The HKS Team


Mr. Swartz started his career in 1970 at Sonnenblick-Goldman, where he worked and developed his expertise as a loan originator until 1975, when he left to form the mortgage and Real Estate syndication firm- Pergolis & Swartz Associates Inc. Over the next 36 years he built a reputable name, and grew his firm to the size of 25 active brokers facilitating billions of dollars in transactions in mortgage origination, and related services for every form of lending and equity participation conceivable, including syndication, direct lending, construction, development, ownership, management, plus debt and equity procurement in every category of Commercial Real Estate. In April of 2011, he and his former assistant turned partner at PSA left to form HKS Capital Partners, LLC along with a former member of PSA, John Harrington. This endeavor has proven immensely successful in many ways in all forms of CRE. Primarily debt and equity procurement, direct lending, residential construction for his own account as well as investments in industrial, condo conversion, hospitality, multi-family and shopping centers.


Mr. Lee has been with HKS Capital since their inception in 2011. After making partner in 2015, Michael was featured in The Commercial Observer as a Top 25 under 35 broker. Last year he closed over $250 million in loans which included a full term, interest only 1031 acquisition for a mixed use building in Nolita at 3.25%, a non-recourse bridge and construction loan for a portfolio of high profile brownstones on the UWS, and a $30 million full term, interest only, cash out loan for a retail/office building on 5th Ave. Michael strives to work tirelessly for every client while using HKS Capital’s close lending relationships to originate uniquely tailored loans. Prior to joining HKS Capital, Michael graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science in applied economics and management.


Mr. Szczepaniak, a Rutgers Business School graduate in Finance at the Rutgers University – New Brunswick campus, joined Pergolis & Swartz Associates in 2010 as an origination intern.  Subsequently, he was recruited by HKS Capital to join them with the dual roles of analyst and originator on all asset classes.  Mr. Szczepaniak, who is also fluent in Polish, is determined to fulfill the needs of his clients through a combination of diligence and understanding of their individualized, unique needs.


Graduating from Binghamton University in 2008 with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Economics, Eugene Weinraub joined HKS in 2013. He has extensive knowledge in commercial lending such as construction, bridge, and mezzanine loans. Before joining HKS, Eugene worked at an insurance law firm as a settlement negotiator. The qualities he learned and gain in the law firm has been a positive impact to HKS.


Max Ralby graduated from New York University’s Stern School of Business in May 2016 with concentrations in finance and accounting. As a four-year member and a two-year captain of the NYU Men’s Varsity Basketball Team, Max helped lead his team to the NCAA Tournament while earning the distinctive honor of the UAA Defensive Player of the Year. Upon graduation, Max took his talents to Tel Aviv, Israel where he played professional basketball in the Israeli Basketball Association. Max was recruited into HKS Capital’s 2017 Summer Internship Program, and was subsequently hired as a full-time Capital Markets Associate upon completion. Max’s responsibilities include brokering commercial transactions by securing capital for his clients through various forms of debt, equity, and structured finance as well as underwriting and providing analysis for real estate transactions.


Mr. Kapahi entered the CRE finance industry at Pergolis & Swartz Associates in 2005, originating commercial mortgages on all assets classes, Hotel, Multi-Family, Retail, Industrial, Office, Owner Occupied and Land. In April of 2011, he left that firm too co-found HKS Capital Partners and with Jerry Swartz and John Harrington and he’s seen the new company grow from 3 to 33 in 3 ½ years. Over the past 9 years, he has financed well over $4 Billion in transactions spanning all categories, from construction to preferred equity, including almost all “agency” classes” Fannie, Freddie, HPD & HUD. He presents a unique understanding of the capital markets and their constant changing appetite for risk and analysis. With that comprehensive knowledge, he has been able to execute not only on vanilla transactions, but also carved himself a niche in the structured finance end of the real estate business with the ability to analyze and procure debt/equity sources that cover value add situations, note sales & DPO’s.


Dan Donahue joined HKS Capital in 2016 after his tenure at Brooklyn-based sales brokerage, CPEX Real Estate. A native New Yorker, Dan brings his market expertise and tenacity on each and every financing transaction. Dan’s ability to qualify a transaction and address each client’s objectives, allows him to source the optimal group of lenders for each financing request. Dan is a proven professional in originating, underwriting and structuring senior debt, mezzanine, and equity for all asset classes.


