Team

Our team of highly experienced professionals has created an exceptional organization and continues a long history of managing and developing award winning communities.

Howard Cohen Chairman of the Board
Howard Cohen

Howard Cohen

Chairman of the Board

Howard oversees Beacon’s corporate strategy and growth.

Known for

  • Founding Beacon Communities

Worked for

  • Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo (partner)
  • Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (general counsel)
  • Cambridge Housing Authority (general counsel)
  • Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (staff attorney)

Serves on

  • Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation
  • Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association of Greater Boston
  • Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency Advisory Committee
  • Department of Housing and Community Development Housing Preservation Advisory Committee

Studied at

  • Harvard Law School (JD cum laude)
  • Washington University of St. Louis (BA summa cum laude, economics)

Out of Office

  • Past co-chair of the Board of Directors, Hebrew Senior Life
  • Real estate committee of Hebrew Senior Life
  • Chair of New Lease for Homeless Families
  • Real estate committee of Hebrew College
  • Chair of Jewish Arts Collaborative
Dara Kovel Chief Executive Officer
Dara Kovel

Dara Kovel

Chief Executive Officer

Dara leads the company’s senior executive team and is responsible for the overall vision, culture, operation, growth and performance of the company consistent with the Beacon’s objectives and strategies.

Worked for

  • Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA)
  • Jonathan Rose Companies
  • Mercy Housing California

Serves on

  • Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center’s Workforce Housing Board
  • The Home Connecticut Steering Committee

Studied at

  • Yale University (MBA and BA)
  • Is LEED accredited

Out of Office

  • Focuses on her children
  • Plays soccer and surfs
  • Loves Sci Fi movies
Samuel Ross Chief Operating Officer
Samuel Ross

Samuel Ross

Chief Operating Officer

Samuel is responsible for the company’s internal operating platform including asset management, finance and accounting, human resources and information technology.

Worked for

  • Winn Companies (Chief Executive Officer 2000-2015; Chief Financial Officer 1993-2000)
  • The Collaborative Companies and Kennedy-Wilson (Partner and Executive Vice President 1990-1993)

Studied at

  • Harvard University (MBA)
  • Boston University (BS)

Out of Office

  • Avid sailor
  • Travels across lands and through the pages of books
  • Visits his children
Alessandra Quagliata De Vaca Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Training
Alessandra Quagliata De Vaca

Alessandra Quagliata De Vaca

Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Training

Alessandra focuses on Beacon’s human resources processes including talent acquisition, employee relations, and learning and development.

Worked for

  • Winn Companies (Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Training 2013-2019)
  • Hebrew Senior Life (Chief Administrative Officer 2002-2013)
  • Neighborhood Health Plan (Director, Human Resources 1998-2002)

Studied at

  • Tufts University (BA)

Out of Office

  • Spending time with her husband
  • Perusing Cambridge Cafés
  • Traveling
  • Visiting her family
David Greenblatt Executive Vice President, Finance
David Greenblatt

David Greenblatt

Executive Vice President, Finance

David secures development and permanent debt and equity capital, and structures financing across Beacon’s development transactions. He also provides guidance to Development Directors regarding preparation of development budgets, government agency submissions and other financial and tax aspects of the development process.

Noted for

  • Maintaining strong, positive relationships with financial partners
  • Persistent negotiating style, structuring transactions that work for both sides

Worked for

  • Cognetics Real Estate (Managing Director)
  • Liberty Real Estate (Vice President of Acquisitions and Portfolio Management)
  • Liberty Properties (Chief Financial Officer)

Serves as

  • Board member of Caritas Communities
  • Member of the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association Developer’s Council
  • Member of the Greater Boston Real Estate Finance Association
  • Member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Studied at

  • Boston University (MBA, Finance and Accounting)
  • Yale University (BA, political science)

Out of Office

  • Newsaholic, baseball and music fan, avid gardener
  • Founding board member of the Amazing Things Arts Center in Framingham, MA
Andrea Orio Senior Vice President, Administration and Compliance
Andrea Orio

Andrea Orio

Senior Vice President, Administration and Compliance

Andrea heads up Beacon’s Administration and Compliance departments in contribution to Beacon’s high standards in business practices and strategic planning for management and compliance policies.

