Center Leadership and Staff

Shawn Howton

Shawn Howton

Professor, Finance & Real Estate
Faculty Director, The Daniel M. DiLella Center for Real Estate

Dr. Shawn D. Howton received his BS and MBA at Southern Illinois University and his PhD at Florida State University.  

Dr. Howton has published 28 articles in refereed journals including Real Estate EconomicsJournal of ManagementBusiness Ethics QuarterlyFinancial Management, Journal of Financial Research, Financial Review, Journal of Derivatives, Real Estate Portfolio Management, and Briefings in Real Estate Finance.  Dr. Howton serves as an ad hoc reviewer for more than a dozen journals including the Journal of Real Estate Economics and Finance and the Journal of Real Estate Portfolio Management.  Dr. Howton was named the director of the Daniel M. DiLella Center for Real Estate in 2007. Dr. Howton has been recognized for his innovations in teaching and his contributions to research in ethical decision making.

Benjamin Scheick, PhD

Benjamin Scheick, PhD

Associate Professor, Finance and Real Estate

Benjamin Scheick, PhD is an Associate Professor of Finance and Real Estate and currently serves as the Associate Chair of the Department of Finance and Real Estate in the Villanova School of Business. Dr. Scheick’s research and teaching interests are focused on the intersection of finance and real estate. Professor Scheick’s research has explored the impact of capital market access, investor sentiment, and geographic portfolio allocation strategies on the performance of listed equity REITs and private commercial real estate portfolios. His research has been published in leading academic journals including Real Estate Economics, the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, and the Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking.

Ben has also conducted sponsored research in association with the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT) for his work on the performance implications of geographic allocation strategies in public and private commercial real estate markets. Dr. Scheick has also been the recipient of competitive research grants from the Real Estate Research Institute (RERI) for his work on the impact of investor sentiment and credit availability on commercial real estate pricing.

In 2018, Ben was recognized as one of the world’s top 40 most productive real estate researchers over the five-year horizon spanning 2014-2018. Currently, Dr. Scheick is working on streams of research that investigate the costs and benefits of maintaining financial flexibility through innovative capital market access (most notably at-the-market (ATM) equity offering programs) and the influence of geographic proximity and information access on commercial real estate valuation.

In the classroom, Dr. Scheick currently teaches an undergraduate Real Estate Capital Markets course, which is an upper-level elective for Finance and Real Estate majors / minors. Dr. Scheick also teaches in VSB’s Summer Business Institute and has taught in the Master of Science in Finance (MSF) program. For his contributions within the classroom, Professor Scheick has been the recipient of the Thomas J. Carmody, Jr. Faculty Award, which recognizes a faculty member’s efforts to promote the integration of teaching, theory, and practice.

Ben is an alumnus of Villanova University having graduated Summa Cum Laude with dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Economics and Business Administration (Finance), respectively, a Minor in Mathematics and an Honors Concentration. As an undergraduate, Ben was recognized as the annual recipient of the Bartley Medallion in Economics (Saul Mason Award), which is the highest distinction the school can bestow upon a graduating student for outstanding academic achievement in a specific discipline. During his undergraduate experience, Ben was actively involved in a number of community volunteer efforts including his work with the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania. Ben has continued his efforts along this front by working with Dean Russell to launch a coordinated volunteer initiative for VSB faculty and staff at the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania Fall Festival.

Prior to earning his graduate degree, Ben spent several years working in the consulting industry with Navigant Consulting, which included a variety of consulting roles within a prominent investment bank, a hedge fund administrator, and a financial insurance company. Ben completed his PhD in Finance and Real Estate at the University of Florida and served as an Assistant Professor of Real Estate at the University of Georgia prior to joining VSB in 2012.

