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Milan Capital Management

Team Members



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Claus Dieckell

Claus Dieckell is the Founder and Chairman of Milan Capital., A serial entrepeneur with a background in retail and technology, Claus has lived in Southern California for more than 30 years and has been active as a principal in the Southern California commercial real estate market since his arrival here. 


After initially acquiring multi-family properties in Hollywood, Claus opted to sell his entire portfolio in the late 80s, near the top of the Southern California market. In 1993, he jumped back into the market at a time when values had declined to half the level at which he sold. Claus has overseen the acquisition of more than 1,200 apartment units and more than 2.5 million square feet of commercial properties.

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Christopher Nichelson

As President of Milan Capital, Chris Nichelson develops the company’s ownership and management strategies, and insures their successful execution. He serves as the firm’s investment manager and works closely with the rest of the executive team to grow the portfolio and to maximize the value of each asset.  


In June 2001, Chris joined Milan as the firm’s General Manager to oversee the management of the residential portfolio and to help the company explore opportunities in the commercial sector. During his tenure, he has overseen the acquisition of more than 2 million square feet of commercial space and 200 acres of land for development. Chris has 25 years of experience in real estate development, investment, and management, and is a licensed Real Estate Broker in California.


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Rod Valverde
Vice President of Asset and Real Estate Management

As Vice President of Real Estate Management, Rod Valverde directs our asset management and property management operations. Rod oversees strategic planning and all day-to-day operations of the properties including leasing, budgeting, vendor contracting, reporting, and maintenance for the portfolio.  Rod has more than 28 years of commercial property management experience.  


Prior to joining Milan, he was Vice President of Colliers, the largest commercial real estate firm in Hawaii.  Since joining Milan in 2006, Rod has developed operating and reporting systems that have increased Milan’s efficiency and capacity for further growth. He is a licensed Broker in California (Lic # 01887891) and Hawaii (Lic # RB 17441).

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Chris Gilmartin
Chief Financial Officer

As Chief Financial Officer of Milan Capital, Chris Gilmartin is responsible for the planning, management, and successful execution of the company’s financial and accounting services, including strategic planning, management reporting, tax compliance and the financial aspects of debt and equity relations.


Prior to joining Milan in December 2008, Chris served as Chief Financial Officer for Sperry Van Ness International Corp, a nation-wide commercial real estate brokerage firm with over $11 billion in transaction volume. Chris is a Certified Public Accountant, licensed in the states of California and Florida.  He has more than 20 years of financial management experience that includes five years with KPMG, with his most recent responsibilities as a manager in the Assurance Services practice.  Chris earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Finance, and a Masters of Accounting at the University of Florida.

Bret Bernard
Director of Planning and Development 

As Director of Planning and Development for Milan, Bret Bernard is responsible for the environmental review, planning and building entitlements, and the processing and coordination for Milan’s land development projects. Bret has over 18 years of experience in the public sector, most of this tenure spent as the Planning and Building Safety Director for several cities in Southern California. This experience is complimented by several additional years in economic development, including two years as the Director of Economic Development for Downtown Los Angeles.


Prior to joining Milan in 2008, he was a Senior Vice President for several real estate development companies, and was also a Chief Operating Officer for a land development and engineering consortium. Bret has significant experience working in planning and project management throughout California, with additional land development experience in other states and overseas. His projects have included many coastal, mixed-use, recreational and adaptive re-use projects in addition to single-family and commercial master planned communities.

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