Mr. Sands is the Chairman of Vintage Real Estate, LLC, a firm specializing in the acquisition and redevelopment of under-performing regional malls and shopping centers. Vintage Real Estate is led by a team of seasoned senior real estate executives with institutional backgrounds.
Mr. Sands is also the Chairman of Vintage Fund Management, LLC, a private equity fund that was established to expand his diverse non-real estate private investment activities spanning more than two decades. Vintage Fund Management is led by a team of experienced private equity professionals and invests in growing middle market companies. Its investor base includes one of the largest state pension funds, a well-known fund of funds, banks, as well as high net worth family offices. It has outperformed 85% of all private equity funds in the United States.
Mr. Sands will personally invest in distressed companies with an eye toward turning them around.
In 2003 Mr. Sands, through his wholly owned entity, Vintage Capital Group, invested growth capital in eScreen, Inc. eScreen, founded in 1998, revolutionized the drug testing industry by developing the only FDA-cleared instant drug test. Today, eScreen is a technology leader, providing the only truly integrated electronic drug testing solution in the industry, and the largest provider of workplace drug programs in the United States. eScreen has been named to Inc. Magazine’s 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America four consecutive years, and in 2011 the Founder and Chairman was recognized by Ernst & Young as a finalist for the National E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
The growth capital investment provided by Vintage Capital Group helped to fuel the rapid expansion eScreen has achieved since the original Vintage investment in 2003. Several notable milestones since the closing of the investment included the recapitalization in 2008 whereby The Carlyle Group, one of the largest private equity firms in the United States, completed a growth equity investment in eScreen resulting in the return to Vintage of its original debt investment. Vintage Capital Group continued to own a significant minority equity stake in the business, and Mark Sampson, Managing Partner at Vintage, remained a member of eScreen's board of directors. In 2010 eScreen expanded its business through two significant acquisitive growth initiatives; eScreen acquired the Canadian operations of Verfications, expanding the product offering geographically, and completed a merger with Pembrooke which advanced its innovative technology more extensively into the government marketplace.
In April 2012 Vintage was pleased to announce that eScreen was acquired by Alere Inc, a global diagnostic and health management leader. The purchase price was $270 million in cash, with follow on contingent payments for up to an additional $70 million.
For more information on the Vintage investment in eScreen, please refer to www.vintage-vfm.com.
In 2009, Vintage Capital Group was referred to Caprius, at the time an orphaned public company in need of capital. Caprius had raised significant capital to build out its innovative EPA registered medical waste technology, but by 2009 found itself lacking the requisite capital resources to grow the business. Despite its difficult and limited financial resources, Caprius had developed a patented solution for the on-site treatment and disposal of infectious medical waste. Caprius's unique solutions, sold under the SteriMed brand, offer convenient sizes that fit on-site at healthcare facilities and provide a cost effective solution to eliminate expensive and environmentally unfriendly waste hauling. SteriMed products utilize Ster-Cid, a proprietary, EPA registered, bio-degradable chemical to chemically disinfect regulated medical waste, rendering the waste benign, while at the same time, shredding the waste until it is unrecognizable, reducing the waste volume by over 90%, so that it can be disposed of in the ordinary waste system.
In 2009, Mr. Sands, through his wholly owned entity, Vintage Capital Group, completed the first investment in Caprius to fund the working capital needs of the business, reduce current and pending liabilities, regain control over key intellectual property, and transition its contract manufacturing relationship. The investment team at Vintage continued to monitor the progress of the business, and it become apparent that Caprius was best served to consider a go-private transaction in order for the company's shareholders to maximize value. In April of 2011, Vintage led a go-private transaction that resulted in Caprius becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Vintage Capital Group.
Now renamed SteriMed Medical Waste Solutions, and privately owned by Vintage Capital Group, SteriMed is well positioned to expand on its market leading, green technology solution for the on-site treatment and disposal of infectious medical waste, a large and rapidly growing global industry. Today SteriMed has systems installed worldwide, including in leading hospitals, dialysis centers, surgical centers, the US Navy, and many other small to medium medical waste generating businesses across the globe.
Mr. Sands is the former Chairman and sole shareholder of the second largest real estate and financial services company in California, and the seventh largest in the United States, including wholly owned entities in title insurance, home warranty, mortgage banking, and escrow. The company was staffed with 4,000 people in 65 offices, including franchised operations, and generated $9.4 billion in volume per year. In December, 2000, the company was sold to Coldwell Banker; (the franchised offices were not part of the transaction). Mr. Sands' background also includes acquiring and turning around distressed companies, including FM and AM radio stations and two title insurance company, as well as commercial real estate projects. He has developed hotels, office buildings, shopping centers, and high-end single family housing projects.
Mr. Sands was honored as the recipient of the American Academy of Achievement Award. Former recipients of this prestigious award include U.S. Presidents, Nobel Laureates, and entertainment industry executives. He was also named one of the "Top 25 CEOs of the Decade" by California Business magazine and named one of the industry's top 13 "Movers and Shakers" (nationwide) by the National Association of Realtors.
