The Cardinal Promise

Why Choose Cardinal?

John Culbertson, Managing Partner

A native Charlottean, John Culbertson founded Cardinal Partners because he saw the need for an advocate to navigate complex real estate projects. Before founding Cardinal, John spent 15 years working in institutional, commercial real estate.

Past positions: Senior Vice President, Trammell Crow Company

Regional Director, Heitman/International Airport Centers, an institutional real estate developer of airport cargo facilities owned by a top-five pension fund.

Education: MBA from Queens University McColl School of Business

Frequent participant in Harvard’s Program on Negotiation

Enthusiastic participant in the Strategic Coach™ program

Boards and civic involvement (Current and past):

North Carolina Turnpike Authority, Board Member
NAIOP, Board Member
REBIC, Board Member
Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization, Board Member
Charlotte Regional Roads Committee, Board Member
North Carolina Department of Commerce, Economic Development Board, Board Member
Charlotte Regional Partnership Board, Executive Committee

UNC Charlotte Childress-Klein Center for Real Estate Board of Advisors
Catawba Lands Conservancy, Board of Directors
Renaissance WestCommunity Initiative, Board Member
Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Board Member
Trinity Episcopal School, Annual Fund Chair
Queens University of Charlotte Learning Society, President
Charlotte Ballet, Dancing with the Stars participant

I know this region. I know the people. I know the issues we face.

Three generations of my family have made their home here. So I know the absolute necessity of investing in the community, tackling tough issues, and, when necessary, taking risks.

Many of you know my father, Bob Culbertson, who served on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board during the first integration push. You may know my mother, Peggy Culbertson, the first female Chair of Charlotte’s Planning Commission. And everyone knew my dear late sister, Ruth Culbertson Samuelson. She served as a member and Republican whip of the North Carolina House of Representatives and as an at-large Mecklenburg County Commissioner.

As kids, we were expected to get involved in community issues and to make a difference. That belief has stuck with me. I care about this region, and my passion is to dig in and make a positive impact.

I’m also passionate about my family and spending time with my three sons and my wife, Leslie. We enjoy skiing, tennis, and having adventures at our home in northern Michigan.

The Cardinal Team

As a sole practitioner, I rely on a trusted team of professionals who are at the top of their field.

Paul Brunilda


Paul gets his hands dirty in the analysis of every deal. He is skilled with ARGUS and has a master’s degree in commercial real estate.

Katie Kirby


Katie is the key to the Cardinal back office. She ensures bills are paid, and all of the accounts are on track.

Kerry Singe

Kerry is the content confidante and strategist who owns the written word at Cardinal.


Cardinal isn’t for everybody. If you are looking for someone to transact on a simple deal, you should consider hiring a traditional broker. But if you need someone to serve as a trusted, critical part of your team, advocating for you and providing counsel, let’s talk.