Our Team: Executive Leadership

PEP’s executive leadership is among the most experienced in the student housing industry and collectively have more than 100 years of experience in student housing and university real estate.  This management team is the cornerstone of our company’s operating success, maintaining a hands-on role in managing professional resources that achieve meaningful results.  Our highly motivated executives spend the majority of their time engaged with on-the-ground property teams, including weekly property meetings and regular site visits.  PEP is also very experienced with institutional reporting and provides customized monthly and quarterly reports including electronic interface capabilities.

Throughout their collective careers, PEP’s senior executives have been involved in the development, acquisition, or management of more than 100,000 beds of student housing at over 100 universities across 39 states nationwide.  Our breadth of experience generates winning strategies and solutions for student market analysis, strategic acquisition selection, development planning, and community operations.  

Frederick W. Pierce,
President and CEO

Fred Pierce is President and CEO of Pierce Education Properties (“PEP”) – a student housing investment and operating company – where he is nationally known as a leader in student housing and educational real estate.  Mr. Pierce was named one of 24 national “Student Housing Pioneers” by Real Estate Forum (2013), has received Ernst & Young’s San Diego Region “Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Real Estate & Construction Industry (2012) and was named one of “100 Influential Leaders in San Diego” by the San Diego Daily Transcript (2016).  Fred was awarded the Distinguished Alumni (“Monty Award”) from San Diego State University’s (“SDSU”) College of Business Administration (1999).

With a portfolio of approximately 13,000 beds valued at nearly $600 million, PEP was ranked in 2016 by Student Housing Business Magazine among the Top 15 owners of student housing in the U.S.  Since 2007, PEP has completed $825 million in acquisitions representing approximately 20,000 beds, ranking it among the Top 10 buyers of student apartments in the country during that period.  For 10+ years, the firm served as master developer of the award-winning, 131-acre, $1+ billion College Community Redevelopment Project at SDSU together with SDSU Foundation.  PEP has earned numerous national and international awards for its projects including three Gold Nugget Awards of Merit from the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (“PCBC”) and the Award of Excellence as The Outstanding University Real Estate Project in the country from the Association of University Real Estate Officials (“AUREO”).

Prior to founding PEP, Fred was a principal and chief financial officer of Los Angeles-based Platt Companies where he directed the acquisition and financing of $400 million in real estate assets. Prior to that, Fred was Western Regional Director of Real Estate Consulting for Price Waterhouse, as well as Director of Real Estate Investment Consulting for KPMG Peat Marwick/Goodkin Group.  For six years (1999-2004), Fred served as a Trustee of the 23-campus, 460,000-student California State University (CSU) System, where he chaired the Institutional Advancement, Audit, and University and Faculty Personnel committees. Fred is also Past President of the Board of Trustees of the City of San Diego’s Pension Fund ($4+ Billion), where he also chaired its Real Estate Investment Committee.  He is currently Chairman of SDSU’s Fowler College of Business Board and Executive Committee Member of SDSU’s Corky McMillin Center for Real Estate.  Mr. Pierce is also a board member of Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute and The Aztec Club at SDSU.  Fred is a former board member of INVESCO’s $350 million Real Estate Fund I, and Past President of the CSU Alumni Council, SDSU Alumni Association and Poway Unified School District Foundation.   Fred completed real estate finance studies in the MBA program at SDSU, and earned a bachelor’s degree in finance, cum laude, from SDSU.  

Read Mr. Pierce's Resume

Clark Wardle,
Chief Financial Officer

A seasoned finance and accounting professional with decades of experience, Clark leads all aspects of financial reporting for the multiple partnerships and entities at PEP.  Prior to joining the firm, he served as CFO for the Pacific Scene Family of Companies, a real estate development and management company based in San Diego. In addition, Clark was executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Association Management Group, a firm providing professional services to non-profit associations.  In those roles, he managed the finance and accounting groups, as well as IT and human resources.  Clark’s career also includes positions such as controller, VP for planning and development, COO, CFO and principal with companies such as The Irvine Company, Koll Development Company, Birtcher Real Estate and Westinghouse.  He is also an alumnus of Arthur Andersen and Price Waterhouse.  Clark received his bachelor’s degree in accounting/economics from Brigham Young University.

