Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Committed to Your Success

The team at Virage is committed to the success of its borrowers. Virage works with attorneys and law firms to provide fair, business-oriented litigation funding for a variety of litigation dockets, including mass tort, class action, and personal injury litigation. The Virage staff offers professionalism and confidentiality. Virage believes that it understands contingency fee attorneys and law firms better than traditional lenders and banks. Virage is aware of your unique concerns and is prepared to help you find a solution aimed at enhancing your success.

You are also invited to browse the site to learn more about Virage, what it does, and how Virage can assist you. Virage follows high ethical standards and is committed to creating lasting relationships with its borrowers.

Edward Ondarza

Edward Ondarza is a founder, Managing Director, and the Portfolio Manager of Virage and is responsible for investment and business management.

Prior to founding Virage in 2013, Mr. Ondarza launched and managed investment advisory businesses that operated commodity-based private investment vehicles. These include Vantage Advisors LP (energy-based commodity strategy), Vantage Forest Products LP (forest products commodity and equity strategy), and Cirrus Capital Management LLC (energy based commodity strategy).

His roles included Chief Operating Officer, Chief Compliance Officer, and also portfolio management responsibilities at Vantage Forest Products LP. Prior to launching Vantage Advisors LP in 2005, Mr. Ondarza worked on a strategy to pursue the acquisition, aggregation and sale of U.S. government guaranteed debt to global institutional investors. Prior to that venture, Mr. Ondarza was a Managing Director of National Bank of Canada and also the President and one of the founding members of NBC Global Risk Management, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of National Bank of Canada, which was the bank’s financial commodity trading and structuring business.

Before forming NBC Global Risk Management, Inc., Mr. Ondarza served initially as a Director and later as a Vice President at Enron Corporation from 1997 to 2001, where he was responsible for the global development and management of Enron’s trading, marketing, investment, operations and energy products for the pulp and paper industry.

Mr. Ondarza later led Enron Media Services in the development of a forward derivatives market for the advertising industry and led an origination team inside of Enron Energy Services pursuing physical and financial natural gas and power transactions. Mr. Ondarza joined Enron upon selling Paper & Print Management Corp., where he was a founder and a pioneer of a business model that provides financial risk management products to the forest products industry, which continues to be utilized by market participants and financiers in the global pulp and paper markets.

Mr. Ondarza is co-author of the book Risk Management for the Pulp and Paper Industry. Prior to forming Paper & Print Management Corp., Mr. Ondarza was a principal and Vice President of Mid-Continent Group, a gasoline blending, crude oil, and refined products trading company. He received a B.B.A. from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1990.

Martin Shellist

Founder and Managing Director of Virage, where he is responsible for its legal asset analysis. Mr. Shellist is also a founding partner of the law firm Shellist Lazarz Slobin, LLP, where he has been a partner since the firm’s inception in March 1994. Shellist Lazarz Slobin, LLP is a civil litigation firm which handles a broad array of legal matters on a contingency fee basis, including commercial disputes, breach of contract, discrimination, wage and hour claims, personal injury, whistleblower, executive compensation, severance packages, False Claims Act and Sarbanes-Oxley matters, product defects and related civil disputes. Although not actively practicing trial law today, Mr. Shellist handled such claims on an individual, multi-party, collective action, and class action basis.

Mr. Shellist has been accepted as a member to the American Board of Trial Advocates (since 2014), the National Employment Lawyers Association (since 1997), the National Employment Lawyers Association – Houston Chapter (since 1994), the Texas Employment Lawyers Association (since 2007), the Houston Bar Association – Labor and Employment Law Section (since 1998), and as a Fellow to the Houston Young Lawyers Foundation (since 2000). He is the past President and Vice President of the National Employment Lawyers Association – Houston Chapter. Mr. Shellist has been selected as a Texas Super Lawyer from 2008 to present, and he was also elected as a Texas Super Lawyer – Rising Star in 2005 and 2006.

In 1993 Mr. Shellist received a J.D. from South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas. He is licensed to practice law in all Texas state courts and federal courts in Texas, as well as in other federal appellate circuits around the United States. In 1989 he received a B.A. and a B.S. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Bryan Patterson

Managing Director and the Chief Operating Officer of Virage.

Before joining Virage in 2014, Mr. Patterson was an Executive Director of J.P. Morgan Alternative Asset Management (“JPMAAM”), a multibillion-dollar fund of hedge funds group at JP Morgan Asset Management, where he was responsible for investment analysis, research, and due diligence of hedge funds with a focus on relative value, macro, credit and niche strategies.

He was also responsible for management of hedge fund portfolios for institutional and high net worth clients. Over the ten years Mr. Patterson spent with JPMAAM he became involved with almost every aspect of the hedge fund business, from trading, portfolio management and risk management, to operations, staffing, financing and compliance. Prior to joining JPMAAM in May 2004, Mr. Patterson was responsible for pricing and trading over-the-counter commodity derivatives for Macquarie, Inc. in both New York and Chicago, where he first led Macquarie’s floor trading group and then managed a book of exchange traded and OTC exotic options.

From 1996 to 2000, he traded commodity options on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade for Gordon Trading and then Cargill, Inc., where he not only traded but also helped manage risk for the broader firm and led derivative and risk classes for product line managers.

Mr. Patterson received his M.B.A. with High Honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a B.A. in Economics from Washington and Lee University.