Jess Taylor

Jessica Taylor

Director, The Daniel M. DiLella Center for Real Estate

Ms. Taylor serves as the director of the Daniel M. DiLella Center for Real Estate at the Villanova School of Business. As director, Jessica works to ensure that DiLella Center efforts beyond the classroom develop students as real estate leaders. The DiLella Center strives to deepen students’ understanding of the technical components of the industry, of the social responsibilities as shepherds of land and environment and of the importance of community. This is accomplished by creating opportunities for students to interact with industry experts, to participate in live case studies where real estate topics including sustainable development, LEED design and affordability are emphasized, and to experience both corporate site visits and project tours. It is additionally accomplished by facilitating internship experiences and by engaging industry members though the real estate society, panel presentations, conferences, social activities and as of 2018, the DiLella Mulroy Student Managed Real Estate Fund.

Jessica is also responsible for real estate career services, student advising, management of the strategic advisory and Nova Next Councils, alumni engagement, administration of Center resources and Center communications.

Ms. Taylor has taught courses at Villanova University on real estate investments and advanced modeling at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Previously, Ms. Taylor worked in real estate finance. Jessica completed a BS of accounting and finance at DeSales University and executive MBA at Saint Joseph’s University. Jessica currently serves on the board of directors for the American Real Estate Society (ARES). She has previously served as a board member for ULI Philadelphia and is also an active member of member of CREW, ICSC and PREA.

Carly Gulasarian

Carly Gulasarian

Assistant Director

Carly works as Assistant Director of the Daniel M. DiLella Center for Real Estate. She creates valuable opportunities for Villanova students to acquire skills, knowledge, and experience in the commercial real estate industry through case competitions, career conferences, mentorship programs, alumni panels, and real estate treks. Additionally, Carly utilizes her years of experience working in digital marketing to promote the DiLella Center and highlight accomplishments of current students, alumni, and key stakeholders.

Carly received her Bachelor’s in Advertising from Penn State University in 2016, with minors in Psychology and International Studies. In 2022, Ms. Gulasarian received her Master’s in Business Administration from Villanova University, earning specializations in Marketing, Finance and Real Estate.

Sharon Ballard

Sharon Ballard

Administrator, VSB Centers of Excellence

Full Time Faculty

Charles J. Davidson

Charles J. Davidson

Associate Professor of the Practice, Finance & Real Estate

He has been teaching full time since August 2014, and prior to that was appointed in January 2010 as a Business Fellow and an Adjunct Professor at the Daniel M. DiLella Center for Real Estate.

He also co-coached graduate student teams in three separate years, all of which reached the semi-final rounds in the MIT Case Competition.

Mr. Davidson concurrently worked at Savills as Managing Director in Philadelphia from 2012 to 2015 specializing in tenant representation.  Prior to joining Savills, he was Senior Vice President for Grubb & Ellis Company from 2009 to 2012. Previously, he was Senior Vice President and Director of Asset Management for Equus Capital Partners and was in charge of its Washington D.C. regional office.


1986 Master of Business Administration in Finance, Temple University

1984 Master of Arts, Dropsie College

1981 Master of Divinity, Biblical Theological Seminary

1977 Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance, Ithaca College

Mr. Davidson was the recipient of the Villanova School of Business William J. O’Neill Faculty Award in May 2016 and delivered the Last Lecture to the Senior Class of Villanova University in May 2019.  Mr. Davidson has been active in a number of public and private boards. He was previously co-chair of the Planning Commission of Lower Merion Township and currently serves as member of the Lower Merion Township Zoning Hearing Board. He was a board member of ESI Encore Series (Philly Pops) and recently served as President of the Union League of Philadelphia. He is a member of honorary business society Beta Gamma Sigma, and a 2000 graduate of Leadership, Inc.

Mr. Davidson is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Laura Shannon

Laura Shannon

Assistant Professor of the Practice, Finance and Real Estate

Laura joined Villanova as an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Finance and Real Estate department in 2023. She arrived with over 20 years of experience in Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS) with a focus on valuation, research, and analysis of commercial real estate. She is a dynamic mentor with a passion for guiding the next generation of professionals by providing tools, support, and space for personal and professional growth.