Matthew D. Maruccia,
Chief Investment Officer

Matt leads efforts related to PEP’s national core and value-added student housing acquisition programs.  In his time with PEP, he has completed more than $675 million in acquisitions, adding 16,500 beds to our portfolio. He has been a featured speaker on student housing acquisitions at RealShare’s Student Housing Conference, RealShare’s Apartments Conference, and Interface Student Housing Conference. He is a licensed real estate professional with expertise in multi-family and commercial properties, including negotiations, acquisitions, entitlement, finance, underwriting, sales and marketing, and property management. Matt is the designated broker for PEP’s property management affiliates and all PEP real estate activities.  Prior to joining PEP, Matt was director of acquisitions at Premier Coastal Development (PCD) where he acquired more than 1,100 multifamily & commercial units with a combined purchase amount of more than $240 million.  At PCD, he managed an acquisition team targeting opportunities in five Western states.  Before joining PCD, Matt was operations manager at Premier Communities where he managed multiple condominium conversion projects. In 2011, he was recognized as one of Real Estate Forum’s 40 Under 40 in commercial real estate.  Matt holds the Certified Commercial Investment Member designation (CCIM), and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Tana Lee Higginbotham,
Senior Vice President | Property Operations

Tana Lee brings decades of extensive expertise in asset management, business development, and operational management to PEP.  Tana is a strategic thinker and decision maker who previously worked as a regional manager for Peak Campus Student Housing where she had oversight of six distressed assets in the Western U.S.  Prior to that, she was senior vice president for Embrey Management Services where she was responsible for strategic management operations, as well as financial, pre-lease and stabilized occupancy for a national portfolio of multi-family and commercial assets.  Tana was also regional vice president at American Campus Communities/GMH-College Park Communities where she focused on a Midwest student housing portfolio of 16,800 beds. Tana started her student housing-focused career with Ambling Management Companies as a regional vice president and regional manager.  She received her bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University.

Maureen A. Lannon,
Senior Vice President | Marketing

Maureen directs and oversees all sales, marketing, and leasing activities for PEP’s growing portfolio of student housing properties, as well as the branding and marketing of the Pierce corporate entities. She supervises and collaborates with the on-site Leasing and Marketing Directors (LMDs) at each PEP property to develop and implement annual sales and marketing plans that include training initiatives, promotional and advertising strategies/campaigns, social media strategies, and sales and closing goals and initiatives.  Maureen has over two decades of experience in the student housing industry and previously served as the National Director of Sales and Marketing for Allen & O’Hara Education Services (now Education Realty Trust; NYSE: EDR), where she supported marketing, sales and leasing efforts for 64 properties totaling 35,000 beds in 24 states.  Ms. Lannon has also served as Marketing & Sales/Leasing Director at several student apartment properties including North Campus Crossing (East Carolina University), University Towers (North Carolina State University), Pierpont House Apartments and Summit Hall (both at West Virginia University).  Ms. Lannon holds a B.S. Degree in Child Development and Family Studies from West Virginia University.  She is actively involved in the Sales and Marketing Society, Public Relations Society, E-Marketing Society, National Association of Apartments and Toastmasters International.

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Neal Singer
Senior Vice President | Asset Management & Development

Neal is responsible for the management of Pierce’s student housing asset portfolio and directs our development activities. Before joining Pierce in 2018, Neal spent 28 years as the President of his real estate consulting firm, Portfolio Realty Advisors, Inc (“PRA”). In his role Neal performed real estate development and brokerage, asset and property management, feasibility analyses, entitlement processing, project construction management, and expert witness services for his clients. PRA directed the design, renovation, and program implementation of historic buildings at Liberty Station in San Diego, CA, and acted as the owner’s representative related to the development of the Liberty Public Market. Neal received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.

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Tina Patel
Vice President  |  Corporate Controller

Tina is responsible for leading Pierce's rapidly expanding accounting team and overseeing corporate day-to-day activities. Prior to joining the firm, she was the Audit & Assurance Senior Manager at Deloitte & Touche, LLP, where she specialized in performing external financial statement audits for both public and private companies in the real estate industry. During her time at Deloitte, she served real estate owners, land developers, home-builders, and multi-family owner/operators, and has dealt with a variety of industry-specific GAAP matters. Tina received her Bachelors from University of Southern California, and her Masters in Accounting from San Diego State University. She is licensed as a CPA in the state of California, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

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Scott Moorman
Director of Facilities

As National Director of Facilities, Scott oversees all major facility projects for PEP including major property renovations and large capital projects. Scott has over 30 years of experience in real estate maintenance and management, including regional and nation positions responsible for capital improvements, utility infrastructure, quality control, maintenance, purchasing/contractor procurement, project management, budget oversight, staff recruitment, and physical and managerial due diligence for acquisitions. Prior to joining PEP in 2017, Scott held senior management positions in facilities with several leading national student, military, and multi-family housing owners and operators, including GMH/College Park Communities, The Michaels Organization, Corvias Military Living, and Avalon Bay Communities. Scott is certified in pool/spa operations (CPO), pool operator instructor (NSPF), apartment maintenance technician (CAMT), EPA proctor (HVAC), mold claims inspector, certified manager of maintenance (NCHM), and has served as a member of the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (Universal EPA). Scott studied public relations at the University of Florida, and received an AA Degree in Journalism from Palm Beach Community College.


Pierce Education Properties, L.P.
8880 Rio San Diego Drive, Suite 750, San Diego, CA 92108
Ph: 619.297.0400

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Pierce Education Properties is one of America’s fastest growing private companies.