Michael Brown began his career at HKS in Fall 2015 as an intern where he worked for the firm during his senior year of college. With his strong background in finance coupled with his affinity for the commercial real estate industry, Michael eventually transitioned into a full time analyst in Summer 2016. At HKS, his primary focus is on the preliminary modeling and analyzing of deal structures related to the financing of various types of commercial properties. He works to approach each transaction he works on as a learning opportunity and is always looking to further his knowledge of the industry. Michael is a graduate of Fordham University with a B.S. in Applied Accounting and Finance.


Richard Garfinkel, Vice President of Commercial Originations who is responsible for CRE loan origination, debt, equity, and structured finance.  Educated at Columbia University School of Engineering, Garfinkel has been an active investor for more than 30 years. He possesses a deep and diverse background in business and in real estate construction, acquisition, permanent, and refinance lending. Also, he is experienced in contract negotiation between US and foreign companies covering asset exchanges, joint ventures, and asset finance deals.   “For all asset classes and with his acute knowledge of the capital markets Rich works diligently to satisfy those needs with a “hands on” approach from origination through closing,” said HKS Capital Partners co-founder Ayush Kapahi. “He has also developed and implemented strategies for equity and debt funding on behalf of public and private companies and has negotiated commercial leases.”


Rex Grasso joined HKS Capital Partners in June, 2012. He is a senior broker within the firm and focuses on acquisition and construction financing for all CRE asset classes. Rex began his career in the mortgage business at PFC Corp, a mortgage company founded by his father in the 1980s. Recruited by Bear Stearns in 1992, he joined the mortgage trading department where he traded multifamily project loans. In 1996 he returned to PFC, where he oversaw over $1 billion in multifamily loan production, and was lead negotiator in the firm’s sale of $1 billion in servicing.


Mr. Harrington entered the commercial real estate finance industry at Pergolis & Swartz in 2005 as a CRE finance broker, underwriting and facilitating commercial mortgages on all asset classes. From advising and guiding emerging clients new to the market, to being retained by highly experienced and well established CRE investors, operators and developers, he became well versed in structuring various transaction types through debt, bridge, construction finance, A/B note participations, and all “agency” classes: Fannie, Freddie, HPD & HUD.   In April of 2011, he left Pergolis to co-found HKS Capital Partners LLC with Jerry Swartz and Ayush Kapahi, successfully navigating a client base through the difficulties and nuances of the last credit cycle, well positioned for this current market. With the more specialized nature of construction finance, he has also developed a unique skillset for the understanding of the lending community and their aversion for risk, especially with the speculative nature of asset repositioning or development. Over the years he has facilitated a tremendous amount of construction financing within the states of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, with projects including intricate multi-residential towers and condominium sites, to multi-phase shopping centers, to large scale suburban apartment communities offering hundreds of units.


Daniel Kowalsky is an Analyst at HKS Capital Partners. He is responsible for the underwriting, analysis, and due diligence process of the firm’s deal production. Over the past year, Daniel assisted in the closing of over $50 million in transactions, and continues to accept new challenges moving forward. Prior to joining HKS as an intern in 2015, Daniel attended Binghamton University, where he received a BA in Economics.


Prior to joining HKS Capital Partners in 2017, Luke worked at RPM Development Group, where he oversaw the daily financial analysis and accounting for several properties within the firm’s ~$1B real estate portfolio. At HKS, Luke is responsible for brokering commercial transactions by securing capital for his clients through various forms of debt, equity, and structured finance. Luke obtained his B.S. in Finance and International Business from Villanova University. In addition, he studied Mathematics at Columbia University and he minored in Spanish at La Universidad de Cadiz. Luke is passionate about traveling, skiing, investments, and capital equity markets. He is fluent in Italian, Spanish, and French.


Brian Barkley is responsible for commercial loan origination. He began as a summer intern at HKS in 2015 and 2016. He hasunderwritten loan transactions, assisted in  developing pro-forma analysis for underwriting construction loans, and served on the construction team for SKF Ventures. While still in college, he originated a $7 million dollar transaction. He is quickly gaining deep knowledge of capital markets and lending trends. In 2017, Brian received a B.S. in Management from Indiana University, where he was a member of the real estate club.