our leadership

Your groundwork mortgage team

Proud to have served the customers of:

Leadership with 20+ years experience
helping homebuyers in the midwest

The Groundwork Mortgage team is dedicated to providing you with the highest quality mortgage, new construction, and home loan refinancing programs. 

Our tight knit, professional, and effective leadership team looks forward to working with you to ensure a mortgage solution that is tailored to meet your specific needs.

NMLS 1217640

Jeff Berger: President

Jeff is Groundwork’s founder, principal and President. He leads Groundwork in service and support of its customers and the homebuilders they choose to construct their dream homes. Jeff formulates and advances Groundwork’s vision and plan. He deploys a supportive, collaborative and steady approach to develop, deepen and grow Groundwork’s business, capabilities and team and leads the company to award-winning results.

Jeff is a proven leader over a progressive career spanning three decades in international market consulting, commercial development and construction, law, homebuilding and now finance. He is known for his commitment to service excellence, dedication to continuous learning and growth, steadfast servant-leadership and his demonstrated ability to formulate and empower high-achieving teams. Jeff is committed to his teammates and works diligently to enable others to realize their full potential. He couples a willingness to listen, study and discern with decisive action and a desire to innovate and take risks to drive Groundwork’s evolution.

He formulated the vision for Groundwork within a market leading private homebuilder emerging from the Great Recession. Jeff identified massive disruption in mortgage lending during the Great Recession as a catalyst for developing a superior approach to connecting new home buyers with financial services essential to their purchase of newly built homes. Recognizing the underlying mismatches as between retail mortgage lending and new construction buying sparked his entrepreneurial desire to build a better way forward for homebuilders and their customers.

Jeff applied 15-years of executive leadership in all aspects of homebuilding, including tenure as general counsel, to develop Groundwork’s branding and go-to-market plan and launched the business in 2014. Groundwork achieved proof-of-concept quickly. The company gained market traction and incubated within a leading homebuilder for three years. Jeff purchased the business in 2017 pivoting Groundwork to independence in order to create runway for the company’s growth in service to new home buyers and private homebuilders throughout the Midwest. Groundwork has originated over $1Billion in new construction purchase mortgages and received numerous industry awards, including selection as Mortgage Company of the Year by the Home Builders Association five times.

Jeff serves on several industry association boards and committees and leads the “Groundwork Giving” campaign in support of local organizations and causes nominated by the Groundwork team. He is a true MIZZOU Tiger sports fan and finds joy in his family and rooting on his three successful children. Jeff leads an active life challenging himself with golf and CrossFit. He loves travel with his wife Lisa in search of the perfect cappuccino and fresh brewed iced tea. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from MIZZOU and a Juris Doctor degree from the Saint Louis University School of Law.

NMLS 1661065

Joe Schiermann: Senior Vice President

Joe’s connection with construction began as a child when he joined his father at job sites. His professional career started with work for a national insurance corporation for 10-years where Joe lead a catastrophic large loss claims division. Joe’s development in the insurance industry included earning credentials as an Associate in Risk Management (ARM) and Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU). Joe followed his passion for construction and joined the team of a large private homebuilder in 2013 where he lead enterprise risk management and commercial insurance matters. Joe gained deep knowledge and insight into all facets of homebuilding operations, including production, vendor management, customer service and post-closing warranty.

Joe joined the pioneer team at Groundwork full-time in 2017 to pursue the company’s vision to support new home buyers and homebuilders and to contribute to the independence, growth and success of the company. His on-the-job professional development, combined with strong analytical and problem-solving skills, resulted in Joe being named Senior Vice President in 2022. Joe is active in directing Groundwork’s sales, operations and work-flow processes and he leads the company’s regulatory compliance program. Joe engages with operations and sales team members each day to ensure every Groundwork homebuilder and customer receives the company’s award-winning service leading to rave reviews.

Joe holds a Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship and Masters in Business Administration from Missouri State University.  He is an avid St. Louis sports fan and enjoys free time with his wife and children.

(314) 336-0279

NLMS 1019729

Melissa Miles: Director of Operations

Melissa is a seasoned mortgage professional with over two decades of service and progressive growth and development in the mortgage industry. Melissa has contributed personally in many support and operational roles, as well as lead teams of mortgage professionals in various retail banking and mortgage banking settings. She has a proven ability to elevate performance and client satisfaction. Melissa’s professional growth is fueled by her proficiency navigating complex mortgage processes, programs and technology and her commitment to delivering outstanding service to customers, colleagues and stakeholders.

Melissa joined the Groundwork team in 2020 as Director of Operations after four years engaging with Groundwork from within a regional community banking organization. Melissa was drawn to the company’s new construction expertise and award-winning team. She committed to applying her mortgage expertise to fuel Groundwork’s growth, drive the company’s evolution as a mortgage banker and elevate Groundwork’s operations team to enhance client satisfaction.

Melissa is a loving and dedicated mother to her two adventurous boys, who bring abundant happiness to her life. She and her husband share a passion for family adventures exploring local parks and attractions and embarking on exciting journeys together. Melissa believes in the importance of creating lasting memories with her family and cherishing each moment spent with loved ones.

NLMS 1019729

Lisa Berger: Office Manager

Lisa is an organizational guru who finds joy supporting the Groundwork team and making certain that the company operates in a smooth, easy, worry free and happy manner. She combines sharp organizational skills with a consistent, steady and quietly confident approach to keep the Groundwork team and facilities humming like a well-oiled machine.

Lisa is a member of the pioneer team at Groundwork and embraced day-to-day administrative, accounting, employee-benefits, office management and other support responsibilities as the company pivoted to full independence in 2017. She believed then and now that a well-supported, caffeinated, nourished and clutter free team achieves great results for customers and homebuilders.

Lisa holds Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the Sinclair School of Nursing at MIZZOU and is a Registered Nurse. In addition to being the “Chief Office Organizer” at Groundwork she is the Commander-In-Chief at home leading Berger Family logistics and the master calendar. Lisa is often found cheering on her three successful children while enjoying a warm vanilla cappuccino or brisk iced tea with the family dog, Winnie.

(636) 534-2813

Meet the Groundwork Team

Joe Schiermann

Melissa Miles