable, market-rate, mixed-income senior and family residential and commercial, retail, and mixed-use.

Prior to joining ELMDC in 2016, Tyler was an Investment Specialist at the J.P. Morgan Private Bank, partnering with a team of professionals providing investment, lending, and wealth advisory services to wealthy families and family offices.

Mr. Holland was responsible for developing customized investment strategies and creating diversified portfolios for clients across public equities, fixed income, and a range of alternative assets including private equity, hedge funds, and real estate. He started his career at JPMorgan as a Banking Analyst in 2010. Mr. Holland is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and a member of the CFA Institute and CFA Society of Chicago.


Property Management Team

Juana R. Pollard, Project Executive

Ms. Juana Pollard has been a member of East Lake’s Residential Property Management Team for twenty years.  She currently is responsible for over 3,000 family and senior units that are either federally subsidized, tax credit, mixed-financed or market rate.  Ms. Pollard’s primary responsibility is to manage the $20 million of owners assets, provide direction for the management of human and physical capital,  evaluate the operational systems and processes, analyze policies, procedures and practices, monitor property performance and supervise the administrative, financial, and procurement compliance requirements of each owner.

This demonstrated leadership acumen, complemented by motivational strategies and strong interpersonal/communication skills, have allowed Ms. Pollard to form a strong results oriented team. Ms. Pollard and her staff consistently meet and exceed our clients’ expectations and adhere to the East Lake standard of providing quality customer service.  Ms. Pollard is sensitive to our client’s ever-changing needs and possesses the energy and capacity to tackle difficult assignments enthusiastically.  Her career reflects hard work, reliability, competence and confidence underscored by personal commitment and performance.

Prior to joining East Lake, Ms. Pollard worked in the real estate industry in several administrative capacities where she was able to train, grow and garner the technical skills required to exceed in the field.  Ms. Pollard began her career at East Lake from the ground up with a hands on approach.  Past positions held include recertification specialist, assistant property manager, relocation manager, redevelopment manager, senior site manager, and director of public housing. 

Prior to entering the real estate industry, Ms. Pollard was a staff member of former City of Chicago 5th Ward Alderman Lawrence S. Bloom.  Ms. Pollard gained relative knowledge about community development, acquiring City resources and services for the community while working as the liaison to City Hall.

Ms. Pollard earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Finance from DePaul University, is a member of IREM, earned an ARM designation, is a certified Tax Credit Specialist and is a candidate for CPM.  Ms. Pollard also has her Illinois Broker’s License.

Kenzella Walton, Regional Manager

Ms. Walton joined East Lake in 2003.  She is presently the Regional Manager responsible for the day-to-day operations of four CHA family properties and one CHA tax credit property totaling 2,809 units. Ms. Walton currently oversees a staff of eighty-three, including administrative and janitorial personnel.

Ms. Walton started her career at East Lake Management as an Assistant Property Manager at Minnie Riperton Apartments, formerly known as Princeton Apartments, in November of 2003.  In March of 2005, Ms. Walton was promoted to Property Manager of Minnie Riperton Apartments.  During that time her responsibilities included supervising a staff of 9, rent collections, work orders, payroll, budgets, resident relations and programs, leasing, building inspections, maintenance supervision, purchasing, soliciting bids, contract preparations, weekly and monthly reports, editor of the property newsletter and liaison between the property and community/civic organizations.

Ms. Walton’s determination, resourcefulness and business knowledge combined with her strong resident relation skills lead to her promotion to Property Supervisor in December 2006.  Ms. Walton is responsible for the day-to-day operations of five Senior properties consisting totaling 1408 units.

Ms. Walton’s career in Property Management began in the early 1990s as a Receptionist at Rockwell Gardens.  During her tenure at Rockwell Gardens, she was promoted to Recertification Clerk. In 1996, she expanded her duties in Property Management with East Lake Management as an Assistant Manager at Henry Horner Homes.  Before returning to East Lake in November 2003, Ms. Walton held the position of Assistant Manager for Burnham Management Company.  Throughout her career she continues to broaden her knowledge base through on the job training as well as specialized training in the field of Property Management.  Ms. Walton currently holds the following certifications/designations: Accredited Residential Manager, Certified Occupancy Specialist, Site-Based Budgeting Specialist, Certified Manager of Housing, Public Housing Rent Calculation, Fair Housing, Contracts and Procurement Management, Emergency Management Institute FEMA certificates and YARDI Property Management Module.