Executive Team

Edward R. James

Edward R. James

Chairman

Ed began his career in real estate in 1957 when he joined his father’s business, which focused primarily on the development of rental apartment buildings. When his father died in 1958, Ed and his brother, Ken, took over his business and added for sale housing to their development portfolio. This included empty nester apartments, high rise buildings and golf course planned unit developments in the Chicago area, later expanding into Florida, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Ed is a past Trustee of the Urban Land Institute and a Governor of the Urban Land Foundation. In 2001 he was awarded the ULI Chicago District Council Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a member of Lambda Alpha International Honorary Professional Land Economics Fraternity and a member of the Chicago and National Homebuilders Associations. Outside affiliations include Past President of the Western Golf Association, Chairman of Michigan State University Foundation, National Trustee of Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and Vice Chairman of the Presbyterian Homes. Ed is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and Commercial Club of Chicago.

Jerry S. James

Jerry S. James

President

Jerry began his career in real estate as a lender for Continental Illinois National Bank’s real estate department. In 1985, he joined the family business and has since spearheaded the land acquisition, planning, entitlement, and financing for nearly 2,000 residential units and approximately $1B of residential and mixed-use planned developments. In 2010, he assumed the role of president for all of the company’s operating entities, successfully guiding the company through the great recession, and working with his team to forge new alliances that have allowed Edward R. James to emerge as one of leading builders in the Chicago market as of 2015.

His business affiliations include the Urban Land Institute and the Lambda Alpha International Honorary Professional Land Economics Fraternity.

Jerry’s civic involvement includes former roles as a director of the Metropolitan Planning Council of Chicago, chairman of the Merit School of Music, chairman of the Young Leaders Group of the Chicago Community Trust, and a ’93/94 fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago.

While receiving his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, Jerry attended the London School of Economics for a fellowship abroad. He later received an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Michael G. Balas

Michael G. Balas

Vice President of Finance

Mike’s accounting and finance career began in public accounting in 1988. With Warady & Davis CPA’s, he provided accounting, audit and tax preparation services, primarily for small to mid-size companies in the Chicago area. His public accounting and consulting career continued for an additional five years with Kenneth Leventhal/Ernst & Young, a premier national real estate accounting firm. During this time, he provided a wide variety of accounting, auditing, and real estate consulting services to many different real estate clients including homebuilders. Mike joined Edward R. James Homes in 1999, initially focusing on acquisition, entitlements, and financing for new development opportunities. His role has expanded to the current role of Vice President of Finance, where in addition to his work on new opportunities, he also supervises all of the accounting and financial management aspects of the Edward R. James Companies. Mike received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from the University of Illinois in 1988 and is a certified public accountant.

Sheri Zentner

Sheri Zentner

Controller

A CPA with over two decades on the job, Sheri gives Edward R. James a level of financial management expertise that few developers can match. Prior to joining us, she earned her accounting degree from DePaul University and worked 8 years in public accounting for a local mid-sized accounting firm, gaining in-depth experience in financial reporting, tax accounting, audits, government reporting, business valuations, due diligence work, and asset sales.

Since joining Edward R. James in 1993, Sheri has played a key role in all phases of accounting and financial management. She oversees the organization’s day-to-day operations and manages several company-owned commercial properties, providing traditional accounting functions as well as negotiating and administering commercial leases, obtaining mortgages, property management, and contracting with vendors.

Jennifar Evans

Jennifar Evans

Director of Design Services

Jennifar started with Edward R James homes early in 2001 as a Design Coordinator. She quickly proved her abilities and became a lead Designer taking on the more detailed homes. In 2005 she was charged with overseeing the Design staff and Design Center. She attended the University of Texas for Interior Design & Architecture then added to her knowledge base by getting her Construction Management Certification through NIU and becoming a licensed Real Estate Broker. Jennifar’s current responsibilities include designing and furnishing our sales offices, models and design centers, working with clients on selections for their new homes, working closely with our vendors to offer the best products for homeowners, reviewing the architectural design and layouts of new home plans, reviewing the landscape design and materials for each community, developing the standard inclusions and available options for each community, and overseeing the design staff. Over the past 19 years Jennifar has had the privilege to work with hundreds of homeowners to create the space that they now call home. She looks forward to helping create the home that is perfect for you.

Priscilla Schumacher

Priscilla Schumacher

Director of Sales and Marketing

A proven leader with over 30 years of management, sales and design experience, Priscilla started her real estate career in 2005 when she joined Edward R. James Homes as a Sales Associate. She advanced quickly, moving up first to Sales Manager and then to her current position as Director of Sales and Marketing while playing a key role in planning and marketing five exceptionally successful residential and mixed-use developments in some of Chicago’s most upscale suburbs.

In her current capacity, Priscilla is responsible for staffing and managing our sales and marketing team and directing all related activities, from grand openings and community events to advertising, market research analysis, and budget forecasting. With her “can do” attitude and drive to thrive, she is poised to continue building on her outstanding record to date as an integral part of Edward R. James’ success for years to come.