By Joshua Burd
A real estate investment firm with a growing Northeast industrial portfolio has hired a new chief operating officer.
The veteran executive, Ronald Uretta, joins Wharton Equity Partners and will oversee all aspects of administration and operational functions of the business, as well as being involved in investment strategy and execution. He reports directly to Founder and Chairman Peter C. Lewis, who is based in the firm’s New York office.
The company touted the new hire after a year in which it saw record sales and acquisition activity in its industrial platform, including deals in southern New Jersey.
“Wharton Equity is in significant growth mode as we continue to build out our platform businesses,” Lewis said. “For instance, over the past 12 months, our early investments in industrial real estate have paid significant dividends, and Ron is a valued addition who will help us scale our development and investment activity in this sector.
“Ron’s business acumen and the background he brings in investment management and asset repositioning will be key to helping us reach new heights across both industrial real estate and our other initiatives.”
In a news release, Wharton said Uretta will help optimize processes and growth across its industrial, residential, hospitality and urban real estate platforms, creating efficiencies and synergies across the different business lines. He brings more than two decades of experience across both private and publicly held organizations, specializing in managing business processes for companies with ties to the real estate industry.
The firm added that, over the course of his career, Uretta has also been highly involved with securing investments, aligning companies’ core business and revenue goals, managing risk and leading strategic asset repositioning for commercial real estate firms. Prior to Wharton, he was a managing director at asset management firm CIII Capital Partners, where he oversaw risk management and major capital renovation projects for a portfolio of properties across the Northeast and Miami.
Earlier in his career, Uretta was the chief financial and chief operating officer for international real estate services company Insignia Financial Group, overseeing operations for the 12,000-person, $1 billion revenue company, the news release said. He built out several primary platforms for Insignia, including the firm’s tenant representation, property management and corporate real estate advisory functions.
He also created and managed the firm’s operations and infrastructure for over 60 domestic and foreign markets.
“After my work as a COO at previous companies, I’m excited to have made this move to Wharton and am eager to bring my risk and investment management experience to Peter’s team,” Uretta said. “I look forward to working with the company to provide operational oversight, help streamline activities for Wharton’s robust pipeline of projects, and optimize the firm’s acquisition and development processes.”
Uretta earned his bachelor’s in business administration in accounting and business from Waynesburg University, the news release said. In 2019 he received a Certificate of Completion in Commercial Real Estate Analysis and Investments from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.