Samarian Group is a team of economists, business analysts, consultants and academics that collaborate, advise, carve inroads and price risk. The richness of the team can be found in the diversity of experience.
Alfred Zaccagnino PresidentAlfred Zaccagnino PresidentRead More
Alfred Zaccagnino is the president and founder of Samarian Group of Companies. Alfred’s leadership has been the foundation for the company’s evolution and smart growth. Clients and associates appreciate his unique ability to excel in a variety of industries—media, finance, entertainment, technology and real estate. His approach to business is personal; the company’s boutique style allows for a more comprehensive understanding of client needs.
Alfred graduated with honors from the FAA Aeronautical Academy in Oklahoma City. As an air traffic control specialist, he developed leadership skills that would become the hallmark of his achievements.
A true giver at heart, Alfred is dedicated to bringing opportunities to struggling communities. Alfred is a proud member of the Global Sustainability Network (GSN), a worldwide network of over 300 global change makers dedicating to eradicating extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030. Alfred also dedicates resources each year to the century-old Kip Bay Boys & Girls Club, providing direction, despite difficult life circumstances, to inner-city children ages 6-18.
Business leader, philanthropist, innovator, and speaker—Alfred Zaccagnino has no shortage of accolades. When asked what he is most proud of, he does not stumble. “Our custom approach,” he says. “Every project Samarian undertakes requires a tailored and strategic plan. It takes a committed team to ensure it’s executed properly. And that defines Samarian Group.”
Mark Schneider PartnerMark Schneider PartnerRead More
Mark Schneider structures the type of investment opportunities that define the core of the Samarian Group brand. He also navigates regulatory compliance issues, deal flow, front-line transactional negotiation, and legal specifics. Navigating complex transactions—including regulatory compliance transactional issues and legalities—are among his strongest professional assets. Holding degrees in Biology (Univ. Minnesota), Forestry and Philosophy (Univ. Montana – Hon.), and a Juris Doctorate from Seattle University with honors including the Order of Barristers, and being recognized for exceptional academic excellence with an American Jurisprudence Award.
Schneider’s early career focused on the identification and capitalization of emerging markets in the commodities sector. With Perestroika (“restructuring”) and Glasnost (“openness”) in the late 1980’s, Mark Schneider was one of the first United States attorneys to forge business pathways into the former U.S.S.R. bridging investment opportunities between the East and West. Mark was instrumental in developing and implementing foreign investment and trade strategies between U.S Companies, China and Russia.
Much of Mark’s legal and business career has focused on complex international commodity, trade, and financial transactions; His early career provided the foundation for his current work and interpretation of international markets. The Samarian Group’s expansion into the Middle East has resulted in projects and partnerships that are both innovative and lucrative. Schneider’s expertise transcends the obvious investments—oil—and includes niche industries such as banking and tourism.
Visiting the region—and cementing key relationships—has reminded him that practicing business away from the democratic model is an art.
Mark Schneider appreciates the discipline of restraint and values sustained and controlled growth. The carefully carved details of a project—the time taken in development and execution—are, according to Schneider, one of Samarian Groups most defining tenets.
Phil Leseur Legal AdvisorPhil Leseur Legal AdvisorRead More
Phil Leseur joined The Samarian Group of Companies in 2010.
Phil attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario for his undergraduate degree and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) majoring in Political Studies. He then returned to his hometown Victoria, British Columbia and attended law school at the University of Victoria where he completed a law degree. He commenced his legal career at the Vancouver law firm of Russell & DuMoulin which is now the Canadian national law firm Faskens. His practice area was in corporate law and real estate law. He worked on the Coal Harbour and Yaletown development projects which have transformed the urban downtown core of Vancouver, British Columbia. He remained in private practice for 14 years until 2004 when he became in-house counsel for the Bear Mountain partnership involving the real estate/resort development located in Victoria, British Columbia. The Bear Mountain development was the largest real estate/resort development in Western Canada. As in-house counsel for the Bear Mountain partnership, he oversaw all real estate and corporate legal matters for Bear Mountain.
In 2008, Phil began working on the acquisition of the National Hockey franchise involving the Tampa Bay Lightning. He worked on behalf of the buying group and worked closely with the law firm Weil Gostshal & Manges LLP Dallas office who were acting as lead counsel for the buying group. He oversaw the legal team retained by the majority partner for the buying group and liaised with the legal representatives of the National Hockey League and the financing entity Galatioto Sports Partners. In 2010, he worked with the New York office of the law firm Hiscock & Barclay (now Barclay Damon LLP) and lead counsel Bob Lanza regarding the sale of the Tampa Bay Lightning and subsequent arbitration before NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
In 2011, he returned to a full-time role at the Bear Mountain development working firstly with the Court Appointed Monitor and then the HSBC subsidiary company which had taken controlled and ownership of the Bear Mountain real estate development/resort project. He worked on and formulated a ‘work out’ plan for the redevelopment and sale of the Bear Mountain real estate/resort project. In 2013, he was engaged as a consultant by Ecoasis which had real estate projects in Hawaii and Whistler, British Columbia and acquired the Bear Mountain real estate/resort development from the HSBC subsidiary company.
