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all Alumni Profiles

Chase Yim

Chase Yim is a Financial Analyst with Hunt Capital Partners (HCP), a syndication division of Hunt Companies, Inc. HCP specializes in the syndication of Federal and State Low Income Housing, Historic and Solar Tax Credits. Chase has 3 years of Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) experience and is responsible for acquisition of LIHTC equity investment and structuring of institutional funds. Chase collaborated with executive team to raise and deploy $200 million of investor equity in portfolios and to close on over 20 partnerships in both proprietary and multi funds. Chase oversees affordable housing portfolios of $1.4 billion in LIHTC investments across all States.  

Prior to HCP, Chase was an Analyst at Venegas Capital, a boutique investment bank where he assisted in due diligence and processing of sell-side and buy side M&A transactions. Chase received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics/Economics with a minor in Statistics from the University of California Los Angeles.

Email: chase.yim@huntcampanies.com

Taji Abdullah
2019 Winter Class Alumni

Taji D. Abdullah is a Senior Real Estate Officer for Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), which is the department within the City of Los Angeles that owns and operates Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Taji manages a portfolio of commercial leases at LAX. His daily duties range from drafting Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to negotiating leases.    

Prior to working for LAWA, Taji worked as a Realty Specialist for the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) where he completed over 40 office & industrial leases, totaling over 1M building square feet and $200MM in total contract value.  At GSA, Taji won a Special Act Award for using excellent negotiating skills to save federal taxpayers over $1M on a complex transaction. 

Taji received his Bachelor of Science from California State University, Northridge, majoring in Real Estate, Business Law, and Finance. He also obtained certificates in Construction Management from UCLA Extension and Project Management from UC Berkeley Extension.  

Additionally, Taji is a Certified Commercial Real Estate Investment Member (CCIM®); a Certified Professional Contracts Manager (CPCM®); a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Accredited Professional, Building Design and Construction (LEED® AP BD+C); a Project Manager Professional (PMP®); and a Real Estate Broker, licensed by the California Department of Real Estate. 

 

E-mail: tabdullah@lawa.org

 

Delland Bartlett
Adjunct Professor
2018 Summer Class Alumni
Delland Bartlett

Delland Bartlett currently works as a chemistry professor at Santa Monica College (SMC) and is the owner of Talawa Ventures, LLC, a seasoned California limited liability company, the vehicle in which he plans to pursue a variety of real estate projects.

Delland has had a lifelong fascination and interest in real estate development while having firsthand experience – and developing a keen sense – of how important housing is to the growth and stability of families and communities.  He was raised in extremely humble circumstances and was an active participant in the building of a proper family house.

A graduate of Rutgers Business School (formerly Rutgers Graduate School of Management) where he earned the Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree in Finance, Delland also holds a doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree in chemistry from the University of the West Indies (UWI), Kingston, Jamaica.

Prior to his current role at SMC, Delland served as a professor of finance at St Edward’s University in Austin, TX.  Before that, he was a stock-trader and Managing Director at Worldco, LLC, a Wall Street trading firm where he hired, trained and led a team of proprietary traders utilizing firm capital.  Delland also has other management experience as he served as Deputy Plant Manager in a chemical complex producing sulfuric and sulfonic acids while leading a team of plant mechanics and operators.

A resident and recent import to Los Angeles (less than five years), Delland is firmly of the view that the chaotic Southern California housing market, while inherently challenging, presents many significant  opportunities to make ample profits for investors and developers while doing good for the SoCal communities in which we operate. 

An entrepreneur, Delland has an eye for real estate development and, arising out of the RMPIRE experience, hopes to build a team of associates, investors and developers with whom to develop quality real estate projects in the Greater Los Angeles Area.

Delland enjoys playing or watching cricket, golf and tennis.

Email: db@bartlettja.com

Charlyn Bender
2019 Winter Class Alumni

Charlyn Bender is currently an attorney with an expertise in criminal law, prosecuting serious and violent felonies as a Deputy District Attorney in Orange County.   She practiced law in with the OCDA from 2004-2008.  In 2008, she joined forces with her mother, and took the reins of her family business Madison Paving Inc., becoming a general contractor and serving as the Vice President and General Counsel for the company.  She oversaw the daily operations of the company as they completed paving projects throughout Los Angeles County, including work on the Metro Gold Line, paving for the Gas Company. During her tenure at Madison, she earned certificate in Construction Management from CSU Dominguez Hills. 
Charlyn got involved in real estate in 2009 with the purchase her first home.  She served as the general contractor on that project, overseeing a full renovation over 4 months.  This home became her first rental property.  She now manages a real estate portfolio of 4 residential rentals, 1 industrial office property and holds numerous parcels of land for future development.   
Having long harbored a desire to increase her engagement in the process of public policy decision making, in particular as it related to development in urban areas, Charlyn completed the Los Angeles African American Women’s Public Policy Institute in 2011. Not long after the completion of the program, Charlyn was appointed to the Medical Marijuana Task Force for the City of Long Beach. In this role, she served as the chair of the committee responsible for advising the City Council about proposed legislation for the development and regulation of cannabis farms and dispensaries in the City.  
 
Charlyn is a graduate of Loyola Law School, where she earned her JD in 2003.  She also holds a M.A. in Multi Cultural Education from CSU Dominguez Hills, and a B.A. in History with a Minor in Biology from the University of California, San Diego.  Charlyn lives in the Los Angeles area. She hopes to use the knowledge gained from the Ross program to create a lasting family legacy while making a positive impact on the community. 

 

E-Mail: charlynb@gmail.com

Asia Bribiesca-Hedin
2019 Winter Class Alumni

Asia Abreu Bribiesca-Hedin serves as a strategic execution leader at City of Hope, a comprehensive cancer center in Southern California.  Asia helps to manage the planning and delivery of strategic priorities. In her 7 years at City of Hope she has helped lead and execute on organizational priorities ranging from new fundraising programs and technology platforms to cutting edge medical service line expansions.  Prior to joining City of Hope, Asia was a management consultant with Ernst & Young and also consulted independently for a broad range of clients seeking performance improvement. Past clients include Fortune 500 companies in entertainment, health care, automotive, and insurance industries.

Early in her career, Asia worked in residential real estate sales and finance and holds a  California real estate broker’s license. She’s enthusiastic about learning every aspect of real estate development and participating in residential and commercial development projects.   Asia intends to apply her Ross real estate development knowledge immediately as she and her husband are in the process of building a second unit on their lot.

At the top of Asia’s development project interests is her desire to build a series of successful co-housing communities in Southern California that intentionally bring people together. Based on the foundation that everyone should know and love their neighbors, Asia believes that a co-housing approach offers an end to isolation and allows the building of enduring human connections and lasting bonds that support successful communities and satisfying lives.

Asia earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Pepperdine University, and holds Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Administration degrees from the University of Southern California. She lives in Southern California with her husband, 3 kids, and 2 dogs.

Email: msasia@alumni.usc.edu

Hiram Brown
2019 Winter Class Alumni

Hiram C. Brown previously worked for Urban Housing Solutions, one of the largest non-profit developers of affordable/workforce housing in Nashville, as the Manager of Development Finance & Acquisitions. As a member of the organization’s development team, he was tasked with creating a capital markets platform that structured (and procured) over $60 million in capital commitments, tax abatements, and subsidy support for private/public real estate projects.  Mr. Brown achieved this goal within less than a 2 year time frame.  In addition, Mr. Brown also played a key role in pitching the concept of a $15 million revolving acquisition debt fund to ultra-high net worth individuals and local foundations, with an interest in social impact investing.  To date, the fund has received soft commitments from local philanthropic organizations and individual investors. 

As a former transactional/litigation attorney and corporate finance professional, Mr. Brown has an extensive 17 year background in the field of real estate and high finance (i.e. investment banking/mergers & acquisitions).  He has been involved in everything from asset diligence and financial underwriting to institutional business development.  During his legal career, he also stayed firmly rooted in social service, helping numerous at-risk youths and adults to successfully navigate their way through the juvenile and adult criminal justice process.    

Mr. Brown graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree (in Philosophy) from Towson University, and then went on to obtain a law degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Law.  He is currently licensed in the States of Tennessee, Maryland and the District of Columbia. 

Lastly, as a proponent of higher education and a crusader for social justice, Mr. Brown has taught college courses as an adjunct college professor…and continues to support various social/educational causes through a Scholarship Fund (named after his late father).

E-mail:  Hiramb1@icloud.com

Lynnelle Bryant
2019 Winter Class Alumni

Lynnelle Bryant is a Certified Interior Designer (CID), president and co-owner of Masbuild, Inc., a full-service design firm specializing in architecture, interior design and construction services – actively moving into RE Development. Masbuild’s motto is to positively impact the communities we serve.

Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, Ms. Bryant realized she wanted to become an interior designer in the third-grade. She attended Drake University earning a BA in Interior Design, graduating with honors. She further honed her skills overseas the University of Seville and at the School of Applied Arts, both in Seville, Spain.

An experienced interior designer, project manager and construction manager, Ms. Bryant projects are concentrated in urban communities with a focus on commercial, education and housing. She is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) and understands universal and inclusive design. 

Her first venture into real estate development was in 1994 when she purchased and rehabbed a duplex through HUD’s 203K program. In 2002, her firm acquired a vacant lot in Pasadena which was developed into a 12,000 sq. ft. commercial office building. In addition to housing her corporate offices, she leased office space to 4 other businesses.

Her latest project is a rehabilitation of a 5-unit commercial multi-family project in NW Pasadena. Future plans include tearing down the existing structure, and to design and build new townhomes or condos in the location. The goal is to provide affordable housing options for middle income and first-time home buyers.

Serving as Director at Large for the Pasadena Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), Ms. Bryant chaired the organizations’ Design Trend Design Expo for the last two years, increasing participation in, and exposure to, this event. She is a member of Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing (SCANPH), the Multi-Cultural Real Estate Alliance for Urban Change, and served as president of the Pasadena Neighborhood Housing Services (PNHS). An active member of her community, is also a member of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and the Pasadena NAACP..

Ms. Bryant is an alumnus of Turner Construction Management Course, SBA’s Emerging Leaders, Goldman Sach’s 10K Small Business, and the Inner-City Capital Connections (ICCC) programs.

Ms. Bryant enjoys reading, gardening and watching tv/movies. She has been married for 27 years to her husband and business partner, Charles T. Bryant AIA, NOMA, NCARB. They have four children, and one granddaughter.

Email: lynnelle@masbuild.com

Christine Caldwell
2019 Winter Class Alumni

Christine Sanchez Caldwell currently serves as Assistant Director of Housing/Planning Manager for the City of Montclair.  With over 30 years of experience with the City, Christine began her career as Assistant Planner and later worked for the Redevelopment Agency until its dissolution.   During her tenure with the Redevelopment Agency, she worked in Economic Development and managed the Agency’s affordable housing programs that included acquisition, disposition, and construction management of its single-family and multifamily affordable rental properties.  Christine transitioned back to Planning in 2016, and is currently involved in a variety of comprehensive transit-oriented development and commercial projects.  She remains involved in Economic Development, Affordable Housing, and Planning projects for the City and continues to manage the Montclair Housing Corporation, the City’s nonprofit housing entity responsible for management of its affordable housing units.   

Christine was born and raised in Southern California and graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona with a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning.  

Email:  ccaldwell@cityofmontclair.org

Howard Chan
Controller
2018 Summer Class Alumni
Howard Chan

Howard is a graduate of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, and later, earned a Masters of Business Taxation degree at Golden Gate University.  Howard is also a certified public accountant in the State of California.  Utilizing this accounting and finance background, Howard has been working in the real estate industry for 10+ years with particular focus on the affordable housing industry.  Currently, Howard is the Controller of the Housing Division at Century Housing Corporation, which is responsible for a 27-acre site in Long Beach serving veterans, special needs population and low-income residents as well as rapid developments in new construction and acquisition and rehabilitation projects in Southern California.  Prior to his current role, Howard spent close to 10 years in public accounting at KPMG LLP and Novogradac & Company LLP providing auditing, tax and consulting services to its clients.  Howard also had worked at The Walt Disney Company, American Realty Advisors and Highridge Costa Investors.

During his time at Novogradac, Howard developed a passion for real estate and affordable housing.  It is often profound to him that his work from an accounting perspective is adding value and indirectly contributing to the community and giving a helping hand to those in need.  Howard resides in San Marino and enjoys spending time with the family with two vibrant young boys aged 6 and 3.  Howard is an occasional golfer and a sports fan (especially baseball and college basketball).  Go GIANTS!!!  With the Ross Program, Howard looks to build on his network of colleagues while expanding his horizon in other areas of real estate development.  His ambition is to one day utilize the skillset acquire from this program to successfully identify and develop a project factoring fiscal policy impacts, socioeconomic impacts, project development, appropriate sources of project financing, and taking it from start to completion.

Email: hchan@centuryhousing.org

James Cheung
2019 Winter Class Alumni

James co-founded a computer reseller company after graduated from the USC MBA program in 1991. 

The experience provides him tremendous opportunities in personal growth and financial independency.  In the true spirit of entrepreneurship, James started investing full time in real estate since 2013, mostly in private money lending and residential re-development.  Recognizing the possibility Los Angeles has to offer in gentrification, he has been focusing in commercial and multifamily development in the past 12 months.  He is looking forward to arming himself with more knowledge with the USC Rose program, and to becoming an outstanding developer in this space.

 

Email: james@agiohome.com

Alisa Cota
2019 Winter Class Alumni

Alisa Elaine Cota is a licensed Real Estate Broker with over 13 years of experience in various avenues of the industry. Within these 13 years of experience she has gained knowledge in areas such as leasing, property management, apartments cash flow analysis and the disposition/acquisitions of investment properties just to name a few. She has recently decided to go independent with her licensing in order to open your ability to service a larger variety of clients.  Prior to going independent Alisa worked with different private investors and investments companies such as Davlyn Investments, Turnstone Capital and Waypoint Homes who has since merge with and operating as Invitation Homes. Invitation and is currently the largest single-family home owner and management company in the United States. I was responsible for leasing their Southern California region.  

Some notable achievements Alisa has been involved with throughout the years are first and the most notable in her opinion was her involvement with bringing the Boys and Girls Club to the City of Pico Rivera in 2015. Although she was successful in bringing the club to the city this project is still ongoing and she is in the process of evaluating options to expand within the city and possibly pursing other cities to expand to.  Another notable achievements Alisa takes pride in is the acquisition and renovation of an adjacent apartment building she was managing in 2011 known as Sage Creek Apartments located in Simi Valley.  This project entailed the purchase of adjacent 95-unit apartment building which was fully occupied and brought the unit count to 180.  We successfully managed to relocate, renovate and re-lease all the units in both buildings in a matter of 3 years.  

Alisa attended Cal State University Fullerton where She received a bachelors degree in American Studies and a minor in Spanish communication in the spring of 2008. Within her college experience she studied abroad at the University of San Jose in Costa Rica where she earned her minor in Spanish. Alisa also is currently an active member of the BNI Elite Partners Downey chapter. 

Alisa’s is working on being part of buying a building a distressed 320 unit building in Houston Texas. The plan for the building will be to renovate and stabilize within five years.  Alisa lives in Downey, CA.

 

Email: alisa@turnstone.com

Bernard Dory
2019 Winter Class Alumni

Bernard Dory is currently an Sr. Field Representative for Assembly member Sydney Kamlager-Dove in Los Angeles, CA. He advises the assembly member in matters of economic, housing, public safety, cannabis industry, and the overall political climate from the stand point of multiple constitutencies within the 54th assembly district.

Bernard aims to be an energetic multi-task oriented critical thinker experienced in policy making, campaign management, and multi sector coalition building for community advocacy with emphasis in community economic development, workforce development, and public safety with skills and experience in strategic planning, personnel supervision, community organizing, and program development.

Email: bcdoryii@gmail.com

Lori Dynes
2019 Winter Class Alumni

Lori Dynes is a marketing professional with over two decades of direct marketing experience, having worked at the some of the most valued brands including Wells Fargo and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. Her campaigns span all media – radio, TV, video, email, direct mail, social media, digital marketing, and all print formats. A true multi-channel marketer, she combines data and creativity to deliver effective campaigns while staying on strategy, schedule and budget.

While still active in marketing, Ms. Dynes has decided to pursue a greater interest – real estate development.

Her first foray into real estate took place in 1999 with the purchase of a duplex, which she still owns. In 2007, she purchased a commercial building in a redevelopment area. Working with an architect, interior designer and contractors, Ms. Dynes rehabilitated the building and reopened as a cocktail lounge and event space. This business was sold in 2010. And in 2013, she and her sisters inherited their childhood home in Los Angeles, CA. After making some updates, the property was fully rented until it was sold in December 2017.

Ms. Dynes is founding member of 1421 Fair Oaks LLC, a real estate development company, which just purchased a 5-unit residential building that is undergoing rehabilitation. She has been involved in every step of the process, from working with architects and contractors, securing financing for the project, and managing negotiations for a master lease of the building with local non-profit organizations.

Looking forward to a second career in real estate, Ms. Dynes wants to develop properties that are in harmony with the local and neighboring communities, providing options for affordable housing targeted to low- and moderate-income working adults and families.

In pursuit of her passion, Ms. Dynes is currently enrolled in the Construction Management continuing education program at California State University East Bay (Hayward, CA). She expects to complete the certification program in 2020.

Ms. Dynes attended San Jose State University where she earned a BA in Advertising. She is also a Project Management Professional (PMP), licensed through March 2021, and she is an active member of Toastmasters, serving as Sergeant-at-Arms for her local chapter.

When she isn’t studying or glued to a computer, she loves to spend time in the garden, reading books, hiking Bay Area trails, and exploring different neighborhoods and communities in Oakland and the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

 

Email: dynes.lori@gmail.com

William Elkins
2019 Winter Class Alumni

William Elkins has a strong corporate background.  After graduating from Morehouse College, he worked with institutions such as, American Express, Washington Mutual and Wells Fargo.  He primarily was employed in management and analytical positions.  William was drawn to the real estate industry after being laid off from American Express during the height of the 9/11 tragedy.  While reflecting on his class in Entrepreneurship at Morehouse he decided to embark on the field of Real Estate.  He got his license in 2002 and began his new career working as a loan officer for a mortgage bank.

 After a couple years in the mortgage industry William decided to transition to the Real Estate side of the business.  He started working for Keller Williams Realty, one of the world’s leaders in Real Estate.  He always took a different approach than a typical agent. During the mortgage crisis he mastered short sales when the vast array of Realtors shied away from them.  On one of his short sale listings he successfully negotiated amenable payoff terms with three lien holders and got a $15,000 relocation stipend for the homeowner.

