Deshea Agee, who recently stepped down as executive director of the Historic King Drive Business Improvement District No. 8, is headed to Milwaukee-based construction and development firm Emem Group LLC.
Agee will join the firm as vice president. He said he will be the right-hand man to president and chief executive officer Michael Emem.
Emem Group was founded in 2014, but launched full-time last year. It designs and builds single-family homes in Milwaukee and surrounding communities, such as Glendale. It additionally provides commercial real estate development services as owner's representative on projects.
In the past year, Emem Group has designed and built more than $4 million worth of new market-rate homes. It has also managed over $25 million in commercial developments as owner's rep.
Emem Group is working with the city of Milwaukee to build more homes in the Josey Heights and Walnut Circle subdivisions on Milwaukee's near northwest side.
Emem said 12 homes in the two subdivisions are either under contract or close to being under contract. Another six or seven homes are in their "beginning stages," he said.
The firm also recently added co-developer to its list of duties, after joining the Martin Luther King Jr. Library redevelopment project with Fox Point-based General Capital Group.
It's the commercial side of the business that Agee will focus on. He will both lead and manage commercial development projects and provide oversight and management of company operations.
Emem said he'd like to grow the commercial side of his business now that he's bringing in Agee. He particularly wants to work on more small, community-focused projects in the range of approximately $500,000 to $2 million in value. Those projects often come in the form of renovations or adaptive reuse.
Emem said his firm has been limited to what it could do on the commercial side because he's been the sole person providing development services.
"If I had a growth goal, it would be to do more community commercial development work," he said. "And Deshea, being a part of the team now, does that."
Agee and Emem have known each other for about 15 years. They previously worked for Carla Cross, president and CEO of Milwaukee-based Cross Management Services Inc.
"From a 'dynamic duo' perspective, it made me feel really good to say, 'If I could be the right hand of somebody, I would love to be his right hand,'" Agee said, "To really help uplift him, help uplift the communities he's doing work in and help change that built environment in a way that can show some excellence and care, and involving all the folks who need to be at the table."
His decision to leave the King Drive BID was driven by his desire to help even more communities than just those along the King Drive corridor.
“I am excited to join Emem Group and look forward to contributing to the development of Milwaukee’s built environment,” he said. “This transition affords me the opportunity to not only participate on a variety of development projects, but it also supports an emerging real estate leader that I trust, respect and believe in.”