As Legal Advisor for The Samarian Group of Companies, Phil’s primary role is advising on corporate structure, tax efficiency, financing documentation and contractual drafting. He also advises Samarian on compliance matters and works closely with Samarian’s President Alfred Zaccagnino.
Ray Negron Business ConsultantRay Negron Business ConsultantRead More
Ray Negron is proud to serve as Business Consultant to Samarian Group. He is responsible for investor relations, community outreach and charitable endeavors.
Negron has worked with the New York Yankees organization for more than thirty years, as consultant to George Steinbrenner and members of the Yankees executive team. Since the death of George Steinbrenner in 2010, the Steinbrenner family has remained committed to Negron’s community efforts.
He serves as liaison between Samarian Group and sports executives and professional athletes seeking to learn about and become involved with private equity opportunities.
As founder of Hank’s Yanks—youth baseball teams in support of at-risk kids—he provides an outlet for youth facing difficult challenges. Baseball serves as the platform on which players build new meaning and growing purpose.
His work with the Kip Bay Boys & Girls Club has gained broad support from Samarian Group President Alfred Zaccagnino. Together they support holiday programs, provide needed funding and improve the daily lives of at-risk youth.
Negron’s role in connecting Samarian Group and the sports industry has provided unique opportunities to athletes interested in expanding their investment portfolio.
Laura Ciuraite Human ResourcesLaura Ciuraite Human ResourcesRead More
Laura Ciuraite serves as human resources and office manager for the Samarian Group of Companies. Her extensive background in office administration, office technology and hospitality makes her an asset to Samarian and dovetails with the company’s ventures. She graduated college with honors in Applied Science—with accolades from the President—and enhances Samarian Group’s talented team.
Laura’s role requires attending to and managing details—and never losing sight of the big picture. She ensures administrative processes are streamlined, communication is onpoint, tasks are mastered and the correct gears are engaged—skills that contributed to the company’s smooth move to the 35th floor of Madison Avenue’s Burberry Building.
Laura is wellacquainted with the luxury hospitality industry—she spent three years as human resource manager at a top national hotel brand. As Samarian’s Penta Club project evolves, Laura’s role will do the same—and she will embrace the challenge. Laura notes the authenticity, innovation and energy of her colleagues as the differentiator of the Samarian Group—and is proud to be a part of the dynamic team.
Wolfgang Heimerl Senior CounselWolfgang Heimerl Senior CounselRead More
Wolfgang Heimerl serves as Senior Counsel and litigator for the Samarian Group and its related entities. His education and early career is a unique mix and custom fit for his role with Samarian Group. He attended the W. Paul Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall, graduating magna cum laude with a B.S. in Accounting. His start in corporate finance would serve as the foundation for his later work, as he developed a career that straddled two complex industries—accounting and law. Mr. Heimerl’s final two years at Seton Hall were spent clerking for Kleinberg, Kaplan, Wolff & Cohn, P.C. (KKW&C), a respected law firm based in mid-town Manhattan. He quickly gained experience in the practice of hedge fund formation and representation. Mr. Heimerl eventually settled into a role in the litigation department, charged with addressing regulatory compliance and commercial transactions. He would leave KKW&C after five years—a smarter, better and more accomplished attorney.
He has now represented Samarian Group principals for more than a decade. The work with Samarian Group has led to transactions with diverse clients and projects.
Having a command of the legal process, domestically and globally, requires constant study and a comprehensive strategy—one of Samarian Groups key differentiators.
Mr. Heimerl describes the company as a brain trust—a collaboration and unification of partners and purpose.
Rick Munro Business ConsultantRick Munro Business ConsultantRead More
Rick Munro serves as a business consultant for the Samarian Group of Companies.
The diversity of his experiences, successes, and relationships rival the range of his skillset. Munro is the business world’s equivalent of a Renaissance man—and would hold a place on any astute executives ‘A’ list. Munro has a strong foothold in sports, entertainment and business arenas—but it is his understanding of the value of relationships that is his most distinctive feature.
Munro’s start in the business world was robust, and led to the success he would experience in other arenas. In the late 80’s, Munro launched a direct marketing company that would become the precursor to the digital group couponing model that dominates email inboxes today. HIs early work laid the foundation for the paradigm shift in business to consumer marketing. Munro deftly engineered his company’s expansion, establishing a national footprint by connecting businesses with their ideal consumers within a mutually beneficial framework.
His knack for connecting people to businesses—and people to people—has become his hallmark. Identifying the ripe fruit in niche markets—and bringing Samarian Group to the vine—is the underpinning of his success.
Intricacies of the sports and entertainment industry are undaunting to Munro. Samarian assisted franchise ownership when Rick brokered a deal to sell the Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) for $206M in 2008. Rick is poised to create equal impact in the film arena with a film tentatively titled Room 107—a Samarian Productions venture.
Munro is an indelible force in Samarian Group’s market position—and an inevitable sculptor of the company’s future. “Samarian has established a phenomenal footprint—both domestically and overseas—that would be difficult to duplicate,” he states. “Relationships are my sustenance and greatest pride. And it is relationships that have shaped the Samarian brand and define the Samarian Way. It’s a natural fit.”
Courtney Caroline Executive AssistantCourtney Caroline Executive AssistantRead More
Meghan Mercado Business ConsultantMeghan Mercado Business ConsultantRead More