Founder & Chief Executive Officer
As Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Sorochinsky is the visionary of CEI and the driving force behind the company’s $5 Billion real estate portfolio. Michael’s investment strategies, business philosophy, and transaction execution diligence has brought about substantial annualized returns to equity.
From 2001 through 2005 Michael focused CEI’s investments in the value-add multifamily space, purchasing over 70 properties comprising of 3,500 apartment units and retail.
In late 2006, Michael began to notice significant stress on the credit markets and by 2007 advised his partners to start selling properties. Under Michael’s leadership, CEI successfully sold approximately 80% of its portfolio for significant gains prior to the crash of 2008. In 2008 through 2010, Michael focused CEI’s investments on purchasing blocks of distressed single family homes in some of the hardest hit areas in the country as well as investing in real estate related operating companies.
In 2010, before large numbers of developers jumped into the multifamily development game, Michael saw an opportunity to build Class A apartments in top cities around the US and led CEI to amass a development pipeline of over 5,100 luxury apartments with projected value in excess of $3.5 Billion in ten top Markets.
Prior to 2001, Michael practiced law at two international law firms - Perkins Coie and Milbank Tweed - representing creditors in distressed real estate debt and equity reorganizations. Michael’s background gives him a unique perspective into real estate finance and an in-depth understanding of real estate cycles, which he has successfully timed since 2001. Michael was also heavily involved in restructuring debt & equity relationships for clients, and repositioning distressed projects across both commercial and residential asset classes. Michael received his JD from the UCLA School of Law.
Managing Director & Chief Financial Officer
As Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of CEI, Alla Sorochinsky oversees the execution of the CEI vision. Heading finance, asset management and development, she ensures that CEI functions at the highest level of efficiency, integrity and quality.
Between 2001 – 2010 Alla managed the company’s 3,500 unit value-add portfolio, adding significant value through heavy renovation, effective financing strategies and top notch asset management. When the company shifted its focus to ground up Class A development, Alla became instrumental in creating an asset management platform for new development assets.
Previously, Alla was the financial controller of several publicly traded technology companies. Alla graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a degree in International Economics and received a Master's degree from the University of Southern California. Upon graduation Alla joined BDO Seidman LLP where she received her CPA license.
Chief Operating Officer
Bruce Fairty joined Cypress Equity Investments as Chief Operating Officer with thirty-five years of multifamily real estate development experience and investment background as a principal. Immediately prior to joining CEI, Bruce was active as a developer in the San Francisco Bay Area, first as a partner with the Castle Group Company and then as a partner with Thompson-Dorfman Partners. At Thompson-Dorfman and the Castle Group Bruce oversaw the acquisition, entitlement and development of approximately 4,400 units in San Francisco and the Bay Area. At Castle he led the company’s efforts in the use of modular construction processes for multifamily projects.
Prior to moving to San Francisco Bruce was a developer in Florida and founded Heritage Development Company in 1996 in partnership with Chicago's Pritzker family where he oversaw all aspects of the development process for over 5,600 units. Between 1990-1995, he acquired over 6,000 REO and distressed debt units as Co-founder of Bailey Capital Company in partnership with the Whitehall Fund and Apollo Real Estate Advisors.
Previously, Bruce was CFO of Trammell Crow Residential's Central Florida Division and later Area Partner, responsible for overseeing the development of 8,500 multi-family units across four regional divisions. Mr. Fairty received his undergraduate degree from Drew University and MBA from Rutgers University.
Senior Vice President of Investor Relations
As Senior Vice President of Investor Relations, Neil is responsible for developing and expanding institutional and individual investor relationships on a project and platform basis. Current projects and opportunities for investment include multifamily residential, high street retail and self-storage which is a new division of Cypress Equity launched in 2016.
Prior to joining CEI, Neil spent 16 years leading organizations around the world through funding, restructuring, growth and acquisitions. He has served as a Founder, CEO, COO, CRO, and has overseen complex mergers, acquisitions and partnerships with companies including Facebook, Google, and Cisco as well as sports leagues and media conglomerates worldwide. After graduating from University of Maryland with a dual degree in Film & Television and Marketing, Neil started his career at Warner Bros. serving as Director of Worldwide Acquisitions.
Shu-Chi Hsu, AIA
Senior Vice President of Development
As Senior Vice President of Development and a licensed architect in California, Shu-Chi Hsu oversees development efforts at CEI. Previously at Killefer Flammang Architects, Shu-Chi specialized in advising real estate developers to achieve highest and best use of site and optimal entitlement process. Her clients included Trammell Crow, Related Company, NMS Properties, and Century West Partners.
Shu-Chi founded Workshop Levitas, a non-profit public art group, to collaborate on experimental art in galleries and under-served communities. She has published work in The Los Angeles Times, Architectural Record, SPA-DE Space & Design in Japan, Hatch, among others. Shu-Chi received an MBA in Finance and Global Management from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a Master of Architecture degree from Southern California Institute of Architecture.
