Igor obtained his first degree from a top-ranked grammar school in the capital of Croatia, Zagreb. After moving to the United States, he then earned his bachelor’s degree from Rockford University in Illinois with a major in Business Management and Philosophy. In 2005, Igor completed a Master of Business Administration degree in finance and international business from Loyola University in Chicago.
Post-graduation he started his career with successful tenures at LaSalle Bank and Morgan Stanley as a relationship banker and wealth manager, respectively. Igor co-founded the American Southeast Europe Chamber of Commerce, a not-for-profit organization focusing on business and cultural exchange between countries of Southeast Europe and the United States.
In 2002, he co-founded Areté Renovators with his brother, Davor, to give their father Jovo an outlet to market his skills as a master carpenter. Igor soon left the finance industry to focus on Areté Renovators full time as the President. With 18 years of experience in the real estate and construction industries, he leads a team of highly qualified individuals responsible for the daily management of the Areté group of companies – Areté Renovators (design build firm), Areté The Art of Design (showroom and design center), Areté Realty (in-house property management of investment properties), and Areté Investment Fund (real estate investment fund).
Igor also leads the Board of Directors at Council Oak Montessori School in Blue Island, a non-profit private school established in 1990, as the President.
Davor received his first degree from Boylan High School in Rockford while successfully playing on their varsity basketball team all four years. He then completed his Bachelor of Science degree from DePaul University in Chicago with a major in finance and went on to tenure with Chase Bank in their finance and derivatives department.
In 2002, he co-founded Areté Renovators with his brother, Igor, to give their father Jovo an outlet to market his skills as a master carpenter. Davor left the finance industry in 2006 to focus on Areté Renovators full time as the Vice President. During the 2008 real estate market crash, Areté found opportunity and business by working with property management companies and clients who needed to complete mandatory repairs, such as drywall replacement or repairing a leaking toilet. Those clients have continued to support Areté throughout the years by becoming repeat clients.
Over the last 15 years, Davor has overseen the successful completion of thousands of remodeling and construction projects throughout the Chicagoland area. In addition to Areté Renovators, Davor has co-founded and oversees the daily management of the Areté group of companies serving as Vice President – Areté The Art of Design (showroom and design center), Areté Realty (in-house property management of investment properties), and Areté Investment Fund (real estate investment fund).
Davor also serves on the Board of Directors at Council Oak Montessori School in Blue Island.
As Co-Founder and Project Manager of Areté Renovators, Jovo has been managing real estate construction and remodeling for over forty years. In addition to Areté Renovators, Jovo is also Founder of Areté Realty LLC, Areté Contractors LLC, and Areté The Art of Design. Jovo, his wife, and his two sons, Igor and Davor, came over to the United States in 1995 and built a name for themselves from the ground up. His experience with carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and much more has helped Areté become what it is today. In his free time, he enjoys cooking for his family, watching sports, and relaxing.
Antonio joined Areté Renovators as a Project Manager and subcontractor in 2010. Since joining the team, he has held additional positions including lead carpenter, assistant manager, and estimator. He became a certified carpenter at the Union Carpenter’s School in 2001 and a certified home inspector at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2006. Antonio holds 18 years of experience in the construction industry having worked on a variety of residential, commercial, and industrial projects.
Antonio prides himself on working efficiently, foreseeing potential issues, and coming up with solutions to match every client’s needs. He excels at managing our portfolio of design build clients and sourcing one-of-a-kind materials and custom finishes.
Ivan started with Areté Renovators as a subcontractor before taking on the role of Project Manager in 2016. Ivan is responsible for overseeing all aspects of our larger remodel projects from pre-construction through completion, including the management, coordination, and control of all financials, scheduling and negotiation of contracts, building approval and permitting, installation, punch list, and warranty. He is the direct liaison between clients, project engineer, architect, and designer.
Ivan has extensive experience managing residential and commercial projects as serving as a prominent resource for our clients and our project management team.
