our team



Sunju patel / Founder & CEO

Sunju Patel is a dynamic entrepreneur who found his passion in hospitality early in life. In January 1999, Sunju moved to Charleston to be closer to family and ventured into the hotel business in 2004. By the age of 29, Sunju owned and operated his first hotel in Charleston. With many projects underway, he remains dedicated and focused on shifting the hospitality business to the next level and has more than fifteen years experience in the field. 

Sunju attended the College of Charleston and remains involved with the community by promoting philanthropic goals for each business endeavor. 


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jessica reid / Founder & COO

Jessica is the Chief Operating Officer and Broker-in-Charge at The Montford Group. She oversees the company’s strategic direction, interfaces for clients as a consultant and a partner to ensure brands are matched appropriately with neighborhoods. 

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. 


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japen patel / Asset management

Japen Patel is the Asset Manager and Analyst  for current and new investments. 

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.





Nico Kladniew / 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.



Lilly Cavanagh / residential real estate sales

Lilly is a seasoned real estate professional with over 12 years of experience.  Moving from Orange County California to Greenville SC in 2005, she worked with several real estate investors targeting the rental and flip market.

She established a short-term vacation rental business starting with a family home downtown and her future in vacations and accommodations has now been set.


Karen Heckman / commercial sales & leasing

Karen joined The Montford Group in 2016 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 / marketing

Courtney Reid is a native Charlestonian and is the Marketing Director of The Montford Group. She studied Interior Design at the Art Institute of Charleston and proceeded to design commercial and residential properties in Folly Beach and Asheville, NC. Growing up on construction job sites at a young age bolstered her love for design and architecture. While studying Interior Design in college, she also found a passion for Graphic Design. In her free time, she likes to take her dog Wappoo to the beach and dog park.



Niraj shah / 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.


Kendra Hodgdon / Communications

Kendra Hodgdon is involved with editing, writing, and the coordination of communication for social media accounts. Kendra is a current student at the College of Charleston earning her B.A. in Communications with an accompanying minor in Business Administration.

Aside from writing for Charleston Neighborhood Guide, she currently works with CisternYard media where she contributes to both the C of C newspaper and radio station as a feature writer.