top of page

Employee Career Story:
Nicole Frank


Nicole Frank's journey to leadership in CREA's Finance and Accounting Department is a testament to her unwavering dedication and passion for numbers. Nicole earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Accounting from the University of Illinois, and went on to obtain her CPA license before starting her career at Ernst & Young LLP. There, she refined her skills in the audit practice. Her expertise propelled her to the position of Director of Finance and Accounting at Beazer Homes before joining CREA in March 2014.

Nicole's inspiration to pursue a career in accounting stemmed from her innate love for numbers, nurtured by exceptional professors during her college years. However, her decision to join CREA was driven not only by professional aspirations but also by a desire for a better work-life balance after becoming a mother.

“After I interviewed with Roger, Jeff, and Brian, I knew that CREA was the place I needed to be,” said Nicole. “In those interviews, I saw how excellent the leadership was at CREA, how CREA values their employees, and that it’s not all about the numbers.”

Nicole is quick to highlight the uniqueness of CREA's workplace environment, saying, “The culture at CREA makes you feel a part of one big family. Everyone, no matter the level at the company, matters. How many CEOs do you know that have meetings with every new hire to get to know them and make them feel a part of their new company?” Furthermore, Nicole emphasizes that CREA is a place where people can have successful careers while balancing their roles as parents—a testament to the company's commitment to work-life balance.

Since joining CREA, Nicole's role has evolved significantly. Initially tasked with overseeing the budget process and financial reporting, she has since taken on additional responsibilities, working closely with Chief Financial Officer, Roger Shank, and other team members to streamline operations and empower her colleagues.

“I have done so many things that I am proud of over the last 10 years at CREA, but I’m most proud of helping shape our wonderful accounting department into a small but mighty family of top performers.” With the help of her leadership and a supportive team, the Finance and Accounting Department has thrived, achieving numerous milestones such as expediting year-end audits and facilitating significant acquisitions.

Nicole attributes much of her success to the supportive culture at CREA, where every employee is valued. Roger Shank, in particular, has played a pivotal role in her career development. “Roger has always been an advocate and supported me in my career goals. He makes sure I am given the opportunities to develop the skills I need to get me to the next level in my career. He always has made me feel that we are a team and values my opinions and perspectives on different work situations. I wouldn’t be in the position I am today without his support and trust in my capabilities.”

Reflecting on her journey at CREA, Nicole cherishes the moments spent connecting with her colleagues and fostering relationships that define the company's unique culture. She emphasizes that having success in one's career is not just about doing great work but also about the relationships built along the way. Nicole firmly believes that any achievements made at work would not be possible without a good team supporting her—a sentiment that underscores the collaborative spirit at CREA.

“We are different at CREA and truly value our people. Leadership is constantly striving to be better whether in business or how we treat our employees. Our culture is one of the big reasons that I love working for CREA and know I am blessed to work here.”

Frank-1 - Copy.jpg

Employee Career Story:
Brian Everest

Following high school graduation, Brian Everest immediately started his career in the housing industry—rather, he fell into it. His sister found out that there was an opening as an Assistant Manager for a private property owner in Portland, Oregon, since she worked for a sister company. At 17 years old, Brian showed up wearing a jacket and tie and was hired before he even mentioned his name. He spent 9 months there before moving to a job in a newly constructed LIHTC property. At that point, in the wise words of Brian, “the rest is history.” Brian’s insatiable desire for coffee fortuitously helped pave his next steps: “While attending a tax credit compliance training class I was offered a job because I took the initiative to make another pot of coffee for the class without being asked.” For the next ten years, Brian worked as an Assistant in that impressed company’s Asset Management department and then as a Closing Coordinator for Syndications. Brian steered the operations of “a subsidiary training company teaching on-site managers to learn LIHTC compliance” for two of those years, as an organizer and instructor. He also wrote a manual on and taught a class about “marketing and leasing for first-time property managers in LIHTC” for the Houston Apartment Association. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Enterprise gathered people to form Providence Community Housing—a nonprofit organization striving to rebuild the damaged apartment buildings. Once a quarter, Brian was privileged to travel to New Orleans to help establish their due diligence process and work through tax credit applications. Brian will always remember reopening a senior building: Seeing residents’ joyful and relieved faces upon returning home after being displaced for many months underscored the profound impact of their work on communities. Brian also earned his Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) and Oregon/Washington Community Association Management (OWCAM) certificates while he was the Portfolio Manager for an HOA and condominium management company. Then, he spent one year as an Operations Coordinator for a market-rate luxury apartment developer and owner, which allowed him “to work with on-site property managers and help them draft their business plans and budgeting.” Nevertheless, he swiftly returned to another tax credit syndicator in California for one year before family called him back to Oregon. Once he returned, Brian worked as a Portfolio Manager for a private landowner with numerous units in Ohio and Oregon. Brian soon discovered that the 3rd party management company overseeing the Ohio properties had not been on-site for over a month—needless to say, the properties were in distress. After firing this management company, Brian spearheaded starting a new management company from the ground up: He created company policies, designed marketing materials, hired skilled staff and handled accounting activities. Sooner or later, Brian saw an advertisement for an open Closing Coordinator position at an unfamiliar tax credit syndicator, CREA LLC. He did not know anyone there, but his headhunter had known Brad Bullock for years and reached out. Brian’s breadth and long tenure within the housing industry spoke for itself in the hiring process. Again, the rest is history. Brian joined CREA’s acquisitions team in 2017, where he has transitioned from acting as a Closing Coordinator to working on pre-LOI Originations. Brian appreciates CREA’s supportive leadership and is eager to see the CREA Foundation continue to take shape. His favorite affordable community is Orchards Plaza by Guardian Real Estate Services LLC—originally in his portfolio during his time with Guardian—which he is pleased has been re-syndicated. When asked about what makes CREA different, Brian’s answer is clear: the people. Particularly, “the transparency, support, communication, humor and commitment to work-life balance makes it easy to work hard for this company and the people you work with.” We are truly grateful that Brian Everest found his work home at CREA. Passionate about lending his skills to create helpful services for his community, Brian has also served as the Chair of the Housing Advisory Committee for Clackamas County; assisted the Tourism Promotion Committee of Wilsonville, Oregon; participated in the Adopt-A-Road Program; and worked on campaigns for City Councilor, Mayoral, School Board, and State Senate races as a graduate from the City of Wilsonville’s Citizen Academy. Outside of work, Brian manages a wine tasting room close to his home in McMinnville, Oregon, located in the heart of Willamette Valley wine country. For anyone who needs advice on public speaking: Brian spent eight years in competitive speech and debate in high school and college, coupled with nine years coaching a community college team! From Brian’s 27 years in the LIHTC industry, he emphasizes the value of communication and connection with coworkers, developers, investors and communities. The CREA family thanks you for your dedicated and enthusiastic work in the office and broader community. ​ ​ Meet Brian’s three dogs: Cooper (7), Rowdy (5), and Birch (9)!

bottom of page