Spring Developers Forum (2021)

Speaker Biographies

Jay Abeywardena

Mr. Abeywardena has over 15 years of experience in providing financing expertise to developers that specialize in building and preserving affordable housing for low to moderate-income families and seniors. He is primarily responsible for mortgage banking and mainly utilizes tax-exempt bond financing to provide construction and permanent period debt. Other responsibilities include product and firm marketing, initial loan underwriting and process/client management. His principal financing products include Private Placements, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Loans, Direct Bank Loans, and Structured Lending (Total Return Swaps). Mr. Abeywardena has been involved in over $3.5 billion of financings.

Mr. Abeywardena joined Citi Community Capital, formerly GMAC Commercial Mortgage Affordable Housing Group, in October 2005.

Mr. Abeywardena is a graduate of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (B.S., Business Administration with a concentration in Finance, Real Estate, and Law). He holds Series 7 and Series 63 securities licenses.

Steve Aichroth

Steve Aichroth has served as the Administrator of the Nevada Housing Division since 2017. He previously served as the Administrator of the Manufactured Housing Division until the agency was merged with the Nevada Housing Division during the 2017 Legislative Session. Prior to serving as the Manufactured Housing Division Administrator, he was the Chief of Administration at the Nevada Housing Division. Steve has also served as a Commissioner at the State of Nevada Commission for Common Interest Communities. Before entering public service, he spent the bulk of his career managing and running private sector business in Nevada. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design from San Jose State University.

Thom Amdur

Thom joined National Housing & Rehabilitation (NH&RA) in 2004 and currently serves as its President. NH&RA is a national trade association and peer-network for affordable housing and tax credit developers and related professionals including: investors, lenders, public agencies and professional advisers. Thom directs the association’s day-to-day operations including legislative and regulatory advocacy, committee activities, conferences and events, publications, financial management and strategic planning.

Thom also serves as the President of the Tennessee Developers Council, a state-wide trade association for affordable housing developers and professionals active in Tennessee. In 2013 he spearheaded the launch of NH&RA’s Preservation through Energy Efficiency Project, a major educational initiative supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Thom also serves on the Board of Directors for International Center for Appropriate & Sustainable Technology (iCAST). He is also the recipient of the NHP Foundations 2018 Affordable Housing Advocacy Award.

Thom is a frequent speaker at affordable housing, sustainable development and tax credit industry events and has been published in a variety of industry journals including Tax Credit Advisor, Independent Banker, and the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credit Housing. Thom also serves as the Associate Publisher of Tax Credit Advisor, a monthly magazine for tax credit and affordable housing professionals and is an Executive Vice-President at Dworbell Inc., a boutique association management and communications firm in Washington, DC, which provides staffing for NH&RA.

Thom was previously employed at a national lobbying firm with a practice focused on financial services and technology issues. Prior to moving to Washington, Thom worked in media relations in the New York State Assembly and as a research assistant for New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen. Thom graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tufts University with a double major in Political Science and History.

Laura Archuleta

Since 1999, Laura Archuleta has guided Jamboree Housing Corporation from a small, Irvine, CA-based nonprofit affordable housing developer with 750 units into one of the nation’s largest non-profit owners having developed over 10,000 homes in more than 100 communities. Under Archuleta’s leadership, Jamboree established Housing with Heart, to deliver impactful residents services, acquired HOMES, Inc., a leading nonprofit provider of housing and support for people living with mental illness and launched Jamboree’s construction group, Quality Development and Construction, Inc.

Archuleta currently is on the Affordable Housing Advisory Council of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, is a member of the boards of the California Housing Consortium, and the Building Industry Association (BIA) of California and a member of the United Way Orange County Leadership Council, She earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in public administration from California State University, Fullerton.

Cory Bannister

Cory Bannister has spent nearly a decade financing and developing affordable housing. He is a Senior Vice President of R4 Capital in our Newport Beach, California office, responsible for originating and acquiring LIHTC properties for the firm.

