Meet Dakota Partners

Dakota Partners was founded in 2006 when Roberto Arista and Marc Daigle merged their individual real estate development businesses. Shortly thereafter Steve Kominski joined Dakota, bringing substantial experience in financing projects with low income housing tax credits (LIHTC), historic tax credits (HTC), and other federal, state and local programs. Since then, Dakota Partners has assembled an exceptional team that has decades of experience designing, developing, and building residential and commercial projects. This extraordinary group of professionals is dedicated to upholding the highest standards of quality.

Marc Daigle

Marc Daigle


As Principal and CEO, Marc oversees all of Dakota’s acquisition, entitlement, design and construction activities. Prior to co-founding Dakota, Marc was founder and President of Emerald Development Group where he developed two dozen projects with a value of more than $70 million. These projects ranged from luxury single-family residences to multi-family new and rehabilitated buildings. Before starting Emerald, Marc founded Architectural Partners where he designed more than 60 residential projects totaling almost 900 units of residential infill housing projects for other developers. Marc received a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture and Engineering from Wentworth Institute of Technology.

Roberto Arista


Dakota’s co-founder and President, Roberto is responsible for the development, project financing, and asset management activities of the firm. Roberto brings over 20 years of project planning, budgeting, development and financing experience, and has successfully managed over $100 million in capital projects. Previously, Roberto was co-founder of Austin Development where he was involved in multi-family condominium projects. Roberto holds a BS in Engineering from Northeastern, an MBA from Boston College, and an MS in Real Estate Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Donna Sperounis

Chief Financial Officer

Donna oversees Dakota’s financial and administrative operations, including accounting, cash and risk management, financial reporting and human resources. With over 20 years experience in budgeting, forecasting and financial analysis, Donna’s most recent roles before joining Dakota include work as a Controller and a Senior Vice President of Operations and Finance. Donna received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business with an accounting minor from Ashford University.

Stephen Kominski

Vice President of Acquisitions and Development

Steve directs all acquisition and financing activities for Dakota Partners, with responsibility for identifying, analyzing, securing and structuring the financing of sites and buildings appropriate for multi-family housing and historic conversion. Steve has more than 30 years of experience in real estate development, construction and asset management, including substantial experience developing properties that utilize state and federal tax credit incentives. Steve earned a BA in Economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an MBA from Suffolk University.

Jim Baugh

Executive Vice President of Acquisitions Development

As the Executive Vice President of Acquisitions & Development, Jim oversees his own acquisitions and development team at Dakota Partners in seeking and implementing projects through the full development cycle. With close to two decades of executive management experience in multifamily real estate development – specifically in developing affordable housing – Jim’s experience, knowledge, and leadership further elevates Dakota’s position as an industry leader in creating affordable and mixed-income housing. Throughout his impressive career, Jim has held leadership roles with several developers and equity syndicators in the affordable housing industry and has experience leading teams responsible for development, investor relations, and asset management. Jim received a BA in economics from The Ohio State University and an MBA from the University of Dayton.

Cheryl Stulpin

Executive Vice President of Acquisitions & Development

Cheryl oversees the development team for New York and the Mid-Atlantic states. An experienced real estate executive with more than 30 years of experience in Development, Construction, and Asset/Property Management, Cheryl has a strong background in structuring complex development and financial transactions, and portfolio management. As the Executive Vice President of Acquisitions & Development, Cheryl focuses on strengthening Dakota’s portfolio while also expanding into new states. Cheryl attended St. John Fisher College where she studied Liberal Arts. Active in her community, Chery is a former Board Member/Executive Committee Member of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing and Emeritus Member and Co-Founder of the Pennsylvania Developers Council.

Mark Pilotte

Vice President of Development

As Vice President of Development, Mark plays an integral role in growing Dakota’s portfolio. He is responsible for all aspects of the real estate development and permitting process. Mark brings more than 25 years of both national and international real estate development expertise, with a background in residential, office, industrial, retail and hotel development. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Roger Williams College and is a member of the Board of Directors on the Greater Hartford Arts Council.

Stephanie Marcus

Vice President of Acquisitions and Development

Stephanie is a seasoned real estate executive with over eighteen years of proven experience ranging from initiation to completion of construction for projects valued at over $500 million. In her role as Vice President of Acquisitions and Development, Stephanie is responsible for identifying project opportunities and growing Dakota’s portfolio of communities in the Mid-Atlantic region. Utilizing her strong leadership and planning skills, Stephanie coordinates and directs her project teams in wide variety of activities, including identifying and evaluating new development transactions, strategizing entitlement activities, leasing, and construction management. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban and Public Policy Studies from the State University of New York at Buffalo and earned a Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute.