A Managing Director and co-head of KBRA Credit Profile (KCP), Laura, was part of the team that built the CMBS Subscription surveillance platform from the ground up. The product provides CMBS investors with quality monthly surveillance, credit commentary, multiple valuations, research and loss forecasts on distressed assets in CMBS. Laura has been an integral part of the management team at KCP since 2013.

Prior to KBRA, she was an Assistant Vice President in Structured Credit Ratings at Morningstar focused on CMBS research and analysis. Her former work experiences include managing an insurance brokerage office, working as an analyst with GMAC Commercial Mortgage, and not-for-profit auditing as a CPA. In addition, she has been a yoga instructor at her local YMCA since 2018.

Laura earned her BS in Accounting from Gwynedd Mercy University and MBA from LaSalle University.

Ed Liva

Edward A. Liva

Professor of Practice, Accounting

Ed is a Professor of Practice at Villanova School of Business. Previously, Ed was the Director of the Villanova Graduate Tax Program from 2015 through 2018.

Prior to joining Villanova, Ed was a partner at KPMG and retired in 2015 following a 38-year career in the industry.  Ed began his career with Arthur Andersen in Chicago and joined KPMG in 2002.  Ed served as KPMG’s National Real Estate Tax Industry Leader from 2003 through 2015.

Ed earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from John Carroll University, a JD from DePaul University College of Law and an LLM in Taxation from Temple Law School.

Business Fellows

Jim Cowan

Jim Cowan

Business Fellow, Real Estate

Jim has over 30 years of real estate investment experience including 23 years at Morgan Stanley Investment Management as the Senior Portfolio Analyst for the North American listed real estate securities fund. The flagship fund generated net annualized returns of 9.8% between 1999-2021 and at its peak totaled $26.7 billion in AUM. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Jim worked at Capital Trust, Inc, a publicly traded real estate finance and investment management company and Tower Realty Trust, a publicly traded office REIT, which he helped take public in 1997.

Jim holds an MS in Real Estate from New York University and a BSBA with a concentration in Finance from Villanova University. He is an advisory council member for the DiLella Center for Real Estate at Villanova University and is chairman for the Rights of Passage program board for Covenant House New Jersey which provides transitional housing and services to homeless youths.  

Adjunct Faculty

Tony Ziccardi

Tony Ziccardi

Vice President with Brandywine Realty Trust; Center Fellow

For over four decades, he has been at the forefront of both residential and commercial real estate development in the Delaware Valley. Currently, Mr. Ziccardi serves as the Vice President –Development Services.

Prior to that he served as Project Executive for Cira Centre, a 730,000 SF, 29-story office tower developed at 30th Street Station.  Additionally Mr. Ziccardi is a Business Fellow in the Villanova University School of Business and an Adjunct Professor of Real Estate since 2010.

Prior to joining Brandywine, Mr. Ziccardi was a Division President for K. Hovnanian Companies.  From 1982 to 1994, Mr. Ziccardi was a Partner of The Linpro Company and its successor, LCOR, Inc.  As partner, Mr. Ziccardi was responsible for the overall process of development from land acquisition, engineering, design development, construction, leasing, marketing, property management and financing of all projects.  In 1986, he established the Wilmington, Delaware office and developed One and Three Christina Centre, over 650,000 SF of high rise office space in the Christina Gateway.  Prior to 1982, Mr. Ziccardi was vice president of a medium size home building operation that produced over 200 homes per year. 
Mr. Ziccardi holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Saint Joseph's University and an MS from Fordham University in Biology.  He is a 42-year member of the National Association of Homebuilders and is a past president of both the Builders League of South Jersey (1980) and the New Jersey Builders Association (1988).

Scott Reidenbach, Esq.

Scott Reidenbach, Esq.

Founding Principal, Reidenbach & Associates, LLC; Adjunct Professor

Scott R. Reidenbach teaches "Real Estate Law" as an adjunct professor in the Daniel M. DiLella Center for Real Estate.