William Elkins is currently a Residential Income/Multi-Family Advisor with Renaissance Realty Group.  He is responsible for all the residential and commercial acquisitions & sales for the company. He prepares financial models for his clients so they have sound investment advice when buying and selling residential and multi-family Real Estate.  He puts his clients in a position to earn substantial rental income while acquiring long term viable tenants that maintain their properties.

Mr. Elkins currently sits on the Board of Directors for Second Baptist Community Homes.  The non-profit organization manages two assisted living senior citizen facilities consisting of  89 units.  He was involved with restructuring the management of those properties. As a result, they were back in compliance with HUD guidelines and most importantly drastically improved the quality of life for the residents.

William recently got his Real Estate Probate Certification.  He is always eager to learn and grow in this wonderful industry. He is looking forward to applying all his skills to the Ross Program and gaining insight on the next plateau of his Real Estate career.    

Email: realestate1819@gmail.com

Miranda Fajardo
Executive Assistant
2018 Summer Class Alumni
Miranda Fajardo

Miranda Fajardo is the executive assistant to the principal of California Commercial Real Estate Services, a Newport Beach based company, which specializes in providing real estate solutions in the health care industry. Miranda primarily supports California Commercial’s project management team responsible for pre-development, construction, commissioning of new construction, renovation, and tenant improvement projects. Her background in finance brings an analytical perspective to California Commercial, helping to produce value add real estate solutions through her interpretation of financial data and translation of that data into decision-making support tools for clients.

Miranda is passionate about sustainable development and how alternative energy sources can hedge against the potential costly implications of the ever-changing energy industry. Her belief in the power of such technology to achieve double bottom line results inspires her effort to affect change in the way the planning/designing phase of the development process is approached. Miranda sees alternative energy as an idea that should be pursued and fully integrated from the very beginning. Her drive to seek opportunities that employ innovative, forward-thinking ideas that are positive for the overarching society and environment is what drew her to the Ross Program; she hopes to expand her knowledge as a real estate professional to make meaningful impacts with her work.

Miranda graduated in May 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in finance from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. Her interests include spending time with family, cooking, and playing and watching sports.

Email: mfajardo@calcomm.org

Marteen Garay
Project Assistant
2018 Summer Class Alumni

Before transitioning to the Los Angeles area, Marteen was the former Director of Entrepreneurship Programming at Urban Innovation21 and economic development non-profit based in Pittsburgh. During her time there, she implemented community-based entrepreneurship support programs. Marteen managed the development of business education series and led Urban Innovation21’s work in Homewood cultivating entrepreneur development opportunities for Homewood residents, managing strategic relationships with Homewood stakeholders and implementing business district revitalization strategies including spearheading the development of the newly formed business association.

Prior to joining Urban Innovation21, Marteen was the Manager of Community and Economic Development Initiatives at the Homewood Children’s Village. In this role, Marteen worked on several community development projects, producing events promoting arts and culture, implementing school safety programs and identifying business development opportunities for Homewood business owners.

Marteen was born and raised in the Bronx, NY, receiving her BA in Africana and Metropolitan Studies from New York University, and her MS in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University, Heinz College. Marteen is an alumna of Coro Pittsburgh’s Women in Leadership program, the 2016 recipient of the Athena Young Professional award and a 2016 Pittsburgh Magazine 40 under 40 honoree.

Email: marteen.garay@gmail.com

Maggie Gonzalez
Leasing & Sales Specialist
2018 Summer Class Alumni

Maggie specializes in the sale and leasing of retail real estate at Progressive Real Estate Partners. She has been actively involved in the commercial real estate industry for over 13 years. Her expertise includes real estate, finance, technology, and business development. Maggie possesses a diverse background in the commercial real estate industry including completing industrial, office, retail and residential transactions.

Recognizing the importance of being more focused, Maggie recognized that retail is her preferred product type and joined the PREP team so that she could focus on retail and take her career to higher levels. Prior to joining PREP, Maggie was a Sales Associate at D & G Capital Investments in Rowland Heights where she represented her clients in the acquisition and leasing of commercial properties to help them achieve their real estate goals. Previous to D & G Capital Investments, Maggie held positions as a Sales Associate at RE/Max Commercial in Ontario and as an REO Specialist at Century 21 Elite in Anaheim. Maggie started her career in real estate as an Account Executive at Metwest Commercial Lending. While at Metwest she handled the financing of all product types which has provided her with an excellent background in understanding leasing from a potential financing perspective. Although she loved the work she was doing at Metwest, the firm was a victim of the Great Recession.

Maggie earned her B.S. in Business Administration and a minor in Computer Information Systems from Cal State University in Hayward. She is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Center (ICSC). Maggie is constantly looking for ways to further expand her knowledge and education in the industry to be able to better serve her clients. 

Email: maggie@progressiveREP.com

Kristen Gordon
Economic Development Deputy
2018 Summer Class Alumni

Kristen Gordon currently serves as an Economic Development Deputy for Los Angeles City Councilmember Marqueece-Harris Dawson. As a member of the Capital Projects team, she focuses on transportation policy, planning, and implementation. Previously, Ms. Gordon served as a Field Deputy for the Hyde Park, Angeles Mesa, and View Heights neighborhoods.

Prior to joining Council District 8, Kristen worked as a Planning Assistant for the Los Angeles Department of City Planning. As a Research Assistant for the UC Institute of Transportation Studies, she focused on transit-oriented development and transit ridership on Los Angeles Metro Rail. Kristen is an active member in the American Planning Association Los Angeles (APA-LA), and previously served as the Co-Director for the Young Planners Group. Kristen received a B.A. in Urban Studies from the University of California, Irvine.

Email: kristen.gordon@lacity.org

Sharon Gresham
2019 Winter Class Alumni

Sheron Gresham, on the surface is an accomplished real estate investor, with 20 years of experience within the real estate field. Underneath however, Sheron has been working hard to develop her real estate experience in this challenging field. Weathering the perpetual ups and down cycles in the real estate market, Sheron has come full circle and is now a partner and CEO in a company that has funded millions in real estate closings—funding commercial and residential projects. Currently, she and her partner are taking their company Quora Holdings LLC, to new levels with their creative financing and strategic lending platform.

Growing up in Berkeley, California, Sheron took classes at Cal Berkeley, and eventually finished college at California State University, Hayward. Wanting to pursue a Law Degree, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue the law program at the University of West Los Angeles. During a Christmas break from her law program, Sheron attended Century 21 Real Estate School, completing the real estate course and getting her real estate license. She immediately began working within the finance and banking field, eventually landing at Globetrend Investments, in Culver City, where she became the lead loan officer, producer of the year, and eventually partner, until the company closure in 2010. Along the way Sheron, took the GSRE exam (Series 7), and worked with brokerage houses (interning), gaining more experience with lending and finance.

In 2012, Sheron formed Dulia Capital, and Investment Company, aimed on helping displaced communities. Dulia’s focus is rebuilding and lending to community redevelopment projects (veteran, homeless, and churches). This strong mission will help Dulia Capital to provide shelter solutions for those left behind.

In 2016, Sheron took her lending and finance experience, into formation of a new company—Quora Holdings, LLC. Sheron’s partnership with Yong (Paul) Chung, their company Quora Holdings LLC is jointly designed to have a global reach. Yong Chung’s Asian market contacts, and Sheron’s keen insight of investing, will help Quora grow small minority companies, helping them to purchase and restructure Commercial and Residential properties, here in California, and eventually in other markets across the states.

Sheron is active member of real estate organizations. AAREA (Asian American Real Estate Association), GLAAC, and the Los Angeles Real Estate Investors Club. She currently lives in the South Bay area with her two children.

Email: gresham1107@gmail.com

 

 

Crystal Gutenberger
2019 Winter Class Alumni

Crystal Gutenberger is a well-rounded senior leader with strong capabilities in organizational transformation, program management, technology implementation, and business operations.  With 20+ years of experience, Crystal has held various senior leadership positions in large, complex, and dynamic organizations in fields including energy/utility, aerospace, financial services, supply chain, technology, and big-four management consulting.  Crystal’s success has been attributed to her strength in fostering collaboration, building trust, influencing change, and delivering results.

Crystal is passionate about social causes including children in education and community development. She is currently pursuing an entrepreneurial global project to build sustainable communities in under-utilized regions worldwide, starting with development in South East Asia. Working with her mentors, Crystal is also pursuing opportunities in urban development in emerging communities in Southern California. Crystal strongly believes such communities will help uplift many lives and positively impact people’s well-being for years to come.

Crystal had faced a number of life-changing transformations, including her immigration to the United States from being a refugee. The life-long lessons from these transformational events had helped Crystal gain deeper compassion for others, specifically to be of service to people to enhance their lives. As part of Crystal’s journey moving forward, she is pursuing the Urban Planning and Development field in striving to establish places for people to live, learn, work, play, connect, grow, and thrive.

While reading is Crystal’s favorite pastime, Crystal also enjoys many outdoor activities including gardening, tennis, hiking, and dragon boating. Crystal is an animal lover and has three four-legged kids - all dogs!

Crystal holds a multitude of credentials including Project Management Professional, Lean Six Sigma, Facility Management Professional, Professional Engineer, Executive Leader’s Edge, Leadership California, and FEMA Incident Command System. Crystal is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a Master in Business Administration.

Email: crystal.gutenberger@outlook.com

Amaris Hernandez
2019 Winter Class Alumni

Amaris Hernandez is a realtor at Olsen Realty. She services the Greater Area of Los Angeles as a Realtor who represents both sellers and buyers on the residential side. Amaris supports developers by scouting for investment opportunities, maintaining rapport with other realtors, establishing a network of connections with housing supportive services, and conducting research on real estate markets and development projects. She has an ambitious desire to help mitigate the housing crisis while generating wealth for people interested in investing in Real Estate.

Amaris is in the works of structuring measures to bridge the gap for organizations who are working hard to mitigate the housing crisis by finding people who can reform housing related policies and by utilizing the abundance of newly built homes her brokerage firm sells towards that purpose. She actively reaches out to and forms connections with multiple housing specialists, director’s, housing managers, and coordinators from various affordable housing programs. In the process, Amaris utilizes her connections to better understand possible barriers that need to be addressed to allow more people the opportunity to transition out of homelessness. She adopts collaboration along with organic, strategic methods and planning to accomplish benevolent and fruitful results. 

Amaris is a graduate of the University of Southern California (USC), where she received a Bachelors of Science in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Studies. In the foreseeable future, she aims to take on a project of her own. The Ross Minority Program in Real Estate will provide Amaris with tools, knowledge, and a network that will help her realize a carefully-developed entertainment complex that celebrates the beauty of existing cultures through iconic cultural landmarks embedded in restaurant infrastructure, a global menu, and facets that will engage all senses to make it possible to experience different parts of the world without boarding a plane.

Email: amarisehernandez@gmail.com

Christine Ji
Real Estate Specialist
2018 Summer Class Alumni

By keeping her finger on the pulse of the latest trends and movements of the Los Angeles real estate market, Christine Ji is able to offer her clients top-notch guidance from start to finish, ensuring the entire process is seamless, efficient and rewarding.

Prior to joining the world of real estate, as a successful Human Resources Analyst in the one of largest engineering and construction industry (Jacobs Engineering & Parsons Corp.), Christine became an expert in figuring out how to provide customers with what they want and need. It starts with fully appreciating each customer and then finding creative ways to fulfill their needs-insight that informs how she approaches her work as a real estate representative. “I treat my clients’ needs and wants as my own when searching for the perfect property or helping them secure the best deal,” she says.

Following the completion of the USC Ross Minority Program, her goal is to take her expertise and knowledge of real estate and build lasting relationships within her local community and eventually, extend her influence to North and South Korea.

Originally from South Korea, Christine received a MA in education from Piedmont University and is fluent in Korean. She is a RE/MAX realtor and lives in Los Angeles.

Email: uscjbroker@gmail.com

Jason Lee
Project Coordinator
2018 Summer Class Alumni

With over 5 years of experience in the real estate field, Jason Lee has established a thorough and diverse knowledge base ranging from single-family transactions, to large-scale developments. Throughout his ever-expanding career, Jason has consistently identified and solved complex real estate issues by effectively utilizing his knowledge and large network of consultants. Jason Lee has received awards recognizing his strong work ethics and commitment to quality service including the Top Listing Agent award in his real estate firm.

Jason currently serves as the owner’s representative and project coordinator for all development projects of Panoptic Development.

Email: jason.lee@panopticla.com

Senika Levias
2019 Winter Class Alumni

Senika Shields-Levias is an advocate who has committed herself by way of Registered Nurse, Realtor and Founder of Just Us MA’s – The A’Tierra Westbrook Project; a grass roots non-profit organization whose mission is to provide preventative and supportive services to victims of violence and their surrounding communities.

Senika has been keenly interested in Real Estate since she was a young child. Her parents own a small portfolio of properties in their community and taught her the basics of investing at an early age. She is determined to continue building on this foundation by further educating herself in the industry of Real Estate. Senika earned an Associate Degree in Nursing in 2010 from Solano Community College and obtained her Real Estate license in 2017.

She is currently employed as a RN Case Manager in Outside Utilization at Kaiser Permanente in addition to actively practicing Real Estate as an agent in a small, minority owned brokerage. Originally from the Bay Area, Senika moved to Southern California three years ago after being directly affected by senseless gun violence; her 21-year old daughter was murdered in August of 2015. Removing herself from the environment that caused the trauma has allowed her to make significant strides toward healing as well as made her more aware of the underlying problems in our communities that perpetuate violence.

As a survivor, she has vowed in her daughter’s honor, to seek out ways to combine her education as a nurse, realtor and non-profit founder to make a lasting impact on her community and the lives of others. Senika is hopeful that an elite educational experience like the Ross Minority Program in Real Estate will assist in putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

Senika’s most treasured role is mother to her remaining child, a 16-year old son who stands 6’4 and is the light of her life. She is reveling in the exciting journey of a student-athlete and finds pure joy in watching her son play basketball at the high school level. 

Email: NurseRealtorLevias@gmail.com

Christopher Lopez
Development Specialist
2018 Summer Class Alumni

Chris Lopez currently serves as a project manager for the Los Angeles County Community Development Commission. As part of their special projects unit, Chris has played an active role in the administration and management of large capital developments, economic development initiatives and special assignments directed by the County’s District Office’s. These projects include Vermont Corridor, Honor Ranch–Castaic, the Bioscience Cluster Development Initiative, and programming assistance at the County’s business incubator; the Business Technology Center.

As part of a small team, Chris primarily focuses on pre-development activities, contract administration, solicitation/procurement and assisting in ground lease negotiations. Chris has recently been assigned to assist with the County’s business loan program where he works in tandem with borrowers and underwriters to prepare loan packages for approval, closing and funding.

Prior to his employment at the Commission, Chris attended the University of Southern California where he received a B.A. in Psychology and placement on the Dean’s List each semester. During his studies at USC, Chris explored various interests, which led him to multiple business development internships and a position with a tech start-up based in Marina Del Rey.

By attending the Ross Minority Program in Real Estate, Chris looks forward to gaining new real estate knowledge, learning from his peers and seek out meaningful ways to make an impact in the community. By integrating the knowledge gained from the Ross program, Chris feels he will not only gain a new perspective that will assist him in managing capital and economic development projects but also position him for success as he continues his career.

Chris resides in Temple City and enjoys spending time with his family, cooking, watching sports and trying out new restaurants.

Email: Clopez@labtc.org

Jenny Ngu
2019 Winter Class Alumni

Jenny Ngu is the principal for her family’s fund and is a practicing real estate agent.   Jenny received her Master’s in Business Administration from New York University Stern School of Business and her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology/Biology from the University of California-  Los Angeles.

Jenny’s professional career prior to real estate was in her family’s main form of business, bakeries.  More specifically Mexican/ Salvadorean bakeries sprinkled throughout Los Angeles. She wore multiple hats including but not limited to human resources, operations, and accounting.  Her real estate journey began five years ago when her family sold one of their bakeries and transacted their first 10-31. It was a difficult yet transformative experience that left Jenny a desire to deepen her knowledge about about the challenging real estate landscape here in Los Angeles. Soon after, she studied and sat for her real estate license.  

Email: Jenny.t.ngu@gmail.com

Patricia Rhee
2019 Winter Class Alumni

Patricia Rhee is a Partner at Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects, and has been practicing architecture for 20 years. Patricia received her Master's degree in Architecture from Harvard's Graduate School of Design and received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the AIA, DBIA and is a LEED Accredited Professional. She is currently a Board Member of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce and recipient of the 2017 Culver City Women in Business Council Visionary Award. Patricia was also a Founding Co-Chair of the AIA Los Angeles Women in Architecture Committee. In 2015, her firm received the 2015 National AIA Firm Award, one of the industry’s highest honors. Patricia has served as Lead Designer for several of the firm’s most challenging and award-winning projects including the John M. Roll United States Courthouse and the United Arab Emirates’ Federal National Council Parliament Complex. Patricia believes that architecture should facilitate community gathering, bringing people together, encouraging dialog and exchange. Her project experience ranges from civic to institutional and commercial developments of all scales and multiple delivery methods including design-build. She lives in Los Angeles.

Email: prhee@eyrc.com 

Steve Richardson
2019 Winter Class Alumni

Steve Richardson is a Development Consultant and CEO of the Los Angeles Clergy Development Council. He began his career in real estate and finance in 2003 as a mortgage banker with Novastar Home Mortgage. In his tenure as a mortgage professional, he grew to become a high producing mortgage banker and real estate investor. In 2008, he along with 4 partners opened an equity REIT which acquired distressed real estate assets. In 2010, he began providing consulting and developmental services for real estate developers specializing in urban infill properties.

With over 300 million in closed transactions; Steve has residential, commercial, land entitlement and development transaction experience. He has a career spanning over 15 years as a real estate practitioner.

Steve began his educational career at Hope International University with coursework in Human Development. He also attended Goldman Sachs for Business Management. He has attended and completed many academies and programs for real estate investment and sales. He is a licensed and ordained minister serving as senior pastor of Good News Church, in Long Beach Ca. He is a licensed realtor and current member of NAR, CAR, SWLAOR.

In the affordable housing sector, Steve, as part of a faith based development team, has begun planning and entitlement of over 150 units of permanent supportive housing, in Southern California. Steve is the author of one book: A Journey to Financial Freedom, a Guide to Flipping Houses.

Upon completion of the Ross Minority Program, Steve plans to complete the entitlement and development of over 200 additional units of affordable housing. Steve resides in Long Beach, Ca.

