OUR COMPANY HISTORY

The Romano-owned companies began in 2003 as a loan brokering business established by Kess Romano and his father Jerry Romano. The company originated residential mortgages and other loans secured by real estate in Washington State.

When credit markets began disappearing across the country in 2008, banks stopped lending and traditional financing methods became increasingly difficult in the real estate market.

Kess recognized a market need for alternative capital sources. These would support local developers and builders who had projects with value and no access to capital causing the projects to stall and value to be lost. The Romano companies adjusted and restructured, pivoting to private equity capital.

Kess cultivated his expertise in private equity fundraising and management. He obtained both his Series 65 securities qualification as well as a Registered Investment Advisory designation which are foundational for the company today.

Today, Romano Capital is a full-service investment company with vertically integrated subsidiaries that reinforce our investments and produce quality investments while mitigating investors’ risk.

CORE PRINCIPLES

  • Investors First: We remind ourselves that our clients are the foundation of our company
  • Security: We diligently protect investor principal, valuing long-term growth over high-risk gain.
  • Operating with Transparency: We demonstrate integrity, candor, and openness in everything we do.
  • Executing with Precision: We follow through on our commitments faithfully and dependably.
  • Improving Continuously: We embrace change, always seeking to better serve our investors, partners, and community.

THE ROMANO CAPITAL LEADERSHIP TEAM

Kess Romano

President, Principal

Korban Romano Headshot

Korban Romano

Principal, Director of Operations

Ted Cassel headshot

Ted Cassel

EVP Investments

Chrissy Cole

EVP Construction & Procurement

Nikole Williams Headshot

Nikole Williams

VP Marketing & IT

Andrew Bielat Headshot

Andrew Bielat

VP Investor Relations

Brian Sterling

Head of Finance & Accounting

Kess Romano

President, Principal

Kess Romano is the CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Romano Capital, a real estate investment firm focused on capital investment in residential and commercial real estate. As the Founder, Kess creates investment funds to develop, build, buy, sell, rent, and lend for both commercial and residential real estate projects providing investors a secure investment with higher than market yields. The company’s clients are its investors, who look to Romano for high-quality investments and long-term wealth building. 

Romano Capital and the group of affiliated Romano Companies were built on a foundation that began in 2003 with a mortgage loan brokering company-Romano Financial established by Kess and his father, Jerry Romano. In 2010 Kess Romano founded Capital Preservation Management, a licensed Registered Investment Advisor to manage its private placement debt funds and later Romano Capital, which has grown to become a full-service real estate investment company. The lending business continues to be the backbone and performs best in down markets.

Kess drives the initiation and negotiation of the development process through the entire project lifespan making timely adjustments to cycles and changing market conditions. He underwrites every deal and knows the properties intimately and possesses in-depth local knowledge and relationships with developers. 

After graduating in 2000 with a degree in Economics from George Fox University, Kess began his career working as a loan processor for Crown Home Mortgage and quickly was promoted to Loan Officer. During a down market, Kess closed a record amount of loans for the company.  Kess joined Star Mountain Mortgage, acquired by Countrywide, to gain additional experience with a company that specialized in new construction loans and worked for another two years successfully originating loans before starting his own company Romano Financial in 2003. 

In 2008 as the credit market seized up to strengthen Romano Financial, Kess acquired his Advisory Securities license and established Capital Preservation Management, LLC (CPM), a Registered Investment Advisory Firm in the state of Washington.

Today Kess and his team have created and managed 20 private offerings in various types of real estate in the Pacific Northwest.  Investors, on average, have achieved targeted returns of 10-20% in equity funds and 6-10% in debt funds without ever losing capital.  All the investments are in and around Portland and Vancouver/Clark County, the fastest-growing county in Washington, leveraging Romano Capital funds with investors’ money and always putting their investors first. 

Korban Romano

Principal, Director of Operations

Korban grew up in and around Vancouver, WA and is happy to call the Northwest his home. After school he pursued several different entrepreneurial careers before deciding to move to Argentina to work for humanitarian causes. Upon returning to Washington, he became interested in real estate investment and began working with his brother Kess.

Korban joined Romano Capital in 2011 and during that time has overseen much of the company’s growth and expansion of its core lines of business. Initially Korban acted as the company’s internal accountant, handling reporting and compliance for over 30 LLCs. Since then, his expertise in private money lending has allowed the company to quickly scale its Capital Preservation mortgage fund to its current cap of $20 Million.