His finance career began by structuring loans to affordable housing developments with Prudential Mortgage Capital Company, and later, acquiring tax credit properties with R4 Capital. Through his work structuring debt and placing equity, over 2,000 affordable housing units have been created or preserved.

His tenure also includes work for two prominent West Coast affordable housing developers, Wasatch Advantage Group and Community Development Partners. Cory has direct experience working through all stages of the finance and development life cycle. He has navigated complex environmental and entitlement issues, won multiple 9% awards, and garnered over $20 million in soft funding. In total, he has developed over 890 units of affordable housing with total development costs exceeding $200 million.

He received a BA in Urban Studies and an MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering, both from Stanford University where he was a scholarship pitcher on the varsity baseball team.

Peter Barker

Peter Barker is President and Chief Executive Officer of Barker Management, Incorporated (BMI) and Valued Housing.  Barker Management provides over four decades of quality affordable management services to 10,000 units in over 150 developments.  The portfolio includes family, senior and special needs housing in California and Nevada.  Barker Management has extensive experience working with a variety of regulatory agencies and funding sources for the developments under management and has increased their portfolio in PSH and Homeless Veteran Housing. Valued Housing, an affiliated development firm with over twenty-five affordable housing complexes and several in development.  The portfolio includes preservation and new construction projects with an emphasis on infill and special needs developments.

Peter sits on several non-profit boards focusing on homeless and affordable housing issues and values the diversity of Barker Management and Valued Housing staff and the community they serve.

Ben Barker

Mr. Barker is a registered municipal advisor with over 10 years of bond program administration experience serving conduit issuers to facilitate taxable and tax-exempt bond financings. Mr. Barker’s previous experience covers all aspects of Mortgage Backed Securitizations. He began his career as an analyst with UBS and continued on to become an AVP of Secondary Markets at a boutique investment banking firm. To date, he has participated in over $20 billion of structured financings. Mr. Barker is a Board Member for the California Affordable Housing Development Association and Oscar De La Hoya Foundation. He has earned a spot on the Top 50 list of Next Generation of Public Finance. Mr. Barker is a regular speaker in the public finance circuit. He has led the highly regarded “Everything You Wanted to Know About Bonds but Were Afraid to Ask” Panel for the last 9 years at the nation’s largest affordable housing conference. Mr. Barker received a BS in Finance and Business Management from Brigham Young University and an AA in Arts and Sciences from BYUI and has been certified by the Investment Banking Institute.

Geoff Brown

Geoffrey C. Brown joined USA Properties Fund in 1989, and he was named President and Chief Executive Officer of the company in 1997. He has overseen a dramatic increase in communities and units during his tenure. Before he joined USA Properites, Mr. Brown was employed by Lloyds Bank in its commercial credit department and later as a commercial real estate construction loan officer. After Lloyds Bank was acquired by Sanwa Bank, he was named Vice President and Manager of the Pasadena Real Estate Office and oversaw the construction lending for commercial and residential loans. Mr. Brown earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Willamette University and an MBA in Finance from the University of Washington. He is a licensed California contractor and real estate broker. Mr. Brown currently serves on the Board of Directors for the California Council for Affordable Housing and California Housing Consortium of which he was Chairman for 2012 and 2013. Mr. Brown also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA).

Carol Ditmore

Carol Ditmore is the Director of the Arizona Department of Housing, since her appointment by Governor Doug Ducey in 2017. With over two and a half decades of experience in state government and senior management responsibility within Arizona’s housing programs, Ms. Ditmore brings an extensive background in all state and federal housing programs, as well as the operations of a state agency. In addition to serving in the capacity of director of this cabinet-level agency, Ms. Ditmore chairs the Board of Directors of the Arizona Home Foreclosure Prevention Funding Corporation, a nonprofit corporation established by the State to serve as the eligible entity for a federal grant through the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Ms. Ditmore previously headed the Department’s operations for over 15 years, directing a broad portfolio of divisions and services at the agency that included legal services and procurement and overseeing annual resources totaling more than $300 million annually. She had previously served as Interim Director in 2017 and 2009, prior to being named Director. Prior to the Housing Department’s launch as a new state agency in 2002, Ms. Ditmore was instrumental in the establishment of the agency’s operations while working in the Governor’s Office of Housing Development under Governor Jane D. Hull. Prior to this assignment, Ms. Ditmore had served for a number of years as a Housing Programs Manager when the State’s housing programs were housed in a division of the Arizona Department of Commerce.

