Our Team

Veteran banking professionals with decades of commercial lending experience

Frank Goldberg


Frank Goldberg founded Briar Capital in 2003 after more than 30 years of providing working capital and real estate loans for small and middle-market businesses.  During his career, he founded one of Houston’s most successful community banks and later established the nation’s first federally chartered online bank. Under his leadership, Briar Capital has grown from its Texas roots to become one of the nation’s leading asset-based lenders focused exclusively on owner-occupied, commercial real estate finance solutions.


Jeff Van Sickle


Jeff Van Sickle joined Briar Capital in 2005 after a successful tenure with Ford Motor Company. After beginning his career with Briar on the business development side sourcing both asset-based working capital and real estate financing transactions, he was promoted to manage the Briar Capital sales team. When Briar transitioned its business model solely to real estate financing in late 2018, Jeff was elevated to President. He is an active member of the SFNet, TMA and ACG trade organizations and previously served as the Houston Chapter President of what was then the Commercial Finance Association. He is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor, MI where he played baseball and now enjoys competing in the sport of triathlon.


Susan Holliday

Chief Credit Officer, Executive Vice President

Susan Holliday is a skilled asset-based lending professional with more than 20 years experience as an account executive, underwriter and controller.  Prior to joining Briar Capital in 2013, she served as Senior Vice President and Portfolio Manager for Frost Capital Group where she managed a lending portfolio in excess of $100MM in committed lines of credit.


Leah Goldberg

Chief Financial Officer

Leah Goldberg is skilled asset-based lending professional currently focused on owner-occupied commercial real estate. Prior to joining Briar Capital in 2019, she served in traditional asset-based lending and supply chain finance roles at Wells Fargo Capital Finance managing and underwriting private equity backed credits in the middle market. She holds a Masters of Economics from Boston University.


Jeff Appleton

Executive Vice President, Business Development

Jeff Appleton joined Briar Capital in 2017 and prior to that had 30 years in asset-based lending for Siemens, Wells Fargo, FINOVA, TD Bank and JP Morgan Chase & Co. where he served in senior-level capacities working with accounts receivable, inventory, real estate and equipment. He began his career at Ernst & Whinney and later held asset-based lending audit positions at GE Capital. He is Past President of the Turnaround Management Association, Atlanta Chapter and a Past Board Member of the Commercial Finance Association, Atlanta Chapter.


Jill Kirshenbaum

Senior Vice President, Business Development

Jill Kirshenbaum is a finance professional, with great experience in alternative financing for commercial business needs.  Prior to joining Briar in 2022, Jill was responsible for creating collaborative alliances and new opportunities with Accounts Receivable, Purchase Order and Machine & Equipment and Commercial Real Estate professionals within the finance world. Jill serves on the Turnaround Management Association Global Board of Directors as a Trustee as well as a Board Member of the Global women’s board (the TMAnow).   Jill has a wide network of individuals in Finance, and is willing to assist in collaboration, introduction, and advocacy.  And she is active as a Board member of the Israeli Cancer Research Foundation (ICRF.org)providing research and cures for cancer. 


Larry Ellis

Senior Vice President, Business Development

Prior to joining Briar Capital in 2023, Larry Ellis had an extensive background in commercial and corporate lending, covering the Southwest U.S. for leading regional and national banking organizations.  He also has experience in asset-based lending working for Fleet Capital and partnered with the ABL teams at each respective institution.  Larry’s previous experience includes Regions Bank, KeyBanc Capital Markets, BBVA, and Bank of America.  He is a former President of the Houston Turnaround Management Association, former Board member of the Secured Finance Network, Houston Chapter, and a long-time Member of the Association for Corporate Growth, Houston Chapter.  He holds a BBA from the University of Texas at Arlington, and a MBA from Texas Christian University.


Jonathan "JD" Davis

Vice President, Business Development

JD is an experienced financial professional with a background in wealth management and commercial banking. Prior to joining Briar in early 2024, he was a commercial banker at JP Morgan and Amegy Bank. In addition to a strong business development background, he has underwritten transactions totaling over $1B in credit exposure. JD holds a degree in accounting from the University of Houston where he also played baseball. JD is still closely affiliated with the Commercial Banking program at the Bauer College of Business where he serves as a mentor and helped develop the case study curriculum for the program.


Laura Cordero

Senior Vice President, Underwriting

Laura Cordero is an accomplished finance professional experienced in both asset-based lending and invoice factoring.  Prior to joining Briar Capital in 2013, she served in asset-based lending and factoring positions at Frost Bank where she was responsible for a lending portfolio of lines of credit, term loan and purchase facilities collateralized by accounts receivable, inventory, working capital, equipment and commercial real estate.


Kristin Yowell


Kristin Yowell is a talented finance professional experienced in asset-based lending community.  Prior to joining Briar Capital in 2014, she served as a field examiner, accounting coordinator and collateral analyst at Frost Bank for close 9 years.  She is also proud graduate of The University of Texas.  


Stephen Fisher

Senior Consultant

During his more than 45 years in secured lending, Fisher has worked extensively in asset-based lending, factoring, special assets management, commercial real estate lending and middle-market commercial lending. Prior to joining the Briar team in 2005, he was the senior officer of the commercial finance group at InterFirst Dallas (today part of Bank of America) and started the commercial finance lending unit at Bank One Texas (today part of JPMorgan Chase). Fisher also has performed expert review and testimony, loan negotiations, commercial loan problem resolution, various speaking and training roles to commercial bankers on secured lending and served on many bank loan committees.

Vince Cater

Senior Consultant

Vince Cater is a career banking professional with more than 45 years in domestic and international banking, consulting and finance for short, medium and long-term credit risk management.  During his career, he has been president of four banks and served as a consultant for other financial institutions and Fortune 500 companies.  He also is fluent in Spanish and conversational in Portuguese, Italian and French.