Jess is Head of Agricultural Finance & Investments at PGIM Real Estate. With deep industry, technical, financial and leadership expertise, he drives the performance of the company's nearly $7 billion agricultural investment portfolio, comprised of lending, equity investments, farm management and real estate brokerage services. His lifelong experience in global agricultural finance and management has generated exceptional value for investors and shareholders alike. He is based in Atlanta, GA.
Starting with a forestry degree from Texas A&M, he launched his career with the Texas Forest Service, and then with John Hancock's inaugural venture in timberland investments. After earning an MBA from the University of North Texas, he joined Rabobank Nederland, where he helped take their U.S. office from nothing to several billion dollars in forest products and agribusiness assets. In 1995, Jess was recruited by SunTrust, where he grew the agribusiness unit he founded to well over $1 billion in assets. There, he ascended to a strategic leadership role in their capital markets and structured real estate groups.
In 2007, Jess joined Wells Timberland Management Company as president, director and member of the executive committee, responsible for agricultural real estate through their management and REIT entities. He was also appointed president of Wells Real Asset Management Company to raise institutional money and create funds in alternative assets including timberland, agriculture and commercial property.
As Head of Agricultural Finance & Investments at PGIM Real Estate since 2014, he leads a highly talented executive team with expertise in all aspects of agricultural investment. Drawing upon PGIM Real Estate's core values of trust, customer focus and respect, along with his broad market view, keen eye for opportunities and natural leadership abilities, he ensures the financial goals of PGIM Real Estate's diverse client base are understood and met.