LEADERSHIP

Preston Byrd

Managing Partner

Preston Byrd is Managing Partner of Horizon with his primary focus being on new development opportunities. Originally operating as an independent developer, he later expanded the platform to outside investors who shared his values, goals and objectives. Mr. Byrd chairs the Investment Committee and has successfully assembled a strong development team. He also works closely with the asset management team to help maximize operations at the investment level. He is responsible for the company’s overall direction of development. Mr. Byrd has been an active real estate developer and investor for more than 18 years. As a Managing Partner, he has developed and executed revenue enhancement strategies for more than $1B in the multifamily housing sector. He specializes in development, complex financial structuring and management of risk. Prior to forming Horizon, Mr. Byrd built and sold several multi-million dollar companies from the healthcare sector to Information Technology. Mr. Byrd attended Middle Tennessee State University with a concentration in architecture and civil engineering.

Terry Spicer

President of Affordable Housing Division & Senior Vice President of Business Development

Terry Spicer is the President of the Affordable Housing Division & Senior Vice President of Business Development for Horizon. He is responsible for leading, planning and implementing all of the company’s new development expansion opportunities across the southeast region. Mr. Spicer oversees the formation of the company’s business partnerships and negotiation of contracts and leads the company’s planning and execution of strategies to increase the company’s growth and expansion opportunities. Mr. Spicer works closely with the asset management and development teams and is a member of the company’s Investment Committee. Prior to joining Horizon, Mr. Spicer lead growth and market expansions in the automotive industry with a footprint increase of over 200% over a period of 8 years under his leadership. Mr. Spicer also spent 20 years of his career developing strategy’s and processes to include management of the sales process, lead generation, new territory creation, growth and development for multiple locations and interfacing with executive team members to help shape the companys overall strategic direction for Mrs. Field’s Original Cookies North America brand. Mr. Spicer is also responsible for leading the company’s strategic partnership efforts to include cultivating relationships with both city and state officials and other government municipal body’s in an effort to create strategic alliances towards obtaining new market share.

Michelle LeBlanc

Chief People Officer

Michelle LeBlanc is Chief People Officer for Horizon. Mrs. LeBlanc oversees all aspects and strategy of human resources, organization development, diversity equity and inclusion, culture evolution, recruiting and retention. She is also responsible for leading culture transformation that focuses on Horizon’s values, providing strategic and day-to-day performance management guidance, leading employee relations, compliance matters, and driving internal communications.

Prior to joining Horizon, Mrs. LeBlanc has served in Human Resource leadership roles for several global Fortune 500 organizations, primarily in the oil and gas industry. She began her career in recruiting for a prestigious offshore drilling company. In this recruitment space, she found a real passion for helping others grow and improve, and she quickly moved into a Corporate Learning and Development team. Over the last 15 years, Mrs. LeBlanc has developed global competency programs, rolled-out organizational HR technology systems and supported internal client groups for over 8,000 employees. Mrs. LeBlanc also held a similar role with a manufacturing start-up organization in which she built and managed the entire human capital framework and employee population for the company. Although she has extensive experience in all areas of HR, her passion and focus is always on efforts to continuously improve and enhance the employee experience.
 
Mrs. LeBlanc attended the University of Houston and received a Bachelor’s degree in English and she holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resources from Texas A&M University.  She also holds a SHRM-Senior Certified Professional certification and is an active member in her local SHRM chapters.
Donald Smart
Donald Smart

Donald Smart

Executive Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer

Donald Smart heads the compliance and regulatory requirements at Horizon. His primary role and responsibilities include overseeing all compliance activities within the company regarding investor compliance laws, regulatory requirements, policies and procedures and best practices. 

Prior to joining Horizon, Mr. Smart was Managing Director in the Public Finance Department of Jackson Securities Investment Bank were he was responsible for developing new tax exempt finance clients in the Southeast Region and serving the needs of the company’s existing public finance and preparing FINRA and SEC filing requirements. 

Mr. Smart was also the Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Atlanta Life Financial Group were he served as the chief legal officer for each of the holding company’s three subsidiaries. Mr. Smart managed the legal, regulatory and compliance function including filing and reporting requirements for all four corporate entities and provided legal counsel to the Chief Operating Officers and Business Unit Officers.