Email: steve@investorsrealtypartners.com

David Rodriguez
Licensed Real Estate Agent & Investor
2018 Summer Class Alumni

David Rodriguez is an aspiring Commercial Real Estate professional and an ambitious real estate investor that has focused on distressed residential properties. His interest in real estate was simply sparked by curiosity and it quickly became his passion, so much so that he became a licensed Realtor. Now he is focused on transitioning his career into the commercial real estate industry. A native of Los Angeles, David graduated from Pepperdine University with a degree in Business Management and completed graduate coursework at Sacramento State University and Fordham University. He has nearly 20 years of professional experience in sales, operations, and legislative affairs.

Early in his career, he was selected for one of the nation’s most prestigious and selective fellowships working at the State Capitol in Sacramento. Later, he was recruited by a Fortune 500 financial firm to join their team as a sales executive. He subsequently transitioned from sales into operations, working for two different national brands managing operations in California. David has been recognized for his accomplishments in leadership, sales, operations, and mentoring future leaders. He is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Urban Land Institute (ULI), NAIOP, the National Association of Realtors, California Association of Realtors, and the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.

David recently completed Project REAP’s (Real Estate Associate Program) 10-week Commercial Real Estate training program in New York City. The REAP Program offers its student participants exposure to all aspects of commercial real estate through a combination of classroom instruction, taught by industry experts, and on-site commercial property visits. He has since relocated back to Southern California, where he hopes to launch his new career.

Email: reapthebenefits@outlook.com

Fernando Sanchez
Vice President
2018 Summer Class Alumni

Mr. Fernando Sanchez is a Vice President with Kosmont Companies assisting public and private sector clients with market and economic analyses, strategic planning, and real estate development advisory. His recent work includes market supply and demand analysis, prioritization of strategic opportunity sites for retail and future development, analysis of potential development uses, and geospatial analysis of boundaries and funding and financing feasibility of new infrastructure financing districts such as Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts (EIFDs) and Community Revitalization and Investment Authorities (CRIAs).

Prior to joining Kosmont Companies, Mr. Sanchez also worked as an Analyst for Entertainment and Culture Advisors, a Los Angeles-based economic consulting firm specializing in the entertainment and attractions industry. Other previous experience includes working as an Analyst and Project Manager for JDT International Inc., a residential real estate developer in Philadelphia, and working as a Transportation Planner with the City of Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities.

Mr. Sanchez is a member of the American Planning Association and the Urban Land Institute. He is also a Board Member of the Princeton Club of Southern California.

Mr. Sanchez holds a Master of City Planning degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where he focused on public and private real estate development. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with minors in Urban Studies, Latin American Studies, and Spanish from Princeton University.

Email: fsanchez@kosmont.com

Michael Vasoghi
Broker
2018 Summer Class Alumni

Michael Vasoghi serves as the principal of Spectrum Realty Group Corp. (“SRG”), a Newport Beach-based commercial real estate brokerage firm, specializing in the representation of office and industrial tenants and investors. Michael’s background includes over 18 years of broad and diverse real estate experience. A proven track record in sales and marketing which includes leasing, land sales, building sales, development, built-to- suite, ground leases, project management, and zoning entitlements. As a proven and trusted real estate advocate, Michael calls upon the wisdom and experience gained during thousands of negotiations to advise his clients when making the important decisions required to control occupancy cost and avoid undue risk. Michael’s ability to cultivate relationships gives him unique access to the market and enable him to effectively negotiate on behalf of his clients.

A creative problem solver, Michael is committed to providing the best quality real estate service in the industry and strives to keep his clients aware of the changing trends through intensive market research and effective communication. Tenacity, creative problem solving, patience, accountability and a genuine love for the business gives Michael a uniquely competitive edge in the brokerage community. Michael’s methodology and philosophical approach to service incorporate the hallmarks of honesty, diligence, and professionalism through demonstration of the following attributes:

Reliability and consistency

Market knowledge and anticipation of trends

Organizational adaptability

Creativity and implementation skills

Responsiveness and timeliness

Winning attitude

Today having been involved in over 1,000 real estate transactions, Michael’s experience has provided him insight into the financial and operational aspects of companies to better understand the needs of owners, users and investors in commercial real estate. His clients spanning a spectrum of industries including, insurance, financial, professional services, printing services, architecture, engineering, manufacturing, technology, and medical services.

Michael holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance and a Bachelor of Science in Real Estate from University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  He enjoys traveling, live music, going to the beach, and working out. He has been very active in the local community, supporting and volunteering his time for several organizations, including OC United Way, Project Access, and Youth Employment Services.

Email: michaelvasoghi@gmail.com

Dominique Veasey
2019 Winter Class Alumni

Every day, Dominique Veasey serves over 350 rising leaders across two school sites in Huntington Park and Maywood, California. As a Business Operations Manager at KIPP Comienza Community Prep she works to ensure students are learning in a safe and healthy environment that allows them to thrive academically. In her role, she manages several different functions such as emergency prep, school nutrition, student recruitment, procurement, and facilities. Additionally, she is the onsite project manager for school maintenance and works with district partners to complete needed projects. Dominique has worked with the Los Angeles Unified School District and the KIPP LA regional office to negotiate and finalize two facility agreements.

Dominique is a native of Bowie, Maryland and received her B.S. from Florida A&M University in Business Administration. She lives to serve her community and wants to work to ensure our students learn in an environment that is operationally efficient and conducive to learning for all. Dominique knows the next generations of leaders will soon take the world by storm.

Email: dveasey@kippla.org

Aaron Whitehurst
2019 Winter Class Alumni

Aaron Whitehurst currently works as a project manager/planner for USG Ceilings Plus and is an engineering consultant with Cooke and Assoc. Structural Engineering Co. Where he provides engineering designs on single family and multi-unit residential projects.

As a project manager with USG Ceilings Plus he has had the opportunity to work on many public projects. A few of his latest projects include the recent renovation of LAX USO at the Los Angeles International Airport and United Airlines Lounge also at the Los Angeles international airport. As an engineering consultant Aaron has worked on in-fill development and re-hab projects for over 20 years as an engineering consultant. Aaron has provided structural engineering designs for over 300 projects, ranging from single story additions to custom homes. He is now looking to take that experience and move to the development side of real estate.

Aaron graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a B.S. in Industrial Science (engineering) with and emphasis in Mechanical Design. Aaron also received a certificate of completion from Los Angeles Trade Technical College in Community Planning and Economic Development.

Aaron enjoys time with his family, USC Football, traveling, sports of all kinds, and being outdoors.

Email: AWhitehurst@usg.com

Joseph Williams
Principal Consultant
2018 Summer Class Alumni

Joseph Williams has committed himself to serving disadvantaged communities for nearly 20 years.  He currently serves as President of the San Bernardino Community College District Board of Trustees, and is the President of the African American Community College Trustees Association and is Principal Consultant for Brand You Inc.

Brand You Inc is an experiential lifestyle guidance, change management, and consumer advocacy firm located in Southern California.

Williams is the Founder of a youth services agency called Youth Action Project (YAP). YAP’s mission is to empower youth and young adults in the development of the skills and habits to experience economic and social success. YAP has hired and trained over 200 college students who have mentored over 2,000 high school students.

Williams wears several policy hats as an appointee of Governor Jerry Brown to the California Workforce Development Board and is a member of the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board.

Williams was profiled by California Forward as one of California’s “Forward Thinkers” and named an “Everyday Hero” honoree by Molina Healthcare and received the Black Rose Award from the Black Cultural Foundation.

Email: jrwilliams@brandyouinc.org

Chase Yim
Financial Analyst
2018 Summer Class Alumni

Chase Yim is a Financial Analyst with Hunt Capital Partners (HCP), a syndication division of Hunt Companies, Inc. HCP specializes in the syndication of Federal and State Low Income Housing, Historic and Solar Tax Credits. Chase has 3 years of Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) experience and is responsible for acquisition of LIHTC equity investment and structuring of institutional funds. Chase collaborated with executive team to raise and deploy $200 million of investor equity in portfolios and to close on over 20 partnerships in both proprietary and multi funds. Chase oversees affordable housing portfolios of $1.4 billion in LIHTC investments across all States.  

Prior to HCP, Chase was an Analyst at Venegas Capital, a boutique investment bank where he assisted in due diligence and processing of sell-side and buy side M&A transactions. Chase received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics/Economics with a minor in Statistics from the University of California Los Angeles.

Email: chase.yim@huntcampanies.com

Lizzet Alvarez
Real Estate Investor
2018 Winter Class Alumni
Lizzet Alvarez

Lizzet Alvarez has extensive experience managing and creating community engagement initiatives and programs for organizations interested in genuinely serving their constituents.  She is a recent graduate of the Masters in Social Enterprise program at USC’s Marshall School of Business.

Upon completing the Ross Minority Program in Real Estate, Lizzet and her husband, Alejandro Martinez (RMPIRE class of ’04), who has been developing affordable housing for non-profit organizations for over 16 years, launched an independent real estate development company, Agave Investment and Development.  They hope to push the envelope when it comes to developing innovative and beautiful affordable housing projects for Los Angeles and its surrounding communities.   

Email: lizzet@agaveidc.com 

Robyn Barrios
Real Estate Acquisitions Analyst
2018 Winter Class Alumni
Robyn Barrios
Robyn’s passion for real estate began in adolescence, just before the Great Recession of 2008. Fascinated by the psychology of economics, he studied asset acquisitions and investments as a pastime. In 2015, Robyn graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a background in Psychology and Finance, after which he completed an internship at a major Financial Services Firm.

Shocked by the Financial Literacy Crisis in the U.S., Robyn founded Mirai Financial, a non-profit organization teaching financial literacy to underserved high school and college students throughout Los Angeles. He is interested in the intersection between the securities’ markets and real estate, including environmentally responsible real estate development.

Upon completion of the Ross Program, he intends to cultivate professional relationships with industry leaders and expand his role in real estate acquisitions to include development investments. Robyn welcomes opportunities to network and collaborate with other professionals in the industry looking to have a positive impact in their communities via real estate finance, development and/or education. He currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.

Email: r310@tutanota.com

André Bueno
Principal
Bueno Group
2018 Winter Class Alumni
André Bueno
With over 10 years of real estate experience, Andre is responsible for founding and overseeing the Bueno Group, a vertically integrated real estate development company. Since 2006, he has redeveloped and repositioned 400+ apartments across three states.

Before forming the Bueno Group, he actively researched and presented strategic investment opportunities across a $500MM client base on behalf of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Additionally, he spent time working at a privately held Real Estate merchant builder.

Email: Andre@TheBMGroup.com

Kevin Clausen-Quiroz, AICP
Project Manager II
City of Anaheim Community and Economic Development Department
2018 Winter Class Alumni
Kevin Clausen-Quiroz
Kevin Clausen-Quiroz is an urban thinker and doer. Born, raised and still residing in Anaheim, California, Kevin guides a more sustainable, equitable and economically thriving future as a Project Manager and Planner with the City of Anaheim’s Community and Economic Development Department.  By leveraging community assets, property holdings and infrastructure funding sources, Kevin helps to facilitate catalytic public-private development projects. 
 
After completing a Bachelor’s Degree of Urban and Regional Planning from California Polytechnic University, Pomona, Kevin began working as a Planner for the City of Anaheim. While developing his understanding of land use and the entitlement process, he completed an MBA from California State University, Fullerton with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship. Kevin is currently working on a wide array of commercial and hospitality developments, long-range planning efforts, mobility planning and community branding programs for the diverse communities and destinations within the City of Anaheim. 
 
Kevin enjoys people watching in bustling public spaces and exploring cities. He firmly believes that the built environment sets the framework for community opportunity. Kevin hopes his participation in the USC Ross Minority Program in Real Estate program will broaden his understanding of urban revitalization and connect him with additional mentors and peers.
 
Rose Cuyno
Project Administrator
BRIDGE Housing Corporation
2018 Winter Class Alumni
Rose Cuyno
Rose currently serves as a Project Administrator for BRIDGE Housing Corporation, a nonprofit affordable housing developer. In this role, Rose supports development project managers and works with a team of financial, legal and construction professionals, and community stakeholders in the financing and construction of large family and senior housing projects. Rose is largely responsible for preparing tax credit, bond and competitive funding applications for HUD and California AHSC programs.

Rose’s professional experience is complemented by an academic background in History. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in History from California State University, Long Beach where she gained extensive training is historical research methodologies. Prior to graduating, Rose was an archives intern for the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum where she focused on writing abstracts and digitizing documents during the Nixon era making them available for online use.

Rose is particularly interested in community involvement and enjoys sharing her time working as a volunteer. Rose worked with children as a math and reading tutor for School on Wheels. This past summer, she organized an annual youth program at Emmanuel Lutheran, La Habra where children participate in different activities.

Email: rcuyno@bridgehousing.com

William Hicks III
Loan Officer Assistant
HomeStreet Bank
2018 Winter Class Alumni
William is a homegrown product of Southern California.  He spent most of his youth in Westchester and his college life at San Diego State University where he studied Kinesiology and Bio Mechanics.  He spent the next 15 years after college life devoted to athletic development within multiple professional sports.  He had the privilege of working with a large group of top tier athletes from the MLS, NFL, and X Games. 

In February of 2017, William decided to make a grand switch to banking and working in the Mortgage department at HomeStreet Bank in Seattle, Washington.  His passion for helping people develop evolved into a field where he can have a larger impact on the individuals that he has found himself interacting with.  He has long had a passion for finance and investment due to his father’s tutelage as a banking professional himself.  He learned many of the difficult lessons of money management, asset allocation, ROI, and many other financial principles from watching and learning from his father who worked as a government auditor for major projects in San Diego. 

Over his time working with athletes, William built many diverse relationships with San Diego and Seattle developers, real-estate company owners, mortgage business owners, banking CEO’s, and the like.  His focus in now utilizing those relationships to build a portfolio of business that will harness all his long time relationships and parlay them into long-term projects.  Projects that will help those individuals and businesses in the Seattle, San Diego, and Los Angeles area gain significance, by helping them develop communities that will build wealth and prosperity for the generations to come.

Email: William.HicksIII@homestreet.com

Chris Ifeanyi
Vice President of Operations
Elyon Development
2018 Winter Class Alumni
Chris Ifeanyi
Chris Ifeanyi is a resourceful, goal-driven and team oriented real estate project manager / developer.  Chris is a business professional with many years of operations and leadership experience in the real estate arena.  He has worked in residential, commercial and industrial construction projects. A strategic planner and an astute negotiator, Chris consistently builds positive and mutually respectful relationships with diverse teams to get things accomplished. 
 
Chris has researched, advocated and built numerous energy efficient (Green) homes, while implementing a variety of sustainable and eco-friendly (zero waste) construction methods. 
Chris is currently working in real estate project management with a group of private investors engaged in residential and light commercial developments.  
Chris holds a BSc in Computer Information Systems from DeVry University and an MBA from Pepperdine University’s Graziado School of Business and Management and has taken several classes geared towards cross-cultural conflicts, negotiation and dispute resolution at Pepperdine School of Law. 
 
James Y. Kuang
Real Estate Broker
Coldwell Banker New Century
2018 Winter Class Alumni
James Y. Kuang
James Y. Kuang is a real estate broker with 6+ years of experience in real estate transactions.  Whether it is working with Mr. and Mrs. Chen finding the right home or helping Mrs. Brinkley sell her father's home, you can expect a positive can do attitude from James. 
 
James’ true value is showing others what they don’t initially see.  There are deals that initially didn’t make sense for his investor clients however James keeps abreast on the latest financial trends, and is able to demonstrate to his clients the power of leveraging and the equity gained from appreciation.  His clients are able to see how you earn more than just what you put in your pocket every month.
 
James believes real estate is more than just closing the deal.  It’s about connecting with the buyer and seller to show them how they are really creating prosperity beyond their lifetime.  James believes real estate is the way to prosperity for every family and gives them a chance to pass something on to their heirs.  
 
James has been entrusted by his clients to handle over $50 million worth of real estate deals.  He has received gold awards in the past 4 years at Coldwell Banker New Century during the annual awards ceremonies.  He is also trained in and holds certificates for Construction Management, Senior Real Estate Specialist, Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives, and Certified Probate Specialist.
 
James holds a B.A. degree in political science and a minor in entrepreneurship.  James appreciates and studies history, war, and politics as a pass time finding inspiration and ideas  from these subjects.  He is able to meet today's challenges by emulating historical and inspring figures from the past and learning he’s not alone in the challenges he face.  James conditions his spirit with rounds of brutal Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and balances it out with quiet time for meditation. 
 
Andrew Martinez
Associate
Sperry Commercial Global Affiliates
2018 Winter Class Alumni
Andrew Martinez
Andrew Martinez is a real estate professional for Sperry Commercial Global Affiliates with experience in commercial transactions including the development and execution of exclusive agency contracts, letters of intent, market surveys and facilitation of lease and sale agreements. He specializes in the sales and leasing of commercial and industrial property in the Los Angeles market and surrounding areas.

Mr. Martinez has been representing owner/users and investors in the area for the past 2 years. He provides expert market research and knowledge to assist in real estate decision that will allow the client to take advantage of possible opportunities provided by the current market conditions.

Andrew entered the real estate industry working for Cushman & Wakefield, for Jones Lang LaSalle, and ultimately at Sperry Commercial Global Affiliates. Andrew is a native to Los Angeles, and grew up in a suburb in the San Gabriel Valley. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business from Whittier College in 2016.

Email: andrew.martinez@eccre.com

Domenica Megerdichian
Management Associate
City of Torrance
2018 Winter Class Alumni
Domenica Megerdichian
Domenica K. Megerdichian is a Management Associate to the City Manager at the City of Torrance, and focuses on Economic Development and Land Management. Domenica also coordinates the City’s Hometown Heroes Military Recognition Program and is a staff liaison to the City’s Social Services Commission.  
 
Ms. Megerdichian completed her undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley, and holds two Master’s degrees: Master in Public Administration with a focus on Public Sector Leadership and Management from California State University at Northridge, and Master in Urban and Regional Planning, with a focus on Community and Economic Development from California Polytechnic University at Pomona. 
 
Maggie Miguel
Area Manager
NMS Properties, Inc.
2018 Winter Class Alumni
Maggie Miguel
Maggie Miguel is a fixer, resourceful, with nearly 20 years’ experience of turning new construction or mismanaged multifamily properties into highly profitable real estate assets. Currently at a prominent Los Angeles real estate management and development company, Ms. Miguel oversees a $300MM portfolio of thirteen luxury properties in Brentwood, Westwood, West LA, and the San Fernando Valley. 

Ms. Miguel’s focus is on new business development and creating calculated operations and policies that streamline real estate objectives.  She specializes in strategic pricing and negotiations and launching new multifamily properties for market, including establishing proforma rent rolls, creative branding, marketing and staging, hiring and training leasing teams, and facilitating apartment set up on accounting software and property websites.  Accomplishments also include drafting loan abstracts and business plan summaries for acquisitions and refinancing, and project managing the renovation of older properties, rebranding, repricing, and re-leasing with sizeable profit gains.  Ms. Miguel created and developed the operations for a short term furnished housing company, with designer furniture rental packages and quantifiable pricing premiums.