Jim Peys

Director of Acquisitions

As Director of Acquisitions, Jim identifies potential development sites in New England, New York and the Mid-Atlantic states. His responsibilities include site identification, feasibility analysis, and due diligence. Jim is a results-driven professional, operation director, and real estate broker with a diverse career in management, sales, operations, project management and executive leadership in the construction, investments, real estate and development industries. A licensed real estate broker, Jim also holds a JD from the Whittier Law School and a BA in Business Administration from St. Michael’s College.


Eric Kuczarski

Development Director

Eric oversees and manages all aspects of the development process, including the closing, construction and/or renovation and lease-up of Dakota’s active projects. Eric brings over 15 years of project management experience in multi-family and mixed use development projects. He earned a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, an MS in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Certificate in Real Estate Design and Development from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Evan Fink

Development Design Director

Evan brings over 15 years of industry experience to the Dakota team. A licensed architect in Massachusetts and a member of the American Institute of Architects, Evan oversees and coordinates the design and pre-development phases of all projects. He also manages the team’s architects, engineers and other design consultants. Evan graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. He takes pride in providing quality housing that focuses on quality design and community for it’s residents, and has designed and funded Passive House Certified (PHIUS) multi-family housing projects.

Muammar Hermanstyne

Development Director

Muammar is a senior planner and project manager for Dakota Partners in his role as Development Director. With more than 13 years of experience working in the housing industry, Muammar has experience with the development, community interface and funding applications for affordable housing projects in the Central District of Seattle. He is also a licensed real estate agent in Massachusetts. Muammar earned a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from New York University and holds a B.A. in Journalism and Political Science from Long Island University.

Michael LeBrun

Director of Finance & Asset Management

Mike comes to Dakota with over 24 years of industry experience in mixed-use, mixed-income developments across the country, representing both the Owners and Investors position in the transaction. He is an accomplished division manager with expertise in formulating and executing strategies that maximize property performance and value. With significant development, redevelopment, and asset repositioning experience, and a strong background in evaluating and managing portfolio performance and corporate cash flow, Mike leads our Finance and Asset Management staff.  Mike holds a B.A. in Business Management from Curry College, and an Master’s Degree in Finance from Suffolk University. He has also completed the Professional Development Courses for Continuing Education in Real Estate at MIT. He is a member of various real estate organizations, and has taught Graduate level Real Estate Finance and Investments as an adjunct professor at Suffolk University.

Karl Walsh

Vice President of Construction

As Vice President of Construction, Karl oversees construction operations, onsite safety and the financial well-being of all projects. He brings more than twenty-five years of expertise in multi-family residential, commercial, and assisted living construction to Dakota Partners. Additionally, Karl collaborates with the development team to ensure projects are strategically planned, supported and meet targeted budgets and delivery schedules, all while delivering a quality finished product. He holds a degree in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Industrial Studies from Ulster University.

Drew Bourne

Construction Project Executive

As Project Executive, Drew takes ownership of day-to-day project operations. Serving as the main point of contact, he manages relationships with the architect/engineers, construction administration, and subcontractors to ensure on-time/on budget project delivery. Drew is also responsible for quality control throughout construction, RFIs, change orders and managing communication between design teams and subcontractors from permitting through move-in. Prior to joining Dakota Partners, Drew gained extensive experience as a development manager while working for a large privately held construction and real estate development firm. He also has experience as a general contractor building and renovating custom and historic homes in the Rhode Island area, in addition to retail construction and fit-outs. He is OSHA 30 certified, CPR/ AED, First Aid trained and holds a Massachusetts Unrestricted Supervisors License.


Frank Brachanow

Senior Construction Project Manager

A resourceful problem solver with strong analytical abilities, Frank is exceptionally skilled in developing a viable plan and taking projects from inception through to completion. With a background in luxury residential development, construction, and management, he skillfully manages relationships with architect/engineers, construction administration, and subcontractors to ensure on-time/on budget project delivery while ensuring quality control and safety. Prior to joining Dakota Partners, Frank gained experience in all facets of real estate development through positions held as Real Estate Director and Construction Manager for large privately held construction and real estate firms. Frank holds both a Bachelor and Master of Science degree in Construction Management from Wentworth Institute of Technology, an Unrestricted Massachusetts Construction Supervisors License, an Unrestricted Florida General Contractor License and is OSHA 30 Hour Safety Training Certified.

Mark Ventura

Construction Project Manager

With more than 20 years of project management experience and a keen attention to detail, Mark expertly manages construction from development through close out. Working closely with the construction team, architect, and subcontractors, Mark ensures quality and safety onsite while delivering projects on time and on budget. With a strong background in commercial and residential construction, Mark’s impressive and diverse portfolio includes projects for prestigious independent schools, national senior living facilities, and expansive residential communities. Graduating Summa Cum Laude, Mark holds a BS in Construction Management from Wentworth Institute of Technology.