Mr. Smart’s career includes him in roles of Managing Director at Jackson Securities Inc, Senior Vice President at Llama Company Investment Bank, Equity Partner at Glankler Brown Law Firm, Portfolio Manager at People’s Bank and Senior Associate at Merrill Lynch Capital Markets Group.

Mr. Smart received his Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College, A Master’s degree in Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School.

Marcus Maples
Marcus Maples

Marcus M. Maples

General Counsel for Horizon

Marcus M. Maples is the General Counsel for Horizon. Mr. Maples oversees all the company’s legal matters from contracts and land acquisitions to litigation management. Mr. Maples is also a shareholder of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, and has been elected to serve as president-elect of the Birmingham Bar Association (BBA). Mr. Maples role as a shareholder of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC allows Horizon to have access to a suite of legal services that are offered by the firm.

Mr. Maples, who previously served as secretary-treasurer of the BBA, tries cases and leads defense teams in a wide range of high-stakes cases including complex commercial litigation, shareholder disputes, and construction litigation. He has experience litigating in at least a dozen states due to his role as national counsel for an international engineering firm.

Mr. Maples is a member of Baker Donelson’s Diversity Committee and serves as chair of the Firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Compact Advisory Board. In 2021, he was recognized among the Birmingham Business Journal‘s “Leaders in Diversity” and was named to the inaugural class of YW Allies by YWCA Central Alabama. He has also been recognized as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers and the Birmingham Business Journal, and was named to the Birmingham Business Journal‘s 2020 “Top 40 Under 40.”

Mr. Maples received a B.A. from the University of North Alabama and a J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law.

Photo Jun 11 6 08 58 PM
Photo Jun 11 6 08 58 PM

Dan Zirolli

Chief Technology Officer

Dan Zirolli is the Chief Technology Officer for Horizon and is responsible for all of the company’s technological resources and IT infrastructure, which includes managing all IT policies, maintaining, improving, and expanding Horizon’s Infrastructure to stay in lockstep with the industry. Mr. Zirolli also leads the company’s technology vision, strategies, and plans for growth and optimal user experience for Horizon’s partners and investors by managing engineering, back-end product, data and IT with responsibilities for all enterprise applications and security solutions.

Mr. Zirolli has amassed technology experience in sales, marketing, publishing, multimedia, and retail over the past 13 years. Prior to joining Horizon, Mr. Zirolli held similar roles at GoPuff where he assisted in building the companies’ technology infrastructures from the ground up, including supervising the administration of all their IT systems and launching more than 360 distribution centers and branch offices around the world while managing multi-million dollar budgets across these industries. He specializes in creating and supporting IT teams, leadership, team management, project management, network administration, and vendor coordination.

Mr. Zirolli received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Franciscan University.

Matthew Burleigh
Matthew Burleigh

Matthew Burleigh

Fund Manager for Horizon’s Private Equity LIHTC Fund

Matthew Burleigh is the Fund Manager for Horizon’s Private Equity LIHTC Fund.  He is responsible for implementing the fund’s investment strategies and coordinating all fund-related developments and communication to both internal and external parties while ensuring the fund’s regulatory, legal, and strategic approach is compliant. Mr. Burleigh is also actively involved in the market research and general analysis regarding the fund, and he works closely with institutional investors, family offices and high net-worth individuals.

Prior to joining Horizon, Mr. Burleigh was engaged in the development and execution of various alternative investment strategies utilizing public real estate securities, including operating companies and real estate investment trusts (REITs).  He has analytical experience across all sub-categories of the real estate sector.  In addition to directing investment strategies, he was deeply involved in the due diligence, risk-analysis and performance attribution reporting associated with the on-going support of the strategies in which he was involved.

Mr. Burleigh received an MBA from The Goizueta Business School of Emory University in Atlanta and a BA in Quantitative Economics from Tufts University in Boston.  He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Raj Valluri

Vice President of Development

Raj Valluri is the Vice President of Development and is responsible for managing and overseeing development projects across the southeast region.

Prior to becoming Vice President of Development for Horizon, Mr. Valluri was Vice President of Design-Development with AMC Theatres for 13 years, where he managed design and led construction management initiatives; created project budgets and annual capex budgets while managing scope and schedule of multiple concurrent projects. During his tenure with AMC Theatres, Mr. Valluri managed a portfolio that consisted of 50 remodelling projects annually ranging from $5M to $7.5M per location, with an annual capex of $250M, and cumulative spend of $2B. 

