Board of Directors

Jon S. Wheeler

Jon S. Wheeler, Chairman


Jon Wheeler is a real estate executive with 35 years of experience who serves as Chairman & CEO of Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust (“Wheeler”). Since November 2012, Wheeler has been trading on NASDAQ as WHLR, the first REIT ever headquartered in Hampton Roads, and specifically, Virginia Beach, and the only REIT based in the Commonwealth of Virginia primarily focused on grocery anchored shopping centers. The predecessor firm, Wheeler Interests, focused on real estate acquisition, development, management and leasing. Since its inception in 1999 and until 2012, Wheeler Interests acquired or built over sixty shopping centers in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Southwest regions in the United States, representing over 4,000,000 square feet of improved real property. Today, Wheeler is a fully-integrated, self-managed commercial real estate investment company focused on acquiring and managing income-producing retail properties with a primary focus on grocery-anchored centers. Wheeler’s portfolio contains well-located, potentially dominant retail properties in secondary and tertiary markets that are generally leased by nationally and regionally recognized retailers of consumer goods and that generate attractive risk-adjusted returns. Since 2012, the company has acquired 74 properties totaling over 5.0 million square feet of gross leasable area in twelve states.

Jon’s real estate experience includes retail leasing, marketing, acquisition, development, financing, management and disposition of strip centers, neighborhood centers, community centers, power centers and mixed-use retail space in both the urban and suburban markets. A graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, Jon earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1983. He holds or has held real estate licenses in the states of Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, Texas and the District of Columbia.

An active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Jon is also a founding member of Old Dominion University’s Industry Professional Advisors to the Center (IPAC) and on the Senior Advisory Board to E.V. Williams Center for Real Estate and Economic Development.

Currently, Jon serves as the Chairman of The Wheeler Benefit Foundation and as President of the Chesapeake Bay Wine Classic Foundation. In 2016, Jon joined the Executive Board of Old Dominion University’s Strome College of Business. In June of 2017, Jon joined the board of directors for the We Promise Foundation, the charitable arm of Chartway Federal Credit Union.

The Wheeler Benefit Foundation (“WBF”) was created in 2008 to support various local organizations. WBF hosted an annual Dodgeball Tournament for 5 years with the proceeds benefitting local non-profit organizations. To date, 0,000 has been donated to such organizations as Horizons Hampton Roads, Samaritan House, The Virginia Aquarium and The Navy Seal Foundation.

Past board memberships include Horizons Hampton Roads as Chairman; Monarch Bank, City of Virginia Beach Advisory Board, Chairman; Virginia Beach Foundation (now Hampton Roads Community Foundation), board member; Norfolk State University’s Enterprise & Empowerment Foundation (E2F), board member; and Virginia Business Coalition on Health, board member.

Jon has fulfilled requests to speak across the state by organizations such as the International Council of Shopping Centers, the Cox Executive Business Series, the Urban Land Institute, Modern Technology and Management Institute, and guest lectures regularly at Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University and The Mason School of Business at The College of William & Mary. He has been featured on MSNBC, WAVY TV, The Hampton Roads Show, HearSay with Cathy Lewis and Entrepreneur Magazine. Wheeler has been highlighted in Men’s Fitness Magazine as one of the Top 15 Fittest Companies in America. Jon is frequently featured on NAREIT discussing various topics regarding real estate and the business of being a Real Estate Investment Trust. He has written real estate columns for Inside Business and publications and newspapers such as The Virginian Pilot, Shopping Center Business and Dealmakers.

Jon received the Corporate Volunteer Leadership Award from VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads in 2013. Previous honors include the Entrepreneurial Excellence Award (Inside Business, 2009), Wellness in the Workplace Award from the Virginia Business Coalition on Health (2009) and the Hampton Roads Corporate Volunteer Excellence Award (2010, Good Corporate Neighbor – Small). He has been included in Inside Business’ Power List for the past four consecutive years. In 2015 Jon was profiled in the inaugural issue of Inside Leadership (Influencing People, Business and Community), a publication produced by Inside Business and The Virginian Pilot.

Wheeler also supports such organizations as VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads, The Noblemen, and Commercial Real Estate for Women (CREW), Hampton Roads Association of Commercial Real Estate (HRACRE), Tidewater Scholarship Foundation (ACCESS), and other various charitable organizations via its shopping center events throughout the country.