Her professional history prior to working in state government included 10 years with the American Red Cross. Ms. Ditmore holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, with a minor in Sociology, from Pepperdine University, and an Executive Education Certification from Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Yusef Freeman

Yusef Freeman is the Managing Director of California for the Jonathan Rose Companies, leading ground up development and acquisitions on the West Coast out of the Companies’ Oakland, CA office.

Prior to joining the Rose Companies, Yusef was a Vice President of Investments in the transactions group at PGIM Real Estate, sourcing investment opportunities for the real estate private equity funds of the company.

Prior to joining PGIM in 2018, Yusef was the Managing Director for McCormack Baron Salazar,

leading west coast operations and new business development nationally for the company and a Graduate Program lecturer in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley.

Yusef holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley where he spent one year studying abroad at the American University in Cairo, Egypt; a Master of Public Administration from New York University, where he majored in public finance as a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow; and an alum of the Center for Urban Redevelopment Excellence Fellowship Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Sydne Garchik

Sydne is the Founder and President of MRK Partners, Inc. Founded in 2015, MRK has grown to approximately 4,000 units and 21 affordable housing properties in its portfolio. MRK is currently working on approximately 1,000 units of affordable housing in its development pipeline.  MRK strives to make a difference in the lives of its residents and the surrounding communities. MRK believes in socially responsible development and an ongoing commitment to community services and growth.

Prior to founding MRK, Sydne acted as the Director of Operations for Standard Property Company, Inc., a full-service, multi-family real estate investment and management firm which owned and operated affordable housing across the United States. She was responsible for the day-to-day operations including multi-family real estate acquisitions, financing, agency relationships, and asset management. Additionally, Sydne spent time working at SJM Partners, Inc., a development firm involved in multiple classes of real estate ranging from apartments, to mobile home parks, to retail, and student housing. With approximately 1M square feet of commercial real estate oversight, she aided all facets of revenue growth and expense control.

Matt Grosz

Matt is Director of west coast acquisitions for Red Stone Equity Partners. He is responsible for the origination, acquisition, financial underwriting, partnership structuring, and syndication of affordable housing and historic tax credit investments. Matt has over fifteen years of experience in real estate investment, finance, development, and LIHTC syndication. Prior to joining Red Stone, Matt operated as the Chief Investment Officer for Chelsea Investment Corporation; a Southern California based affordable housing development company. In that capacity Matt was responsible for structuring and securing financing of more than 1,300 housing units with total development costs approaching $500 million. Matt’s development and syndication experience includes high density urban infill mixed use, suburban development, acquisition rehab, HUD preservation, rural development, farm labor housing, senior housing and housing for special needs, veterans and homeless populations.

Beth Mullen

Beth Mullen, CPA, is the National Director of the Firm’s Affordable Housing Industry Practice and a member of the Project Finance and Consulting team. She has more than 30 years of experience providing consulting, tax, and accounting services to real estate owners, developers and investors. A significant portion of Beth’s time is devoted to helping clients to facilitate transactions by structuring public/private partnerships that are financed in part by Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, the federal and state historic tax credit programs, opportunity zone equity, the federal New Markets Tax Credit Program, and energy tax credits. Beth teaches internal and external courses on these tax programs and has published articles in numerous trade publications. Her extensive knowledge of partnership tax law has been invaluable in resolving allocation, at-risk, exit tax, residual value, and other common partnership problems.