Mr. Sands was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President's Advisory Committee on the Arts and liaison to the Kennedy Center and to the California Arts Council by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In addition, Mr. Sands is the Chairman of The United Way's Million Dollar Roundtable. Active in numerous community activities, Mr. Sands was a founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art and currently serves as Vice Chairman and Trustee, as well as Chairperson of its Investment Committee. He recently made a significant seven figure donation to the Museum. He also serves on the Boards of Chrysalis (a charity that rehabilitates homeless people), as well as the Los Angeles Opera and the Los Angeles Police Foundation.
Mr. Sands resides in Bel Air with his wife, Dr. Carla Sands, and their daughter, Alexandra. Mrs. Sands serves on numerous Boards including The Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Council of the Library Foundation of the Los Angeles Library and is a Member of the Board of The Blue Ribbon and serves on its Executive Committee. She was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger to the Board of The California Cultural and Historic Endowment. Mrs. Sands is also a member of The Colleagues. The Sands were recently honored at LA Alive which is sponsored by the LA Philharmonic Association. Mr. Sands also has an adult son, Jonathan.
Robert Licht serves as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Vintage Capital Group. In this capacity, he is responsible for the financial, operational and administrative affairs of the organization.
Prior to joining Vintage Capital Group, Mr. Licht held the position of Vice President and Controller at Thor Equities, a New York City based real estate investment, development and management firm with a $1.2 billion portfolio of retail, mixed-use and hospitality holdings. Prior to that, he held senior financial positions at a variety of real estate firms, including Archon Group, a division of Goldman Sachs, and The O’Connor Group, a $1 billion shopping center REIT sponsor. He began his career in 1989 with Deloitte, an international accounting and professional services firm.
Mr. Licht received his Bachelor of Science from the Rutgers University. He is a certified public accountant and an active member of ICSC.
Executive Vice President
As Executive Vice President, Ken Hocker is responsible for all real estate development, property acquisitions and real estate investment fund activities for the firm. With over 25 years in the real estate industry, his depth of experience encompasses retail, office and multifamily properties and includes all facets of the development process, property acquisition, investment capital, investment analysis, debt & equity placements, transaction structuring and leasing. Mr. Hocker has been responsible over $1.2 billion in retail and multifamily acquisitions, ground-up development projects and re-positioning value added properties.
Mr. Hocker was most recently with Weingarten Realty Investors and served as Regional Director of Acquisitions and Development. Weingarten is a $7.5 billion public-traded REIT active in the acquisition and development of mixed-use, multi-family and retail projects. Mr. Hocker previously held senior executive positions as President of Watermark Development and Sr. Vice President at Equitable Real Estate / Lend Lease. Mr. Hocker has a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Texas in Austin.
Roger Burghdorf has over thirty-five years of experience in the commercial real estate industry. He has particular expertise in the development, leasing, and operations of retail real estate, and in the capacity he has worked with virtually every leading retailer across the country. Roger has built a national reputation in the commercial property industry for his many years of innovative leadership in connection with retail real estate.
Mr. Burghdorf’s prior experience includes his role as Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Leasing for the Westfield Group. In that role, he was instrumental in expanding the company’s real estate portfolio in the United Sates from five to seventy-three regional malls; that portfolio today includes many of the largest and most successful regional malls in the country. His responsibilities at the Westfield Group included every aspect of leasing and operations for all mall properties across the country. Furthermore, under his leadership, the Westfield Group achieved the highest occupancy level for its real estate holdings of any major real estate developer in the nation.
Before joining the Westfield Group, Mr. Burghdorf served in senior executive positions with the May Centers/ Centermark and Homart Development Company. His experience in the retail industry includes various senior management roles held at Sears. Mr. Burghdorf is unique in the shopping center industry for the varied leadership roles he has held at both commercial real estate development companies and national retail chains, which have given rise to his in-depth understanding of retail chain operations both from the landlord's and retailer's perspective.
Mr. Burghdorf is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, where he received his degree in education. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Forces and served six years in the armed forces.
John N. Desco, SCSM, SCLS
Executive Vice President, Asset Management
John N. Desco has been involved in the ownership and operation of enclosed regional malls, as well as other retail assets, since 1989. Prior to joining Vintage, he was employed by Coyote Management, L.P., where he served as Senior Vice President, Asset Management, overseeing the acquisition, operation, value-enhancement and ultimate disposition of 13 regional malls and four open-air centers, from 1997 through 2012. Prior to that, Mr. Desco was employed by Marathon (U.S.), a subsidiary of Canadian Pacific Railroad, as the asset manager for its portfolio of 12 regional malls located in the southern United States, from 1989 until Marathon’s divestiture of its entire portfolio in a single transaction in 1996.
Mr. Desco received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Real Estate Finance in 1982 from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. In 1989, he earned his Master of Business Administration degree, also from Southern Methodist University, with a concentration in corporate finance and real estate finance, having received several academic awards in the process. He is an active member of ICSC, and has served on its CSM Committee. In addition, he holds both ICSC’s Senior Certified Shopping Center Manager (SCSM) and Senior Certified Leasing Specialist (SCLS) designations.