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At the height of a successful career in the computer industry, Mr. Cobb left to pursue more pioneering opportunities in the emerging real estate markets of Central America. In 1996, he and his business partner formed a company, Exotic Caye International, to provide loans to North Americans purchasing properties in Belize, Honduras and throughout the region. As the need for capital outstripped the supply, the mortgage company was converted to an international bank under the jurisdiction of Belize. It continues to provide mortgage services, but has expanded its services to encompass the full realm of financial products.
Mr. Cobb also saw the need for a regional real estate company that would serve the Baby Boomer consumer with a North American standard product for the next 2 decades. He led the group into real estate development and created a holding company for several properties including a resort on Ambergris Caye, Belize. In August of 2000, Exotic Caye purchased 3.5 miles of Pacific Beachfront property due west of Managua, Nicaragua. This master planned community hosts world class infrastructure, homes and condominium units. In February of 2006, the ECI Development group acquired 1100 acres and 3km of coastline in Costa Rica, setting the stage for expansion into this popular market. Most recently they merged their Belize property with a much larger parcel and have begun to develop 200 condominiums units on Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Additionally, Mike Cobb has spoken at hundreds of international conferences about real estate financing and development. He has acted as a consultant to The Oxford Club and gives counsel to various real estateprojects throughout Central America. Since 2002, Mike, his wife Carol, and 2 daughters, Amanda and Emily make their home in Managua, Nicaragua.
Mike Cobb hosts a weekly online radio program titled "Mike’s Gringo Life" on the Overseas Radio Network on Tuesdays from 6pm to 8pm. Based on his blog about the adventures of living in Nicaragua, Cobb interviews a variety of people such as expats who are retired, those who moved overseas to start a business, and those with kids who share information about the school system and activities for children. The program also highlights cultural events in the area and discusses hot topics such as government, investments, and tourism.
Joel Nagel is the project's legal counsel and Chief Financial Officer. He practices in the area of international tax and estate planning, joint ventures and international finance. As a Fulbright Scholar, he studied at the University of Bonn and at The Hague Academy of International Law.
He is a member of the International Law and Practice Division of the ABA and has considerable experience in international business and investments, including finance and tax planning, negotiating and structuring international agency, distribution and joint venture agreements, acquisition and financing of foreign properties, creation of structures in low-tax countries for individuals for asset protection and tax advantage. Joel completed his LLM at Georgetown University and has offices in Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh.
Joel is past president of the Pittsburgh Rotary Club and District Governor of Rotary International District 7300 and has been actively involved in Nicaragua since 1994. He is secretary of the Chamorro Foundation, which promotes democracy and education in Nicaragua, and is past Chairman of the Nicaraguan Development Corporation, the Nicaraguan equivalent of the United Way.
Eddie Littlefield brings extensive real estate development experience to ECI from his role as President/CEO of the David Drye Company, LLC of Concord, N.C. DDC is a privately owned and operated company that has specialized in the development, construction and management of real estate projects since 1970. Eddie is also owner of the Carolina Speed of the American Indoor Football Association, and owner/founder of Carolina Auto Sports.
During 20 years with the David Drye Company, Eddie has managed more than 8,500 multi-family units and eight hotels with more than 550 employees. In his role as a construction manager for the company, he was responsible for the construction and timely completion within budget of over 60 projects with budgets exceeding $472 million. He has also taken part in other projects to include student housing, an education facility, Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins stores, a five acre Family Adventures Fun Park, and a casual dining restaurant.
Raymond H. Steeb, III is founder of Steeb Services, LLC, a program management consulting firm in the construction industry based in the Pittsburgh area. Prior to launching his own company in 2002, Ray was an executive for two decades, including four years as vice president and general manager, of Turner Construction Company, a $120 million general construction and construction management business.
He has been involved in some of the most high-profile building and renovation projects impacting Pittsburgh's skyline in recent years, including the David Lawrence Convention Center, Alcoa corporate headquarters, O'Reilly Theatre, Mellon Arena and One Mellon Bank Center, as well as Magee Womens Hospital, UPMC Shadyside, Carnegie Mellon University, Penn State University, Medrad Inc. and many others.
A registered professional engineer, Ray holds an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh (1990) and a bachelor of science in civil engineering from Pennsylvania State University (1980).
Mel Henninger served for over 40 years at Bayer Corporation and held many senior management positions in finance and accounting. The last 10 years he was responsible for all taxes and insurance for the $10B international business unit, and was the senior financial participant on the corporate acquisitions and divestitures team. Mel holds a B.A in Finance from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.S in Finance, an M.S in Taxes from Duquesne University and is also a CPA.
Kent Payne is the former Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Bridgeport Development, one of the largest homebuilders in Oklahoma. His 35 years in sales and corporate management bring important sales expertise to Gran Pacifica. He was co-founder and past chairman of the Sales and Marketing Council of the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association. Kent and his wife, Denise, are relocating to Gran Pacifica full time to coordinate on-site sales efforts.
Greetings from Nicaragua! I just wanted to take a minute to thank each of you for participating in the volunteer activities at the Fabretto center last month. The relationship with Gran Pacifica is very important to our organization and I hope that we can continue to work together in the future. Your generosity and hard work were very much appreciated by our staff, students and their parents. There are many ways that we can work together in the future and we hope to explore new opportunities with the Gran Pacifica team.