Ms. Miguel has a relentless passion for architecture and interior design, construction and real estate development.  Not surprisingly, free time is often spent perusing construction sites and attending open house tours precisely to study the architecture of specific decades and the latest trends in floor plans and design. 

With a BA in Communication from the University of Southern California, Ms. Miguel is a devoted Trojan overjoyed to continue her education under the USC Ross Minority Program in Real Estate.  With this certification, Ms. Miguel plans to focus on real estate development, building new housing with signature custom designer finishes that maximize square footage, and event/retail projects that secure energy and water efficiency.

Email: maggie.m@nmsproperties.com

Kristi Patton
Director of Development
USC Sol Price School of Public Policy
2018 Winter Class Alumni
Kristi Patton
Kristi Patton is a Southern California native whose connection to the built environment goes back generations. As a descendant of California farmers, real estate brokers and developers, Kristi has always had an affinity for real estate. For over 16 years, she has managed and maintained a few West Los Angeles multifamily units for the Orange County company, Pacific Newport Properties.

Kristi has a Bachelor of Arts from Loyola Marymount University and a Master in Journalism and Communications from the University of Southern California. After college, Kristi pursued a career in event marketing and worked at ESPN, Nordstrom and now USC.

During her time at USC, she spent four years at the Office the Cultural Relations and University Events where she worked directly for many of the units across the university including the Price School of Public Policy and the Marshall School of Business. She then spent two years in the Office of Development at the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she handled donor stewardship, fundraising and events. Her passion for real estate lead her to USC Price where she has been working in development and external relations for almost four years.

Kristi works closely with our real estate alumni and most recently helped to launch the Price Real Estate Affiliates, the alumni support group that seeks to build upon the strong real estate tradition at USC Price. Kristi also manages the Price School’s Athenian Society, the premiere philanthropic support group for the Price School. She manages the major giving programs and engagement of the advisory boards for the METRANS Transportation Center and the USC Sacramento Center.

Email: kkpatton@price.usc.edu

Miranda Rodriguez
Assistant Program Officer
Local Initiatives Support Corporation
2018 Winter Class Alumni
Miranda Rodriguez
Miranda Rodriguez, Assistant Program Officer: Miranda supports LA LISC’s comprehensive economic development and housing preservation strategy in low income neighborhoods throughout LA County. She currently manages the Kiva Mircolending Program, Slate Z Promise Zone Economic Inclusion Initiative, and the Health and Housing Program.

Prior to LISC, she served as Placemaking Manager for River LA, where she assisted with the delivery, sourcing, and funding of River LA’s project pipeline. She is a native Angeleno and holds a Bachelor's Degree from Lewis and Clark College.  As a lover of cities, she's interested in innovative community preservation initiatives and public space agendas for changing neighborhoods across America.

Email: MRodriguez@lisc.org

Chad Torres
Financial Analyst
Red Mountain Retail Group, Inc
2018 Winter Class Alumni
Chad Torres
Chad Torres is a Financial Analyst with Red Mountain Group based in Santa Ana, California. He focuses on retail specific commercial real estate development projects such as ground up development, build-to-suit, reverse build-to-suit, and re-development projects. Chad is part of a team that oversees the company’s potential acquisitions, dispositions and financing activities. Because Red Mountain’s development projects mainly consist of added-value/re-development scenarios the goal is to bring about day to day value for the surrounding communities that are represented.

Prior to Red Mountain Group he was an Investment Associate at Marcus & Millichap’s Net Lease Advisory Group where he assisted investors with the acquisition and disposition of investment properties. The focus was on adding value to the clients’ nationwide single-tenant retail investments and creating strategies uniquely for them such as sale-leaseback approaches and investment capital exchanges. Chad has been actively involved in the commercial real estate industry for over six years and participates in industry events such as The International Council of Shopping Centers. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Real Estate Studies from Ashford University and is eager to expand his knowledge as a commercial real estate developer and to embody the Ross Minority Program within future endeavors. 

Email: chad.torres@yahoo.com

Jessica Wackenhut-Lomeli
Assistant Program Officer
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
2018 Winter Class Alumni
Jessica Wachenhut-Lomeli
Jessica Wackenhut Lomeli is a dedicated community development professional in Los Angeles. As an urban planner, she is driven by innovation to rethink urban challenges through collective impact projects.
 
Jessica is currently an Assistant Program Officer at Los Angeles Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). She supports the Los Angeles LISC Financial Opportunity Centers, the LISC AmeriCorps program, and grant management of HUD Section 4 funding. Prior to joining LA LISC, Jessica was the Community Development Coordinator with Youth Policy Institute where she led activities associated with the HUD Choice Neighborhood Planning Grant and the Los Angeles Promise Zone. Her efforts focused on locally driven strategies to comprehensively address neighborhood revitalization around distressed public housing.
 
She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Paraguay. She holds her Master's degree in Urban Planning from the University of Southern California with a focus in Social & Community Planning as well as her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Minor in Latin American & Latino Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. 
 
Jessica was born and raised in South Lake Tahoe, California. She enjoys traveling, cooking, reading, and exploring new places on alternative transportation.
 
Winnie Wong
Development Associate
Speedway Development
2018 Winter Class Alumni
Winnie Wong
Winnie Wong is a second-generation ABC (American-Born Chinese) and fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese.

She earned two Bachelor Degrees, a double major in Chinese Studies and Sociology with an emphasis in International Studies from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). She is a California Licensed Realtor, Notary Public, and a Certified Transaction Coordinator (CTC), a certification awarded by the California Association of Realtors. This certification is designed to train professionals regarding the current regulations and best practices in successful real estate transactions.

She is an experienced commercial real estate professional for the land development department of her company, Speedway Development. She works in an array of matters, including real estate transactions, company formations, obtaining entitlements, and contacting various consultants. Currently, Winnie is managing a 27-acre project designed for Commercial Retail in Temescal Canyon, Riverside.

She is enthusiastic in the USC Ross Minority Program to further her pursuit in a career in Real estate for Land Development. Overall, she looks forward to helping her community by making an impact in Southern California.

Email: winnie@speedwaydevelopment.com

Lawren John Doyle
Senior Chief
United States Navy
2017 Summer Class Alumni

Born and raised in Oklahoma; spent childhood fishing and playing baseball.  Graduated early from Coweta High School to join the Marine Corps, then in 2001, after three he transferred to the Navy. Scheduled to retire in Feb of 2021.

Looking forward to pursuing a career in real estate development on the West Coast.  Graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2013 and currently pursuing an MBA at The University of Southern California. Enjoy swimming, fishing, cooking, and spending time with my wife Melissa and two children.  

Email: lawrendoyle@gmail.com

Ron Duong
First Vice President Investments, Senior Director, National Retail Group
Marcus & Millichap
2017 Summer Class Alumni

Ron Duong is a highly-regarded top agent in the retail investment real estate industry. Over the years, Ron’s reputation for his extensive market knowledge, comprehensive pricing analysis, and strategic execution in the marketing of retail real estate investments has made him a valuable resource to some of the top names in the retail space for commercial real estate.  These factors have resulted in record prices for his clients as well as closings on some of the most challenging deals in the marketplace ranging from environmental contamination to substantial deferred maintenance.

Ron ranks amongst the top Marcus & Millichap retail agents nationwide, having personally listed/closed over $840 million in retail investments since 2004.  Ron has been a Top 10 Agent in Marcus & Millichap’s Newport Beach office since 2008, and has been the #1 Retail Agent on most occasions.

As one of the most active and knowledgeable retail agents in the field, Ron is frequently interviewed and quoted by the leading publications including Globest.com, CoStar.com, and Real Estate Weekly. Ron’s track record of closings represents some of the highest prices and most aggressive cap rates in the marketplace. Most importantly, Ron prides himself on servicing his clients and working with them to achieve their short and long-term goals.

Ron received a B.A. in Finance from California State University Fullerton in 2001. His specialites include Anchored Neighborhood Shopping Centers, Unanchored Shopping Strips, Single Tenant NNN Leased Investments.

Ron has been honored by several Sales Recognition Awards over the years as well as a National Achievement Award and Chairman’s Club Award recently. He is a Senior Director, National Retail Group and a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) since 2004.

Email:Ron.Duong@marcusmillichap.com

Daniel Findley
Project Manager
Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation
2017 Summer Class Alumni

Daniel is a dedicated professional to affordable housing in California. Prior to his start in real estate development in 2009, Daniel conducted field studies in Peru for rural communities in consultation for local mining corporations. Being in the service of others with a desire to leave a physical impact on the places in which we live ultimately led him to become a Master in City and Regional Planning from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2012. Motivated by a desire to help reduce the high cost of housing for low-income, working-class individuals and families in California, Daniel is drawn to the mission of nonprofit affordable housing development.

He has worked in both Los Angeles and San Francisco building supportive housing for families and occupied rehabs of senior buildings. Presently, Daniel works for the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation where in just over two years as a project manager, Daniel led the acquisition of more than 350 units from the San Francisco Housing Authority through the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, and closed $91 million of construction financing for three rehab projects.

At the moment, Daniel manages his time between obtaining entitlements and CEQA approvals to build 108 units of new construction for families and individuals, and a seismic retrofit of an existing 179-unit SRO in anticipation of the limited partner’s exit.

In his free time, Daniel enjoys the outdoors by exploring different neighborhoods by foot. He currently lives in Oakland with his wife and nine-month old. 

Email: dfindley@tndc.org

Jordan Goldstein
Real Estate Credit Analyst
City National Bank
2017 Summer Class Alumni

Jordan was born and raised in Calabasas, California and attended high school in the Los Angeles metro area. After graduating high school, Jordan spent a gap year in Israel immersed in Middle Eastern culture and Judaic studies. In 2011, Jordan attended University of Arizona where he earned his bachelors in Business Finance.

Jordan has held several positions in Finance and Real Estate throughout his career. While going to school, Jordan worked for a language services company as a financial analyst, specializing in data management and financial modeling. After, he worked in Tucson for a family real estate trust focusing on property and portfolio valuation. In 2015, he took a position with City National Bank as a Real Estate Analyst. Jordan provides financial, property, market, and guarantor analysis for the bank. He also underwrites construction and bridge loans for the Real Estate lending group.

An avid sports fan, Jordan regularly plays and watches basketball. He is an active participant in philanthropic organizations such as the Israeli American Council (IAC).

Email: jordan.goldstein@cnb.com

Akintunde "Kin" Hardy
Commercial Real Estate Professional
Hardy Development
2017 Summer Class Alumni

Akintunde “Kin” Hardy is an emerging commercial real estate professional with over 15 years of professional sales, account management, and consulting experience.  Most recently Mr. Hardy is very proud to be known as the “Mayor” of the 2017 Project REAP – Atlanta graduating class. 

Prior to this professional development, Mr. Hardy worked as a consultant and top performer within multiple pharmaceutical companies such as Novo Nordisk and Johnson and Johnson.  Other accomplishments include fund development and management of 1M+ for national non-profits including the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) - HQ, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) New Orleans Region, and the American Heart Association (AHA) covering northern Louisiana.

Akintunde Hardy is a proud graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana located in New Orleans.  Mr. Hardy is an active member of various commercial trade associations including: BOMA, ICSC, NAIOP, and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) - Empire Board of Realists. 

Akintunde Hardy plans to fully transition into commercial real estate partnering on various public-private sector projects or a representative for client-based commercial real estate services. Akintunde Hardy currently resides in Atlanta, GA.

Email: hardyak@yahoo.com

Lacey Johnson
Deputy for Community Development
Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas
2017 Summer Class Alumni

Lacey M. Johnson is a dedicated Community Development Professional who is guided by the principle that society can “build great people by building great places”.

Ms. Johnson currently works as an Assistant Deputy for Community Development to Los Angeles County Supervisor and Board Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, serving approximately two-million constituents throughout the greater South Los Angeles region.

In her role, Ms. Johnson aids in the management of a capital project portfolio of over 150 projects in excess of $2 Billion, and serves as a liaison between several County Departments and the Board including the Departments of Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Community Development Commission, Metro and others.  She also leads the office’s community engagement efforts related to land use and community development.

Ms. Johnson is also a proud alumnus of several fellowship and professional programs including the UCLA Anderson School of Management’s Riordan MBA Fellowship, the Democratic National Committee’s Hope Institute, the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs, the Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship at Princeton University, among others.

Born and raised in Bakersfield, CA, Ms. Johnson moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science with honors and with specialties in Public Affairs and Urban Planning. While at UCLA, Ms. Johnson’s research focused on political development and resource distribution in majority-minority suburban communities.

In her spare time, Ms. Johnson enjoys mentoring others, exploring new destinations by foot and reading the latest issues of her favorite print magazines. 

Email: LJohnson@bos.lacounty.gov

Aaron Kohanim
J.D. Candidate 2018
Western State College of Law
2017 Summer Class Alumni

Aaron Kohanim is from Los Angeles, CA and graduated from UCLA in 2015 with College Honors in Political Science and a minor in Public Policy.

After graduation, Aaron entered law school seeking a specialty in Business and Real Estate Transactions. During his time at law school, Aaron has been involved with multiple professional clubs, such as the Business Law society and seeks to obtain the Real Estate Law and Business Law certificate. To further this goal, Aaron obtained his Real Estate salesperson license and wants to pursue a broker’s license.

Outside the classroom, Aaron has been active with his Jewish community; he is the current vice-president of LedorVador (a young professional group) and sitting outreach director for several Jewish organizations in Los Angeles. Aaron won the Jewish Leadership Appreciation award for his outstanding service to his community. He hopes to pursue a career in Real Estate transactions for the next few years and then potentially transition to the development/investment side of Real Estate.  

Email: Akohanim@live.com

Joseph Lising
Commercial Real Estate Broker/First Vice President
Marcus & Millichap
2017 Summer Class Alumni

Joseph began his career at Marcus & Millichap in July of 1998 as an office assistant in the Long Beach branch where he began learning the basics of Investment Real Estate and the value of technology that Marcus & Millichap had to offer. In 1999 he became an agent of the firm where for the next 5 years he specialized in Retail Investment sales throughout Orange County with an emphasis on Northern Orange County and eventually transitioning to the Newport Beach Office of Marcus & Millichap.

He ventured out into working with other commercial real estate firms having spent 1 year with CBRE and 1 year with Hanley Investments learning and developing valuable leasing relationships before returning home to Marcus & Millichap. Before his return, he also spent some time discerning a vocation to the priesthood residing 2 years in Boston in prayer and contemplation as well living the monastic life with the Norbertines in Orange, CA.

In 2010 he rejoined Marcus & Millichap in Newport Beach as a Senior Associate successfully ranking in the top 30 Multi-Tenant Retail Agents nationwide by June of 2012. His strength in Investment Real Estate is combining art with science to produce innovative and viable solutions in helping his clients create and preserve wealth.

He holds his Bachelor's degree from the University of California, Irvine in Philosophy.

Email: joseph.lising@marcusmillichap.com

Ryan Oliver
Software Engineer
Bizly
2017 Summer Class Alumni

Ryan Oliver Torres is transitioning into the world of corporate real estate with a technology lens and focus. Ryan has spent his career as a software engineer at major US tech companies like Warby Parker and BuzzFeed, as well as several growing startups, focus on front end and design UX work.

In his time at Warby Parker, he focused on campaign launches, partnerships and supported the marketing organization and at BuzzFeed his team helped created a 3x faster mobile website used by over 200M people per month.

His passion for Puerto Rico and for technology have led him towards a project building a startup campus in his hometown of San Juan.

Ryan received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus and is an active member in the local tech community.

Email: ryan.n.oliver@gmail.com

Fernanda Oppermann
Principal
MUTUO
2017 Summer Class Alumni

Fernanda Oppermann is a Brazilian architect practicing in California. Her work as an architect is rooted in the desire to rethink cities’ challenges through a contemporary design perspective centered in the human experience. Fernanda sees her projects as catalysts for positive change in neighborhoods and cities. 

Fernanda received a Bachelor degree in Architecture and Urban Design from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and a Master degree in Architecture from the University of Southern California. She has worked for Eric Owen Moss Architects in Los Angeles and is currently a principal at Mutuo, a Los Angeles based firm that designs innovative contemporary architecture. Mutuo has been involved in a variety of architectural projects, including projects for social impact as well as its own real estate developments. 

Email: fe@thisismutuo.com

Roxley Pratt
Master of Business for Veterans, May 2017
University of Southern California
2017 Summer Class Alumni

Roxley Pratt was born and raised in Sierra Leone where he received his primary and seconddary education in Sierra Leone. Toward the end of elementary school war broke out in the neighboring country; Liberia and spilled over to his country.  While completing high school he saw an opportunity to start a business selling ice. This was a lucrative venture.

Pratt’s initial success encouraged him to look forward with plans to open a cab business, a fishing boat company and hopefully later a hotel chain. Unfortunatley, the continued conflict directly affected his family in May 1997 and forced them to flee to Gambia as refugees. Following a year of processing through the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) the family resettled to the United States.

Pratt realized his dream of enlisting in the US Marine Corps in 2000 after one year in the U.S. He was activated after the September 11 attack and was deployed for about two years in Iraq.

Upon his return from his tour, he completed an Associates degree at West Los Angeles College and a Bachelor’s degree at Western Michigan University. He returned to Los Angeles to pursue a career in entertainment and completed an Associates in Theater Arts at Santa Monica College. He was accepted to the University of Southern California (USC) in the Master of Business for Veterans program at the Marshall School of Business and has less than one semester to complete his graduate degree in business.

Pratt enjoys traveling to indigenous locations, acting, writing and business as well as the beach and adventurous activities. He has dabbled in stand-up comedy and hopes to do more in the future.

Pratt is enthusiastic about completing the USC Ross Minority Program in Real Estate as he has been searching for this type of real estate training for some time and looks forward to gaining as much knowledge as possible from the instructors and practitioners as well as from the networking opportunities. More importantly, he looks forward to completing the course and receiving his certificate to make a socio-economic impact in communities locally and nationwide.

Email: Roxley.Pratt@gmail.com

Adrian Solis
Multifamily Capital Finance
Wells Fargo
2017 Summer Class Alumni

Adrian was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California. He received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance, Real Estate and Business Law from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

He is currently a part of the Multifamily Finance Capital Group at Wells Fargo. Previous to that he was part of the Santa Barbara Community Bank’s commercial lending team, as a commercial real estate analyst. His duties are to underwrite commercial loan applications and make lending recommendation based on what is best for our clients while reserving the banks best interest.

