Cape Fear Team Adds New Members, Makes Promotions In 2023

Jan 23, 2023

Cape Fear Commercial is excited to introduce our newest team members who have recently joined the firm. We’re also proud to highlight our existing employees who will be moving into new roles this year. 

Cape Fear Commercial specializes in providing targeted brokerage, property management, and development services. Our sister affiliate, Cape Fear Development, achieved major milestones last year, spanning from residential projects throughout the Carolinas to our flagship mixed-use community in Wilmington, Autumn Hall.

Here’s a look at how our team is evolving this year:

Conner CrawfordCrawford, Conner, Development Manager

Conner, the newest member of Cape Fear Development, joined the firm in December as our first Development Manager. In his role, Conner assists in all aspects of development projects undertaken by Cape Fear Development. Conner has acquired a versatile skillset in his successful career. He brings proficiency in construction oversight and general contracting, and expertise in all facets of day-to-day construction operations. 

A graduate of UNCW, Conner began his career in Surf City. He has played key roles in the development of K-12 schools, numerous multifamily residential projects and community centers. His wide-ranging experience — and proven ability as a problem-solver who excels in fast-paced environments — makes him a valuable addition to our team. 

Conner will be immediately involved in overseeing our development portfolio, which spans the southeast: Our projects underway in Leland, South Carolina and the Wilmington market will be well served by Conner’s keen attention to detail and non-stop work ethic.

What do you hope to accomplish at Cape Fear Development?: “I’m excited to be involved in delivering projects that our community will be proud of. In everything we do, I want to provide an end result that gets embraced by our neighbors. I love to be busy, so I’m already asking to get more work on my plate as I hit the ground running this year.”

Julia LackeyJulia Wessell, Director of Marketing for Brokerage

Since 2013, Julia has served as the Director of Marketing for Brokerage at Cape Fear Commercial, overseeing the day-to-day management for all the firm’s listings. This year, Julia is transitioning into a new role as Vice President within the firm’s commercial brokerage division. Julia has sweeping knowledge of the Wilmington real estate market, and her unmatched background in brokerage support will make her an asset to our award-winning brokerage team. 

In her previous role, Julia provided essential assistance in all phases of our real estate transactions. She cultivated an office-wide system of brokerage support that provides reinforcement to our entire brokerage team, allowing us to efficiently and meticulously meet individualized client needs. Her unique skillset and insights have positioned her for great success in commercial brokerage.

What accomplishments are you most proud of during your time at Cape Fear Commercial?: ”When I started at Cape Fear, real estate was very new to me. And now I’m proud to say our brokerage support arm runs like a well-oiled machine. Over the past decade, we’ve built a system here that emphasizes teamwork and collaboration. I’m proud of the culture that we’ve built here, and I’m very thankful for the support of the partners in letting me branch out and start this new adventure.”

Emma Kaplan, Brokerage AssistantEmma Peterson

Emma joined Cape Fear Commercial as a Brokerage Assistant in 2019 a year after graduating from UNCW. Her background in sales and public relations has since made her a cornerstone of the firm’s brokerage team. 

With Julia moving into her new role as Vice President, Emma has been promoted to Director of Marketing for Brokerage. In this position, known in the office as “Air Traffic Control,” she will provide critical support to the brokerage team throughout the life of every listing; her responsibilities span from client relationships and marketing to the execution of contracts and closings. 

What excites you most about your new position?: “I enjoy being involved in every aspect of the transaction and working with brokers on a day-to-day basis. I’m looking forward to learning even more about all sides of this business. Julia helped to build a seamless operation here, and it’s an honor to step into her role and expand on the systems she put in place within our team.”

Marissa RodriguezMarissa Rodriguez, Assistant Property Accountant

Marissa joined Cape Fear Commercial in January 2022 as an assistant accountant in the firm’s property management division. Originally from Hawaii, Marissa graduated from UNCW and is a licensed real estate broker. In her year at Cape Fear Commercial, Marissa demonstrated exceptional proficiency in high-level mathematics and financial analysis, which has led to her recent promotion to the development team. 

In her new role as Development Financial Analyst for Cape Fear Development, Marissa is responsible for accounts payable and accounts receivable for the firm’s numerous development projects. Marissa has shown a passion for the analytical side of real estate; her ability to quickly master complicated concepts has made her an integral part of the team, and her skills will be a valuable addition to the development side of the firm. 

What are your long-term goals in your real estate career?: “I’ve learned so much in the past year at Cape Fear; it’s shown me that self-confidence and hunger for more responsibility can be powerful tools. Right now, I’m so excited to work with the talented team in development. Having been on the property management side until now, I want to learn everything I can about how these structures we manage actually come to be built. My goal for the future is to start investing myself into property development, and to be even more involved in the development side.”

Katie SampsonKatie Sampson, Assistant Property Accountant

Katie joined Cape Fear Commercial this year as an Assistant Property Accountant, stepping into Marissa’s former role. The property management team oversees a portfolio of more than 3 million square feet, providing comprehensive services for clients in all real estate sectors. 

Katie brings many skills to the team, including previous experience as an office manager and as a credit manager for a building supply company.

What brought you to Cape Fear Commercial?: “The people you work with make the difference for me. I’ve lived here six years and worked in several roles involving finance and accounting, and I definitely knew I wanted to apply here once I heard there was an opening, having learned a bit about the company over time. It’s been a great start and I’m really happy about the culture.”

Julia Eckel

Julia Eckel Headshot

Julia joined Cape Fear Commercial and Cape Fear Development this year as the firm’s Development Coordinator. She provides administrative support and oversees task management for development projects.

Julia grew up in Wrightsville Beach, and graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2022 with a degree in environmental science. She recently completed a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training course in Indonesia.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role?: “I’ve learned a lot already by staying busy and acting on every chance I have to provide support and assistance to the team. I’m excited to keep learning about the development sector, which I’ve been interested in for so long, and I plan to acquire my real estate license in the near future.”