Mr. Reidenbach is the founding principal of Reidenbach & Associates, LLC, which concentrates its practice in the areas of Condominium and Community Association Law, Construction Litigation, Real Estate and related areas of real estate including transactions, litigation, landlord and tenant, and leasing. Since Mr. Reidenbach opened his firm's doors in 2007, Reidenbach & Associates has represented regional and national builders, developers and declarants as well as several hundred residential planned communities throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania and the Greater Philadelphia Region.

Mr. Reidenbach routinely testifies in court as a qualified expert in the field of Condominium and Community Association Law and is a frequent lecturer, speaker and presenter on topics ranging from real estate sales and development to collections to property management.

Scott received his B.A. from Villanova in 1993, and his J.D. from the Widener University School of Law. He was named one of 25 "Influencers of Law" in the Philadelphia region by the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2018 and has been ranked the #1 Top Lawyer in real estate by Main Line Today for eight years. Scott currently serves on several boards and is an active member and past president of the Villanova Alumni Baseball Association.  

Jim Vesey

Jim Vesey

Adjunct Professor

John Dempsey

John Dempsey

Adjunct Professor

Natalie Kostelni

Natalie Kostelni

Reporter, Philadelphia Business Journal; Adjunct Professor

Natalie Kostelni is associate director of communications in the Office of the Provost at Drexel University. Prior to taking that role, Natalie covered real estate and economic development for the Philadelphia Business Journal for 23 years. She received her undergraduate degree from Villanova University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Natalie has been an adjunct professor at Villanova since 2015. 

Paula Crowley

Paula Crowley

Chairman Emeritus and co- founder of Anchor Health Properties; Adjunct Professor

Crowley has pioneered a new vision for healthcare real estate development bringing the strengths of the retail experience to the healthcare industry.

Beginning her real estate career with one of the preeminent retail development companies in the country, the Rouse Company of Columbia, MD, she relays that customer oriented experience into her work within the healthcare field. She and her team work closely with hospitals and health systems to reposition them within the marketplace by evaluating projects intellectually and providing a blueprint for convenient, customer friendly and technologically advanced facilities. This approach works for any healthcare facility being developed by Anchor, from a medical office building to a specialty clinic to a replacement hospital.

She is a frequent speaker on topics ranging from creating a consumer experience to merchandizing healthcare services, and is frequently tapped for her expertise by healthcare real estate trade media.

Ms. Crowley received a BA from Middlebury College, a Masters in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School.

Joseph G. Nahas, Jr.

Joseph G. Nahas, Jr., CRE

Sr. Vice President of Investor Relations, Equus Capital Partners, LTD.; Adjunct Professor

Mr. Nahas is responsible for institutional capital raising and investor relations activities for Equus.

Mr. Nahas holds an M.B.A. in Real Estate Finance and a B.B.A. in Economics from Temple University. He is a licensed real estate broker in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  He holds the CRE designation from the Counselors of Real Estate, having served as chair of several of its committees. He currently serves on its Board of Directors and is a member of its Executive, Finance, and Strategic Planning Committees.  Mr. Nahas served as Chair of the Board for 2018 and will Chair the Nominating Committee and Counselors in the Classroom Committees in 2019.

Mr. Nahas serves on various committees and task forces with the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF), including its Performance Measurement committee, Close End, Value Add Index task force and its Reporting Standards Valuation task force.

Mr. Nahas has been involved in several community and civic organizations.  Most recently, he served on the Board of Trustees of both Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School, Blessed Sarnelli House and the Advisory Board for Holy Innocents Area Elementary School. Mr. Nahas is an adjunct professor lecturing in Commercial Real Estate Investment at the Villanova School of Business.

Daniel M. DiLella Center for Real Estate
Villanova School of Business
800 East Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
(610) 519-4476

Shawn Howton, PhD
Faculty Director

Jessica Taylor

Benjamin Scheick, PhD
Associate Professor & Associate Department Chair

Charlie Davidson
Associate Professor of the Practice

Carly Gulasarian
Program Administrator

Tony Ziccardi
Center Fellow

The Nova Next Council is a group of young and ambitious members of the Villanova real estate community who provide strategic guidance on the Center’s mission, activities, curricula and professional development opportunities.