He has gained a substantial amount of knowledge about the real estate industry throughout his academic and professional career. He has acquired analytical skills such as creating cash flow statements, pro-formas, amortization schedules, evaluating the value of various commercial property types, and analyzing various real estate market trends using historical data.

With his free time he enjoys traveling and playing golf. He has traveled through 3 continents, 8 countries, and has visited over 100 cities abroad.

Email: adriandelgado1919@gmail.com

Pamela Thornton
Real Property Agent
Southern California Edison
2017 Summer Class Alumni

Pamela Thornton is a Real Property Agent with Southern California Edison. Prior to her career within the utility industry, Ms. Thornton’s professional career was in local government, which spanned over 15 years combined, working within the County of Los Angeles and the District of Columbia jurisdictions. Ms. Thornton guided land use and planning activities, utilizing community and economic development concepts.

Over the last several years, Ms. Thornton has been a change agent, involved with the strategic and long range planning within the City of Los Angeles by serving as Board President of the Harbor Gateway North Neighborhood Council. In addition, Ms. Thornton serves as Chair of the Planning and Land Use Committee, where the focus is to advocate for sustainable planning and land use, with the emphasis on the environment, economic development and social equity.

Ms. Thornton holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from San Diego State University, a M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix.

Email: Pamela.Thornton@sce.com

Aron Angel
Real Estate Developer
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Aron Angel

Aron Angel is an entrepreneur in the world of residential real estate, taking undervalued and dilapidated properties in the Los Angeles and Denver metro areas and turning them into highly desirable, family-oriented homes.

Prior to working in real estate, Aron spent ten years managing marketing and editorial endeavors in the world of digital media and sports.

Following the conclusion of the Ross Minority Program in Real Estate, Aron is looking to become more involved in mixed-use development in the Los Angeles area. Aron lives in Studio City.

Email: aron.angel@gmail.com

Ye-Pan Chan
General Manager
Ohana Capital Management
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Ye-Pan Chan

YP is a Singapore registered real estate professional and concurrently General Manager at Ohana Capital Management. The latter is a global property investment arm of a Japanese holding company with the intent to expand their global property investment portfolio overseas. The focus is to pursue the right opportunities to develop small scale multi-family homes in the East Coast of US.

As a real estate salesperson since 2011, YP has secured over $43mil worth of transactions, mainly from commercial and industrial sectors. His forte is in asset enhancement for commercial conservation shophouses. His passion in properties, reading and making strategic moves and acquisitions have earned him loyal clienteles.

Prior to real estate, YP had an industrious 20-year career in a few global multinational semi-conductor and telecommunications companies. It brought him to many places, many challenges. The progressive responsibilities range from industrial engineering, demand planning, strategic planning, customer fulfillment, account management, marketing and sales.

In 2002, YP earned his MBA in Strategic Marketing with distinction from the University of Hull, UK. A year later he was recognized by the Semiconductor Industry Association (USA) President Award with the implementation of his dissertation. Prior to this, he attained the Bachelor of Manufacturing Engineering with Honors in 1991 at the University of Birmingham, UK.

Through USC’s Ross Minority Program, YP hopes to garner strong friendships from fellow participants, industry experts and faculty members, and to familiarize on the intricacy with the real estate laws and regulations. Upon completion of the Program, YP intends to apply the acquired knowledge on real estate acquisition and development, implement debt structuring and equity partnership for opportunities in California. YP lives in Singapore, but hopes to move to Los Angeles one day.

Email: ypchan318@gmail.com

Caitlan Cullen
Urban Planner
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Caitlan Cullen

Caitlan Cullen is an urban planner with a background in entitlements and resort master planning. Working in planning since 2013, Caitlan has helped to shepherd projects from their earliest conceptual stages through acquisition, design and entitlements. With experience on both national and international projects, she has been a part of efforts ranging in size from standard ministerial permitting to fostering the development of multi-million dollar projects.

Caitlan most recently worked for Walt Disney Imagineering as an associate predevelopment manager supporting the development Disney’s global portfolio of theme park properties. Prior to working for Disney, Caitlan served as an assistant planner for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency where she led the creation and implementation of a region wide commodity tracking system meant to facilitate movement of growth within the Tahoe Basin to more economically and environmentally sustainable areas. Caitlan’s professional passion lies in the nexus between economic and environmental sustainability particularly as it relates to urban development and tourism.

Caitlan holds a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Southern California with a focus in transportation as well as Bachelors in Environmental Design from the University of Colorado at Boulder.  She is a member of ULI, is a licensed California real estate salesperson and a recipient of the California Planning Foundation Honorary Scholarship.

Caitlan is continually seeking opportunities to step into new situations and take on unique tasks to further the development of a project while contributing to efficient and effective teams. Caitlan currently spends her time between Los Angeles and Lake Tahoe.

Email: caitlan.cullen@gmail.com

Vahid Davoudi
Commercial Real Estate Broker, BRE Lic. #0188993
The Charles Dunn Company
2017 Winter Class Alumni

Vahid Davoudi is currently an associate Broker Lic. #0188993 with the Soroudi Team, Charles Dunn Company Lic. #01201641 in Century City, CA specializing in the sale of multi-family apartment buildings in the prime West Side areas of Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades and Malibu. With over 10 years’ experience in commercial lending and real estate consulting, Vahid combines vast business acumen with the enterprise of a very strong and successful team to be an advantageous resource to his clients. 

Committed to understanding his clients’ needs, Vahid works to develop and implement a strategic plan for each unique property situation and places a great emphasis on communication and follow-through. Able to offer the innovative, entrepreneurial creativity and individualized client attention expected from a commercial real estate professional, Vahid provides the accountability and reliability of a major commercial real estate service company.

Vahid is a graduate of USC Lusk Center for Real Estate’s Ross Program in Commercial Real Estate and award winner of the “Best Development Proposal”. Prior to joining Charles Dunn, one of the first commercial brokerage firms establishes in Los Angeles, Vahid was the in-house lender with for Coldwell Banker working with real estate partners as part of the RMR Financial family with First Capital in Santa Monica, CA. Additionally, Vahid worked as a Home Mortgage Consultant for Wells Fargo with bank locations in Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Brentwood and Santa Monica.

Vahid welcomes the opportunity to discuss how he can serve all of your specific real estate investment needs and  with the Charles Dunn Company.

Email: vdavoudi1@gmail.com

Email: vdavoudi@charlesdunn.com

Luis Duran
Regional Planning Assistant
County of Los Angeles, Department of Regional Planning
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Luis Duran

Luis Duran is a municipal planner with the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning.  Prior to working for the County, Luis was an environmental consultant for a small environmental firm in Santa Fe Springs, CA. Luis Duran has been working with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and environmental documentation since 2012.

He received his B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara and just recently completed his M.S. in Environmental Studies from California State University, Fullerton.  He was an official scholarship recipient in the Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP) Scholars Program in 2014. He is a member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA).  Luis hopes to use the skills he learns in the Ross Minority Program to make recommendations for development projects that will assist in affordable housing in minority communities.

He also would like to create and invest in a chain of family businesses with his brother in the South Bay area of Los Angeles.  Luis Duran lives in Hermosa Beach, CA.

Email: Lduran@planning.lacounty.gov

Shigenori Ezaki
Managing Director
Ohana Capital Management
2017 Winter Class Alumni

After graduating from Pepperdine University, he worked for the property developer in Los Angeles to develop medium size condominiums. After returning to Japan in 2006, he worked for Citibank’s Tokyo branch as an officer in charge of wealth management and from 2007, worked for one of the biggest independent property asset management firm in Japan, called Atlas Partners, to execute U$150 mil acquisition of Japanese properties for foreign institutional investors such as French bank, middle east pension fund and Singapore REIT. As an asset manager, he was also involved in a wide variety of assets classes such as office, residential, logistics etc. and managed U$180 mil investments by implementing a wide range of value-up strategies. Since 2010, he has been managing his family investments in various commercial properties in Japan.

Currently, he is based in Singapore and run OHANA Capital Management which is a global property investment arm of his Japanese companies to expand their global property investment portfolio as CEO.

Email: shigenori.ezaki@toyo-keito.com

Jessica Horrell
Realtor
Horrell Realtors
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Jessica Horrell

Jessica Horrell is a real estate agent who works primarily in the South Bay area of Los Angeles at Horrell Realtors.

Prior to working at Horrell Realtors, Jessica worked at a real estate investment start up that found short term housing solutions for corporations in downtown Los Angeles. Jessica graduated from the University of Southern California in the Price School where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Real Estate Development. Shortly after graduation, she got her real estate license and joined her family’s real estate company.

She now works in residential and multifamily real estate, where she finds a particular interest in real estate investment with future development opportunity. Due to being involved in several multifamily deals, Jessica would like to gain a more thorough understanding of the development process through the Ross Minority Program.

Jessica currently lives in Redondo Beach, California.

Email: jessica@horrellrealtors.com

Michael Julius
Senior Mortgage Trader
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Michael Julius

Michael Julius possesses 25 years of residential mortgage trading and leadership experience. Most recently Michael was a Managing Director and Head of Agency Trading at Auriga USA, responsible for all CMO, Derivative, Collateral and ARM trading.

Prior to joining Auriga, Michael was a founding member of a team that purchased a controlling interest in CRT Capital Group in Stamford, CT and subsequently raised $225MM of private equity working capital. Michael was responsible for all fixed income trading focusing on: Non-Agency Fixed & Hybrid securities, Prime, Alt A, Pay-Options, Subprime, Agency CMOs and Derivatives. Michael identified, recruited and grew the sales and trading talent pool from 87 employees to 225 employees in 18 months.

From 1999 to 2008 Michael was an Executive Vice President and Head of Non-Agency Trading overseeing 25 traders and assistants at Countrywide Securities Corp. Michael managed all aspects of purchasing, hedging, marketing and selling of a $13 billion dollar position of fixed rate and adjustable rate non-agency securities comprised of: Prime, Alt A, Subprime, ABS, Pay Options and raw loans. Michael was responsible for coordinating the efforts of 45 sales people targeting banks, insurance companies, money mangers, hedge funds and mortgage originators.

Prior to Countrywide, Michael led various trading desks in NYC at Oppenheimer & Co., Mabon Securities and Yasuda Trust. Upon successful completion of the Ross Minority Program in Real Estate, Michael plans to pivot his career from residential mortgage trading into the commercial real estate arena.

Michael graduated from Duke University in 1989 and holds Series 24, 7 and 63 securities licenses.

Michael is also a member of the Board of Directors of The Children’s Fund for Glycogen Storage Disease Research.

Email: mjulius66@gmail.com

Nick Heung Kim
Vice President
WIN Realty & Properties
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Nick Heung Kim

Nick Kim is a vice president of WIN Realty & Properties, a full service commercial real estate firm in Los Angeles, where he specializes advising investment groups from Asia and supporting Landlords selling and leasing commercial real estate in Southern California.

Prior to working at WIN Realty, Nick had been working with Sperry Van Ness as a managing director of Korea town branch where he dedicated his efforts to Korean American landlords and international investment groups.  His dedication and commitment to bringing new business has awarded him over $50 million in commercial real estate transaction.

Nick served as a planning commissioner in the city of Cerritos for many years where he has dedicated his efforts to the approval and advising of 500 units of multifamily projects and tens of million dollar shopping centers projects for the community. He also has been serving as an interpreter for the Apartment Association of Great Los Angeles.

Nick has earned a master’s degree in business administration(MBA) from Chapman University in 1987.  He is a member of International Council of Shopping Center(ICSC). Among all his achievements, he has a passion in Marathon running, finishing the Boston Marathon and IRONMAN 70.3 in Oceanside in 2015.

Email: nickkimbroker@gmail.com

Tyler Kim
Acquisition & Asset Management Analyst
Investors Management Group, Inc.
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Tyler Kim

Tyler Kim is an acquisitions analyst for Investors Management Group, Inc. that specializes in acquiring and managing multi-family assets on a national platform. In the role of acquisitions analyst, Tyler performs market analysis, financial modeling, and cash flow projections.  Tyler also creates asset management reports that track actuals, budget, and proforma of current and future assets.

Tyler graduated from USC with a Master of Planning degree focusing on Economic Development which provided him an excellent foundation in urban planning, redevelopment, and finance.  Following the completion of the Ross Minority Program in Real Estate, Tyler plans to utilize his increased knowledge in real estate finance and enhance valuation analysis of potential investments thereby improving investment decisions. He will also look to optimally structure debt and equity.  Tyler Kim currently resides in Cypress, California.

Email: tyler.kim@imgre.com

Bridgett Miller
Director of Business Development
Regional Investment & Management (RIM)
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Bridgett Miller

Bridgett Miller is the Director of Business Development at Regional Investment & Management (RIM), a real estate investment firm that specializes in the acquisition of value-add multifamily communities through a vertically integrated owner-managed platform. With 1,500 units in RIM’s portfolio, Bridgett is charged with conducting market due diligence on new investments, and designing and implementing revenue enhancing solutions that diversify our investor base, drive occupancy, and decrease turnover costs.

Bridgett has played an active role in the acquisition and sale of 3 assets to date in San Antonio, Texas (328 units; 252 units; 293 units). In addition to preparing quarterly distributions and investor financial reports, she also is tasked with implementing RIM’s first crowd funding initiative and increasing resident retention. Her goal is to enhance investor returns and support the company’s vision, by creating an environment in which automation where appropriate, is ubiquitous and technical bottlenecks are scarce.

Bridgett earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University (SCU), located in the heart of Silicon Valley. Post-graduation, she earned a certification in Business Administration in the International Management Program at Fundação Getúlio Vargas in São Paulo, Brazil.

Simultaneously, Bridgett worked in the international startup arena at a seed and early-stage investment fund company, Bolt Ventures (formerly known as Mountain do Brasil) as a deal flow analyst.

Bridgett is a former Division I soccer player for SCU and an active member of the San Francisco-based Olympic Club.

Email: bridgettm@rimcompany.com

Jacqueline Monterrosas
Project Manager
East LA Community Corporation
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Jacqueline Monterrosas

Jacqueline Monterrosas has worked for East LA Community Corporation for over 8 years in different capacities.  Jacqueline has served as ELACC's Project Manager for over 9 months, prior to joining ELACC’s Real Estate Development team; Jacqueline was ELACC’s Asset Manager for the past 6 years.  As Asset Manager, she was responsible for all aspects of asset and property management including, leasing, marketing, compliance and maintenance working along with over 4 staff in-house and over 15 staff in 3rd party managed properties consisting in over 800 units of housing.

Prior to joining ELACC, Jacqueline worked for the National Farm Workers Service Center, Inc. in different capacities in affordable housing development and property management.  Jacqueline’s passion for affordable housing and community development began in her teens as she volunteered with her mother in different community events to revitalize Hollywood, the community where she grew up.

Jacqueline holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban and Regional Planning with a minor in Geographic Information Systems from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, California.  Jacqueline is currently working towards obtaining her LEED Professional Accreditation.

Email: jmonterrosas@elacc.org

Ashley Ng
Analyst
Gaw Capital Advisors (USA) LLC
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Ashley Ng

Ashley Ng has worked for Gaw Capital USA since its inception in 2013, assisting with capital markets, acquisitions and asset management.

Previously, she worked as an assistant to the Executive Vice President of Asset Management at Downtown Properties for two years.

She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. Ashley lives in the greater Los Angeles area.

Email: ang@gawcapitalusa.com

Peter Noonan
Manager, Housing and Rent Stabilization Programs
City of West Hollywood
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Peter Noonan

Peter Noonan currently manages City of West Hollywood’s Housing and Rent Stabilization Programs. Peter works to get housing built by private developers using the City’s on-site inclusionary housing program, and by non-profit housing providers using low-interest loans from the City’s affordable housing trust fund. West Hollywood is committed to rent stabilization and Peter is exploring incentives to encourage landlords to reinvest in aging rent stabilized buildings.

Peter’s background is in land use planning, transit-oriented development, and housing policy. He has more than 12 years of experience in the public sector and close to 20 years of experience in community development. Peter has participated in several major land use projects, the purple line subway extension, and zoning code and comprehensive plan updates. Peter developed the City of Beverly Hills historic preservation ordinance and program, sustainability plan, and explored economic reinvestment options for different areas.

Peter holds a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Washington and is certified as an environmental planner (AICP CEP) by the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Email: pnoonan@weho.org

Emmanuel Nwani
President/Chief Executive Officer
Definitive Business Solutions International, Inc.
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Emmanuel Nwani

Emmanuel Nwani is founder and CEO of Definitive Business Solutions International Inc.; a California based real estate investing company. Emmanuel Nwani holds a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Communications and Public Relations from California State University, Los Angeles.

Mr. Nwani is an entrepreneur with a unique blend of business experiences ranging from property leasing and management, acquisition of distressed real estate, contract negotiations, business development, healthcare, and international business exports.

Prior to real estate investing, Mr. Nwani worked in the healthcare industry, starting and operating a nursing agency that provided over quarter of a million dollars’ worth of nursing services to hospitals throughout the Los Angeles county area. Some of his major clients included the Keck Hospital of USC and Dignity Health Systems.

Mr. Nwani’s leadership has enabled the company to extend its reach internationally, fulfilling vehicle orders for foreign clients including engineering firms and transportation network companies in Africa and the Middle East. Mr. Nwani hopes to invest in emerging communities and expand his business to include commercial real estate development upon completion of the Ross Minority Program in Real Estate.

Mr. Nwani looks forward to the opportunity to connect with other business professionals while broadening his knowledge and skills in real estate finance and development.

Email: emmanuel.nwani@defbsolutions.com

Gregory Preer, Jr.
Assistant Coordinator
Los Angeles Jim Gilliam Recreation Center
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Gregory Preer, Jr.

Gregory Preer Jr. is assistant coordinator at the Los Angeles Jim Gilliam Recreation Center in Baldwin Hills.

Previous to this, he was involved with sports promotion and played professional basketball in Latin America from 2012 to 2016. Gregory also Co-Founded Youth Strong an organization celebrating youth by encouraging and empowering them to be their best self.

His current real estate venture is the purchase and managing of a 4-unit apartment building. His future goals include redeveloping a single family lot into four small lot subdivisions in Los Angeles, and further developing Youth Strong into becoming one of the official sponsors and outfitters for Los Angeles City Parks and Recreation’s Seasonal Youth Programs.

Gregory will be receiving his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from Whittier College in 2017. Gregory Preer Jr resides in Los Angeles, California.

