Diane Tipton is a founding Partner in SSZ. Ms. Tipton is responsible for identifying and securing the sites, reviewing due diligence information as well as analyzing the project costs and operational information to determine the economics of each of the projects. Additionally, she has a background in structuring debt and equity transactions for self-storage projects. Ms. Tipton also oversees the management company for the self-storage projects, SSZ Management, LLC. Ms. Tipton together with Mr., Garchik, was involved in the creation of East Coast Storage, LLC. Ms. Tipton has been developing self-storage since 1995 and to date has developed and has been an owner in approximately 2,300,000 square feet of self-storage. She has a BS in Accounting and a Masters in Tax from the University of Georgia.
Andrew J. Czekaj is a founding partner of SSZ and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cambridge Holdings, and Chairman of its operating subsidiaries. Mr. Czekaj has an extensive background in commercial real estate including development, project and portfolio financing, asset acquisition / disposition as well as asset/portfolio restructures. He joined forces in 1996 with Diane Tipton and Steve Garchik to launch a self-storage platform to counter the cycles inherent in the office market. He has focused on developing and maintaining a capital structure conducive to the long-term success of Self Storage Zone.
Mr. Czekaj has been instrumental in the development, financing, acquisition, and structuring of over $5.5 billion of commercial real estate. Mr. Czekaj has structured the development and acquisition of in excess of 14 million square feet of office and industrial product on behalf of partners and clients including the acquisition of 3.8 million square feet, in the District of Columbia. More recently he was instrumental in restructuring a $1 billion-plus commercial and residential portfolio concentrated in the Mid-Atlantic, Southwest, and Florida markets.
Mr. Czekaj is a graduate of Rutgers University where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He then attended The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University and obtained his Master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. Mr. Czekaj is a member of NAIOP and has been selected to the National Directory of Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals and the International Who’s Who of Entrepreneurs. Mr. Czekaj served for nine years on the Board of Trustees for Rollins College and is a board member of the Stimson Center, ranked among the top 35 think tanks in the United States.
Stephen Garchik is a founding partner of SSZ. He has been a real estate developer and owner for 34 years. In that time, he and his partners at The Evans Company of McLean, Virginia and subsequently at SJM Partners Inc. of Palm Beach, Florida have developed approximately 4,000,000 sq. ft. of office space, 2,500,000 sq. ft. of residential properties, 4,000,000 sq. ft. of self-storage projects, 1,500,000 sq. ft. of retail space and 500,000 sq. ft. of industrial product. Self-storage projects developed include 20 properties in the northern New Jersey and New York City metropolitan area, 15 properties in the Washington, DC market and 14 properties in Florida. He is also the managing partner of Miami City Self Storage which is currently developing storage facilities in the metropolitan Miami area. Key partners on these various projects include Northwestern Mutual Life Company, Walton Street Capital, JMB Corporation, Lehman Brothers, the Marriott family, the Goelet family (of New York City) and Clark Construction Company. Mr. Garchik has both a B.S. and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.