Jeffrey M. Zwerdling

Jeffrey M. Zwerdling, Director


Jeffrey M. Zwerdling, Esquire, is founder and managing partner of the law firm of Zwerdling, Oppleman & Adams which was formed in 1972 in Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Zwerdling’s areas of concentration include corporate law, commercial and residential real estate, personal estate planning, and general litigation. From 1999-2012 he served as President and Director of The Corporate Centre, a 225,000 square foot office park complex located in Richmond, Virginia. In May of 2013, Mr. Zwerdling was appointed to the Board of Directors of Capitol Securities Management Inc. CSM is a FINRA registered broker dealer whose assets exceed billion. Mr. Zwerdling was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army in 1967, served in the Army Reserve and Virginia National Guard, and received his honorable discharge after obtaining the rank of Captain in 1981. Mr. Zwerdling holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and received a Juris Doctor Degree from the College of William and Mary School of Law. He was an organizational investor in Southern Community Bank & Trust, now Village Bank. In 1998, Mr. Zwerdling was elected to the Board of Directors of Supertel Hospitality, Inc., a public company which trades on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange. Supertel is a real estate investment trust (REIT) which is a focused-service segment of the lodging industry. During his tenure at Supertel, Mr. Zwerdling served on various committees, including the Acquisitions and Dispositions Committee, and was a member and former chairman of the Audit Committee. In November 2012, Mr. Zwerdling was asked to serve as a Board Observer of Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust, Inc., a public company which trades on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange. Wheeler specializes in acquiring and re-invigorating well-located, potentially dominant retail properties that generate attractive risk-adjusted returns. Mr. Zwerdling anticipates that he will be asked to serve on the Board of Directors in the summer of 2013. He is a Master Mason of Fraternal Lodge No. 53, belongs to the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, and is a Noble of the Acca Temple Shrine of Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Zwerdling enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, reading and playing golf.

William W. King

William W. King, Director


Mr. King currently serves as Executive Director of the Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation, a 501(c)(3) corporation that owns and operates the schooner Virginia. He was appointed to that position in September of 2009. From 1988 through 2008, Mr. King served as the headmaster of Norfolk Collegiate School, an independent, co-educational, K-12 college preparatory day school and served on its board of trustees from 1984-2009. Prior to his service at Norfolk Collegiate School, Mr. King was Executive Vice President of SRMS, a management consulting corporation that was primarily contracted for services with the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force. Mr. King served in the United States Navy from 1962 until 1984, when he retired in the grade of Captain. Mr. King graduated from the University of Virginia in 1963 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance, the Navy Postgraduate School in 1977 with a Master of Science in Financial Management, and from Old Dominion University in 1995 with a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Education Leadership and Administration. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Chesapeake Bay Academy, the Future of Hampton Roads, Inc. and Horizons Hampton Roads. Mr. King was selected as a director because of his previous leadership experience.

David Kelly

David Kelly, Director


Mr. Kelly has over twenty eight years of experience in the real estate industry and currently serves as Chief Investment Officer for Wheeler REIT. Prior to joining Wheeler in 2013, Mr. Kelly was the principal of Kelly Development, LLC. Kelly Development specialized in the acquisition and management of retail properties primarily in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions. Mr. Kelly served as Director of Real Estate for Supervalu, Inc., a Fortune 100 supermarket retailer, for over 13 years focusing on site selection, acquisition and disposition from New England to the Carolinas. Over the course of his long career, he has completed transactions totaling over one billion dollars. Mr. Kelly also serves on the board of the Norfolk, Virginia SPCA and has a Bachelor of Science in Finance degree from Bentley College, now Bentley University.

Mr. Kelly was selected as a director because of his years of experience in the real estate industry, as well as, his experience in real estate management at a publicly traded company.

Carl McGowan

Carl McGowan, Director


Carl B. McGowan, Jr., PhD, CFA, is a member of the Company’s Board of Directors and the Chairman of the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors. Dr. McGowan brings over 30 years of extensive financial experience to the Board. Presently serving as the Faculty Distinguished Professor of Finance at Norfolk State University, Dr. McGowan has a BA in International Relations (Syracuse), an MBA in Finance (Eastern Michigan), and a PhD in Business Administration (Michigan State). Dr. McGowan has conducted extensive research in the areas of corporate finance and international finance, with specific studies relating to real estate operations. In addition to over 150 conference presentations, Dr. McGowan has published 68 articles in numerous peer-reviewed journals including: The Journal of Real Estate Research, The American Journal of Business Education, Applied Financial Economics, Decision Science, Financial Practice and Education, The Financial Review, International Business and Economics Research Journal, The International Review of Financial Analysis, The Journal of Applied Business Research, The Journal of Business Case Studies, The Journal of Diversity Management, Managerial Finance, Managing Global Transitions, The Southwestern Economic Review, and Urban Studies.

Kurt. R. Harrington

Kurt. R. Harrington, Director


Mr. Harrington has executed numerous IPO, secondary and other debt and equity capital raising transactions exceeding a billion dollars, and has overseen significant corporate merger and acquisition transactions. He negotiated, structured, financed and directed due diligence investigations for an active venture capital investment portfolio.

Mr. Harrington has served on a number of non-profit and corporate Boards. He currently serves as a Trustee and the Treasurer of Nichols College, and received the college’s Alumni Achievement Award in 2007. He is also a Director of Global Medical REIT, Inc.

During his career Mr. Harrington has been involved in a number of philanthropic, business, and community organizations. He co-founded the Montgomery Men’s Hockey League and coached youth hockey with the Montgomery Blue Devils. He holds multi-engine Private Pilot’s License and was a member of the Inn Flying Club. He was formerly a Registered Securities Representative, having completed the series 7,24,27 & 63 examinations, and currently qualifies as the financial expert under the SEC requirements.