Known for

  • Over 20 years of affordable housing and compliance experience, with particular emphasis in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program
  • Creating and conducting internal training programs and workshops
  • Project management oversight for complex, large-scale LIHTC acquisition/rehab and new construction lease-up coordination

Studied at

  • Bentley University (BS, Business Communication)

Out of Office

  • Spends time with husband, Martin and daughter, Mimi
  • Focuses on fitness by hiking, running, cycling, playing soccer and snow sports
  • Enjoys seeing live music, consuming podcasts, and completing jigsaw puzzles
Timothy Cowles Chief Financial Officer
Timothy Cowles

Timothy Cowles

Chief Financial Officer

Tim guides Beacon Communities’ financial strategy, while overseeing accounting, financial reporting, treasury management, insurance, and taxes.

Worked for

  • Realty Financial Partners (Chief Financial Officer)
  • Ercolini & Company LLP, since acquired by CohnReznick LLP Tax Manager)

Serves as

  • Member of the Massachusetts Society of CPAs
  • Licensed CPA

Studied at

  • Northeastern University (BS, Business Administration)

Out of Office

  • Spends time with his family
  • Enjoys golf and skiing, season dependent
  • Cheers for the Patriots, Celtics, Red Sox and Bruins
Darlene M. Perrone President, Beacon Residential Management
Darlene M. Perrone

Darlene M. Perrone

President, Beacon Residential Management

Darlene provides leadership and operational oversight for over 19,000 apartments in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Eastern Seaboard.

Known for

  • Developing Beacon’s leadership and employee engagement programs to elevate the company to an award-winning employer
  • Spearheading the establishment of Beacon’s compliance department, widely recognized as best-in-class by industry peers
  • Growing from executive assistant to C-Suite in over four decades at Beacon

Studied at

  • Northeastern University

Out of Office

  • Prioritizes her family
  • Loves to travel
  • Dances
  • Enjoys the theater
Josh Cohen President, Beacon Communities Development
Josh Cohen

Josh Cohen

President, Beacon Communities Development

Josh leads the development team in the Boston office.  This group pursues acquisition and development opportunities across the Northeast.  

 

Studied at: 

  • Yale University (BA) 

Out of Office: 

  • Chases his three daughters, Ella, Valea, and Marion
  • Hangs out with his wife, Margo
  • Otherwise likes to be skiing, surfing, mountain biking, or reading The New Yorker 

Previously: 

  • Starting in 2006, Associate Development Director, then Development Director, then Vice President of Development at Beacon Communities

Known for:

  • Wearing ties when working from home
  • Executing complicated development projects, particularly historic adaptive reuse developments
  • Encouraging collaborative communication between departments at Beacon
  • Being underdressed at the office before and after his bicycle commute
Mercedes Farrando President, Beacon Concepts
Mercedes Farrando

Mercedes Farrando

President, Beacon Concepts

Mercedes oversees and participates in all aspects of design at Beacon, working closely with the architecture, design, construction, and operations teams.

Known for

  • Producing integrated designs that offer distinctive style and functionality while adhering to budget constraints
  • Creating her inspired designs both from the “outside-in,” respecting a site’s context and history, as well as from the “inside-out,” focusing on the details of resident and management needs

Accolades

  • Has won a wide range of awards in high-end kitchen and bathroom design
  • Is a published architect and urban planner

Serves as

  • A current board member of Preservation Massachusetts
  • An Associate International Member of the American Institute of Architects
  • An active member of Consejo Profesional de Arquitectura y Urbanismo of Buenos Aires

Studied at

  • The Universidad de Buenos Aires (master’s degree in Architecture, Design, and Urban Planning)

Out of Office

  • Seizes every opportunity to travel, seeking inspiration from all corners of the world
  • Enjoys scuba diving and photography
Mary Corthell Executive Vice President, Asset Management
Mary Corthell

Mary Corthell

Executive Vice President, Asset Management

Mary oversees traditional asset management, transactional asset management and strategic portfolio performance for approximately 18,000 apartments.

Known for

  • Deep experience in affordable housing, regulatory oversight, and portfolio management
  • Her integral role in the development and implementation of Beacon’s innovative social response programs

Worked for

  • Stern Group (Director of Administration)

Serves as

  • Member of the Board of Directors, National Leased Housing Association
  • Vice Chair of the Executive Board, FPUU-Medfield

Out of Office

  • Spends time with her family and friends
  • Hikes and cycles
Nicole Ferreira Executive Vice President, Development
Nicole Ferreira

Nicole Ferreira

Executive Vice President, Development

Nicole leads Beacon’s New York Office in Albany and coordinates development efforts in NY, NJ, and CT.

