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Meet Our Team

Ben Sampson

Ben Sampson

Principal

A third generation developer, Ben began developing real estate on Route 286 in Plum Borough and surrounding communities with his father, Orin, in the early 1970s.

In 1973, he formed Cano, Inc. to build a 20,000 square foot strip center, Presque Isle Plaza, as part of Plum Borough’s main shopping district. He also established Bar Development Company and The Meritage Group to manage both his and his family’s land development needs. He continues to be the driving influence behind both company’s contract work and sub-division developments located throughout Pittsburgh’s suburbs. Over the last 30 years, these and other partnership affiliated companies have developed industrial, commercial, and retail space as well as thousands of single family lots, apartments, and condominiums.

A graduate of Bucknell University and veteran of the Vietnam War, Ben is active in professional organizations that include the Urban Land Institute, Society of Industrial Office Realtors, and National Association Industrial and Office Properties.

Michael Morris

Michael Morris

CEO

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Economics and a MBA in Finance, Michael embarked on a career in real estate development with a nonprofit organization committed to buying, renovating, and selling distressed residential properties in a hopeful Pittsburgh neighborhood. In 1992, he joined Cano, Inc. as a leasing agent and financial analyst and eventually became its Vice President. In 1997, Michael and Ben Sampson formed the Sampson Morris Group to take over the management of their real estate holdings and to take advantage of additional development opportunities. On February 26, 2004, the corporate name was changed to Sampson Morris Group.

Michael is continually involved in multiple development projects from the initial analysis and mortgage acquisition to the construction management and lease-up phases. Through personal attention, quality management, and a keen sense of direction, he continues to lead Sampson Morris Group forward.

A graduate of Bethany College (BA in Economics) and the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh (MBA in Finance), Michael is actively involved in various professional organizations, including the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP). He continues his education in real estate through various seminars held by both the Urban Land Institute and NAIOP.

Brian Synan

Brian Synan

President

Brian came to Sampson Morris Group as a result of a corporate merger with Rimco Properties in 2012. He is the President as well as the corporate Broker and manages the commercial property management team.

Brian is a graduate of Grove City College (BS in Business Management) and John F. Donahue Graduate School of Business (MBA). He also has designations as a Certified Property Manager (CPM) from the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) and Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM).

Tom Dixon

Tom Dixon

Chief Financial Officer

Honest, ambitious CPA with a robust work ethic; excellent interpersonal and organizational skills; and an ability to problem solve both creatively and logically are the cornerstone attributes of Sampson Morris Group’s CFO, Tom Dixon. Tom joined Sampson Morris Group in 2011 as Chief Accounting Officer, bringing 15 years of progressive experience to the company. Tom oversaw the accounting functions, implemented best practices, and streamlined processes. His focus was on analyzing and delivering timely, accurate, and useful financial information to fellow executive team members.

As CFO, Tom is directly responsible for the overall financial management of the company. His workload includes approving potential tenants, corporate compliance, tax reporting, analyzing financial statements, and providing forecasting and planning to ensure strategic decisions are made for 100+ entities. Flexible by nature and a result-driven executive, Tom delivers value beyond financial statements. He functions as a collaborative leader while providing mentorship and guidance to his team and the organization to ensure the recruitment and retainment of top talent for the corporate finance team. Tom’s strengths of leading with integrity, managing with compassion and his drive to succeed is why his promotion to CFO in 2022 was a natural course.

Tom’s skillset within the organization has been enhanced by many invaluable experiences in his personal life. Tom’s love of traveling was spurred when he received a full fine arts scholarship to Duquesne University that provided him the opportunity to travel to 47 states and providences of Canada.

Community is an integral part of Tom’s life, as he serves as the chair of his church’s finance council and is a regular volunteer for many community events.

Tom has a strong entrepreneurial drive, and has converted his passion of home renovation projects into a business. Together with his wife, they have developed a portfolio of rental properties and a house renovation company. While Tom enjoys life in an urban environment, he does not miss an opportunity to embrace his outdoor passions of hunting and fishing.

Chris Braden

Chris Braden

Sr. Vice President Residential Property Management

Chris has been part of the Sampson Morris team for over 50 years. She started out as a leasing consultant at the Holiday Park Apartments office where she was later promoted to the manager’s position. During the following years, she was able to grow with the company and take on many different roles and challenges – overseeing marketing, staffing, and the reorganization of 7 additional apartment communities added to the portfolio over time.