Email: Gpreer1@gmail.com

Cynthia Rodriguez
Real Estate Broker
City Lights Realty, Inc.
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Cynthia Rodriguez

Cynthia Rodriguez is a Real Estate Broker of City Lights Realty, Inc. Mortgage Broker of Heartland Mortgage, Inc. and an Insurance Agent for Farmers Insurance from 2007-2015. Her background is in both Residential and Commercial Property with a specialty in financing since 1996. Cynthia has helped hundreds of families realize the American dream to become homeowners by being a voice for Hispanic Real Estate and help Hispanic Communities achieve homeownership.

In 2007 Nationstar and Bank of America assigned Cynthia as a REO Specialist and handled hundreds of Distressed Bank Owned Homes. She was heavily involved in redevelopment of homes by renovating, re-constructing, upgrading, designing, pulling permits, obtaining occupancy certificates from various cities in order to make the homes financeable for FHA, VA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.

Cynthia’s biggest accomplishment and passion was by serving on the Board of Directors as the Director of Events for the National Association of Hispanic Realtors Montebello South East Los Angeles Chapter.

The monthly educational events were put together for hundreds of local real estate professionals serving Hispanic buyers and sellers. In addition, she helped put together Resource Fairs for consumers who were in danger of losing their homes through foreclosure. She worked side by side with the Montebello Housing Development Corporation along with Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase and Nationstar who handled on the spot Loan Modification approvals helping hundreds of Hispanic Families sustain homeownership and stay in their homes.

Cynthia’s passion is to help others and is continually seeking opportunities to do so by education and stepping into new developments that will help her achieve that.

Email: brokercynthiarodriguez@gmail.com

Garen Srapyan
Associate Planner
City of West Hollywood
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Garen Srapyan

Garen G. Srapyan is an Associate Planner in the Long Range and Mobility Planning Division within the Community Development Department for the City of West Hollywood in California. Garen handles a number of complex projects for the City, including working on changes to the City’s zoning ordinance, leading extensive community outreach efforts and developing projects and processes to improve workflow within and outside of City Hall.

Prior to joining West Hollywood, Garen worked as an Urban Designer with Perkins+Will in San Francisco. At P+W, Garen worked on a wide range of projects, including developing design guidelines for a large waterfront development in San Francisco and coordinating and managing a sustainability master plan for an airport in Dubai.

Garen earned with distinction his Master of Architecture in Urban Design from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He previously attended Woodbury University in Burbank, earning his Bachelor of Architecture degree.

Garen is currently leading a community process to develop an Eastside Community Plan which addresses economic development, housing, mobility, sustainability and other topics in a former Redevelopment Area. Additionally, Garen is supporting a major outreach program to identify community concerns around multi-family development projects in West Hollywood.

Garen hopes to use his experience in the Ross Minority Program to think critically about the complex social, technical and economic challenges associated with real estate development projects. Garen resides in Los Angeles.

Email: gsrapyan@weho.org

Lanisha Stubbs
Real Estate Broker
Wesity, Inc.
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Lanisha Stubbs

Lanisha Stubbs, the Founder and Broker of Wesity, Inc. (Wesity), specializes in commercial and residential sales and consulting. She is an accomplished Realtor® with over 12 years of experiences, and has negotiated over $12M in sales transactions. Wesity offers educational resources, consulting, and sales services to new and seasoned investors.

For the past 10 years, Lanisha was a Realtor® with a private brokerage, A Job Well Done, where she specialized in short sales and pre-foreclosure sales and consulting. As a national investor, she has experience identifying emerging markets, increasing property values and accurately analyzing equity investments.

Lanisha is a Certified Distressed Property Expert, a Certified Commercial Real Estate Investment Specialist, and a Certified Short Sale/REO Specialist, and a Certified Women-Owned Business-owner. In 2001, Lanisha earned her B.S. in Accountancy from Loyola Marymount University. In 2006, she earned her Master’s Degree in Business Taxation from Golden Gate University.

For the past 15 years, she has been serving at the Department of Defense’s Defense Contract Audit Agency, where she oversees annual audits of Aerospace and Space Technology contracts to ensure compliance with federal regulations.

Lanisha is now channeling her experiences into improving the lives of urban families by sharing the wealth principles she’s learned. She is committed to sharing financial literacy tools and to leading urban development through strategic investments. Lanisha lives and operates predominantly in the Los Angeles market.

Email: LStubbs@WesityInc.com

Sara Tsai
Attorney
Tsoi & Associates
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Sara Tsai

Sara Tsai is an attorney with Tsoi & Associates.  She is currently involved with the General Plan Amendment and Rezoning of a 30+ acre parcel in San Jose, the entitlement of 13 properties in the City of Los Angeles, and the development of 3 multifamily apartment buildings in the City of Los Angeles.

She has been practicing law since 2005 and began focusing on real estate practice in 2014. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 2000 and received her Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles in 2004.

Email: saralee@us-attorneys.com

Roland Wahlroos-Ritter
Adjunct Associate Professor
USC School of Architecture
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Roland Wahlroos-Ritter

Roland Wahlroos-Ritter is an architect and co-principal of the architecture firm WROAD. Interested in digital technologies, sustainability and design innovation, his professional and academic work focuses on collaborative environments between architects, engineers and fabricators. Current research, is directed towards the development of new, integrated design workflows.

In addition to his professional work, Prof. Roland Wahlroos-Ritter has been actively engaged in academic research, publishing and teaching over the past 14 years. He has taught at numerous academic institutions such as Cornell University, Bartlett School of Architecture, TU Vienna and SCI-Arc.

Email: wahlroos@usc.edu

Terrence Watkins
Founder & Managing Principal
Watkins & Company
2017 Winter Class Alumni
Terrence Watkins

Based in Los Angeles, Terrence Watkins is Founder and Managing Principal of Watkins & Company, a boutique management consultancy firm, which offers comprehensive and cost effective interim and project based solutions in Finance and Accounting. A seasoned finance professional, Terrence has overseen Watkins and Company's growth for nearly ten years.

Terrence possesses a wealth of business experience having served in various managerial positions in the areas of Corporate Finance and Strategy. He has assisted both public and private companies, applying a diverse set of skills to improve performance, such as creating multi-national budgets and forecasts, developing complex business models and management dashboards to evaluate and monitor business performance; utilizing technology to improve overall management efficiency.

Terrence began his career working as a financial analyst with Motorola at their corporate headquarters based in Schaumburg, IL.  From there, he went on to work in management consulting with Marsh & McLennan, transferring to their Los Angeles Office.  While in Los Angeles, Terrence transitioned into fixed income securities working at Payden & Rygel and later with IndyMac Bank (now OneWest Bank).  Soon after earning his M.B.A., Terrence went back to working in consulting at DLC Inc., and after years working there started his own consulting practice.

Terrence received his Bachelor's degree in Finance from Howard University and his M.B.A. in Finance from the Graziadio School at Pepperdine University.

Email: terrencewatkins@gmail.com

Erica Alexis
Principal
Dennis Holdings
2016 Summer Class Alumni
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Erica Alexis is a Principal for Dennis Holdings Inc., an asset management company that acquires, develops and manages commercial and residential real estate in the US.

Prior to becoming a developer, Erica managed Data Operations and Strategy for a real estate technology start up brokerage, where she gathered knowledge in aggregating real estate data, and implementing policies and procedures to operate in compliance of National Association of Realtors standards. She also worked as a project manager for a general contractor in Los Angeles. Erica recently formed a commercial real estate development partnership that focuses on new construction and rehabilitation projects in urban communities.

Erica graduated from UCLA, with a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology, she later earned a certificate in Hotel Revenue Management from Cornell University and became a licensed commercial associate of Coldwell Banker Commercial. Upon completion of the Ross Minority Program in Real Estate, Erica’s increased knowledge base in real estate finance will allow her to creatively structure development projects that benefit urban communities, on multiple levels: job creation/training; affordable housing; increased retail in economic deserts utilizing green technology. Erica Alexis currently resides in Los Angeles, California. 

Email:ealexisamr@gmail.com

Anastacio Castillo III
Project Manager
San Diego Unified School District
2016 Summer Class Alumni
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Anastacio Castillo III is a Project Manager with the San Diego Unified School District since 2014. He oversees as well as manages the Design & Construction for School Modernization Projects within the City of San Diego. Prior to working at the School District, Anastacio worked as a Development Project Manager for the Jacobs Center for Innovation for 6 years. During that time he worked closely on the Physical Redevelopment of Southeast San Diego’s Diamond Neighborhoods, also known as Market Creek. Here he gathered a deep understanding of Urban Planning & Development to increase the livability and quality of life in the community. Anastacio especially takes pride in this piece work since he grew up in the neighborhood and has been an integral part of the development as an industry professional.  

Anastacio began his career studying Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Construction Management at San Diego State University. He also took courses including Architecture Design, Small Business Investing, and Real Estate Sales. He has continued his education and training in many areas related to Land Development, Environmental Planning, & Real Estate Investing. Currently Anastacio is working to obtain his Real Estate License.

Anastacio’s short term goal is to complete the USC Ross Minority Program in Real Estate and establish a pathway for success within the real estate industry. In the near future he plans to continue to be involved within Urban Community projects and form a business in Urban Real Estate Development with a focus on sustainability.

Email: anastaciocastillo3@gmail.com

Chelsea Coleman
Principal
Las Chaparritas LLC (DBA The Rose wine bar + bottle shop)
2016 Summer Class Alumni
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Chelsea Coleman graduated from The University of Virginia in 2008 with a joint degree in gender studies and Italian. She has been working as a chef and farmer for the past eight years and currently co-owns an organically-minded wine bar in the South Park neighborhood of San Diego. Along the way, she has sold organic ice cream sandwiches out of a pushcart as the "Cream Queenz", incorporated a restaurant-to-farm composting company called "Closing The Loop" and Chaired the San Diego chapter of Slow Food for two years. Her interest in emergent community development and real estate comes from her experience working in restaurants that were harbingers of neighborhood development and her sincerely held belief that development with access to good food in mind can transform communities for the better.

Email: info@therosewinebar.com

Tanner Cronenbold
Director of Business Development
Homestack
2016 Summer Class Alumni
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Tanner Cronenbold is a Realtor for John Aaroe Group who has actively been involved in real estate for over 10 years and has been licensed for 6 of those years by the Bureau of Real Estate. Tanner brings a multi-faceted approach to the real estate world having physically worked on multiple construction projects such as Hangar 25, the world’s first and only LEED Platinum Certified aviation facility, which is the highest environmentally friendly rating given by the U.S. Green Building Council. Not only has he been a part of projects such as the 60,000 square foot airplane hangar, he has also worked on the title and escrow side for Lawyers Title, giving him an understanding on all moving parts of the business. Tanner’s technology skills are unmatched having been the director of business development for Homestack, a real estate application that can be found and downloaded in Apple’s iTunes App Store as well as Android’s Google Play Store. He proudly joins USC’s Ross Minority Program in Real Estate with expectations to one day acquire the knowledge and expertise to eventually become a real estate developer himself.

Email: tannerjcronenbold@gmail.com

Jennifer Dunbar
Division Sales Manager - West Division
Nestlé Waters
2016 Summer Class Alumni
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Jennifer Dunbar is the head of Sales for the Western Division at Nestle Waters.  She leads a sales team in the overall development of strategy and go-to market execution in the B2B channel.  Jennifer has spent the last 20 years growing brands and market share in the consumer products industry with behemoths Pepsi and Kellogg’s all while deepening her knowledge of how to manage a P&L. 

Jennifer has always had a passion for real estate and has cut her teeth in the residential market buying, rehabbing and selling single-family homes.  She has also worked as a general contractor on residential development project and is seeking to bridge these experiences as a pathway to multi-family development in the greater Los Angeles area.  Jennifer is elated to be a part of the USC Ross Program in Real Estate and is keen to gain the critical finance knowledge and skills to support her evolution to Real Estate Developer. 

Jennifer graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.S in Public Policy.  She is a very active member of her community and currently serves as a Board member of LA Pride/Christopher Street West organization.

Email: jenniferdunbar22@gmail.com

Jéan Eason
Real Estate Broker
Main Source Real Estate
2016 Summer Class Alumni
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Jéan Christopher Eason is a Real Estate Broker for Main Source Real Estate (MSRE), a boutique firm that Jéan created based in Oakland. MSRE’s focuses on both Commercial and Residential with an emphasis on Value add properties. Prior to MSRE, Jéan worked for a couple of Independent Real Estate Brokerages. Jéan also worked as a Case Mentor for The Mentoring Center in Oakland, CA. that provides services for both at risk youth and adults.

Jéan got started in Real Estate by accident. After originally purchasing vacant parcel in Oakland, with the intent to build a Recording Studio, Jéan took on the challenge to develop the parcel into a seven (7) unit Condominium project. He considers this experience as the primary factor in why he is still in the business. After receiving Entitlements and Approved CD’s for the project the Economy tanked, and he was not able to secure the financing for the project. This experience led Jéan to return to school to learn the fundaments for Real Estate and finish the requirements for a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies/Socio Economic Development from Cal State East Bay. He soon after received a Masters Degree, Constructive Urban Development, with the intent to eventually open up his own Real Estate firm.

Jéan is excited about attending the Ross Minority Program in real Estate to learn what the Pro’s do and continue on with his goal of participating in the Redevelopment in his hometown of Oakland, CA.

Email: jeasonre1999@gmail.com

 

Neo Garibay
Project Manager & Designer
David Mi & Partners
2016 Summer Class Alumni

Neo Garibay leads project development management at David Mi & Partners, a real estate development firm. 

An integral part of the team, Neo is deeply involved with every aspect of the real estate development process and strengthens performance by establishing goals with brokers, analysts, architects, and engineers through project milestones. Beginning at market research, Neo creates strategies and directs projects through: site review and feasibility, highest and best use, public agencies, due diligence, Pro Forma analysis, land purchase agreements and schedules, upfront cost control, site and building design, entitlements, construction cost planning, financing, and investment. Neo is also involved in mixed-use property management and directs maintenance crews, works with retail tenants, and leasing.

Prior to joining David Mi & Partners, Neo's experience includes luxury single family homebuilding and remodeling in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and the Hollywood Hills. Neo's experience also extends to commercial tenant improvements and design in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Neo earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture and is in the process of earning his architectural license with the California Architects Board. Furthermore, Neo's expertise in real estate development is reinforced with certification from the University of Southern California's Ross Minority Program in Real Estate and Finance.

Always goal oriented and an innovative problem solver, Neo expands his skills and passion for real estate development through recreational value-add projects, discussing investments, and philanthropy.

Email: meetme@neoGaribay.com

Deba Harper
Founder & CEO
CHAMP Community Foundation, Inc.
2016 Summer Class Alumni
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Deba Harper is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of CHAMP Community Foundation, Inc. The CHAMP mission is to house homeless and at risk youth, ages 18 to 25, in healing homes where supportive intervention methods can change the trajectory of at risk youth toward productive adulthood. 

Innovative solutions are required to close the gap on affordable housing. Deba is no stranger to pioneering innovative approaches to solving complex problems. Prior to engaging the efforts to end homelessness, she worked with various multinational corporations as a specialist advancing digital technology. She integrated systems and teams to improve efficacy in producing goods and services. Deba was a key contributor on the Warner Brother Home Video development team that launched the DVD industry. She uses her analytical insight to created practical solutions for improving the human condition. 

As the Chairperson of the Antelope Valley Alliance to End Homelessness (AVAEH), she lead community volunteers to conduct the regional demographic survey for the national 2013 100K Homes Registry Week. Using the primary data gathered she wrote a literary review, “Los Angeles Homeless and Ethnic Disparities.” The quantitative data analysis of the study identified key factors contributing to long term homelessness. As a Project Manager contracted by Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA), she led the 2016 Unsheltered Homeless Demographic Survey for Antelope Valley.  

As a 2016 graduate from California State University Northridge with a B.A. in Liberal Studies Interdisciplinary in Art and Urban Planning, she is on course to be a licensed real estate agent and to pursue a Masters degree in Urban Planning. Deba explains her motivation and commitment to ending homelessness, “I have looked in the face of homelessness, and there for the grace of God goes I.” The measure of a strong sustainable community is how we care for the weakest and most vulnerable among us, our youth.

Email: deba.harper@gmail.com

Ricardo Hernandez
Program Specialist II
Los Angeles County Housing Authority
2016 Summer Class Alumni
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Ricardo Hernandez is a Program Specialist with the Los Angeles County Housing Authority since 2015. He oversees as well as manages the profiles for a large group of homeless and low income families within the County of Los Angeles.  Prior to working at the Housing Authority, Ricardo worked as a Fraud Analyst for East West Bank Corp and before that as a Customer Service Representative. During that time he gathered a deep understanding of both personal and corporate finance which he used to better serve his clients through the institution.

Ricardo began his career as he began his studies at a local community college where he further focused his interest in Finance and Business. He took courses in Accounting, Business Law, Personal Finance as well as Real Estate. He transferred to the University of Phoenix where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He further continued his studies at UCLA where he earned a Green Belt Six Sigma Certification. Currently Ricardo is completing a Project Management Certification at Cal State Fullerton as well as completed his Real Estate Salesperson educational requirements.

Ricardo’s short term goal is to complete the USC Ross Minority Program in Real Estate and earn his real estate license. Perhaps in the future he plans on earning a Master’s in Real Estate Development, become a Project Manager and launch his own Real Estate Development firm focused on Minority centered Communities.

Email: ricardo.hernandez@hacola.org

Jason Wang
CEO
BTMA China Investment Consulting Co.
2016 Summer Class Alumni
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Jason brings close to a decade of finance and banking experience, worked in banking management, investment, as well as NSAD registered Program Manager dually-employed by a publicly-traded bank and a premium financial institute in the United States. Moving beyond the finance world Jason’s early entrepreneurial involvements include fund-raising for startup companies, business ownership, and his role as Business Director in a $40M private equity funded EV venture in China. An entrepreneur at heart, Jason founded BTMA Investment Consulting that led many large and small foreign investments into the United States that included acquisition of corporations and real estate. Jason now leads BT Corporate Development Center, with it’s own investment and incubator arms set up in Shanghai China. With his multi-cultural business background, he also oversees real estate investments with foreign capital partners here in Southern California.

Jason graduated from the University of Southern California, with a B.A. in Economics, and received his MBA from the California State University, Los Angeles with a degree in Entrepreneurship. He also currently serves on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Economic Development in the city of El Monte.

