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EB5 INVESTORS MAGAZINE

Top 25 Attorneys 2018: Top Business Plan Writers

By EB5 Investors Magazine Staff

EB5 Investors Magazine is pleased to announce the Top 5 Business Plan Writers. To be eligible, distinguished business plan writers needed to draft business plans for groups involved in EB-5 funding.

For more information or to contact any of these professionals, we invite you to view their listings at www.EB5Investors.com/directories.

PHIL COHEN

STRATEGIC ELEMENT INC. | PRESIDENT

Phil Cohen is the president of Strategic Element Inc. and a vice president at Altytude Advisors. Strategic Element has been offering professional services in the EB-5 industry since 2010, including business plans, economic impact reports and feasibility studies, and has participated in offerings totaling over $3.5 billion in EB-5 capital. In 2018 Cohen expanded his involvement in the EB-5 industry via participation in the development and launch of Altytude Advisors to address the EB-5 redeployment market. Cohen regularly speaks at and participates in EB-5 events and conferences including: EB5 Investors, iGlobal Forum and AILA. He was also the founder of the EB-5 Definitive Guide.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

The EB-5 program provided an opportunity to become a part of an industry that offered the dual benefit of helping to make the American dream a reality for many people, while at the same time facilitating investments into businesses that would both contribute to the growth of the American economy and the creation of jobs. A win for all involved.

WHAT NEW TYPES OF PROJECTS AND TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

There is real hope that new rules might finally be clarified in 2019. It will be an exciting year for the EB-5 community as we evaluate what opportunities might arise as a result of changing rules, most notably the requirement for many to redeploy EB-5 capital.

WILLIAM DEAN

MASTERPLANS | VICE PRESIDENT OF IMMIGRATION

William Dean is the VP of immigration at Masterplans, a leading business plan writing company founded in 2002. He specializes in networking with attorneys and reviewing petitions and RFEs to help EB-5, L-1, and E-type visa seekers secure approvals from USCIS and consular adjudicators. Dean first encountered EB-5 in 2008 when he wrote the business plan used to start a new regional center in South Florida. He is an award-winning writer and market research authority who has personally authored hundreds of business plans dating back to 2005. Dean was previously a case assistant with the law firm Stoel Rives, and is a magna cum laude graduate of Brown University.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

I originally joined Masterplans as a staff writer, making basic plans to get SBA loans for coffee shops or to raise angel investment for entrepreneurs with new ideas in tech. After a couple grueling years in the trenches, I was promoted to special projects writer and started handling exclusively the advanced business models with complex funding requirements. It was in this role that I first studied EB-5 and needed to build a plan to USCIS standards. Immigration held my interest right away. After 2008, I made it my mission to build visa planning work into its own division of the company.

WHAT NEW TYPES OF PROJECTS AND TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

One regrettable trend is the inevitable “mad dash to file” whenever a reauthorization deadline is looming in Congress, or after USCIS signals a change. But there are encouraging signs as well. For one thing, interest in direct investment remains high, especially amongst entrepreneurs from Vietnam and India, to open hotels, restaurants and dental clinics. Despite the current administration’s narrow view of immigration, there are still thousands of gifted foreigners eager to come here every year. Alternative visa types — the L-1 and E-2 chief among them — continue to bring investment and jobs to the U.S., even as EB-5 awaits meaningful reform.

SUZANNE LAZICKI

LUCID PROFESSIONAL WRITING | FOUNDER

Suzanne Lazicki is a business writer and consultant specializing in the EB-5 program. In nine years since founding Lucid Professional Writing, Lazicki has written hundreds of business plans for regional center and direct EB-5 projects, and a variety of plans and market reports for non-immigrant investments. She holds a B.A. in English literature (summa cum laude) and master of business administration. Lazicki runs blog.lucidtext.com, providing EB-5 news and information to readers around the world. Her published work includes articles on business plans in the third and fourth editions of Immigration Options for Investors & Entrepreneurs, published by AILA.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

Like many others, I discovered EB-5 when working in commercial real estate during the recession of 2008. My first EB-5 business plan described a retail development in a small town with 34 percent unemployment. Today, that development houses job-creating new business, and immigrant investors in the project have completed the EB-5 process to become permanent residents. As a writer and MBA with an international background, I enjoy working with EB-5 business plans. My previous experience with foreign investment came in China, where I prepared reports for companies from Europe and the Middle East considering investment in China-based projects.

