The Gran Pacifica Leadership Team
Michael Cobb, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer in Nicaragua
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.
Eddie Littlefield, ECI President
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.
Frank H. Byers II, Chief Operations Officer
Frank H. Byers, II, graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance with Honors in 1974 and the University of Illinois, School of Law, in 1977. He is licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois, in the Federal Courts for the Central District of Illinois, in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the U. S. Supreme Court.
He has appeared before multiple governmental agencies, including but not limited to: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Illinois Environmental Protection agency, the IRS, the Illinois Department Revenue, the Department of Human Rights, the Illinois Secretary of State, the Illinois Commerce Commission, the Illinois Department of Education and Registration, the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission, the Illinois State Liquor Commission. He has appeared before city councils, county boards, zoning hearings, zoning boards of appeal, property tax appeal boards (state and local) and various other deliberative bodies.
Mr. Byers had an advisory position with several corporations for both their internal corporate activities as well as their interaction with various governmental bodies. He has regularly advised and represented them in contract matters. However, litigation was his primary focus.
Mr. Byers regularly assisted in real estate development for clients, as well as personally developing real estate.
He regularly participated at the University of Illinois School of law in their student competition events. He also regularly presented at continuing legal education courses for other attorneys.
Greg Dunlop, Chief Financial Officer
Greg Dunlop has over 35 years' experience in industry with various large and small businesses. He has worked in numerous middle and senior management positions in research & development, operations, finance, sales and marketing positions in Shell Chemicals, Ciba-Geigy, Novartis, Stratus, AGDATA and Campaign Research. As VP of Sales and Marketing with Novartis (a major chemicals and pharmaceutical firm) he had P&L responsibility for a major Business Unit. From 2000 to 2007, as Vice-President of Stratus Agri-Marketing, he helped grow this firm into the leader in marketing research in Agricultural industry in Canada and a significant player in the US market. From 2008 - 2011, Mr. Dunlop as head of Market Research for AgData Canada developed their market research business from scratch with a totally unique new product that combines market research with financial data. From May of 2011 to June 2015, Greg had been a principal/owner in the firm Campaign Research. Greg was the CFO for Campaign Research managing the company's finances and introduced an accrual accounting. Mr. Dunlop is also an investor in ECI as a Director and President of the investor group Red Door International (Nevis). He has a B.Sc. in Environmental Biology from the University of Guelph and a MBA from the Schulich School of Business in Canada.
John Morgan, Vice President of Construction
With over 30 years experience as a builder in California, Arizona, and Nevada constructing projects that include single family homes, commercial office buildings, shopping centers, warehouse facilities, and tenant improvements, Mr. Morgan brings to ECI an ability to manage all aspects of construction.
From managing the logistics needed to complete a project to working with government agencies and material suppliers, Mr. Morgan has proven to be successful with well-crafted projects in the ECI development portfolio.
Valeria Espinoza, Vice President of Operations
While completing her Business Administration major with Marketing Degree in 2004, Mrs. Espinoza started working with a small family non-profit that was executing social projects in the city of Managua. Working first as an administrative assistant and accounting auxiliary, after one year she was promoted and moved to the northern border of Nicaragua to work as supervisor of a housing project for the poorest families of the county.
It was a very complicated and sensitive position, as it required her to work, supervise and control the activities of men at their construction jobs. This is a role usually assigned to men. After a month, she earned their respect. Simultaneously, she was teaching English to students at the American School during the weekends. Having both positions was a great experience, both totally different, but rewarding due to their impact in lives of the people she worked with.
After 5 months Mrs. Espinoza was called for an interview to Gran Pacifica to perform the job of assistant to the CEO. She took the job and her life changed. Her passion and dedication to the company led her growth within the organization with different roles through the years. Her journey started on September 19, 2005 and Mrs. Espinoza held many different responsibilities and duties, from executive assistant, to sales administrator, to marketing coordinator.
On February 2017, she was promoted to the Vice President of Operations for the company. This is a huge challenge and responsibility for her with the many changes happening simultaneously in the organization. Ms. Espinoza is leading the team to perform well, challenging them to do better on a daily basis, and keeping within each of them, the vision and mission of Gran Pacifica in order to accomplish the company’s goals.
Patrick Hiebert, Vice President of Marketing and Sales
Mr. Hiebert graduated with a degree in Computer Science from the University of Winnipeg in Canada. After working as a consulting specialist on emerging technologies for several years Patrick co-founded an Energy Management Software firm, TransEnergy Management, which quickly grew from the founders to over 300 employees with offices and clients in the US, Canada, Central and South America, Europe, and Australia. After the company was acquired Patrick founded a second software company, Epikos Solutions, which was also later privately acquired.
Finding himself with more time on his hands, Patrick took the opportunity to travel with his family. One of these travel adventures took him to Nicaragua.
Looking for a change and to make a difference in people's lives, Patrick found Nicaragua to be the perfect blend of the safest country in Central America, friendly people, beautiful landscape and the perfect climate. Patrick is now in his 11th year working, volunteering and now living full time in Nicaragua.
Applying his business experience and knowledge to Gran Pacifica Beach and Golf Resort as owner of the hotel rental, tours and restaurant businesses, Patrick grew these businesses substantially in a few short years. Recently, Patrick has joined the ECI Development group (parent corporation of Gran Pacifica, Grand Baymen and other Central American resorts) as Vice President of Sales and Marketing overseeing the Sales and Marketing efforts in Belize, Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua and its expansion into other Central American countries.
As the founder of the Help Them Help Themselves charitable foundation, Patrick is also very committed to improving the lives of the local people through leading many projects that focus on healthcare, education and shelter.