Studied at

  • New York University (BA, Political Science and Government)
  • New York University, Schack Institute of Real Estate (MS, Real Estate)

Previously

  • Senior Vice President of Multifamily Finance & Development at New York State Homes and Community Renewal
  • Executive Vice President for Real Estate at The New York City Housing Authority
  • Director of Acquisitions at the Workforce Housing Group

Serves on

  • Member of the Association of Real Estate Women
  • Member of the Association of Latino Professionals for America
  • Adjunct Professor, Pratt Institute Graduate Real Estate Program

Honored as

  • Recipient of the 2017 Citizen’s Housing & Planning Council Ibo Balton Community Planner Award
  • Recipient of the 2020 New Destiny Housing Impact Award

Out of Office

  • Loves to ski, hike, bike, paddle, and travel
Thomas Stokes Vice President, Community Engagement
Thomas Stokes

Thomas Stokes

Vice President, Community Engagement

Tom oversees the Community Engagement Department and Resident Services Coordinators—and programs—at 48 Beacon properties throughout the Northeast.

Known for

  • Deep expertise in program development for comprehensive neighborhood planning
  • Recruitment, administration and advising in higher education

Serves on

  • New England Resident Service Coordinators (President, Board of Directors)
  • MassHousing CSAC Committee Member
  • CHAPA Homelessness Committee (Past Member)

Studied at

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MA, City Planning)
  • College of the Holy Cross (BA, Urban Studies)

Out of Office

  • Acts and directs local community theatre in Putnam CT and Worcester MA
  • Practices Hot Yoga and Hot Pilates
Frank Alvarez Senior Vice President, Operations
Frank Alvarez

Frank Alvarez

Senior Vice President, Operations

Frank is responsible for establishing policies and procedures for Beacon’s Operations and Maintenance Division, providing capital planning support to management and development teams, and helping oversee major capital improvement projects. 

Known for

  • Extending the useful life of the physical components of the site and minimizing emergency repairs/replacements through preventative maintenance
  • Creating a strong team atmosphere among maintenance teams—even across state lines
  • Delivering high-quality cross-training, efficient resource allocation, and superior agency inspection scores
  • Running energy management efforts, including projects, contracts, rate locks, and tracking, as well as water usage reduction and tracking

Previously

  • Regional Director (The Community Builders)
  • Property Manager (The Community Builders)
  • Maintenance Supervisor/Director (The Community Builders)
  • Owner, commercial building maintenance business

Studied at

  • Northeastern University

Out of Office

  • Runs the YouTube Channel Frank’s Fish Room
  • Designs and builds hardscapes and landscapes
  • Loves his dog
Ellen Morreale Senior Vice President, Controller
Ellen Morreale

Ellen Morreale

Senior Vice President, Controller

Ellen coordinates all property financial functions, including audits, investor services, insurance, budgets, and special projects, as well as overseeing financial statement preparation and accounting system administration.

Known for

  • Beacon tenure spanning three decades
  • Unparalleled expertise in financial accounting and reporting within the affordable housing industry

Studied at

  • Suffolk University (MBA)
  • Northern Arizona University (BSBA)

Out of Office

  • Enjoys travel and music
Gary Dufresne Senior Vice President, Capital Planning and Management
Gary Dufresne

Gary Dufresne

Senior Vice President, Capital Planning and Management

Gary is responsible for evaluating capital improvement and physical infrastructure needs and requirements throughout Beacon’s portfolio.

Known for

  • Empowering team members to reach innovative solutions for complex problems
  • Motivating those around him to grow
  • Passionate facilitator
  • Using his customer-facing maintenance experience in strategic operations leadership

Worked for

  • Archstone (Capital Improvements)
  • AvalonBay (Engineering Manager – Capital Improvements Manager)

Serves as

  • Volunteer instructor for MassWildlife

Out of Office

  • Spends time with his family
  • Surfcaster who builds custom fishing rods
  • Explores the outdoors with his dog
Michael Polite Executive Vice President, Development
Michael Polite

Michael Polite

Executive Vice President, Development

Michael Polite leads the Beacon Pittsburgh development office and targets acquisition and development opportunities in the Mid-Atlantic.

Studied at

  • Niagara University (BA)
  • Carnegie Melon University (MSPPM)

Previously

  • Chairman and CEO of Catalyst Communities, now known as Beacon Pittsburgh

Serves on

  • August Wilson African American Culture Center
  • YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh Chair
  • Energy Innovation Center Institute

Known for

  • Preserving 1,005 family and senior housing apartments
  • Consulting on economic development of low-income areas resulting in over $50 million of new investment
  • Creating 968 apartments while serving as Chairman and CEO of Ralph A Falbo, Inc.
John Elliot Senior Regional Vice President
John Elliot

John Elliot

Senior Regional Vice President

John oversees the operations of many of the multi-family, affordable communities in Beacon’s portfolio, including more than 4,000 apartment homes.