In 1974 Mr. Harrington received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in Accounting from Nichols College, and earned his Certified Public Accountant certification in 1978. He has also attended Executive Education programs at the Harvard Business School and Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania.

Stewart J. Brown

Stewart J. Brown,


Stewart J. Brown joined the Board of Directors in August 2015. He serves on Wheeler’s Board of Directors’ Compensation and Investment Committees, as well as, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee where he is Chair.

Mr. Brown has over 45 years of financial and organizational management experience in executive management positions within the real estate, banking, and finance industries. Presently, Mr. Brown is a Principal with Dunkirk Partners, where he performs management consulting and executive coaching services. In addition, Stewart serves as Chairman of the Credit/Risk Committee for Community and Southern Bank and is a member of the board’s Joint Audit Committee. Mr. Brown has also served as the past Chairman of the Board of Lodgian, Inc. of Atlanta and Opportunity Bank of Dallas.

Mr. Brown served for over 32 years as an officer in the US Army in a variety of assignments. Stewart received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics from UC Santa Barbara and has an MBA from NYU’s Leonard N. Stern’s School of Business.

John McAuliffe

John McAuliffe,


John McAuliffe has been in the financial industry since 1979; he was a top producer at H.J. Meyers and managed a 50 man Chicago branch for 4 years from 1988 to 1992. He then ran Institutional Sales and was an Investment Banker with Meyers from 1992 -2002. McAuliffe and Meyers focus was the technology sector and Biotechnology and they underwrote many successful companies.. From 2002 – 2005 he ran his own consulting firm advising small and medium public companies. He then joined Newbridge Securities in late 2005. John was the Managing Director at Newbridge Securities and in March of 2010 was the lead banker for the largest secondary offering in Newbridge’s history, a 34mm financing for Tri-tech, Holdings.

John joined Newbridge Securities Corp in 2005, as Managing Director in Investment Banking department. During this time he was the lead banker and funder for Nexcera Medical a private company that was developing a reusable, anti viral, facial mask. The company raised mm from 2008 -2010 solely through Newbridge and McAuliffe over two years and in February of 2010 Nexcera received an FDA- 510k approval. He also was the banker and finder for Chemrx Corp. a private pharmacy which was bought by Paramount Acquisition Corp. a SPAC for 0mm in debt and equity in 2008, . Then in 2010,McAuliffe as mentioned previously, served as the lead banker in March for Tri-tech holding (TRIT)a secondary was done by Newbridge and Brean Murray which raised mm.. McAuliffe left Newbridge in March of 2010 to spend time with his family.. After a two year hiatus McAuliffe returned to Newbridge as Managing Director of Investment Banking. During this time Newbridge partner with Leerink Swann on OvaScience whose stock price has increased from - today and many other successful Biotechnology companies. In September of 2013 Newbridge served as the lead in Wheeler Investment Trust and has been instrumental in raising over 0 million to date. McAuliffe resigned as Managing Director of Newbridge in March 2015 but he still remains a lead banker focusing on China and Technology.

McAuliffe was also the lead banker for Able Labs, M-Systems, U.S.Teleconstructors, MRV Communications and Videospection a small public company whose modem was acquired by U. S. Robotics and then subsequently PALM while at H.J. Meyers in the 1990’s. He was also head of Institutional Sales and had broad range of Hedge Funds, PM’s and Mutual Fund clients in the U.S. and in Europe. It is also noteworthy that from 1990 until 1998 Meyers did over billion in financings primarily for Technology and Biotechnology companies whose road shows were lead by McAuliffe.

With more than 30 years of experience in the financial industry, John has been involved in all aspects of the capital formation process including IPOs, follow-ons, restructurings, private financings, management consulting, and strategic development particularly for small businesses. As an institutional sales manager and branch manager at H.J. Meyers for more than ten years, John was also a top salesman for much of this period, giving him a very strong background in sales and the capital market. Since 1990, he has been an investment banker, and has participated in excess of 200 financings in his career.

John earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York at Brockport.

John Sweet

John Sweet,


John Sweet has forty years of investment banking and corporate finance experience. Mr. Sweet is the co-founder and Chief Investment Officer at Physicians Realty Trust (NYSE:DOC), a self-managed healthcare real estate investment trust. Prior to founding Physicians Realty Trust in 2013, Mr. Sweet was a Managing Director for the privately owned, full-service, specialty investment firm, Ziegler. While at Ziegler, Mr. Sweet assisted in the financing and then management of a medical office building investment fund which became the initial core portfolio for Physicians Realty Trust. In 2002, Mr. Sweet also co-founded Windrose Medical Properties Trust, a publicly traded medical office REIT that was sold to Healthcare REIT (NASDAQ:HCN) in 2006.

John has been involved at a senior financial level in publicly traded and private companies, family offices and investment banking firm over the course of his career. He has also served on the boards of philanthropic and charitable organizations and was in the Army from 1968-1970.

Mr. Sweet received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from St. John Fisher College and an MBA. from Rochester Institute of Technology.



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