Meet the team
Daniel Smolensky, SIOR
« Our goal is to receive a letter of reference from our clients; it validates that we’ve all won. »
Daniel Smolensky is a Founder and Principal of Taurus Modal Group. Since 1994 Dan’s successful experience at some of the largest real estate firms in the world coupled with a personal desire to stake his claim fueled him to launch The Modal Group in 2008, merging with Taurus Realty Partners in 2015. Dan has completed transactions in excess of $500 million and 10 million square feet in industrial and office properties. Dan’s last brokerage position was with CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) when they acquired Insignia/ESG, where he enjoyed being a market leader and the dominant broker in the northwest/O’Hare sub-market of Chicago. That led to a position with First Industrial Realty Trust one the world’s largest owners/developers of industrial properties where Dan was charged with identifying buildings to purchase and executing transactions to feed the company’s $9 Billion of REIT and pension fund capital. Dan has worked on real estate opportunities in every major market in the US, Canada and Europe. Dan lives near Wrigley Field in Chicago and enjoys spending time with his wife and two boys, boating, golfing, taking road trips and the rooting for Chicago sports teams.
- SIOR — Society of Industrial and Office Realtors
- CSCMP — The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals
- IANA — Intermodal Association of North America
- NARS — North American Shippers Association, American Rail Shippers
- AIRE — Assc. of Industrial Real Estate Brokers
- REAA — Real Estate Advisors Association
- CHICAGO BOYS & GIRLS CLUB
- EMANUEL CONGREGATION
« In our world, Tenants are everything. »
Marat Safir is a Founder and Principal of TMG Taurus Modal Group. Previously Marat was the President and founding principal of Taurus Realty Partners. It was his vision of a firm, solely focusing on industrial tenant representation, that spearheaded the creation of Taurus Realty Partners in 2007, merging with The Modal Group in 2015. Prior to Taurus Realty Partners, Marat spent almost 10 years at UGL/Equis, one of largest tenant rep real estate firms in the world. As Vice President at UGL, he was instrumental in developing an industrial practice group. His impact has goes beyond Chicago where he is a significant resource to corporate clients throughout the country. Marat has had tremendous success evaluating and executing solutions for corporate clients and their industrial needs for nearly twenty years. Since 1996, Marat has been involved in over 375 lease and sale transactions totaling over $850 million in value.
Currently, Marat lives in Chicago’s West Loop with his wife & their two dogs. In his spare time, Marat enjoys hitting the slopes out West for some skiing and playing lots of tennis. He is a self-proclaimed Roger Federer fanatic.
- JUF — Jewish United Fund
- ADA — American Diabetes Association
Andrew Corken, SIOR
« Repeat business is the highest compliment I’ve received over the years. »
Andrew has nearly 30 years of experience in industrial and office real estate strategies for corporate occupiers. He specializes in representing clients to help achieve maximum savings on overall occupancy costs and operational and supply chain efficiencies.
Andrew has completed over 400 transactions in excess of 50 million square feet and 240 acres of land for development. He has executed many multi-state site selection projects and sophisticated strategic planning consulting assignments. He has represented companies to complete leases, lease renewals, lease extensions, property purchases and build-to-suits including the BMW build-to-suit in Minooka, IL and Sears build-to-suit in Romeoville, IL that both won the prestigious naiop build-to-suit of the year award.
Prior to joining The Modal Group Andrew was a senior level Vice President at CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) for 22 years in Chicago where he was regularly one of the top producers. He is also a member of the Society of Office and industrial Realtors (SIOR).
- SIOR — Society of Industrial and Office Realtors
- CSCMP — The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals
« Our global vision for our clients encompasses tenacious attention to every aspect of their transaction. »
Richard Klein affectionately known as “Richie” has been a corporate real estate professional for over 35 years. He is leading the tenant-rep office practice for Taurus Modal Group. Richie has negotiated more than 900 leases totaling more than 6 million square feet with a value in excess of $3.5 billion. His clients have included: Kemper Financial Services, Altair Corporation, Commodities Corporation, Radiological Society of North America, KPMG, ESPN and the Illinois Housing Development Corporation. Richie’s career began as the leasing director responsible for 7 million square feet of office space for the two largest landlord/developers in Chicago; Metropolitan Structures and Tishman Speyer Properties.
In addition to office leasing, Richie was also responsible for 300,000 square feet of retail space at the Illinois Center Development. Other leasing assignments included One Illinois Center (111 East Wacker Drive, 1 million SF), Two Illinois Center (233 North Michigan Avenue 1 million SF), Three Illinois Center (303 East Wacker Drive, 800,000 SF), 401 North Michigan Avenue (750,000 SF), 225 North Michigan Avenue (1 million SF), 205 North Michigan Avenue (1 million/sf), 222 North LaSalle Street (1 million SF), 10 and 120 South Riverside Plaza (800,000 SF each), 547 West Jackson Blvd and Illinois Center Retail (300,000 SF). Richie has leveraged his extensive network and experience to focus on advising tenants on their corporate real estate needs.