Harrison Blase

Managing Director and the Chief Financial Officer of Virage.

Previous to joining Virage in 2014, Mr. Blase served as a Senior Operations Manager for Kaufman Rossin Fund Services, LLC (“KRFS”) [subsequently acquired by ALPS Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of DST Systems, Inc. (NYSE: DST), and now known as ALPS Alternative Investment Services, LLC (collectively, “ALPS”); more recently, DST Systems, Inc. was acquired by SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc. (“SS&C”) (Nasdaq: SSNC) in April 2018]. Mr. Blase was also a member of the Audit Liaison Committee, which oversees the timely completion of all the firm’s client audits nationwide.

Prior to joining KRFS, Mr. Blase and his partners founded Blue River Partners. Mr. Blase played an integral role in developing the personnel, processes, and procedures for Blue River’s outsourced CFO offering, which is currently being utilized by dozens of hedge funds nationwide. Some of the services provided by the offering include the selection of and interface with the administrator, auditor, tax preparer, and prime broker, and oversight of the accounting and investor reporting for several private equity funds.

Before founding Blue River, Mr. Blase was the Controller at Swank Capital. In this role, Mr. Blase was responsible for financial reporting, managing fund audits, account setup, internal control systems, and support for various compliance initiatives. In addition, Mr. Blase was the primary interface with the firm’s auditors, administrators, and banking groups for all daily management issues. Prior to joining Swank Capital, Mr. Blase worked for Rothstein Kass & Company, PLLC, helping facilitate audits and tax returns for long/short equity funds, commodity derivative funds, and funds of funds.

Mr. Blase received his Bachelors of Business Administration and Master in Professional Accounting from The University of Texas at Austin in 2004 and became a Certified Public Accountant in 2006.

Burke A. McDavid

General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of Virage, responsible for all legal and compliance matters of the firm. Prior to joining Virage in September 2019, Mr. McDavid was a partner in the Investment Management practice group at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (“Akin Gump”). During his 21 years at Akin Gump – primarily in Dallas, but also resident in the New York and Moscow offices of the firm – he primarily represented established and emerging managers in structuring and operating private investment funds pursuing a wide variety of strategies.

This included hedge funds, private equity funds, commodity pools, real estate funds, and other hybrid fund structures and managed accounts. Mr. McDavid worked closely with other subject matter experts to guide investment management clients on a variety of legal matters, including securities and commodities regulations, employment matters, strategic relationships and transactions, side letter negotiations, and other management company operational matters. He also advised investors in private funds providing a review of fund structures and terms and negotiating with fund sponsors and investment managers.

Prior to his legal career at Akin Gump, Mr. McDavid worked for oilfield related service companies in Moscow, Russia from 1992 to 1995. Mr. McDavid graduated cum laude with a Juris Doctor degree from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in 1998. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian Area Studies from Southern Methodist University in 1992 and spent time studying in the Russian cities of Tver, St. Petersburg, and Moscow. Mr. McDavid is a member of the State Bar of Texas.

Leslie K. Hillendahl

Assistant General Counsel and Director of Litigation Funding, responsible for various aspects of litigation funding and certain legal matters of Virage. Ms. Hillendahl helps bring tailored financial solutions to lawyers and law firms around the United States. She develops and maintains productive working relationships with Virage’s customers to help them navigate the ever-changing litigation landscape enabling them to best serve and zealously advocate for their clients. Additionally, Ms. Hillendahl internally handles diverse legal matters for Virage, including collaborating with outside counsels and other third-parties.

For the 10 years prior to joining Virage, Ms. Hillendahl was a litigation attorney with Zimmerman, Axelrad, Meyer, Stern & Wise, P.C., where her practice was focused on commercial litigation in a broad array of areas, including business disputes, personal injury matters, products liability, misappropriation of proprietary and confidential information, theft and misappropriation of trade secrets, partnership disputes, unfair business practices, franchise litigation and breach of fiduciary duty. Ms. Hillendahl’s experience extends to all phases of litigation, representing both plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts in multiple states, as well as in arbitration proceedings and FINRA’s Dispute Resolution Process. She has also successfully handled appellate matters.

In 1996, Ms. Hillendahl received a B.B.A. in Accounting from Texas A&M University and then in 1997 received her Master of Science degree in Accounting with an emphasis on Taxation. Ms. Hillendahl started her career as a tax consultant with Price Waterhouse which during her tenure became PricewaterhouseCoopers. During law school, Ms. Hillendahl clerked at the Harris County Attorney's office and was a law clerk to the Hon. Sam Nuchia, First Court of Appeals of Texas. Ms. Hillendahl received her J.D. from South Texas College of Law in 2002, where she also competed on the South Texas College of Law Moot Court Team receiving Best Brief Awards and was a finalist in the Leroy Jeffers Memorial Moot Court Competition. Ms. Hillendahl is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas in both state and federal courts.

Simone Sobel

Director of Investor Relations at Virage, bringing with her more than 15 years of investor relations experience. Previous to joining Virage, Simone spent 6 years at Context where she created and managed the Investor Relations efforts at Context Summits, she launched and co-ran Context Family Network, and she oversaw the marketing efforts for the funds with which Context Capital Partners had strategic relationships. Prior to Context, Simone was responsible for capital introduction at Wells Fargo, handled business development at Halcyon Asset Management, and was on the IR team at Focus Investment Group. Simone received a Bachelor of Science in Communications from New York University.

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