Email: jason.wang@btmachina.com

Navneet Agrawal
Senior Estimator
Hathaway Dinwiddie
2016 Winter Class Alumni
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Navneet Agrawal, is a Senior Estimator, in the Preconstruction Department for the Los Angeles Division of Hathaway Dinwiddie since 2010. Prior to working at Hathaway Dinwiddie, Navneet worked as Cost Analyst at Davis Langdon Inc. (an AECOM company) and before that as Cost Engineer at Parsons Corporation. He has 15 years of experience with an extensive history of preparing program budgets and detailed estimates for schools, office buildings, high rise condominiums, recreational facilities, convention centers, hospitals, public use facilities, universities, restoration and re-use, and seismic retrofit work. He develops budgeting and project pricing advises for various developer opportunities.
He has successfully lead the Preconstruction team efforts in developing the BIM model base estimating workflows which is still a novel concept in preconstruction. He has delivered Guest Lectures on this subject for Master degree students at USC.
Navneet possesses a Master of Science degree in Construction Management from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Malaviya National Institute of Technology, India. He is also a LEED Accredited Professional.

Email: agrawaln@hdcco.com

Cesar Aguirre
Partner
Aero Collective
2016 Winter Class Alumni
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Cesar Aguirre is a licensed Architect and Partner at AERO Collective, a recently founded Architecture office located in the heart of Downtown Inglewood. AERO Collective collaborates with interdisciplinary design offices, from Interior design firms to furniture fabrication companies. The goal is to bring a synergetic design influence from a broad field of creative and artistic expertise. The project types are purposefully diverse in order to maintain creative curiosity regarding each individual project. Cesar has worked on the design of Restaurants and Bars to Yoga clothing stores and Residential apartment buildings.

Prior to AERO Collective, Cesar worked as a Project Architect at PSL Architects. This was an office dedicated to the design of Affordable and Market-rate residential apartment buildings of varying size, from small 30 unit buildings to larger 300 unit buildings. PSL provided full design services from Entitlement Packages to Construction Documents and Administration. While at PSL, Cesar was the lead designer of three Adaptive Reuse buildings in Downtown Los Angeles, converting underutilized buildings into 160 new residential units in the Fashion District of Downtown LA.

Cesar believes that the strength of cities and communities lies in having a strong and unique sense of place and identity. AERO Collective decided to locate their office on Market Street in downtown Inglewood in order to participate in the ongoing redevelopment of the Historic Street. Cesar, through AERO, is partnering with local community groups and will begin hosting a business start-up speaker series. The program will include panelists and networking sessions to encourage new companies and entrepreneurs to come and set-up office space in Inglewood.

Cesar Aguirre received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Southern California. He is eager to learn and grow professionally from the Ross Minority Program, looking forward to it inspiring the breath and scope of his Architectural career.

Email: cesar@aerocollective.com

Cris Arzate
Government Relations Consultant
California Emerging Technologies Fund
2016 Winter Class Alumni
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Mr. Cris Arzate, 41, is a Public Affairs Consultant with over 15 years of experience in education, telecommunications, non-profit administration, resource development and external relations.

Mr. Arzate has served as an appointee of the Senate Pro Tem and Senate Rules Committee to the California Student Aid Commission where he held executive office as Secretary.  Mr. Arzate was also appointed by the Senate Pro Tem and Senate Rules Committee where he served for eight years as the Past President of the Structural Pest Control Board under the Department of Consumer Affairs. He was also appointed by the past president of the Los Angeles Board of Education to the Human Relations Commission where he served as Chair.

Mr. Arzate has a Bachelor of Arts from University of California at Berkeley.  He is a Fellow of the Coro Fellowship Program in Public Affairs, and completed the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Institute for Higher Education Management Development Program. He has also completed certificated programs in non-profit administration and grant writing. 

Mr. Arzate is a proud husband and father to three girls.  He plays golf and enjoys a good laugh. 

Email: arzate.cris@gmail.com

Alex Chen
Project Manager
Grandway Asset Management
2016 Winter Class Alumni
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Alex Chen is a project manager for Grandway Asset Management.  He oversees and manages the development of each project from acquisition and construction.   Prior to joining Grandway Asset Management, Alex worked four years as an independent sales agent with emphasis on investment properties and single-family homes. During that time, Alex gathered a deep understanding of market data throughout the Greater Los Angeles area and San Bernardino County to better inform and serve his clients.

Alex graduated from the University of California Riverside with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration.  Since graduation Alex has continuously taken steps to strengthen his knowledge, in and out side the field of real estate, by taking extra curricular courses, studying a foreign language, and learning other business opportunities. For real estate and business, Alex has developed multiple excels to increase efficiency and logistics.   This includes excels which computes internal rate of return, projects development and construction milestones, or reorganizes and summarizes sales data for cities throughout Los Angeles since 2002.

Alex’s goal is to understand the entitlement process.  Perhaps in the future pursue a Masters in Real Estate Development, attain a CCIM certificate, or launch own real estate development company.  But for now, Alex’s focus is at the opportunity at Ross to advance his knowledge as a real estate developer in Los Angeles.

Email: alex.chen@grandway.com

Steven Dou
Real Estate Broker
2016 Winter Class Alumni
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Steven Dou is a licensed broker, formerly with Marcus & Millichap, specializing in the sale of multifamily properties in the San Gabriel Valley. Here, he honed his verbal and written communication skills with investors. He also learned how to underwrite multifamily properties using current and pro-forma income and expenses. Prior to that, he started his real estate career in 2012 working as a residential real estate agent with one of the largest networks of Re/Max franchises in the San Gabriel Valley. At Re/Max, he successfully completed 20 real estate transactions in just 2.5 years, which included single family homes, multifamily properties and a medical office space lease.

In 2010, Steven Dou graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics / Administrative Studies. Currently, he is a proud member of the Urban Land Institute, Orange County / Inland Empire Division. He is also certified in Argus Enterprise.           

After completing the Ross Minority Program in Real Estate, Steven is seeking to build upon his real estate experience by building a solid foundation in real estate finance. With this foundation, he hopes to transition from a brokerage role to an analyst position at a development or an investment firm. Steven has a passion for real estate and feels that he will always be a student of the industry.

Email: sdou001@gmail.com

Jorge Gomez
Senior Loan Officer
Patch of Land
2016 Winter Class Alumni
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Jorge Gomez is a Senior Loan Officer with Patch of Land, a real estate debt crowdfunding company. He is an early member of the crowdfunding industry and is experienced in hard money lending. His current position involves working with real estate investors by assisting them in obtaining financing for short term loans on both residential and commercial property. Prior to Patch of Land, he worked as an acquisitions analyst for Strategic Realty Capital, a Junior Agent at Horizon Realty, and as a property manager for family owned industrial property.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from UCLA in 2014. 

Email: jorge@patchofland.com

Denise Kees
Owner
Your Property Advisors, Co.
2016 Winter Class Alumni
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Denise Kees is a real estate entrepreneur, exploring innovative ways to increase economic benefits through real estate in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. She is the owner of Your Property Advisors Co., a real estate consulting firm. She has over 12 years’ experience in the real estate market as a broker, business owner, and policy influencer, working in both the residential and commercial real estate.

Denise holds a B.S. degree in Hotel Administration with an emphasis in Real Estate and Law from Cornell University. She obtained her California Real Estate Broker’s License in 2005.

In 2011, she joined Dutra Cerro Graden, Inc. (DCG), bringing with her a wealth of experience and dedication. As Operations Manager at DCG, her responsibilities included project managing special real estate projects for executive officers, supervising all open escrow activities, and implementing new policies and procedures to meet productivity goals. Denise founded Your Personal Assistant Co., a transaction coordination firm, located in Oakland, CA in 2008.

From 2003 - 2008, Denise worked for Kees Realty & Mortgage, a boutique residential firm. She held multiple positions in the company, culminating with Vice President.

Denise is a Director for the California Association of REALTORS®. She is an active member of the Oakland Berkeley Association of REALTORS®, serving in her second elected term on the Board of Directors. Additionally, she serves as Chair of the Committee on Housing and the Commercial Committee for her local association.

Denise is currently working on creating a real estate investment fund to address housing affordability in the Bay Area. She currently resides in Oakland, CA.

Email: denise@ypaco.com

Berenice Marquez
Investment Associate
Concord Real Estate Services
2016 Winter Class Alumni
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Berenice Marquez is an Investment Associate specializing in multifamily investments and development properties in Concord Real Estate Services.

Prior to joining Concord Real Estate Services, Berenice Marquez was a student at the University of Southern California and worked for multiple real estate companies where she found her passion for commercial real estate. Berenice Marquez currently represents investors and developers who purchase and sell multifamily properties or development opportunities.

Berenice graduated from the University of Southern California in with a Bachelors of Science from the Sol Price School of Public Policy with an emphasis in Real Estate Development and completed a Real Estate Finance Minor from the Marshall School of Business. Additionally, she is a California licensed real estate salesperson and an active member of ULI. 

Since working for Concord Real Estate Services, Berenice was awarded the Rookie of the Year Award for closing her first commercial real estate transactions totaling over $3.2M during her first year. Her persistence and knowledge of the properties and the local market propelled her to become the Rookie of the Year among her colleges.

Email: bmarquez@concord-re.com

Candace McKeever
CEO & President
Strategic Solutions Group, Inc.
2016 Winter Class Alumni
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Candace Bond McKeever is a real estate services consultant providing full service consulting in real estate acquisition, disposition, valuation, financing, construction management and project management.

Ms. Bond McKeever provides services to a diverse and demanding client base including corporations and non-profits, federal, state and municipal entities.  Recent consulting projects include Circa, the $650M 34-Story residential tower project at 1200 South Figueroa in Los Angeles CA; Oceanwide the $1B residential, hotel and retail development in Los Angeles, CA and the $2B Hollywood Park Forever development in Inglewood, CA.  She has also consulted on major infrastructure projects including the $230M Los Angeles DWP Silver Lake Reservoir Complex Storage Replacement Project in Burbank, CA and the $50M Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Project Intermodal Parking Facilities and Enhancements Design-Build Project in Southern California.

With over 20 years of experience in strategic management consulting, Ms. Bond McKeever has advised federal policymakers at the White House, US Treasury Department, HUD and top banks on national housing policy including Treasury’s Making Home Affordable programs such as HAMP, HAFA, and HARP.  Her firm has assisted in the financing and development of affordable housing units as well as the acquisition, rehabilitation and disposition of multi-class real estate assets.

She received her B.A. with honors from Harvard University and her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.   She recently received her Executive Management degree in Sustainability from the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, CA.  She was appointed by President Obama to his Advisory Committee on the Arts and was recently named Woman of the Year by the LA County Commission for Women.  She currently serves as a Trustee for the Martin Luther King Community Hospital Foundation, the Alliance for Veterans and the Children’s Institute Inc.

Email: cbondmck@strategicsolutionsgroupinc.com

John-Michael Mendoza
Budget & Asset Manager
TELACU
2016 Winter Class Alumni
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John-Michael Mendoza is the Budget & Asset Manager of a 52 property portfolio for the Los Angeles based non-profit, low-income housing developer TELACU.  Prior to coming on board at TELACU, he ran his own independent real estate brokerage serving individuals, families and investors focusing on residential and multi-family properties.  For the seven years prior, John-Michael fulfilled the role of Portfolio Analyst in the financial management industry for Capital Group Private Client Services (PCS) serving high-net-worth individuals, organizations and institutions.  During his time at PCS, he became intimately aware of investment objectives and goals desired by investors.  John-Michael is also a licensed real estate broker in California.

In addition to the Ross Minority Program, John-Michael is currently pursuing a CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) certification to broaden his knowledge and skill set in helping investors make well informed decisions, lower their risk profile, achieve desired returns on their investment and benefit from all the advantages real estate has to offer.  John-Michael’s goal is to utilize his knowledge, skills and experience to launch his own Real Estate Investment & Development Company.  The mission of the company will focus on wealth preservation & growth for institutions, organization and families.  

Email: jmendoza@telacu.com

Laura Minnich
Deputy City Manager
City of West Covina
2016 Winter Class Alumni
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Laura Minnich is Deputy City Manager for the City of West Covina. She has worked in local government for 14 years with several municipal agencies in Southern California.  

Prior to joining the City of West Covina, Laura worked in the City of West Hollywood, the City of Santa Clarita, the City of Palmdale, and the City of Encinitas. 

Laura holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from San Diego State University (SDSU). 

Laura is very active in the local government community and has served as president for both the Municipal Management Association of Southern California (MMASC) and the California affiliate of the International City/County Management Association (Cal-ICMA).  She enjoys giving back and mentoring the next crop of local government professionals and in 2015 was awarded the Excellence in Government Award from MMASC recognizing a member who has made a significant contribution to the public service profession and advancing the success of others.

Laura is excited to be able to use the knowledge gained from the Ross Minority Program in Real Estate at USC to build on her interactions with local developers in her local market. 

Email: laura.minnich@westcovina.org

Jeffrey Nourafshan
Leasing and Acquisitions
Reliable Properties
2016 Winter Class Alumni
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Jeffrey Nourafshan is seeking a future in the field of real estate development. He attended USC and received his bachelor’ s degree from the Price School of Public Policy and Development with a concentration in Real Estate Development in spring of 2015. He is currently working at Reliable Properties, a real estate company that owns about 70 Shopping Centers throughout Southern California. They mainly focus on shopping centers and office buildings, as well as apartment development sites. Jeffrey is working in the leasing and acquisitions of Reliable Properties.

Prior to working at Reliable Properties, he interned at an architecture firm where he was the onsite property manager.  He also interned at Grubb & Ellis, a brokerage firm that was sold to New Mark Grubb Knight.  

Email: sharpjeff31@aol.com

 

Jeannie Park
Senior Management Analyst
City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering
2016 Winter Class Alumni
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Jeannie Park is a Senior Management Analyst with the Street and Stormwater Division of the Bureau of Engineering in the City of Los Angeles. Somewhat improbably for an English and Art History major, she works with engineers, project managers and consultants to deliver $300 million dollars annually in transportation projects that are physically and conceptually changing our ideas of resources such as the LA River, as well as public space and mobility in the City. Her job can be characterized as diplomacy for the Bureau, navigating among numerous stakeholders in the dance between the public right of way and land use conflicts whether through projects or initiatives such as Great Streets and Green Streets. Ultimately, though, her job is to make Los Angeles work for all of its constituents. The critical lack of affordable housing - and homelessness - in Los Angeles represents a gaping public/private sector failure.

Jeannie’s interest in urban development was sparked by James Rouse’s pioneering projects in her home state of Maryland - namely, the City of Columbia and Baltimore’s Harborplace. After graduating from Wellesley College, she spent nine years in Seoul, Korea working for the national broadcasting system and two public sector “start ups” promoting Korea’s fledgling contemporary art and cable TV industries. Korea’s rapid ascent as a “tiger economy” engendered profound political, economic and cultural shifts, echoes of which she sees in Los Angeles today.

The Asian financial crisis of 1996 compelled her to study economics and political science at what is now the School of Global Policy and Strategy (formerly, International Relations and Pacific Studies) at UC San Diego on a Nielsen Fellowship. One of her favorite classes was environmental studies. Though reducing our reliance on fossil fuels through alternative transportation modes is a priority, she is exploring the possibility of a similar mode shift in housing. Outside of work, Jeannie is involved with a group trying to develop co-housing in SoCal. Jeannie has also completed a certificate program in Project Management through UCLA Extension and is a certified Envision Sustainability Professional. Cities - and people - are a source of endless fascination and experimentation. 

Email: Jeannie.park@lacity.org

Sherman Perryman
Owner
Perryman Commercial
2016 Winter Class Alumni
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Sherman Perryman is a Commercial Real Estate Agent at Perryman Commercial. While at Perryman Commercial Sherman has had the opportunity to specialize across several domains such as business, multifamily, and office building sales. Prior to his career in real estate Sherman attended Morehouse College and was involved in student activities such as the Lehman Brothers Stock Competition, Morehouse Real Estate Club,and Morehouse Entrepreneurship Club. Sherman's work history primarily includes mortgage banking, insurance sales, tax preparation, real estate sales, and business sales.

As a commercial real estate agent, Sherman has a passion for finance and plans on using his passion for helping people advance in his community. He has a desire to create opportunities for those in his community in addition to creating advances to build the economy. Sherman is looking forward to learning and applying new skills acquired through the Ross Minority Program as well as building a network with others who share similar goals.   

Email: perrymancommercial@gmail.com

Leif Rand
President
Rand Property Investments
2016 Winter Class Alumni
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Leif Rand is an expert in multifamily investment analysis and market analysis. He is the owner of Rand Property Investments, Rand Property Investments is a company that procures and manages real estate. Mr. Rand stays in contact with over 80 commercial real estate brokers and many lenders. Mr. Rand also conducts property inspections, reviews contracts and negotiates on terms of the contracts.

Prior to working at Rand Property Investments, Mr. Rand worked as a Real Estate Acquisition Analyst for Rio Company. Throughout his time there he assisted Rio Company in advancing their $150 million portfolio. He analyzed over $1 billion worth of investment properties, created investment offerings for investors, performed budget analysis for repairs on newly acquired properties, helped with property management and assisted in acquiring over $15 million worth of multifamily properties.

Mr. Rand earned a degree in Finance and a degree in Business Administration with an Option in Real Estate from California State University, Northridge. He is a Licensed Real Estate Broker. He is the 2013 recipient of the California Bureau of Real Estate Scholarship and Internship Grant (RESIG) at California State University, Northridge. 

Email: rand.leif@gmail.com

Kerel Sharfner
Associate
DAUM Commercial Real Estate Services
2016 Winter Class Alumni
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Kerel Sharfner, a broker at DAUM Commercial Real Estate Services specializes in the leasing and selling of Industrial properties.  Prior to working at DAUM, Kerel worked as an account executive at LoopNet, most recently acquired by the Costar Group.  He was chosen as part of a select group responsible for leading the national expansion of online CRE listings and analytic data. During his time at that company, he taught property investors, owners, and brokers how to effectively use analytic data to value commercial buildings.

Kerel received his Bachelors of Science degree from California Lutheran University where he majored in Business Management.  He participated in an exchange program in New York where he studied international business at Wagner College.  Mr. Sharfner is a member of the American Industrial Real Estate Association.

Upon completion of Ross Minority Program, Kerel plans to continue his career with industrial brokerage.  Ultimately he has goals of personal real estate investment, as well as forming a syndicate of developers and investors that have desires to improve underserved communities throughout the United States.  

Email: kerel.sharfner@daumcommercial.com

Michael Tessler
Real Estate Developer
Responsive Homes
2016 Winter Class Alumni
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Michael Tessler is the President of Responsive Homes, a real estate development company founded in 2015 with the mission to create positive environmental and social change in Los Angeles. With a background in real estate sales, investing and development consulting, Michael brings a well-rounded financial basis for achieving 'regenerative' real estate development.

Michael’s concern for environmental and social issues led him to focus his development efforts on creating climate-responsive architecture, generating building designs based on the region’s climate zone and the natural conditions of a site. Through this approach, buildings can utilize abundant natural resources like sun, wind and light to reduce both their environmental footprint and cost for occupants.