Chris was promoted to Vice President of Residential Property Management in 2001 and then to Sr. Vice President of Residential Property Management in 2016. Her responsibilities include overseeing the management functions of 2,300 homes made up of apartment and manufactured home communities. Her continued commitment is spurred by a love of the industry and the people she works with.

Chris has been active in the Apartment Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh since the 1990s, serving as President for two years and now holds the title of Lifetime Director. She is licensed by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission.

Michelle Waros

Michelle Waros

Vice President / Controller

With over two decades of investment, asset, operations, and human capital management experience, Michelle joined Sampson Morris Group in March of 2014 as an Accountant. After several promotions within the organization, including accounting, payroll and benefit administration, and human capital management, Michelle began her role as Vice President, Controller in June of 2019. Michelle is licensed with the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission and is an integral part of the Leasing, Accounting, and Human Capital Management teams.

Michelle is an alumna of Washington and Jefferson College, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a minor in Spanish. She is an alumna of Omicron Delta Epsilon, Economic Honorary, and a past recipient of the Vira I. Heinz Program for Women in Global Leadership. Michelle also attended The University of Salamanca, Spain.

Clayton Morris

Clayton Morris

Vice President of Development & Leasing

Clayton is part of the second generation at Sampson Morris Group and in his role of Vice President of Development & Leasing. His responsibilities focus on enhancing the value of the portfolio through leasing, marketing, asset management, development, and acquisitions. Clayton is a graduate of Katz School of Business (MBA in Finance and Business Strategy) and Allegheny College (BA in Managerial Economics with a minor in Astronomy/Astrophysics).

Clayton is also an avid kitesurfer and inventor. He designed and patented a practical, adjustable-size kite and collaborated to start a new company, “Guzt, a kitesurfing innovation company” which makes high performance kite surfboards.

Andrew Venturino

Andrew Venturino

Sr. Project Manager

As the Senior Project Manager, Andrew is detailed with cost control and management of new developments, adaptive redevelopment of acquired properties and tenant buildouts.

After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, Andrew started in real estate management and development with Rimco Properties, gaining knowledge of capital improvement budgeting, contracting, property acquisition procedures and tenant buildouts. He has continued to plan and guide construction projects of various nature such as commercial and industrial, historic restorations, and specialized home construction.

Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy

Vice President of Property Management

Mike Murphy is an accomplished Property Manager with 25 years of real estate experience. He has been an integral part of Sampson-Morris Group since 2006, working on development, leasing, construction, marketing, and technology projects. In his current role, Mike manages a diverse portfolio of commercial properties, responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations, capital improvements, maintenance contracts, tenant relations and lease renewals.

Mike is a graduate of LaRoche University, earning a bachelor’s degree in real estate. He is licensed by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission and is a member of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP). He holds the Accredited Commercial Manager (ACoM) certification from the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), is a Certified Self Storage Manager© (The Self Storage Association), and has his Remote Pilots License (FAA Part 107 Drone).  Mike is a 2024 IREM CPM® Candidate.

Mike was a REME (Real Estate Management Excellence) Awards finalist at the 2022 IREM Global Summit in Dallas, TX.

Mike enjoys spending time with his family, attending concerts, fly fishing and is a volunteer at Allison Park Church, where he serves as a FOH Audio Engineer.

Jeff Kramer

Jeff Kramer

Human Resources Generalist

Jeff brings over a decade of human resources management experience to SMG including a diverse and multifaceted corporate background in talent acquisition, talent and performance management, and an overall broad range of experience within human resource generalist functions. Throughout his corporate tenure he has sourced, acquired and aided within the overall professional development of hundreds of business-related positions, and information technology professionals, along with implementing and orchestrating organizational succession planning and reclassification projects.

After obtaining an associate degree in Information Systems and Technology, Jeff began his career by progressing through leadership and management roles within IT and Data Center service management. For many years he had a senior management position leading 35+ service professionals, while developing and implementing incident management protocols and strategies. Due to the rapid growth within the company along with his passion and success within assigned HR management responsibilities his position began to resonate directly in acquiring, training, and developing talent for a 24/7/365 NOC and IT support operation, while at the same time managing incident and change applications through a ITIL framework.

With Jeff’s transition into human resource management roles and responsibilities, he continued to pursue his education attending both Robert Morris and graduating from Geneva College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resource Management. With the continued desire to focus his career solely within human resources and before starting at SMG, he dedicated his efforts and responsibilities specific to talent acquisition and workforce and job analysis as he aided in restructuring the corporation’s personnel-support teams and overall organizational status, through the use of human resource practice and management. Jeff joined Sampson Morris Group in 2019 and works within various aspects of Human Resources Generalist functions.

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