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2014 Winter Alumni Profiles

Geraldine Sanchez
2014 Winter Class Alumni
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Geraldine began her career as a real estate professional in 2003. At the young age of 17 she worked closely with the President of American First Mortgage. During this time she had the opportunity to learn, not only about the mortgage industry, but also the entrepreneurial environment of a small business with 150 employees. Her passion for Real Estate combined with helping the community led her to take a position as Property Manager at PK Management, Inc. During her time at PK Management, Inc. Geraldine earned the Leasing Agent of the Year award in 2010 and 2011. After many years of managing and leasing multi-unit properties, Geraldine earned the Excellence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Property Management at L’Abri Management, Inc.

In her most recent assignment, Geraldine supervised over 25 properties for Mosaic Student Communities where she held the title: Senior Property Manager. She led the Marketing and Leasing departments as well as Project Management at Mosaic Student Communities. While managing renovation projects at Mosaic, Geraldine took interest in real estate development in an effort to help the communities in Los Angeles County. She plans to continue this Real Estate path with purchasing, syndicating and managing multi-unit properties.

Geraldine completed the USC Ross Minority Program in Real Estate Development & Finance. Geraldine and her team were winners of the "Best Development Proposal" of the 2014 Winter Session.

Geraldine is a CPM Candidate and expects her Real Estate Salesperson License in summer of 2014, while she continues to further her education attending a leadership class, Mastermind. She is a member of IREM's Greater Los Angeles Chapter and a member of The International Council of Shopping Centers.

Geraldine is very family oriented and stays busy with her 8 year old son, Ruben.


Abraham Sandoval
Founder and Chairman
Immortelle Communities
2014 Winter Class Alumni
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Abraham Sandoval is Founder and Chairman of Immortelle Communities. Abraham began his career at Century 21 Beachside, a residential/commercial real estate brokerage while completing his undergraduate degree. Concurrently, Abraham was employed by ServiceLink FNF (NYSE:FNF) and Lender Processing Services (NYSE:LPS) to facilitate the closing of over two hundred loan transactions ranging from purchase and refinance transactions, to HELOC and reverse mortgages.

Mr. Sandoval was eventually recruited by one of California’s largest homebuilders to aid in the disposition of their acquired portfolio of foreclosed assets exceeding 200MM in sales.  By 2011, Abraham founded Investor/Foreclose Corporation, a full service real estate firm wherein he personally oversaw the acquisition, redevelopment, and disposition of over one hundred foreclosed and redeveloped assets.  As the markets strengthened post 2008, affordable housing opportunities diminished and Abraham established Immortelle Communities, a land development corporation dedicated to providing housing opportunities to underserved communities.  At Immortelle, Abraham oversees the acquisition, development, and management of acquired projects.

Mr. Sandoval is a licensed Real Estate Broker,  State & National licensed Mortgage Loan Originator, and LEED Green Associate.  Abraham holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine as well as a Certificate in Real Estate with distinction from the University of California, Los Angeles Extension. Mr. Sandoval has also undertaken studies in Taxation/Taxation Law at Golden Gate University Ernst and Young Campus in Downtown Los Angeles. Abraham Sandoval is a alumnus of the Ross Minority Program in Real Estate at the University of Southern California and currently a  Juris Doctor candidate at Loyola Law School.

Carlos Scarpett
Investment Analyst
Nexus Ventures LLC
2014 Winter Class Alumni
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Carlos Scarpett is an Entrepreneur and International Investment Analyst at Nexus Ventures LLC in Beverly Hills, CA. Carlos provides assistance to foreign real estate investors, specializing in the Latin American Investment firms. Mr. Scarpett is responsible for maintaining and updating a database of clients to help them reach their business goals.

Carlos is passionate about the real estate industry and has worked for various mortgages companies in California, Washington and Utah originating residential mortgages loans and refinancing and partnering with real estate investors to acquire distressed properties to fix and flip. Carlos attended the Universidad Veracruzana and studied economics in 1981. He is bilingual Spanish – English and believes in creative problem solving, coupled with laser focus for achieving goals. Carlos looks forward to working as a commercial real estate developer in the near future.

Carlos is a proud single father and loves his family. He enjoys traveling abroad and learning about different cultures.

Grace Stepter
Housing Programs Manager
City of Anaheim
2014 Winter Class Alumni
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Ms. Stepter has twenty years of experience managing various housing programs. Currently, she holds the position of Housing Programs Manager for the City of Anaheim. Her responsibilities include overseeing several federal programs including the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) and the HOME Investment Partnership Program. These programs provide resources that are used to address varying housing and infrastructure and can be leveraged with other public and private resources to address community needs. 