To achieve this high standard of building performance, Michael has assembled a team of expert architects, engineers and academics to implement innovative strategies such as passive heating and cooling, greywater reuse, and the use of sustainable materials.

Michael completed undergraduate studies in the Spanish language at UCLA and is a member of the AIA, ULI and NAR. He lives, works and walks in Northeast Los Angeles.

Email: michael@responsivehomes.com 

Ane Weathersby
Finance Associate
Hudson Pacific Properties
2016 Winter Class Alumni
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Ane Weathersby currently manages financial planning and analysis for the media & entertainment portfolio at Hudson Pacific Properties (HPP) which includes Sunset Gower Studios and Sunset Bronson Studios.  Prior to her current role, Ane was an Operations and Development Analyst focusing on cash flow statements, pro-formas and construction loans for various development projects.  She has over 5 years of experience in operations and finance of entertainment facilities and Class A commercial high rises.

With over 5 years’ experience in commercial real estate operations and finance for a REIT, Ane has dedicated a wealth of time and resources to expand her analytical skills.  She has taken several courses at UCLA Extension in real estate finance focusing on financial modeling and using ARGUS as a valuation tool.  Ane also completed the Real Estate Associate Program (REAP) in May 2014. 

Ane received a bachelor’s in Political Science at California State University, Long Beach and a MBA in Entertainment Industry Management from Carnegie Mellon University. 

Ane is currently a member of ULI, NAIOP, ICSC, and BOMA.

Email: aweathersby@hudsonppi.com

Ann Borst
Architect/Professor of Architecture
Wentworth Institute of Technology
2015 Summer Class Alumni
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Ann is a registered architect and a professor of architecture at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA.   She completed her undergraduate studies on the East coast and earned her Master of Architecture degree at UC Berkeley. Professor Borst spent fifteen years in professional practice, working primarily on public projects such as public schools, universities, libraries, and senior centers and found this type of work to be immensely rewarding since the primary focus of the building process was to fulfill community needs and aspirations. 
 
In 1998 she joined the full-time faculty in the department of architecture at Wentworth, an urban college with a strong community outreach program.  Her teaching expertise includes architectural design, urban design, and emerging building technologies.  Professor Borst’s funded research has been based in France, where shje has studied contemporary architecture and regenerative urban projects in Paris and several regional capitals.  Her research focus is urban reclamation projects and the transformation of large-scale post-industrial sites.  
 
She has become interested in combining her experience as an architect with her role as an educator by offering courses that engage students in the process of designing, developing, and implementing community-based urban housing projects.  She also plans to establish an independent architect / developer practice to pursue small- to moderate- scale multi-unit housing projects in Boston, and to explore how design can reinforce and enhance local urban character. Professor Borst looks forward to studying the fundamentals of real estate development and finance to advance these goals.
 
Andy Chen
Senior Associate
NAI Capital
2015 Summer Class Alumni
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Andy Chen is an investment broker at NAI Capital specializing in retail and industrial properties.  Prior to joining NAI Capital, Andy has operated his own electronics recycling business, consulting clients on waste reduction and e-sustainability solutions.  After his recycling venture, he found his passion in real estate. Presented with an opportunity to co-manage a property management firm in Las Vegas, he moved there to pursue the opportunity.  During his time at that firm, he taught property investors how to effectively flip homes throughout the city of Las Vegas.   Currently at NAI Capital, Andy represents equity investors wanting to purchase retail and industrial projects. His strong knowledge of investments in addition to his business acumen propels him to be a top producer at his company. 

Over the course of his career, Andy has made multiple efforts to strengthen his analytical and investing skills.  Some of his more prominent skills include running Argus Enterprise cash flows and building complex Excel spreadsheets.

Andy, himself, is also an avid real estate investor and holds a portfolio of a different property types including residential single family to multi-family homes, retail strip centers, and boutique motels.

Andy graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor’s in Marketing.

Upon completion of Ross Minority Program, Andy has goals to pursue a Masters in Real Estate Development, attain a CCIM certificate, and become Argus certified.  His ideal goal is to partner with a commercial property developer and eventually run his own commercial asset management and consulting firm. Andy Chen lives in Chino California.

Email: achen@naicapital.com 

Connie Chung
Real Estate & Finance Professional
2015 Summer Class Alumni
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Connie Chung is a recent graduate from California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, also known as Cal Poly Pomona. During her academic career and after, she worked at Marcus & Millichap in Ontario as an executive assistant to two retail associates. Prior to working at Marcus & Millichap, Connie Chung assisted in retail property management for her family, in which she started in high school. Connie received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance, Real Estate and Law. During her time as a student in Cal Poly Pomona, she was the founding president of the Real Estate Association, a student organization focusing on real estate networking, education, and exploration. Through her leadership, she has created affiliations with NAIOP and ICSC, as well as brought in more student interest in real estate. Connie looks forward to continuing education through the Ross Minority Program, and hopes to find a more hands on and rewarding career in retail real estate following the program. Connie Chung currently resides in Stanton, Orange County.

Email: conniechunggg@gmail.com

BaoKim Coleman, EdD, MBA
President and CEO
The Visionz Company
2015 Summer Class Alumni
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Dr. BaoKim Coleman is a management, business strategy and integrated marketing communications consultant. He helps clients sharpen strategic focus, advance competitive distinction, and improve organizational performance. He designs and delivers a wide array of learning programs and services, along with assessments and decision support tools, which help clients, strengthen managerial leadership, optimize their business model, and improve overall performance. 

Presently, Dr. Coleman is President and CEO of The Visionz Company, a strategic management consulting company and a Co-founder of the Global Institute of Innovative Leaderships (GIIL), a 501(c) (3) non-profit institutional organization specializing in leadership training and a think-tank focusing on all realms pertaining to leadership development. Prior to going out on his own, he has 20 plus years of experience in corporate management and marketing communications, particularly in the Automotive and Healthcare industry sectors working for Fortune 500 companies. Concurrently, in addition to his consulting ventures, Dr. Coleman is a full time Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Whittier College, as well as an adjunct professor at various institutions locally and online. 

On a personal level, BaoKim is passionate about his social work of eradicating poverty and homelessness of women and children and human trafficking in the United States. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Spiritt Family Service. As for his other personal interests, he is a competitive Track and Field athlete, as well as a club soccer player. 

Email: DrBKColeman@yahoo.com

David E. Dieguez
Sales and Service Coordinator
US Bank
2015 Summer Class Alumni
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David Dieguez is a Sales and Service Coordinator for US Bank.  He has worked in the banking industry for 9 years and is a recent Bachelor of Science in Business Management recipient from the University of Phoenix. During his career in the banking industry, he served as liaison between the bank’s customers and the bank's team of mortgage and commercial finance officers. David feels it an honor that he has helped several customers over the years achieve their dreams of purchasing their first homes, finance their small business, re-finance high interest rate commercial real estate loans, and has helped numerous parents plan and save towards their children's college fund. He especially enjoys working in real estate projects, and has provided guidance to contractors in obtaining financing for different developments. 

David’s goal is to utilize his education, experience, and contacts to launch his own Real Estate Development Company and serve the needs of underserved low income communities similar to the community he grew up in. David would also like to give back to his community by creating a non-profit organization that would empower youth in both financial literacy and real estate development. He believes both play a key role in the revitalization of low-income communities. Through hard work, education and persistence, David aspires to be an example to the inner city youth, demonstrating that no goal is out of reach. 

Email: DDieguez21@gmail.com 

Matthew Gates
Commercial Real Estate Professional
2015 Summer Class Alumni
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A recent UCLA graduate, Matthew Gates comes to Ross with eleven years of retail and operations management experience.  As an undergrad, Matthew, studied the unique challenges and opportunities related to stimulating long-run growth in urban communities.  His two-year research project, which included thorough literature review, detailed proposal, interviews of local entrepreneurs, and analysis of growth opportunities, gave Matthew a unique insight into the important role Commercial Real Estate plays in facilitating urban economic growth.

Over the last year, Matthew has pursued opportunities to expand his industry knowledge.  After graduation, Matthew interned for Boston Private Bank’s community investment division.  In this role, Matthew worked with syndication funds and the bank’s credit committee on multiple LIHTC projects, underwrote both commercial and residential loans, and assisted in cultivating business relationships with public entities, as well as for profit and non-profit developers. Since then Matthew has continued to take Real Estate Finance and quantitative courses at UCLA extension, and participated in the Real Estate Associate Program’s (REAP) 2015 cohort.  

Prior to returning to school in 2010, Mr. Gates enjoyed a successful eleven-year retail and operations management career, with Fortune 50 companies. Throughout which his success was predicated on the ability to think analytically, identify business opportunities, deliver impactful results. During his career, Matthew has gained significant experience with budget development and execution, long range forecasting, vendor negotiations, and operational analysis.  

For Matthew, ROSS represents an opportunity to advance both his broad industry knowledge and cultivate the technical skills needed to successfully transition into the industry.

Email: gates48@ucla.edu

Lindsay M. Hagan
Associate Planner
City of Mountain View
2015 Summer Class Alumni
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Lindsay Hagan is an Associate Planner with the City of Mountain View. Since 2009, she has worked on a variety of successful development projects, policy directives, and zoning initiatives. Some of her projects include new housing subdivisions, a hospital campus redevelopment, affordable housing projects, commercial developments, and the city’s first green building code. 

Lindsay obtained a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, with a minor in Urban and Environmental Policy, from Occidental College in 2006. In researching and preparing her thesis, she discovered the “architects of neighborhoods” – City Planners. With her strong interest in people and the built environment, she pursued a Master in Planning degree from the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy in 2008 (previously School of Public Policy, Planning and Development). During her program, she worked for the City of Sierra Madre and the Culver City Redevelopment Agency.  Since then, she has obtained her LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) credential in 2009 and her American Institute of Accredited Planners (AICP) credential in 2012.   

With her experience in planning and recent work on city-funded affordable housing projects, her interest in real estate financing and feasibility has grown leading her to pursue additional education from the University of Southern California Lusk Center for Real Estate. Outside of work, Lindsay enjoys international travel, spending time with family and friends, and gourmet restaurants. 

Email: lindsaymhagan@gmail.com

Pamela Huley
Managing Consultant
Canaan Management Group, LLC
2015 Summer Class Alumni
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Pamela Huley is a skilled individual that is devoted to improving her community. Mrs. Huley has an extensive and varied professional work history that includes project management, business operations, health care delivery and real estate. Mrs. Huley is now an entrepreneur who is enthusiastically committing her skills, time and energy to advancing real estate projects.

Pamela earned a Bachelors degree from Howard University in Washington, DC and a Masters degree from the University of Phoenix. She also serves as adjunct Faculty for the University of Phoenix, teaching classes on Change Management and Informatics.

Pamela is looking forward to the future and applying the knowledge she will learn from USC’s Ross program. Her hobbies include blogging, women’s health and fitness advocacy, and following all sports, especially basketball. Pamela is married and lives in greater Los Angeles with her family.

Email: pamela.cmg.consult@gmail.com

Sarah Lewis
Admission Officer
Claremont McKenna College
2015 Summer Class Alumni
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Sarah Lewis graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a B.A. in Organizational Studies in 2010. While at CMC, she earned her California Real Estate Salesperson License and wrote her senior thesis about the Jordan Downs housing development in Watts. In college she was on the varsity track and field team and worked as a Student Program Manager for School on Wheels, an organization that sets up tutoring programs at homeless shelters.  

Sarah has experience working as a Management Trainee at Homecoming at Terra Vista, a master planned community in Rancho Cucamonga with 868 units. In this position she was able to gain experience in various aspects of property management and leasing. She enjoyed planning and executing large events for residents, gained an understanding of basic accounting, and had the highest resident-retention rate at the property for four consecutive months. She also has experience working as an Admission Officer at Claremont McKenna College and as a hotline staffer on a crisis intervention hotline. Sarah is excited to be beginning her MBA program this fall after the Ross Program concludes. She looks forward to meeting and learning with all of you!

Email: Sarahjlewis10@gmail.com 

 

Brandie Lockett
Urban Designer
Gensler Los Angeles
2015 Summer Class Alumni
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Brandie Lockett is an Urban Designer for Gensler Los Angeles. With a practicing background of architecture, planning and urban design, her core interest lies with public service and guiding developers through the rigorous process of constructing urban environments. 

Her experience focuses on the relationship between the built environment and peoples quality of life through urban research -- applying empirical analysis to understand how urban dynamics can strengthen community sustainability, innovative design opportunities and capital benefits.

Ms. Lockett has influenced urban design guidelines for city planning municipalities both domestic and abroad. While in the Peace Corps she implemented master planning projects for Non-Governmental and Local Governmental agencies for the city of Gjirokaster in Albania. Her contributions were adopted by the cities municipality to provide safe and pedestrian friendly access between residential, educational and local facilities. In collaboration with Albanian government officials and local community stake holders, Ms. Locketts responsibilities included developing appropriate environmental planning strategies and regulations, conducting community assessments to identify strengths and needs, conducting land-use planning and zoning studies for inclusivity, planning and implementing affordable services that may increase local jobs and promotion of the site, determining how to use available energy resources and preparing proposals with relevant and supporting data to brand and market sites.

Ms. Lockett holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Tuskegee University and a Masters of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation. She is a member of APA, ULI, AIA, & LEED Certified.

Email: brandie_lockett@gensler.com

 

Jengi Martinez
Major
US Air Force Reserves
2015 Summer Class Alumni
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Ms. Jengi Martinez is 19-year veteran and active Air Force Reservist, presently serving as a Major and a C-17 Pilot/Aircraft Commander. She has over 14 years of experience leading small to large sized teams with complex backgrounds and diverse disciplines.  Her natural analytical skills and talent for logistical multi-level contingency planning is why she is entrusted with wide-ranging authority in a fast-paced, high stress environment where no day is ever the same. Having traveled to 72 countries, this international and diplomatic experience with multiple agencies has taught her the importance of knowing the “customer’s” needs and culture to better communicate and reach a common goal. 

In response to having flown over 600 combat sorties, the majority of which were medical evacuation, she saw a need to reduce the effects of war on our service members and their families.  Her entrepreneurial spirit and sense of social responsibility lead her to initiate the March Aviation Society (MAS) in 2011. This non-profit organization provides relief funds for southern California’s largest military air base and it’s military members.

A graduate and member of the Dean’s List at USC’s Marshall School of Business Master of Business for Veterans (MBV) program, Jengi seeks new challenges in the commercial real estate industry.  As an enthusiastic member of the Ross Minority Program in Real Estate 2015 Summer Class, Jengi plans to merge this knowledge and experience with her passion for the real estate industry.  Her long term-goals are to continue contributing to her community by employing and mentoring fellow veterans and minorities through her own profitable real estate ventures and businesses.

Email: jengi.martinez.2015@marshall.usc.edu 

 

Vanessa Montañez
Vice President, Mortgage Business Development Manager
East West Bank
2015 Summer Class Alumni
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Vanessa is currently a Vice President at East West Bank. She has been in residential lending for the last nineteen years and has worked for major companies including Countrywide Home Loans, Wells Fargo and Bank of America.  For the last fourteen years, she's managed loan officers, sales managers, and processors. Loans and insurance are her expertise. She is a proven coach, trainer, and motivator providing industry education on emerging markets with California Association of Realtors (CAR). Vanessa worked for JPM Chase as a Regional Business Development Officer for California. She oversaw the business development, CRA, REO, Short Sales, and Builder/Condo for CA. In her previous position she was number one BDO for CA in 2012. In addition, owns and operates a Farmers Insurance agency since 2008 and is a real estate investor.

Vanessa Montañez holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a MBA from Pepperdine University.

Email: vanessa.montanez@eastwestbank.com

Odest T. Riley, Jr.
Chief Executive Officer
WLM Financial
2015 Summer Class Alumni
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Mr. Riley received his B.A. in Public Relations from Columbia College in Chicago, IL. He has over 10 years management experience working as an Executive Manager for Walgreens. He has worked across multiple industries including retail, insurance, financial, real estate, and non-profit.

In 2003 he co-founded Baby Boomer Consulting, Inc., a non-profit organization which vision is to provide youth with the life skills and training essential for success in today’s competitive society. Odest has implemented plans to improve the academic achievement of South Los Angeles Inner City Schools by challenging students to meet higher academic standards. He donates funds to a variety of youth and community based organizations.

Odest also has a passion for improving the African American business and political climate throughout Los Angeles. He is a founding member of Black Los Angeles Young Democrats and the former political director for the Los Angeles County Young Democrats. He has worked on numerous political campaigns including newly elected Assemblyman Reginald Jones Sawyer. He was awarded The 2011 Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Democrat of the Year Award due to his achievements throughout multiple campaigns. He is also a 2015 REAP and African American Board Leadership Institute graduate.

Odest continues to strive for excellence as the CEO of the real estate and lending company WLM Financial. Through his company he seeks to provide urban development and financing opportunities in minority based communities.

Email: odestconsults@gmail.com

Avni Shah
Architectural Designer
William Adams Architects
2015 Summer Class Alumni
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Avni Shah is an architectural designer at William Adams Architects working on single family and multifamily projects. Prior to that, she has worked on senior living projects at Orcutt | Winslow Partnership in Arizona. Avni graduated from the University of Southern California with a professional degree in Architecture and a Minor in Social Entrepreneurship. She is currently producing a documentary on the role of mega-projects in transforming cities. Avni is passionate about combining architecture and development with urban and social initiatives. Avni Shah lives in Los Angeles.

Email: hi.avni@gmail.com

Denise Ustariz
General Counsel and COO
Westside Investments Group, Inc.
2015 Summer Class Alumni
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Denise Ustariz is General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer at Westside Investments Group, Inc. Westside is a real estate investment and management company. Ms. Ustariz manages and maintains corporate compliance and oversees daily operations of several real estate entities including, a hotel, apartment buildings and commercial properties. Ms. Ustariz drafts, negotiates and reviews various types of real estate documents, including leases, purchase and sale agreements, partnership agreements and loan agreements. She coordinates entitlements and permits for renovations and tenant build-outs. She is in constant contact with the CEO, managers, partners and contractors to ensure projects are on schedule and at or below budget. Ms. Ustariz also handles and oversees employment issues and pending litigation. 

Prior to working for Westside, Ms. Ustariz worked in the area of corporate transactional work. Ms. Ustariz earned her B.A. from University of California, Los Angeles and her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law.

Ms. Ustariz is a member of the Urban Land Institute, the International Association of Shopping Centers, the Association of Corporate Counsel and the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

Ms. Ustariz is the 2015 recipient of the ICSC Foundation/Gap Inc. Fellowship for the USC Ross Minority Program in Real Estate. 

Email: deniseustariz@yahoo.com

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
Entrepreneur
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
President
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).