Richie graduated with distinction from the University of Illinois. In 1979, Richie founded the Downtown Real Estate Softball League comprising entirely corporate real estate professionals and continues to be the league commissioner. He is active with the Buoniconti Fund for Spinal Chord Research and other charitable foundations.
- MEMORY ROCK FOR ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION
- BUONICONTI FUND TO CURE PARALYSIS
- COMMISSIONER DOWNTOWN REAL ESTATE SOFTBALL LEAGUE
- MEMBER CHICAGO 16” SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME
« Genuine service requires you to put the needs of your clients first and foremost. »
Ryan Phillips, a Chicago area native, specializes in building relationships with his clients and tailors how he conducts, analyzes and negotiates real estate to match each client’s goals. Ryan has completed over 250 transactions totaling more than two million square feet. He has experience in multiple areas of real estate including industrial and office, as well as corporate real estate incentives. Over the years he has been recognized as a “Rising Star” and a “Game Changer” in the industry.
Ryan enjoys playing golf, coaching youth sports, cooking and spending time with his wife, daughter and son.
- AIRE — Assc. of Industrial Real Estate Brokers
« We always go the extra mile because we are looking for relationships not deals. »
Morgan Mellske is a part of the Taurus Modal Group office brokerage team, specializing in office tenant representation. Morgan represents a diverse client base in lease negotiations and relocations locally and nationally. Morgan is a native of Chicago growing up on Taylor street and the Bucktown/Wicker Park neighborhoods. He attended the prestigious Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary School, and then pursued his undergraduate degree at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota majoring in Business Marketing and he was a member of the golf team. Morgan enjoys introducing friends to his “secret” Chicago spots, and is an active basketball, hockey, softball player and an avid golfer.
- Young Professionals Board for Horizons for Youth
- FXW Alumni Committee
- Saint Mary’s University Alumni Committee
- Saint Ignatius Alumni Basketball League
« Our approach offers unparalleled access to data and insights that are critical to the decision making process. »
Andris Lizenbergs is an Advisor on the Taurus Modal Group brokerage team specializing in industrial tenant representation. Andris brings extensive business experience with a focus in the construction industry. His consultative approach is designed to bring new ideas and solutions to ensure that client goals are met. Both locally and nationally, Andris manages lease negotiations and relocations. Andris grew up in Evanston, IL where he attended Evanston Township High School. He then went on to the University of IL where he played men’s club volleyball and majored in political science. Today Andris resides in Evanston and enjoys golf, paddle tennis and spending time with his family and three young children. He is active in the American Latvian Youth Association and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
- American Latvian Youth Association
- Latvian Center Garezers
- Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Will Yorath is an Advisor on the Taurus Modal Group brokerage team focusing on industrial tenant/buyer representation both locally and nationally. Will brings a unique outside-the-box expertise coming from the logistics/supply chain industry. This knowledge allows Will to not only consult but also bring new ideas and solutions to ensure client goals are met. Will is a lifelong Chicagoan growing up in the Wrigleyville neighborhood. Will attended high school in Michigan at Cranbrook before earning his undergraduate degree at University of South Carolina majoring in Public Relations and Business. Will enjoys traveling, tennis, Chicago sports, concerts and those famed Chicago summers.
- Junior Council
- Cradles for Crayons
« I thrive on helping our clients make informed decisions and seeing them pleased with the final result. »
As the Director of Marketing and Research, Jill is responsible for designing and maintaining effective marking collateral as well as providing Taurus Modal Group with in-depth and competitive market intelligence. With 5 years of commercial real estate experience, she is responsible for marketing and research across all services lines. This includes collection and analysis of market data, GIS analytic services, employment mapping, advertising, maintenance of proprietary databases, public relations and communications initiatives.
Prior to joining Taurus Modal Group, Jill spent two years working at Transwestern as a part of the research and marketing teams. In this roll she was responsible for data collection, analysis, and the creation of dynamic marketing collateral to effectively relay the information to be used both by brokers and clients. Prior to Transwestern, Jill had the opportunity to work at Bradford Allen Realty Services as the Research & Communications
Coordinator. As the Research & Communications Coordinator Jill was responsible for providing detailed market analysis and research knowledge for both the downtown and suburban teams as well as the management of the firms public relations and social media platforms.
In addition to her experience in commercial real estate research, Jill spent almost two years at DTZ as a Broker’s Assistant. In this role she was responsible for the creation of marketing collateral for a team of up to 12 brokers as well as assisting them with the creation and maintenance of propriety databases and used for both the brokerage team and their clients.
- Member of Internet Marketing Association, Midwest Chapter
- Recipient of 2017 American Red Cross Heritage Award through volunteer work with Turning the Tide for Hurricane Relief
- Volunteer at St. Jude’s Chicago
- Former Make-A-Wish Ambassador for Tranwestern’s Chicago office
Including organization of fundraisers, event planning, and cobranding event marketing collateral.