Ivan strives to always deliver his client’s vision and exceed their expectations through execution and education. Ivan makes sure every client knows the “how” and “why” and no question goes unanswered.
Marina joined Areté Renovators in 2014 and is also a member of our Areté The Art of Design showroom team. She graduated from economics school in Serbia and then worked for over three years as an Assistant Professor. She moved to the United States She is a certified economist with seven years of experience in economics and accounting. As Project Manager, she is responsible for daily reports and communication with clients and suppliers. She also creates project estimates for clients and controls project progress, materials, and deadlines.
In her free time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her dog, our Director of Morale, Rooney. Her creativity and leadership skills continue to drive Areté’s innovativeness forward.
Nedzad joined the Areté team as a project coordinator in January of 2021. He was born and raised in New York City, where he received a degree in Industrial Electronic Technology from Technical Career Institutes. He worked for his father’s general contracting business until he became a property manager for residential and commercial properties. In 2016, he moved to Chicago with his family and decided to pursue a new career in construction and remodeling, just like his dad. He’s excited to be bringing his knowledge, expertise, and skillset to Areté.
Derek began his career in construction with his first property in 2003. Since then, he has purchased and renovated dozens of properties across the United States. Whether it be a gut rehab, full tear down, or smaller projects, the attention to detail and quality of the finish makes his properties very high end. With most of his work being done in the Gold Coast and Lincoln Park, merging his efforts with Areté was a natural pairing. Derek’s passion is helping clients build their dream home with a complete understanding of the process. He is there to walk you through every step of the way and help translate the client’s vision into reality. In his free time, Derek enjoys spending time with family and vacationing in his second home in Florida.
Ivana joined Areté Renovators 6 years ago as a Project Coordinator managing the construction process from initial client consultation through final punch list, before changing roles to join Areté The Art of Design as a Design Consultant.
With Ivana’s background in construction and 3 years of experience in design, she has successfully completed a wide range of projects from designing rental units to single family gut rehabs. She is communicative and detail driven. She finds her design inspiration through fashion, staying on top of the latest and upcoming design trends, and keeping an eye on what other designers are doing coast to coast.
Having immigrated to the United States in 2012, Ivana always remembers what it first felt like moving somewhere new and not feeling at home in her space. She finds value and the greatest fulfillment in creating a home for her clients.
Marija has always had a passion for creativity, so when she joined the Areté design team in 2019, she finally felt like she could incorporate that passion into her career. Originally from Serbia, she has lived all over the world, including Italy for 18 years before moving to Chicago in 2012. She speaks three languages and graduated from a tourist school where she fell in love with the idea of traveling and exploring new professions. Her time in Italy taught her about many different interior design and fashion trends and truly kindled her passion for the creative arts.
In her free time, she loves spending time with her son, writing autobiographies, and dancing any moment she can. She is looking forward to pushing her creative boundaries each day with Areté and reaching new goals that drive her success forward.
Vasilka realized early on that the most significant details make for an astonishing design. In Europe, she attended the Faculty of Design and Technology of Furniture and Interior and is a Certified Interior Designer (CID) from ITAcademy in Serbia.
Growing up in a family rich with artistic talents – writers, architects, carpenters, chefs, and seamstresses – her talent and skills brought her to Areté The Art of Design where she turns her clients’ homes into a luxurious living experience working as a Design Consultant. She is often inspired by ancient architecture and enjoys creating elegant designs with contemporary elements.
Her curious nature has led her on other creative avenues including social media marketing, logo design, incredible DIY fashion projects, and incorporating creativity and the right ingredients to make a killer good cocktail.
Katerina has always had a passion for architecture. In Europe, she received a Master’s of Architecture and Design and has since taken on the role of lead architect across many different types of projects. From skyscrapers to small commercial fronts, Katerina has designed it. With her extensive background and a broad range of international experience, she brings a unique perspective to the Areté team. Katerina works closely with our In-House Interior Designers on each project and is focused on designing clients’ homes with their best interest in mind. In her free time, Katerina enjoys traveling and visiting her friends and family back home in Macedonia.
