The body doesn’t consist of one part alone, but of several parts working together in a common unison. Our team members are the foundation of our firm. We are passionate about serving our clients, and our communities. — Gary Cress
Gary, Founding Principal of The Cress Group, is a successful, entrepreneurial real estate developer. Throughout his career of more than 30 years in commercial real estate, Gary has developed office buildings and shopping centers in Mississippi and Florida, managing more than 65 third-party properties in the Southeast. Prior to the creation of The Cress Group, Gary received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University and worked for IBM in the data processing division.
Blake has 23 years of experience with The Cress Group and its various divisions. During his career he has served as property manager, leasing agent, sales and leasing broker, and commercial and residential developer. He currently directs the operations of Cress Development, LLC, the commercial and residential development division of The Cress Group. Prior to joining The Cress Group, Blake received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Alabama and also holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Mississippi College. Blake lives in Madison with his wife and two sons.
Chad graduated from Mississippi State University in 2001 with an undergraduate degree in forest resources, and in 2002 with a master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in real estate. He joined The Cress Group that same year. Chad has been responsible for facilitating and overseeing acquisitions and dispositions of shopping centers and office buildings, shopping center development, new financing and refinancing of investment property, lease negotiations, tenant representation work, and commercial property management. Chad oversees the day-to-day operations of the Brokerage Division. A CCIM member since 2008 and member of ICSC, Chad serves on the committee for the CCIM Mississippi Chapter.
John is responsible for the accounting operations of the company including accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, and management reporting. Prior to joining The Cress Group, John was the controller for Hudson Capital Partners, LLC, and company specializing in asset disposition services. John was also the Assistant Controller and Director of Accounting for Bill’s Dollar Stores for more than thirty years. He is a graduate of Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi.
Aaron is a graduate of Mississippi College with a degree in Business Administration with emphasis in Accounting, Aaron joined The Cress Group in July of 2014. As the Assistant Controller, Aaron assists in all accounting operations of the company and oversees the management reporting on all properties managed by The Cress Group.
Russell joined The Cress Group after almost 20 years as president of Woodlands Realty Group, LLC, serving as the property manager and leasing agent of Woodlands Office Park in Ridgeland, MS. A graduate of the University of Mississippi, he started his career in banking and has since spent more than 25 years in the commercial real estate industry. His experience in real estate includes commercial brokerage, tenant and landlord representation in lease negotiations, and overseeing day-to-day operations of commercial property management. Russell believes in developing personal relationships, open communication and treating all parties honestly and fairly - cornerstones of his successful real estate career. He lives in Madison with his wife Stacey they have two grown children.
Martin, a Madison native, graduated from Mississippi State University in 2002. He and his wife live in Madison with their two sons. Martin looks forward to assisting you in buying, selling, or leasing your commercial, timber or recreational lands.
Hank received a Business and Marketing Degree from The University of Mississippi. He also received a Masters in Marketing and food distribution from Cornell University. He has experience in the food industry and automobile retailing. For the last 25 years he has bought and sold his own real estate.Since he sold his car dealership in 2007 he has been in commercial real estate full time.
Renita joined The Cress Group in October 2015, and is the Executive Assistant to Gary Cress and Blake Cress. Renita attended Mississippi State University, majoring in Accounting and has worked in the administrative executive offices over 25 years. She attends Pinelake Church and lives in Flowood. Renita has 2 sons, a daughter and 2 granddaughters. When she is not working, she enjoys exercising, cooking, watching SEC sports and spending time with her granddaughters Bella and Caroline.
Hilliary Farmer joined the team in 2012, and is the Accounting Assistant for the Cress Group. She assists with 26 properties in accounts payable, accounts receivable, and maintains record filings for all things accounting. She lives in Florence with her husband and two daughters.
Teresa Bird joined The Cress Group in 2018 as staff accountant. She graduated from Millsaps College with a Degree in Accounting. Teresa has 20+ years of experience in different industries. She recently moved to Madison from Meridian, with her husband and 3 boys.
Amy Edds joined The Cress Group in April of 2022 and is the assistant for Chad Hirn, Hank Holman, Russell Wilcox, and Martin Quick. She graduated from Mississippi College with a BSBA degree in Marketing and has over 18 years of experience working in office administration. Amy lives in Brandon with her husband and 2 children.
Wayne joined the Cress Group in 2018, as a maintenance technician. He is a licensed electrician with 18 years of experience. Wayne was previously the Chief Engineer at The Jackson Convention Complex. He lives in Richland with his wife and three children.
Grant has over 8 years’ experience in residential management. Originally from Chattanooga, TN., Grant moved to Mississippi from Florida, where he ran his own business, and spent time with the Department of Health, as well as the state Game and Fish Commission, where he was bureau chief over the Licensing and Permitting division. During his career he has served as Property Manager, Facilities manager, and in the US Navy among others. He enjoys wearing numerous hats for the MS American Legion, currently as District 6 Commander, He is the senior diver for the MS Natural Science Museum where he began the “Saltwater” Santa Claus program in 2005. A Certified Master Naturalist in the Central MS Chapter, he loves the outdoors. Previously, Grant served as President of the MS chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association. Prior to joining The Cress Group, Grant received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama and also holds a Master’s degree in Public Health. Grant resides in Madison County and enjoys spending time with his grandchildren.