About Us

OUR

History

Vanguard Real Estate Group was founded in the wake of the Great Recession that began in 2007. In December 2006, the partners believed that the bursting of the housing bubble and the dislocation of the credit markets provided an unprecedented opportunity to create a unique, fully integrated service platform.

Vanguard Real Estate

Our

Expertise

Vanguard Real Estate Group is a high-caliber, entrepreneurial and experienced real estate brokerage and development firm. Our company provides an array of acquisition, entitlement, brokerage, and land development services throughout Southeast Michigan. Since its inception in 2006, Vanguard has successfully initiated the close of real estate transactions valued at over $500 million, including vacant land, multi-family properties, fractured condominium developments, non-performing CRE debt, and single-family residential communities.

Leadership

Vanguard Real Estate

Michael A.

DiNello

Co-Founder & Managing Partner

Vanguard Real Estate

Frank A.

Lalama

Co-Founder & Managing Partner

Vanguard Real Estate

Sabrina

Cusumano

Director of Operations

Vanguard Real Estate

Nicole

Ulewicz

Senior Associate, Vice President of Builder Sales

Vanguard Real Estate

Chris

Rayner

Senior Associate, Vice President of Acquisitions

OUR

CAREERS

Vanguard Real Estate Group pursues excellence within an environment that promotes collaboration, communication, a sense of urgency, innovation, and value creation. We offer a range of fulfilling and challenging careers, and pride ourselves on attracting and retaining the best minds in the industry.

Michael A.

DiNello

Co-Founder & Managing Partner

Mr. DiNello is responsible for constituting Vanguard’s vision by leading development and brokerage operations as the firm scales. Mr. DiNello boasts nearly 20 years of experience in real estate brokerage, acquisition, and development within the Metropolitan Detroit market. He has personally initiated the close of real estate transactions valued at over $250 million, including vacant land, multi-family properties, fractured condominium developments, non-performing CRE debt, and single-family residential communities.

In addition to Michael’s overall guidance and supervision of the company, he has an extensive knowledge and proficiency in the field of land acquisition, site development, bank-owned property disposition, non-performing CRE debt assignments, and fractured condominium developments. His experience in real estate covers a broad spectrum of property types, property classes and complex challenges.

Frank A.

Lalama

Co-Founder & Managing Partner

Mr. Lalama serves as the driving force behind Vanguard Real Estate Group’s financial and operational success. In his versatile role, he oversees finance, investor relations, tax matters, and fiscal operations for Vanguard Real Estate Group and its various operating entities. Additionally, Mr. Lalama leads the National Builder Accounts team, contributing to the company’s growth and expansion.

With an extensive background spanning nearly two decades in the real estate industry, Mr. Lalama has honed his expertise across all its facets, including finance, acquisition, development, and capital markets. His profound understanding of the field has been a key factor in Vanguard Real Estate Group’s achievements.

Mr. Lalama’s educational foundation includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Corporate Finance, which he earned from Wayne State University. This academic background, combined with his practical experience, has been instrumental in his contributions to the real estate sector.

Beyond his professional commitments, Mr. Lalama actively engages with various esteemed professional, civic, and charitable organizations. He is associated with the Detroit Economic Club (DEC), the Urban Land Institute (ULI), and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Furthermore, he takes pride in being a sponsor of the Wayne State University Baseball Program, demonstrating his commitment to fostering emerging talent and making a positive impact within the community.

Sabrina

Cusumano

Director of Operations

Sabrina Cusumano is at the forefront of Vanguard Real Estate Group’s dynamic landscape as our Director of Operations. In her multifaceted role, Ms. Cusumano oversees critical facets of our operations, including agent recruitment, providing expert support for the continuous growth of our Builder Division, and the efficient management of front-office operations, including the adoption of innovative technologies.

Ms. Cusumano also leads the charge in shaping Vanguard’s marketing, communication, and branding strategies across all channels. Her strategic insights and creativity play a pivotal role in enhancing our brand’s presence and influence in the industry.

As a vital member of our Leadership Team, Ms. Cusumano actively contributes to the strategic planning and direction of our organization’s short-term and long-term goals. With over 7 years of corporate marketing experience and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Walsh College, Sabrina brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our team, ensuring that Vanguard Real Estate Group continues to flourish.

Nicole

Ulewicz

Senior Associate, Vice President of Builder Sales

Nicole Ulewicz, an accomplished Associate Broker, has devoted 25 years to assisting individuals in their real estate endeavors, including buying, constructing, and selling properties. Her impressive career spans a full-time commitment as a top-producing agent in Macomb and Oakland County, along with her management of nearly 20 new housing developments, showcasing her expertise in the field of new construction.

Nicole takes pride in her sustained success in the real estate industry, primarily driven by her exceptional ability to swiftly discern clients’ needs and devise customized plans to ensure the best possible outcomes. Under her guidance, the journey to harmonious homeownership becomes a seamless experience. She recognizes that the new construction process demands patience and impeccable organization, given the multitude of decisions to navigate and the inherent uncertainties to address. Nicole is well-prepared to handle the inevitable variables that arise during this process.

With a dedicated mission to create an exceptional customer experience that extends “Beyond The Sale,” Nicole ensures that her clients receive not only top-notch service but also a genuine commitment to their satisfaction.

Chris

Rayner

Senior Associate, Vice President of Acquisitions

Chris Rayner joined the Vanguard Real Estate Group in September 2018 as its Land Acquisition Manager. In 2020, he was promoted to Vice President of Acquisitions. He is responsible for sourcing, analyzing and underwriting acquisition opportunities across Metropolitan Detroit, that fit within the organization’s investment strategy as well as sourcing transactions and managing a large network of real estate contacts. 

During his tenure, Mr. Rayner has successfully closed a series of complex real estate acquisitions including raw land, improved residential lots, commercial redevelopment properties, and fractured condominium projects resulting in more than $50M of investment on behalf of Vanguard Real Estate Group, its affiliated entities, and strategic partners. 

During his career, Chris has worked in all facets of the sales industry including five years as a top producing outside sales agent for one of the nation’s leading real estate sales teams and ten years as a corporate software sales executive.