Korban now serves as the Director of Operations for all the Romano Companies and directly oversees loan underwriting for all the Romano managed investment funds. In addition, Korban manages company cash flows and ensures that the company accounting, and reporting procedures are compliant with industry and regulatory standards. .

Ted Cassel headshot

Ted Cassel

EVP Investments

Ted graduated from Pomona College in 2005 with a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. After spending time studying International Politics in Germany, he returned to the U.S. and began a career in real estate. He became a licensed real estate broker with CBRE, where he worked with the HUD services group specializing in transactions involving federal subsidization; especially Section 8 assistance payments, tax exempt bond financing, and syndication of Section 42 Low Income Housing Tax Credits. Experience in the complex and unique ways that government subsidized housing is financed would prove invaluable later in his career. In 2012 Ted returned to his hometown of Vancouver, WA with a desire to learn more about the development and finance aspects of real estate. He began working with developers in Clark County, WA and applied his experience from commercial real estate brokerage. In 2016 he joined Romano Capital as the company’s VP of Investment Strategies. In this capacity, he works closely with Kess Romano and is instrumental in both designing and managing the company’s investment funds.

Chrissy Cole

EVP of  Construction & Procurement

Chrissy Cole has over 26 years’ experience in the residential construction and banking industries. A graduate of Washington State University with a degree in Finance, and minors in International Business and Human Resources, Chrissy brings extensive corporate finance experience from her roles as CFO, Controller, Director of Finance and AVP of Lending at both private and publicly traded organizations. Chrissy has a Series 65 license, Life and Health insurance licenses in Oregon and Washington, as well as a Senior Professional of Human Resource certification.

Chrissy is focused on the lending, insurance, construction costing & processes, and assists with operations of the Romano Group of companies.

Chrissy seeks new adventures through on-going education, international travel, aviation, and farming. Chrissy and her husband Andy, have three grown children, one grandchild, and enjoy living on their hobby farm in Washington with their three dogs and host of farm animals.

Nikole Williams

VP Marketing & IT

Nikole is the VP of Marketing and Head of IT at Romano Capital. She develops, implements, and leads all facets of marketing and IT tools including strategy across the company, investor relations, brand, digital media and content, with an emphasis on building great relationships with customers and achieving the business needs of Romano.

  As a native Midwesterner, she graduated from Indiana University and holds a Digital Media and Marketing certification from Duke University. She has worked in in several Fortune 100 companies like Intel Corporation and Nike and ran partnership programs with customers like the NFL, NBA, Marriott and Emirates Airlines. While at Intel, Nikole traveled to Africa to meet with The Seychelles’ Ministry of Education and worked one-on-one with teachers and students to train on how to incorporate technology into school curricula and everyday life.

  She is a strategic thinker, collaborator, and dynamic, creative, and story-focused marketing professional with a unique blend of emotional intelligence and analytical acumen to lead and represent at all levels.  

Nikole is excited to apply her many experiences to the Romano Capital company where everyone feels like family

Andrew Bielat

PV Investor Relations

Andrew is the Vice President-Investor Relations of Romano Capital. He leads the design and implementation of the IR strategy from the ground up.

Andrew brings organizational, systematic, and customer service expertise to the team. His primary responsibility is to facilitate and build trusted relationships and continue to develop credibility and confidence with clients and industry partners. He partners with internal stakeholders to build a better understanding of the company and drive the investor experience.

After graduating with a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Illinois, Andrew began his career with Frito-Lay and spent the next 11 years in leadership positions in diverse industries, eventually becoming the Chief Operating Officer at a $1B steel company. In 1997 he struck out on his own and established a business advisory firm and later added a software service company to provide growth-related services to more than 70 companies over 20 years leading to the sale of the company in 2018.  Andrew is a published author of two books, Profit Hawks; Capture the Profits Being Lost Every Day to the Complexity of Your Business, 2016, and The Best Possible Enterprise: A Comprehensive Guide to Optimal Profits, 2013.

Andrew Chairs the Vistage CEO-Think-Tank, an organization leading groups of high achieving CEO’s. He is deeply involved in the community as a Limited Partner with Portland Seed Fund and with several 501(c) 3 organizations, including Northwest Association for Blind Athletes, Pacific Northwest Golf Association, and 100 Men Who Care In Clark County.

Brian Sterling

Head of Finance & Accounting

Brian is responsible for financial reporting as well as assisting with system development. He is a Vancouver native and graduate of Washington State University where he studied Business Administration. In his career, Brian has served in several finance and accounting roles that have yielded a wide spectrum of experience. Prior to joining Romano Financial, he served for more than a decade as CFO of a national online retailer.