Taking form in 2017 from the creative minds of seasoned entrepreneur duo Sunju Patel and Jessica Reid, The Montford Group set off to curate an unrivaled collection of unique properties and remarkable experiences for people who believe that home and hospitality shouldn’t be rare finds, but the common ground that unites us.


Our Team.



Sunju Patel

Founder & chief executive officer

Sunju Patel is the founder and chief executive officer of The Montford Group, a real estate development and consulting firm in Charleston, South Carolina. As CEO of The Montford Group, Sunju  stands out as a member of the elite group of dynamic and upcoming entrepreneur’s in Charleston that are molding the city’s future through keen business acumen combined with a fresh global perspective. 

Originally from India, Sunju came to College of Charleston in 1999 and started working for his uncle at a local hotel. Though he has found immense success, he started from the bottom and worked his way up—a feat that has definitely kept him humble and focused on the right thing. Sunju’s business motto has always read: “Dream big, work hard, stay focused and surround yourself with good people”. 

Besides being an impeccable dresser and a fan of single malt Scotch, Sunju is also an avid cricket player and plays for a semi-professional cricket club, the Charleston-based U.S. Tigers Cricket Club, where he has served as team captain. When he’s not working, Sunju loves to travel, do anything outdoors—tennis, squash, golf – and spend time with friends and his daughter, Simi. 

Sunju is a member of the Board of Governors at the College of Charleston School of Business, serves on the Accommodations Tax Committee for the City of Charleston and is on the Board of Directors for Big Brother Big Sister.



glenn alba

managing partner

Glenn Alba joined The Montford Group. in 2019 and founded Opterra Capital in 2017. He has over 23 years of experience across all types of commercial real estate in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean as well as Western Europe. Prior to Opterra, Mr. Alba spent 20 years at Blackstone Real Estate, one of the largest buyers, sellers and managers of commercial real estate in the world with Real Estate Assets Under Management of $111.3 billion at the time of his departure. He has significant experience in financing, asset management, valuation, and dispositions of real estate, having personally handled over $4 billion of hotel asset sales. Most recently, Mr. Alba was Head of Global Portfolio Management and led the Asset Management of Blackstone Real Estate hotel investments in the US (ex. public and large platform deals). 


Jessica Reid

PARTNER & chief operating officer

Jessica is the Chief Operating Officer and Broker-in-Charge at The Montford Group. She oversees the company’s strategic direction with respect to operational matters, ensure communications, resolution of issues and project development. As the BIC, she interfaces for clients as a consultant and a partner to ensure brands are matched appropriately with neighborhoods. Jessica works closely with the CEO and the CFO in developing and overseeing the long term business strategies with each development.

Jessica received her Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management at the College of Charleston. She is a member of International Council of Shopping Centers, Charleston Realtors and Boutique Lifestyle and Lodging Association. 



Japen Patel

partner & Chief financial officer

As Chief Financial Officer, Japen manages all of the company’s assets, financial planning and tax reporting requirements for the real estate entities and assists in strategic decision making with regard to long term financing and asset disposition. During construction, Japen oversees project disbursements, construction loan activity, and cost segregation work.

Before initiating his tenure with the The Montford Group, Japen was employed by Invesco, where he managed clients investments portfolios, simultaneously he eyed on the financial reports for more than 10,000 clients. Japen continued his focus on financial planning after joining Kaplan Inc, where he oversaw financial reporting and records for Kaplan KICNA Southwest.  Japen earned a BBA in accounting from Kennesaw State University.   

While working professionally, Japen continued to pursue his passion for playing cricket, in which he accomplished the highest honor possible, by representing the USA National Cricket Team for more than seven years.




nick schumacher

director of construction

Mr. Schumacher is Director of Construction for The Montford Group and is responsible for all construction-related activities for its Developments. 

He was raised in Aiken, SC and is a 2001 graduate of Clemson University where he studied Construction Science and Management and Business Management. He has lived in the Charleston area for 15 years, and has held management and executive roles in the real estate development and commercial and residential construction sectors in this market, with several large-scale, multi-disciplined projects on his resume. He has previously worked with Mashburn Construction and HITT Contracting, owned and operated his own General Construction firm, and worked with multiple real estate developers on multiple project types.

Nick is credentialed as a Class 5, Unlimited South Carolina General Contractor, and is experienced in project entitlement, budget and contract negotiation, risk management, pre-construction and budget control, construction means and methods, quality control, and scheduling. Having completed many projects in the greater Charleston area, he is also adept at negotiating the challenging municipal approval processes that exist in the Charleston market.  

Nick and his wife Katie have three children and have lived in the City of Charleston since moving here in 2003. 




Nico Kladniew

Vice President of Branding

Since 2004, Nico has worked for the hospitality industry as a Creative Director. His expertise includes hotels, restaurants, and real estate projects in general around the world. He has developed concepts and worked in places such as Amsterdam, Madrid, New York, Miami, Uruguay, Argentina and many more. He is now President of the branding division of The Montford Group.


Karen Heckman

Commercial Real esate Sales & Leasing

Karen joined The Montford Group in 2017 and is currently involved in commercial sales and acquisitions. She has been in real estate buying and selling for over twenty years.

Karen graduated from The University of Detroit Dental School, Paralegal School of the Virgin Islands, as well as owned a shoe and accessories store for 21 years.


Courtney Reid

Vice President of Marketing

Courtney joined The Montford Group in 2017 and handles all marketing aspects for TMG. and their affiliates.

Courtney graduated from The Art Institute Charleston and holds a degree in interior and graphic design.


Niraj Shah

Vice President of Accounting

Niraj is a highly dynamic, versatile CPA with 10 years of experience in accounting, tax, finance, business consulting, and management. In addition, his personal experience with starting, owning, and operating successful businesses from the ground up have given him the ability to develop and implement operational systems which ensure accuracy, quality and increased productivity. His attention to detail and deep tax and accounting knowledge can guarantee he will improve your current structure and find unique solutions and innovative approaches to savings every year.