Known for

  • Building an incredibly engaged team
  • Raising money for the local food bank, Toys for Tots, and local residents battling cancer

Started as

  • Property Manager, Southwood Square, a Hope VI community

Property Management Designations Held

  • Public Housing Manager (National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials)
  • c6p (Spectrum Enterprises)
  • Tax Credit Specialist (National Center for Housing Management)
  • Certified Occupancy Specialist (National Center for Housing Management)

Serves on

  • New England Affordable Housing Management (NEAHMA) Board of Directors
  • NEAHMA Connecticut Chapter Chair

Studied At

  • Eastern Connecticut State University (BA, Finance, Political Science)

Out of Office

  • Along with his wife Traci, is the proud parent of two boys, Jordon and Evan
  • Coaches his son’s basketball and baseball teams
  • Hosts singalong karaoke events with Beacon Communities’ residents
Brian Cole Senior Regional Vice President
Brian Cole

Brian Cole

Senior Regional Vice President

Brian is responsible for all aspects of the daily operations for more than 3,500 apartment homes, both market rate and affordable, both owned and third-party managed, in stabilized communities, acquisition rehabs and new construction.

Known for

  • Focusing on employee engagement efforts to build effective teams and drive operational and financial performance, resulting in exceptional housing for Beacon’s residents

Honored as

  • National Affordable Housing Professional Executive by the National Affordable Housing Management Association

Studied at

  • Boston College (BS Business Administration)

Out of Office

With his wife, Angelisa, is the proud parent of Isabella, Olivia, and Jackson
Enjoys a wide range of activities with his family, including but not limited to

  • building sand castles in the Caribbean
  • eating tacos and guacamole at their favorite Mexican restaurant
  • cheering on the Red Sox at Fenway Park
  • having dance parties in their living room
Toya Irish Senior Regional Vice President
Toya Irish

Toya Irish

Senior Regional Vice President

Toya supervises the operations of over 6,000 apartments in the Greater Boston area.

Known for

  • Providing leadership to some of Beacon’s most challenging projects
  • Her vast knowledge of the Section 8 program, mixed income housing, elderly supportive services, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), Project Based Voucher (PBV) Program, Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), Public Housing, Special Programs such as Section 811, New Lease, Chronically Homeless and Moving On Program with Home Start and market rate operations
  • Her extensive experience working successfully with resident advisory boards, community groups, government agencies, and non-profit partners

Serves on

  • Virginia Tech Property Management Program Advisory Board

Property Management Designations Held

  • Certified Apartment Manager (CAM)
  • C14P (Spectrum Enterprises)
  • National Affordable Housing Professional Executive (NAHP-e)
  • Accredited Residential Manager (ARM)

Studied at

  • Regis College (BA)

Out of Office

  • Enjoys cooking and spending time with her husband and two children
  • Volunteers in community initiatives with a primary focus on families and Seniors
  • Likes traveling, physical fitness and watching Law & Order
  • Serves as a delegate for the Democratic party
Eric Fulmer Senior Regional Vice President
Eric Fulmer

Eric Fulmer

Senior Regional Vice President

Eric oversees operations stemming from Beacon’s satellite office located in Pittsburgh, which includes approximately 4,500 units across Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida, Ohio, and New York. 

Known for

  • Focusing on efficiency and quality control, to simplify redundant processes
  • Ensuring the core focus of his staff is on creating a quality customer experience

Accolades

  • Academic All American in the sport of wrestling

Studied at

  • Mercyhurst University (BA, Management and Finance)

Out of Office

  • Actively pursues projects designed to revitalize many Pittsburgh communities
  • Frequents new, locally owned, Pittsburgh food establishments
  • Coaches wrestling at his local high-school and inner-city youth programs
  • Dog enthusiast
Ben Phillips Senior Vice President, Development
Ben Phillips

Ben Phillips

Senior Vice President, Development

Ben originates new development and provides support to project management staff, with a focus on expansion in new markets, public housing redevelopment, and supportive housing.

Known for

  • Sustained commitment to building private assets for public benefit
  • Innovation in supported housing opportunities for homeless people
  • Developed $1+ billion in assets in over 5,000 homes in 9 states coast-to-coast

Worked for

  • Develop Detroit
  • Mercy Housing
  • Project New Hope
  • Habitat for Humanity

Studied at

  • University of Michigan (BA)
  • Northern Illinois University (Music)
  • Interlochen Center for the Arts

Serves on

  • Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Regional Real Estate Development Leadership Council

Out of Office

  • Chamber Musician
  • Triathlete