At Contender Development
Ford S. Elliott
Ford is Chief Executive Officer of Contender Development and is a veteran real estate developer and entrepreneur with over 17 years’ experience in development, construction, investment, business acquisitions and running multiple successful operating businesses. Ford has led the team to over $1.25 Billion in active developments and founded Blackstream which sells over $700 Million worth of real estate annually and has over 350 team members. He prides himself on the partnerships that the company has formed with some of the best companies in the world, including, but not limited to, Marriott, Hilton, DR Horton, Lennar, NVR, Meritage Homes, Culver’s, Christie’s International Real Estate and SVN. He is an Advisory Board Member of Synovus Bank. Some of Ford’s greatest business accomplishments include winning the Christie’s Affiliate of the Year Award, finishing as a Top 10 SVN office for three consecutive years, and winning the RealTrends Emerging Leaders Award for which he was nominated by Christie’s International Real Estate. Most recently, he was honored as a recipient of the 50 Most Influential Award by Greenville Business Magazine. Ford attended Clemson University where he studied construction management and is a licensed general contractor and real estate broker. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, their five children and their golden retriever.
Josh Howard is a veteran attorney with 20 years of experience counseling southeast regional businesses and developers, including Blackstream. In 2018, Josh joined the leadership team of the Blackstream companies. Josh serves as the Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of the Blackstream companies, which are SVN I Blackstream commercial real estate; Blackstream Christies residential real estate and Blackstream Development. As Blackstream Development, Ford Elliott, as founder, and Josh have assembled a team of experienced leaders in management, legal, finance and real estate that now makes up Blackstream Development. Josh is a 1998 graduate of Clemson University and a magna cum laude 2001 graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law. Prior to Blackstream, Josh was a Partner of Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP from 2015-2018, a partner with Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, PA from 2002-2015 and law clerk to the Honorable Henry M. Herlong Jr. of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina from 2001-2002. In addition to his professional experience, Josh has served in various roles of community leadership through the years and remains very active in the southeast legal and South Carolina business community.
Adam Plous serves as Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Hotels for Contender Development, based in Greenville, SC. He oversees the development and operational efforts of the organization along with the project management and asset management of our Hotel Division. Adam brings to Contender Development nearly 20 years of experience in hospitality and leadership, starting as an intern at the Overland Park Marriott. Since that time, Adam served as General Manager for Marriott International, White Lodging & Aimbridge Hospitality in multiple Marriott and Hilton branded hotels in major markets across the United States. During this time, he hired and developed hundreds of team members while excelling in revenue analysis, budgeting, human resources and client relations. Adam is a 2005 graduate of Kansas State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management. He is active in his local community having served on numerous Area Hotel Associations and Marriott Business Councils.
Maxine has over 25 years of experience as a Finance and Accounting Professional. As an Independent Consultant for the last 8 years, she has assisted clients, including Contender Development, with business modeling, financial forecasting and reporting, accounting, due diligence, business sale transactions, cash flow management, and a variety of other projects. Maxine has acted as a Managing Director/Sr. Consultant at Clear Thinking Group, LLC. There, she worked with a variety of companies in North America as a Business Turn-Around, Restructuring, and Bankruptcy Consultant focused primarily in the retail and wholesale apparel markets. Prior to entering the consulting arena, Maxine worked in industry serving as a Director of Financial Planning & Analysis for an apparel retailer, as well as other finance and accounting positions. Maxine graduated from Bob Jones University and is a licensed CPA in South Carolina.
Christina is a Greenville native currently serving as Contender Development’s Director of Finance and Project Management. Before coming to Contender, Christina spent 7 years in wealth management and finance where she provided holistic relationship management using portfolio analysis, financial forecasting and a goals-based approach to ensure clients’ financial success. Christina attended Arizona State University, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and Finance. Outside of the office, you can catch her hiking with her dog, reading a good history book or at a cycle class.
Susan L. Roberts
Susan relocated from the Philadelphia area to Greenville in 2019 and procured her license as a Residential Real Estate Advisor. She has a diverse background in education, industry and non-profit organizations, bringing a broad array of skills and experience to her position at Contender. Her previous 15 year career in the legal field focused in the Corporate Bankruptcy and Civil Litigation areas of law where she honed her skills for case management, contract review and negotiation. Susan joined Contender Development in 2021 as Operations and Office Manager.