Ms. Stepter has a wealth of budgeting, grant writing and program management experience. She has worked for both large and small housing programs. She spent the first nine years of her career at the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles (HACoLA)/Community Development Commission (LACDC), a program that serves over 20,000 families. At HACoLA/CDC, she oversaw various functions including staff training, quality control, fraud prevent and budget development and monitoring.  She was also responsible for the implementation of several programs to address the housing needs of special needs populations including the first several Shelter Plus Care grants awarded to HACoLA. Her last position with HACoLA/CDC was that of Intergovernmental Relations Manager. Ms. Stepter later joined Quadel Consulting Corporation. While with Quadel, she was the Managing Director for the Housing Choice Voucher Program at the Memphis Housing Authority (MHA) and was responsible for the daily oversight of the program, assisted with HOPE VI related tenant relocation efforts and was involved in administering the Katrina Disaster Housing Assistance Program (KDHAP). In this position, she led the team that transformed the MHA program from “Troubled” to a “High Performer”, both designations defined and awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to Public Housing Authorities (PHAs). 

Ms Stepter earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of California at San Diego. She is affiliate with various industry related organizations and currently holds the position of Secretary for the Pacific Southwest Region Chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Organizations (PSWRC-NAHRO).

Efren Valdovinos
2014 Winter Class Alumni
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Efren Valdovinos is a community oriented individual with a professional background in government and non-profit organizations.  Mr. Valdovinos’ work history includes serving as a Project Manager for the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, as a Field Deputy for a U.S. Representative, and as a Field Representative for a California Assembly member.

Most recently he managed a wholesale business specializing in Mexican grocery and candy products. It was located in downtown Los Angeles, a thirty thousand square foot warehouse with an inventory in excess of one million dollars, before it and the property being sold. 

A native of Los Angeles, Efren earned a Bachelors of Sociology from Long Beach State University and is pursuing his real estate license education.  He is looking forward to honing his profession by utilizing the knowledge gained from USC’s Ross program.  He is also an entrepreneur developing his own projects and plans to obtain a masters degree in the near future.

His personal time is spent with his sons Damian and Diego.  His hobbies are golfing, snowboarding; following the business of fútbol and all Los Angeles teams, specifically the L.A. Galaxy.

Gabriel Vargas
Project Manager
Mark H. Savel Architects, Inc.
2014 Winter Class Alumni
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Gabriel Vargas is an architectural consultant/designer who began his career at Walt Disney Imagineering. He has worked in large firms on complex institutional projects, owns his practice, and has a varied background in 3d design, high-end residential projects, and commercial/retail tenant improvements. His real estate experience includes having owned a multi-unit complex, bought as distressed property, rehabbed, managed tenants and positive cash flow for eight years before selling at profit in November 2005. He is experienced in extensive residential rehab ventures including repair/profit analysis, hard money loans and construction management.

A California licensed real estate agent since 2010, he works primarily with investors. He began at Prudential California, trained in commercial financial strategies (for evaluating cap rates, expenses, cash flow, etc.) and negotiating terms for lease contracts.

Gabriel completed the Ross Minority Program in Real Estate to strengthen his fundamentals in financial analysis and real estate development, while establishing strong relationships with fellow students and associates beyond the realm of architecture.

Mr. Vargas recently joined Mark H. Savel Architects, Inc. as a project manager. 

Carlos Velasquez
Associate Transportation Planner
The Mobility Group
2014 Winter Class Alumni
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Carlos Velasquez is currently an Associate Transportation Planner with KOA Corporation, a full-service transportation consulting firm in Monterey Park, CA.  He specializes in transportation impact analysis and has largely focused on finding sustainable transportation solutions for his various clients.

Carlos has provided transportation expertise to some of the region’s biggest development projects.  He conducted the transit and pedestrian impact analysis for the proposed Farmers Field project in Downtown Los Angeles and has also developed sustainable transportation mitigation strategies for numerous mixed-use projects.

Prior to KOA Corporation, Carlos worked as an Assistant Planner with the City of Huntington Park where he administered land use regulations and managed development projects through the entitlement process.

Carlos has also worked with local businesses in his hometown of South Gate, CA to explore economic revitalization strategies for its downtown district.  He was also part of the Technical Advisory Committee that worked to develop City’s Bicycle Transportation Plan.

Carlos received a Master of Arts in City and Regional Planning from University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor of Arts in Geography/Environmental Studies and History from UCLA.

Michael West
Grant & Savatovic
2014 Winter Class Alumni
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Grant & Savatovic is a commercial real estate firm located in Riverside, CA. Mike was exposed to the real estate industry at an early age as both his parents were active in residential real estate sales. Upon receiving his History degree from University of California in Riverside, Michael pursued a career in education. However, upon the advice of his father, Mike attained his real estate license. Mike received his California’s Broker’s license in 2008 and decided to start his own company. With the guidance of his mentor and his self-start mindset he began his commercial real estate career. Since then, Michael has gained experience in Site Selection, Landlord Representation, Tenant Representation, Construction Build-out and Site Work Development Management. Michael is completing his CCIM Coursework and is a member of ICSC, ACRE and The Pick Group (City of Riverside Young Professionals).