Gina joined the Areté Renovators and Areté The Art of Design teams in 2017 after moving to Chicago from Naples, Florida. She graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a degree in Communications and Public Relations. Prior to joining Areté she worked as Director of Corporate Administration for a community management company assisting with Human Resources and team culture, marketing, client onboarding, and managing upwards of 500 condominiums and single-family homes with operating budgets in excess of $5MM.
Gina is a creator and driven by change. She thrives on creating a client experience from first contact through project completion.
In her spare time, Gina enjoys travelling, staying on top of fashion and home trends, red wine, and experiencing the Chicago culture and food scene.
With 8 years of experience in customer centric roles, Rayne makes it her goal to provide the ultimate client experience. She strives herself on simplifying what can be a very tedious and confusing industry. In the short time she has lived in Chicago, Rayne has worked at the Shedd Aquarium, attended Columbia College, and worked behind the scenes on an up-and-coming Amazon Prime show. Her passion lies in photography, being our in-house project photographer, and the ability to capture and save a particular moment for the rest of time.
Shannon joined the Areté team as the Digital Marketing Coordinator in 2020. She graduated from Valparaiso University where she studied marketing and Spanish and continued her Division I athletic career in Track and Field. Her background is flooded with customer service and international business experience. She has worked with many renowned graduate schools in Spain, spearheaded new marketing campaigns for MBA programs in Barcelona, and has implemented rebranding techniques for other higher education programs here in the United States. Shannon is looking forward to bringing her digital skillset to Areté and continuing to drive forward growth. In her free time, she enjoys trying new Chicago restaurants and taking her dog Bear to the lakefront.
Steliana joined Areté Renovators in 2015. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Real Estate Economics from the University of Economics in Sofia, Bulgaria. After graduating, she worked for two years in one of the largest real estate agencies in Varna, Bulgaria.
As a Project Coordinator with Areté Renovators she is responsible for daily communication, coordination, and updates with clients, subcontractors, and suppliers. She is also responsible for scheduling, monitoring the progress of projects, and coordinating the purchase and delivery of all materials. In her most recent role as Property Manager, she facilitates and executes lease contracts and oversees the management and completion of project maintenance requests for Areté Realty owned properties.
Danka joined the Areté Renovators and Areté The Art of Design teams in 2017. She graduated from the Faculty of Business Economics in Serbia with a bachelor’s degree in finance and banking. She is a certified economist with years of experience. Danka prides herself on her organization and attention to the finer details. Using modern accounting software, she is able to manage a high volume of projects, create accurate reporting, as well as oversee the financials for the other Areté companies. Danka is always pushing herself to gain more knowledge and face new challenges.
Brandon joined the team in the Spring of 2021. As transportation director, he is in charge of coordinating with the design consultants to ensure the correct materials arrive on job sites, organizing miscellaneous materials in our showroom, and maintaining an updated list of materials for each client.
Brandon is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico and moved to the United States with his family in 2007. He has experience in many different areas including the restaurant and service industries. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, spending time with friends and family, and training his new puppy, Canelo.
Filip is the son of our design consultant, Marija. He is in the showroom often with her and loves to make his own interior design drawings. He attends our team meetings and is a fantastic assistant to our designers.
He loves his mom, playing with his toys, and building with legos. His favorite thing to do on the weekends is playing with his friends outside. His favorite food is an apple, his favorite animal is a lion (because of their cool manes), and his favorite color is black. He also has his yellow belt in tae-kwan-do and is well on his way to becoming a master at the sport
Rooney is a purebred Golden Retriever who came to the United States from Serbia with his owner, and our Project Manager, Marina. He was born on July 10, 2011 and his favorite things to do are swim at the beach, play with his ball, circle the room during meetings to spend a minute with anyone who will stop to pet him.