Deb Conant is a senior corporate paralegal with over 20 years of experience in real estate portfolio and development management, corporate governance growth and maintenance, mergers and acquisitions, and contract preparation. Her management and interpersonal experience help her excel in client relations, transaction management and finance preparations. Deb has worked with Contender Development in the company’s legal department assisting with real estate transactions, property closings and land/business financing. She also manages the company’s corporate governance and property insurance portfolios.
Brett Massey joined Contender Development in 2021 as a Land Development Director. Previous to his current role Brett was a partner at the law firm of KabirMassey where he practiced a wide range of legal disciplines. Brett has also worked in the finance field and has experience working in real estate development in Florida. Throughout his career, Brett has consistently achieved success in bringing client’s undertakings to their successful conclusion, through shared vision and partnership. Brett’s close relationships with his clients allows him to truly understand their needs and bring their expectations to fruition. As Land Director, Brett works closely with vendors, builders and partners to ensure the best possible product is created and delivered.
Heather is a South Carolina native with extensive knowledge of the area. She has seen and appreciated the growth that has occurred in the Upstate over the last few decades. She has a background in sales and marketing for Fortune 500 businesses. Throughout her career in real estate and mortgage financing, Heather has helped hundreds of families realize their dream of owning a home, rental or vacation property. She has won numerous awards including Loan Advisor of the Year and President’s Club. The timeliness and need for being detail oriented, along with her passion for growth and development, led her to Contender Development to be a part of an incredible team helping to further expand our communities.
Susan is a native of South Carolina and joined Contender Development in 2021 as a Land Director. She brings with her 30 years of experience conducting medical research trials where she worked with and managed people in a variety of industries. Through the course of in her professional career, Susan has earned a reputation for her ability to build rapport with clients and enhance productivity to ensure organizational goals are met and exceeded. As a Land Director, Susan oversees land development projects by working closely with developers, engineers, and governmental bodies to ensure complete oversight of each project from design to completion.
Kristina has been a part of the Blackstream companies since its inception in 2014 and has played a key role in the company’s growth internally as part of management, and as a tenured commercial broker. After BlackStream’s affiliation with the national SVN brand, she kickstarted her brokerage focus in retail and restaurant leasing. Her experience has continually grown with great sales success in multiple sectors including land, multi-family, office and retail. Kristina brings her vast knowledge and experience to Contender to assist clients with their residential and commercial land development projects. A Greenville native, Kristina has found an authentic passion for the growth of the Upstate and appreciates the heart of Greenville’s community.
Jennifer has over a decade of professional culinary experience as a Chef, Pastry Chef, and Manager for local restaurant groups in fine dining and upscale Southern fusion. She opened the Nose Dive and Dive ‘N Boar gastropubs before becoming a Mom. Afterward, she excelled in food service management at Michelin, and graduated to Account Manager for Bon Appetit at Milliken and Savannah College of Art and Design. Jennifer has coordinated annual events with chefs from all over the country including Euphoria, Fall for Greenville, BMW Pro-Am, and countless charitable organizations. Jennifer also owns a private event catering company with her Chef husband, specializing in dietary restrictions. Previous to completing a Culinary Arts Degree from Florida Culinary Institute, she worked in hospitality at locally prominent fine dining and golf communities in Greenville, SC and Jupiter, FL. Jennifer is currently partnering with Contender Development to manage restaurant growth. Her focus will be using their progress to find ways to give back to the community. Jennifer enjoys being a Mom and youth coach, loves sports and spending time outdoors.
David W. Hub
David has over 35 years of experience in restaurants, hospitality, finance and real estate. David originally started in Chicago working for the Levy Organization and has worked with some of the top restaurant groups in Chicago. He also brings hotel experience as an opener with the Food and Beverage team for the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, a 1,200+ room flagship hotel for Starwood Hotels and Resorts, now the Sheraton Grand. Building on those experiences, David has partnered and owned restaurant concepts in both Chicago and Florida. In addition to his extensive restaurant and hotel experience, David has worked in real estate investments and finance for over 25 years. He brings a multi-faceted perspective to the Contender/Blackstream team and is always looking at opportunities for C/B to continue being innovators and leaders of real estate and business investment in the Southeastern United States.
Ashley James is a multidisciplinary creative whose work spans design and development. As a stylist and creative director for the last 15 years in fashion, something sparked a passion for interior design. Wanting to create something unique and obtainable for homeowners, her main focus currently is merging design with urban infill real estate development. Her work has been featured in Apartment Therapy, GQ, Highsnobiety and Greenville’s own Talk Magazine.