WHAT NEW TYPES OF PROJECTS AND TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

I see EB-5 projects becoming much fewer, smaller and more diverse. Demand for EB-5 has fallen among prospective investors and project companies due to pressure from visa availability and wait times, political uncertainty, imminent increase to the minimum investment amount, a changing economy, and rising expense of regional center operations. In 2019, I expect to see fewer construction projects and more opportunity for franchise deals, manufacturing projects, pooled direct investment, and projects that seek to attract investors by offering a significant rate of return.

MARISA MARCONI

PINNACLE PLAN WRITING | FOUNDER

Marisa Marconi is the founder and lead writer at Pinnacle Plan Writing. Prior to launching Pinnacle in 2016, Marconi was the senior project manager and immigration specialist at a major business plan writing firm in Oregon for nine years. Marconi has developed more than 875 business plans for visa petitions, including 325 EB-5 plans (direct and regional center) and has overseen the development of nearly 2,500 business plans for entrepreneurs seeking funding from banks and investors. Her portfolio includes plans for small to large companies and projects in almost every industry. Marconi holds a degree in English from Columbia University.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

At the beginning of my career in 2007, I mostly worked with entrepreneurs seeking angel and VC funding. It involved developing plans for concepts that would likely not come to fruition. As the EB-5 program started to gain traction, I began working on comprehensive plans for actual projects that would have demonstrable impacts on local communities. Now, I work exclusively on these types of plans. This type of work is meaningful to me, not only because these projects create jobs for local communities, but because the plans I develop also contribute to helping immigrants find their place in the U.S.

WHAT NEW TYPES OF PROJECTS AND TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

The demand for EB-5 investment by developers and businesses in the U.S. remains strong, and foreign investors’ desire to invest remains strong as well. But the constant uncertainty over rule changes and legislation, combined with retrogression and processing delays, has certainly impacted the industry and dampened its potential. In my view, the EB-5 program is part of why we have the lowest unemployment rate in decades. The industry needs renewed legislation and adjustments that aid, rather than hinder, continued investment.

TOM MARTIN

BAKER TILLY CAPITAL LLC | VICE PRESIDENT

Tom Martin is a vice president with Baker Tilly Capital LLC and currently leads the EB-5 U.S. consulting practice. With over six years of EB-5 experience, Martin chiefly works within the EB-5 practice areas to structure EB-5 offerings for qualifying projects and businesses. He has personally overseen the completion of more than 600 economic impact reports and business plans as well as the creation of hundreds of source of funds reports for EB-5 investors. He serves as a strategic advisor to regional centers, developers and project owners utilizing EB-5 financing. Prior to Baker Tilly, Martin worked in education and sales.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

I enjoy working with groups and individuals to help meet their needs. I saw an incredible opportunity to help people navigate through the complex environment of EB-5. The role of consultant is to help clients reduce complicated matters and avoid making costly mistakes. I am proud of the role we have had in helping hundreds of our clients be successful in achieving their EB-5 goals.

WHAT NEW TYPES OF PROJECTS AND TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE EB-5 INDUSTRY?

We continue working with projects utilizing smaller EB-5 raises, under $30 million, and continue to see strong interest in the direct EB-5 program. Real estate projects, primary multi-family housing and mixed-use projects and hospitality, are still dominant; however, we are increasingly helping clients who are working on restaurants, technology and smaller manufacturing projects. This trend in smaller raises is likely to continue as uncertainty about potential changes in the program linger and clients are looking to quickly capitalize their projects ahead of any significant changes to the program.

EB5Investors.com Staff

EB5Investors.com Staff

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