Mr. Valluri also worked with Ameristar Casinos as the Director of Design where he oversaw the design of several capex improvement projects at 6 casino properties ranging from design of restaurants, buffets, VIP lounges, hotel remodeling projects, and new hotel developments.   

Mr. Valluri received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from The University of Baroda in India and a Master of Architecture, Urban Design degree from The Univeristy of Kansas.

Chris Fletcher

Chris Fletcher

President of Horizon Realty

Chris Fletcher is the President of Horizon Realty, a division of Horizon Companies. Mr. Fletcher is responsible for overseeing all real estate acquisitions and sales on behalf of the company. His duties also include locating land opportunities for purchase, negotiating pricing for purchase and sales, drafting purchase and sales contracts and leading and assisting a team of Real Estate Agents with closing transactions. Mr. Fletcher is a licensed broker in the states of Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. Mr. Fletcher has been a real estate broker for over 5 years and has exceeded annual sales of more than $10 million dollars. He is also a Board Member of CB&S Bank, he is a Board Member of the Boy’s & Girls Club of Alabama, and a member of the local and state Associations of Realtors in addition to the Multiple Listing Services (MLS). Mr. Fletcher is a US Army Veteran which has allowed him to carry the characteristic of service first into the private sector.

Will Armstrong

Vice President of Marketing & Communications

Will Armstrong is the Vice President of Marketing & Communications for Horizon and is responsible for the overall marketing performance of all business units with a focus on strategic planning and partnerships, new business launches, business unit performance, public relations, social & digital media, and the seamless integration of creative into the business process for the company’s brand messaging.

Over the past 15 years, Mr. Armstrong has worked in public relations in Los Angeles where he has specialized in lifestyle and branding and has been mentored by some of the most influential executives in the field. Over this period, Mr. Armstrong has become a force in the consumer brands & lifestyle space specializing in properties, products, and personalities. Mr. Armstrong applies a tireless work ethic, creativity, ingenuity, and results-driven commitment to consistently create value add to each project that he touches.  

Mr. Armstrong attended UCLA where he studied Public Relations.

Athena Kiapos

Director of Investor Relations

Athena Kiapos is the Director of Investor Relations for Horizon. She is the primary point of contact between the company’s existing and prospective investors and is responsible for overseeing Horizons real estate investment portfolio and successfully executing fund and property-level business plans. Ms. Kiapos also manages the company’s CRM investors reporting and distribution platform and she works closely with the company’s debt and equity partners for Horizon’s development transactions.

Prior to joining Horizon, Ms. Kiapos was the Managing Director at La Tuna Locations. In this role, she held similar responsibilities where she led and managed the operating team and was responsible for building and implementing the company’s overall debt and equity strategies. While there, she developed and executed short and long-term objectives to maximize cash flow, enhance value and solve critical operational issues in addition to supporting client relations for the company. 

Ms. Kiapos received a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Marymount California University.

Candace Spicer
Candace Spicer

Candace Spicer

Director of Planning and Urban Development for Horizon

Candace Spicer is the Director of Planning and Urban Development for Horizon. She is responsible for identifying and securing incentives for Horizon’s developments and serves as the point of contact between the company and area Chambers of Commerce as well as city and government officials and economic development organizations that serve as resources and/or governing entities for project incentives. Ms. Spicer also assists in the site selection process to ensure new developments are strategically located and add value to the community and company stakeholders.  

Prior to joining Horizon, Ms. Spicer was an Economic Development Representative at Memphis Light, Gas & Water. In this role, she was responsible for identifying utility incentives for commercial and industrial expansion and relocation projects. She worked closely with local Chambers of Commerce, Workforce agencies and Federal and State Economic and Community Developments organizations to encourage the use and re-use of new and existing infrastructure and aided in the creation of new jobs and capital investments. Her efforts assisted the utility in keeping rates low for customers and increased growth in the local economy.   

Ms. Spicer received a Bachelor’s degree in Education from The University of Memphis and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Belhaven University. She is also a graduate of Oklahoma University Economic Development Institute.