Who we are

Who We Are

Keener Investments is a value-add multifamily investor located in Houston, Texas. Keener Investments specializes in the acquisition and rehabilitation of under-managed or distressed Class “B” or “C” multifamily assets (apartment communities).

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Keener’s strategy involves targeting properties that offer a strong balance of current cash flow and future appreciation. We seek to increase cash flow and maximize returns by improving physical conditions of the assets, improving management, and deploying cost saving mechanisms.  We are currently focusing on the Houston and surrounding market areas.

As sponsors, we provide all of the startup capital for every transaction and significant amounts of capital for acquisitions. Keener is committed to investing in every deal we sponsor to ensure our profitability is aligned with our investors.

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Our Team

Our Team
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Stephen Smith

Managing Director and CEO

Stephen Smith is the founder and CEO of Keener Investments. Mr. Smith is an experienced entrepreneur and has an extensive background in finance. Prior to founding Keener Investments, Mr. Smith co-founded Clean Energy Capital in 2009, a boutique investment bank located in Houston, Texas. At Clean Energy Capital, Mr. Smith has advised clients on high profile projects, with transactions totaling over $17 billion.

Prior to co-founding Clean Energy Capital, he was an investment banker at both Citigroup and Lehman Brothers, where he specialized in energy project finance. Mr. Smith holds advanced degrees in finance and economics, and started his career as a financial economist for the national practice of Ernst & Young. He holds a master’s degree in finance from LSU, a master’s degree in economics from the University of Oregon, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Oregon.

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Jerry Smith

Managing Director and COO

Jerry Smith is the COO of Keener Investments and brings a significant background of implementing accounting systems and streamlining back office processes to the firm. Prior to joining Keener Investments, Jerry served as Vice President and Controller of Freeport LNG, a privately held company with over $15 billion in assets. He joined Freeport LNG from his previous role serving as Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer of Cheniere Energy, a publicly traded company in the LNG business.

Mr. Smith began his career in public accounting at Arthur Andersen in 1999, and post-Enron with KPMG. He holds a master’s degree in accountancy from Abilene Christian University and is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Texas.

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Eric Barnes

CFO

Eric Barnes is the CFO for Keener Investments and brings over fifteen years of public accounting experience in both audit and tax. Prior to joining Keener Investments, Mr. Barnes was a Senior Manager in public accounting, where he was responsible for managing all aspects of client engagements across the service lines of tax, audit, and business advisory. Mr. Barnes holds a bachelor’s in accounting from Sam Houston State University and is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Texas.

Nina Kirtley

Nina Kirtley

Vice President of Operations

Nina Kirtley is the Vice President of Operations for Keener Management with almost 30 years of multifamily management experience, across all asset classes, throughout Houston and other large, Texas markets. Prior to joining Keener Management, Mrs. Kirtley served as Regional Vice President of Operations for American Realty Investors with oversight responsibility for all aspects of managing 3,200 units across ten properties in Houston. She joined American Realty Investors from her previous roles at Mosaic Residential as Regional Director of Operations and Ascension Commercial Real Estate as the Director of Operations overseeing Asset Management for REO assets in the Southwest Region.

Mrs. Kirtley has earned a number of awards and accolades and holds several industry certifications including the Certified Apartment Portfolio Supervisor by the National Apartment Association and a 2012 Graduate of the Houston Apartment Association’s Leadership Lyceum. She has proudly served on Board of Directors with The Houston Apartment Association and as Vice President of the Board of Directors for The Greenspoint District.

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Chris Farmer

Head of Investor Relations

Chris Farmer is the Head of Investor Relations and oversees all facets of investor management as well as strategic reporting for the Asset Management Group. Prior to joining Keener Investments, he served in various roles within Cheniere Energy, most recently Operations Planning Manager tasked with development and reporting of operational business plans as well as Corporate Budget Manager with oversight responsibilities for the corporate budgeting function with primary focus on the company’s multi-billion dollar LNG construction budgets.  Mr. Farmer began his career in public accounting with Arthur Andersen and KPMG and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting as well as an MBA from Sam Houston State University.

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Nabor Leon

Director of Construction

Mr. Leon has significant experience renovating and improving multifamily properties. Prior to joining Keener Construction, Mr. Leon was a Construction Manager for Sunstone Properties Trust. While overseeing renovation projects for Sunstone’s multifamily properties, he was responsible for the oversight of up to six work-crews, totaling over fifty people. Mr. Leon has also been trusted with the renovations of Multifamily properties that were owned by banks such as Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America. 

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Holly Lubelski

Director of Special Projects

Holly Lubelski is the Director of Special Projects and is responsible for various large company projects including the acquisitions and divestitures of key assets from an operational standpoint as well as operational reporting for the Asset Management Group. Ms. Lubelski has over 18 years of multifamily industry experience and, prior to joining Keener Management, was responsible for managing all aspects of large properties on behalf of Monument Real Estate Services and Allied-Orion Group. Ms. Lubelski has earned a number of awards and certificates in Property Management and is currently working towards her CPM Designation.

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