Our Mission

Real Estate Careers for the Armed Forces (REC4AF) is a nonprofit organization that was formed in response to significant employment challenges faced by veterans of the military. Our goal is to mobilize the commercial real estate community in Greater Washington, DC, Baltimore, Denver, and beyond in training and hiring veterans and their families within the industry.  We are here to address the unmet real needs of real heroes through real estate career opportunities.

REC4AF is led by professionals Col. Richard TalleyChris Crooks, and Winters Heafey.

  • REC4AF is affiliated with the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) and its 500 member companies.
  • We are pursuing memberships with the US Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
  • We are grateful for the guidance of American Freedom Federation (AFF), which works to better the lives of veterans and their families.
  • We are partnering with many other associations, veteran-owned companies, and government agencies.

Association of the United States Army (AUSA)

We are reaching out to multiple sectors in the commercial real estate community, including:

  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Property and facility managers
  • General contractors
  • Tradesmen (electricians, plumbers, painters, IT, AV, etc.)
  • Security firms
  • Furniture vendors
  • Landlords
  • Developers
  • Brokerage firms

Through a unified approach, we will provide education, training, and mentoring that will ultimately provide thousands of job opportunities.

Our Team

Colonel Richard Talley
Colonel Richard TalleyChairman - REC4AF Board of Advisors
Colonel (Ret) Richard E. Talley was born at Fort Bragg, NC. He received his commission from The Citadel in Charleston, SC. He holds a Master of Science, a Master of Strategic Studies, and a Doctorate in Higher Education with a concentration in Human Resource Management.

Colonel Talley is a graduate of the Air Defense Officer Basic Course, Army Flight School, Army Instructor Pilot Course, the Aviation Officer Advanced Course, the Air Command and Staff College, the U.S. Army War College, and Distinguished Honor Graduate of the Department of Defense Information School for Public Affairs. Additionally, he holds FAA commercial rated instrument licenses for both rotary and fixed wing aircraft.

Colonel Talley has served all over the world, to include Korea, Germany, Bosnia, Africa, and multiple stateside tours. Colonel Talley served as the Public Relations Officer for Ambassador William Crowe and General Colin L. Powell during their tenures as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also served as the Army’s Spokesperson and Media Relations Director for the Secretary of the Army at the Pentagon. He was an aide in the White House Social Aide Program during the G. H. Bush Administration. In addition to his various US military assignments, he also served as Chief Operating Officer for three United Nations’ missions, including Bosnia (Sarajevo and Croatia); Western Sahara in Africa; and in the Sinai, Egypt. Colonel Talley has commanded at both battalion and brigade levels. He retired in July 2007 to return to the United States to work for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, headquartered in Rosslyn, Virginia. As Chief Operating Officer, he was responsible for a 28 million dollar budget and a 60 person staff that develops and maintains more than 500 national and internationally renowned standards. Under his leadership, NEMA evolved to be the leading advocate for policies, regulations, and standards that impact the electroindustry, as well as a provider of programs, products, and services such as engineering, standards development, emerging technologies, and strategic initiatives that shape the industry and create economic opportunities and clear return on investment for NEMA’s members in the areas of Smart Grid, Energy Storage, Cyber Security and High-Performance Buildings.

Colonel Talley’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Defense Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters, United Nations Service Medal, NATO Service Ribbon, Senior Army Aviator Badge, Airborne, Air Assault, Army Staff Badge, Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge and Army Recruiter’s Badge. Colonel Talley is also an Eagle Scout.

Christopher Crooks
Christopher CrooksCo-founder of REC4AF
email: ccrooks@rec4af.org

Chris has nearly 25 years of real estate experience, including over 21 years of consulting and brokerage service at Cresa Washington DC and Cresa Boston as well as over three years of commercial/industrial real estate appraisal for major banking institutions around New England.

Chris’s passion for supporting the military stems from his family upbringing. His father served in the Navy submarine division on the USS Sea Robin and was commissioned to be on the maiden voyage of the USS Nautilus. Chris’s grandfather and six uncles also served in the military.

Chris relocated to Washington, DC from Boston in January 2016 to help Cresa build a practice group that specializes in working with companies that support the Armed Forces and veteran-owned businesses.

Along with his passion for supporting the Armed Services, Chris has been riding in the PanMass Challenge (PMC) since 2006. The PMC is a two-day, 200-mile bike ride from Sturbridge, Mass., to Provincetown, Mass. Chris founded and is Captain of Team Zipcar. Last year, the PMC raised $45M, of which 100% went to the Dana Farber Research Center for cancer research. Chris’s wife, Debbie, is a two-time cancer survivor.

He has been married for 23 years and has two children. In his free time, Chris enjoys reading, watching documentaries, cooking, hiking, and biking.

Winters Heafey
Winters HeafeyCo-founder of REC4AF
email: wheafey@rec4af.org

Prior to embarking on his career in commercial real estate, Winters Heafey proudly served in the United States Army. Drawing from this experience, Winters brings an outstanding work ethic and determination to Cresa Denver. He provides tenants with strategic solutions to address their real estate needs, and his attention to detail and preparedness, coupled with his honor and loyalty, put his clients at ease, knowing that their needs are his objectives.

In 2016, Winters and his colleagues founded Real Estate Careers for the Armed Forces (REC4AF), dedicated to mobilizing the Denver area’s commercial real estate community to train and hire veterans and their families into the industry.

Winters grew up in Piedmont, CA, and graduated from Piedmont High School. From California he went to Granville, OH, to play Division III football at Denison University. He graduated in 2014 majoring in Communications and Educational Studies. Winters then enlisted in the US Army, where he completed Basic Combat Training, Advanced Individual Training, Airborne School, Ranger Assessment, and Selection Program. Winters then graduated into the 75th Ranger Regiment. After his military career, he moved to Denver to join Cresa and start his commercial real estate career.

Winters, a four-year starter for the Denison University football team, enjoys skiing, rugby, and an occasional beer.

Founding Sponsors

REC4AF was founded by Cresa, which looks forward to joining with industry colleagues to help veterans find employment.

“The men and women who have served in the Armed Forces have made terrific sacrifices to protect our freedom. Many of them are struggling in their transition to the private sector, and it’s time that we acknowledge their courage, their unmet needs, and take steps to find solutions.”

–Chris Crooks, Co-Founder of REC4AF