- Former EMT-B for Altamont Rescue Squad in Altamont, NY
Chicago Executive Office Manager Estela Richards joined TMG in 2015. She has over 10 years’ managerial and administrative experience. She assists in the development and implementation of company policies and procedures; manages and oversees the administration of HR policies, programs, and practices within the company.
Estela’s creativity, drive, and leadership make her a critical component of the TMG team. She is responsible for all office procedures and uses her organizational skills to ensure smooth operations in a busy work environment. She thrives on challenges and is always looking for opportunities to expand TMG’s platform. Her commitment to excellence is ever-present in her relentless pursuit of customer satisfaction and loyalty she exhibits professionally and personally.
Estela completed undergraduate studies at Trinity International University (“TIU”) and continued her education in the field of Organizational Leadership at TIU. She earned an MBA degree from TIU in 2018.
Estela has been a resident of Chicago since she moved from Tirana, Albania in 2000. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her two children and friends, exploring the beautiful outdoors, hiking, biking, running, music, and traveling. She is always rooting for the Chicago Blackhawks, Cubs and of course Da Bears.
EDUCATION / AFFILIATIONS
- Trinity International University
- Chicago Police Memorial Foundation
- Park Community Churh (Member)
- Puerto Rican Police Association (Member)
« Our Construction team’s expertise on getting projects completed on time and on budget impacts the near-term to get our client into their space and the long-term happiness of the client and the employees. »
Michael Smolyansky is a Senior Vice President of Construction at Taurus Modal Group, LLC. Michael’s extensive and diverse background in construction includes all aspects of project management in areas such as commercial, residential, restoration, and industrial.
His career in construction began in 2000 with a custom home development firm where he handled all phases of new construction projects. Later, Michael joined a restoration company that specialized in residential and commercial reconstruction of properties after disaster that grew exponentially under his supervision.
In 2008 Michael started GCPRO, LLC that is presently operating as a leading full service restoration contractor in the Chicagoland market. The company is a preferred vendor for most major insurance carriers as well as a preferred contractor for multiple property management firms and non for profit organizations.
Throughout his career, Michael has been involved in development and growth of several organizations, including GCPRO, LLC that have been excelling in the industry for many years.
Michael’s progressive vision, dedication, and desire to excel helped him learn and adapt to variety of construction market sectors and clients across the industry.
- Wyndham hotel
- Katz and Katz Realty
- Elkay Plastics
- Venture One
- Cosmo Films
- Northbrook college of
- Dendor Construction
- Lamarco Systems
« As our client’s trusted advisor we provide end to end solutions. »
Ken’s construction experience began in 1985. Over the last 30 plus years Ken has worked at some of the largest firms in the real estate industry including The John Buck Company, Cushman & Wakefield, Grubb & Ellis, and DTZ UGL Equis Corp. Ken’s Project management expertise includes; bid negotiation, strategic sourcing, material management, due diligence, Tenant Improvement & new ground up construction management, budget & schedule management, and real estate strategy. Ken has been engaged in millions of square feet in multiple market sectors including office, industrial, education, high-tech, automotive, GSA projects, data center, law firms, manufacturing, and healthcare. Projects range form national portfolio design and construction, spec development, and office interiors. A sample of clients Ken has represented include Allianz, Bally Total Fitness, Kimberly Clark, Zurich Insurance, Littlefuse, American Hospital Association, USG, Willis Tower (Sears Tower), Version Wireless, Flextronics, Nippon Express and The Joint Commission.
« My goal is to cultivate lasting partnerships for our team and our clients. »
As a 25+ year, exclusive tenant representation, commercial real estate broker, Vickie leads local/national business development and relationship management efforts for TMG’s Client & Corporate Services group, as well the firm’s Project Management/Construction Services groups. She has been involved in all aspects of commercial real estate, including corporate space renewal, relocation, built-to-suit, building and land purchase/sale, subleasing, master planning (growth and rightsizing) and consulting.
In addition to maintaining her continually growing list of clientele, Vickie has experienced great success in designing custom, best-in-class strategic real estate plans, devising and implementing comprehensive solutions for real estate portfolios and on-going maintenance and monitoring of said plans.
Vickie has secured several Fortune 100 clients throughout her career, including Bacardi USA (portfolio), Sodexho, Kimberly Clark Corporation, YWCA, Cargill, Duracell, Sealy, Yellow Cab Management, Assurance Agency, Woodfield Convention Center and Cors, Inc.
Vickie is also owner of a corporate CPR/AED & emergency training and certification company, has two teenage sons and competes in national racquetball tournaments across the country.
- 1888 Mills
- Assurance Agency
- Bacardi USA
- Cargill, Duracell
- Cors, Inc.
- Fieldwork Chicago
- Foundation for
- Kimberly Clark Corporation
- Miller Resource Group
- Optimus Solutions
- Pulte Home Builders
- Sandler O’Neil Partners
- Sealy Posturpedic
- Tetra-Tech EM
- Universal Health Services
- Woodfield Chicago
- Northwest Convention
- Yellow Cab Management