Senior Vice President of Construction
Min Zavarella is Senior Vice President of Construction for Cypress Equity Investments, and brings over 40 years of experience in various sectors of the construction industry including nuclear, petrochemical, water treatment, commercial, hospitality, entertainment, and residential. In his role at CEI, Min is responsible for the oversite and management of all projects during the preconstruction and construction phase; developing and nurturing contractor relationships; exceeding expectations throughout the construction process; and achievement of ownership financial goals.
Previously, Min served as Vice President and COO of Suffolk Construction's Los Angeles division, where he managed considerable growth of field and ops support staff as well as project pipeline from 2014 to 2017. In addition to his many years in operations, as a former Director of Preconstruction for Bernards Construction, Min also offers valuable project preplanning expertise.
Min's career experience includes major projects such as The Hotel and Residences at LA Live, Symantec Corporation R&D in Culver City, Interactive Corp HQ in West Hollywood, Santa Monica Public Service Facility in Santa Monica, Howard Hughes Center, Sunset La Cienega (residence/hotel towers) in West Hollywood, Grand Hope Lofts in Los Angeles, Park Fifth in Los Angeles, 11 x 12 in Los Angeles, Rolling Hills Country Club in Rolling Hills Estates, The Meridian Condominiums in Newport, G12 in Los Angeles, Olin Hall School of Engineering at USC, Uytengsu Aquatic Center at USC, as well as projects for Disney and Universal Studios.
Min is a graduate of the College of Steubenville and received his Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Business Management and his Bachelor of Arts in English. He is also a LEED® Accredited Professional (AP).
Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing &
As Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing & Creative Director, Claudia Ross oversees corporate branding strategy, project positioning, creative direction, integrated marketing, digital design & development and social media for CEI.
Previously, Claudia was Director of Marketing Services at Disney Interactive Studios, the video game division of The Walt Disney Company. She received an MBA from The Anderson Graduate School of Business at UCLA, a BS in Business from The Haas School Of Business at UC Berkeley, and is an accomplished photographer.
Vice President of Acquisitions
As Vice President of Acquisitions, Adrian is responsible for sourcing, analyzing, due diligence and negotiating new investment opportunities including real estate acquisitions and equity co-investment. Adrian also fosters and grows CEI’s network of lenders, equity partners and brokers.
In Los Angeles, Adrian is focused on the acquisition of land for development, multifamily value-add, retail/office for repositioning; and equity co-investment with local sponsors. Nationally, Adrian is responsible for identifying and qualifying sponsors who require co-investment capital.
Adrian brings 15+ years of business development experience. From 2010 to 2015, Adrian grew a successful real estate brokerage business in New York City focused on investment sales and retail leasing. Prior to moving to the United States, Adrian lead strategic sales and business development in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. Adrian is originally from Sydney, Australia and completed his MBA at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management in Sydney in 2004. He also has an Advanced Diploma in Telecommunications Engineering from the Lidcombe College of TAFE in Sydney.
Vice President of Acquisitions
As VP of Acquisitions, Mike is responsible for the sourcing and closing of acquisition opportunities. Mike also manages the due diligence, project management and entitlement process.
Prior to joining CEI, Mike worked as a broker for Land Advisors Organization in Irvine. Mike spent 3 years representing investors, developers and homebuilders in the acquisition of off-market, residential land within the Southern California marketplace. Mike graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning.
Vice President of Development
As Vice President of Development, Melissa Tufan is responsible for entitlements, project development, and project team management. She brings a mix of design and construction experience through previous positions as Pre-Construction Director for a general contractor and Senior Project Manager for various architects. Her past project experiences have included high end residential and commercial design/build, multifamily developments and construction, national brand build-outs, restaurant and hospitality projects.
Melissa holds a B.S. in Engineering from Purdue and a Professional design degree from UCLA Extension.
As Controller, Josh supervises the CEI’s financial reporting and cash management functions. His responsibilities include construction and property management accounting, construction draws, financial reporting, financial projections and cash management. He also provides support in acquisitions, loan origination and deal closings.
Prior to joining the team, Josh worked as Controller at Fortress Builders, a real estate developer in Atlanta specializing in single family home development projects. Josh graduated from Georgia Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and a master’s degree in Accounting. Josh has also been a Certified Public Accountant since 2014.
As an Associate, Zach focuses on underwriting new investment opportunities and analyzing development capitalization strategies. His responsibilities include financial modeling to support acquisitions and the CEI pipeline, assessing capital markets and project financing, transaction due diligence, and debt origination.
Prior to joining the CEI team, Zach worked as an Analyst with BlueGate Partners, a real estate advisory firm in New York City specializing in structured finance and institutional brokerage. Zach graduated from Northeastern University with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Business Administration with a concentration in Finance.
As an Associate, Aaron focuses on underwriting new investment opportunities and analyzing development capitalization strategies. Prior to joining CEI in 2018, Aaron worked as an Analyst at Silverpeak Real Estate Partners, a New York City-based private equity firm, specializing in real estate acquisitions.
Aaron graduated from New York University with Honors and holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Management.