Wade Norris

Wade Norris is a partner at Norris George & Ostrow PLLC. Mr. Norris is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading experts in the field of multifamily housing bond finance. Mr. Norris has over four decades’ experience in over 3,500 tax-exempt multifamily housing and other bond financings totaling over five billion dollars, primarily as Underwriter’s or Purchaser’s Counsel or Special Bond Matters Counsel to the Borrower. Mr. Norris has often played a major role in developing new financing techniques in this area of finance. In the past 10 years, these include development of, among other products, the Country’s largest tax-exempt bond and loan bank private placement program; short-term cash-backed tax-exempt bonds used with FHA, RD and other low-rate taxable loans; the Freddie Tax-Exempt Loan or “TEL” structure; and, most recently, Fannie Mae’s M.TEBs tax-exempt monthly MBS pass-through structure. Mr. Norris’ paper entitled “Introduction to Tax Exempt Multifamily Housing Bonds” is widely regarded as the industry’s leading introductory article on tax exempt multifamily housing bond finance. Mr. Norris is a member of the Georgia State Bar, the Bar of the District of Columbia, the National Association of Bond Lawyers and the American College of Bond Counsel.

Marge Novak

Marge oversees Berkadia’s overall capital raising efforts for its Tax Credit Syndication business.

Marge joined Berkadia in October of 2020 to raise tax credit equity, recruit new investors and manage existing investor relationships. Prior to joining Berkadia, Marge served as Executive Vice President of the Capital Group at Cinnaire where she raised more than $1.8 Billion in tax credit equity.  Previously she was the Executive Director of the Ann Arbor Housing Commission, Director of LIHTC for Fannie Mae, Vice President of Funds Management for the National Equity Fund, and Director of Tax Credits for the Illinois Housing Development Authority. Marge received her MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago and her BA in Economics from Brandeis University.

Ian Parker

Caleb Roope

Caleb Roope founded The Pacific Companies (TPC) in 1998 and serves as president and CEO. He has 25 years of accomplishments in real estate development and is experienced in all facets of the industry – ownership, design, construction, financial, and political. To date, Caleb and TPC have developed and completed approximately 200 projects, including affordable and market-rate multifamily housing, school facilities, and commercial properties. TPC is regularly a “Top 10 Developer in the Nation” as published by Affordable Housing Finance Magazine, and most recently earned the #1 spot as 2018’s top producer.

Margaret Salazar

Margaret Solle Salazar is Executive Director of Oregon Housing and Community Services Department, where she serves as on the Cabinet of Governor Kate Brown and oversees the state’s efforts to build affordable housing, open the door to homeownership, prevent and end homelessness and expand housing stability. Margaret directs programs across the housing continuum, such as LIHTC, multifamily bonding and gap financing, homeless services, energy and weatherization assistance, mortgage lending and efforts to promote equity and racial justice.

Prior to joining OHCS in 2016, Margaret served in various leadership roles over a 10-year career at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Margaret served as Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing Programs in HUD Headquarters, leading the Office of Recapitalization and the creation and implementation of the Rental Assistance Demonstration. She also served as HUD Portland, Oregon Field Office Director; and Chief of Multifamily Production in the HUD San Francisco Regional Office.

Margaret served on the HUD Agency Review Team for the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition team in 2020-21. She serves as Vice Chair for the National Council of State Housing Agencies.

Margaret began her career as a foundation program officer in the San Francisco Bay Area working with community-based organizations standing up for social, economic and environmental justice across the Western States. As a housing advocate, she led a successful grassroots campaign for just cause eviction in Oakland, California in 2002. Margaret served as a policy analyst in the offices of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Margaret grew up on a small family cherry orchard in Hood River, Oregon. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Tony Sertich

Tony Sertich serves as State Controller Betty Yee’s designee on the boards of the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee and the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee. Prior to joining the Controller’s Office, Mr. Sertich spent 14 years at the California Housing Finance Agency. In his time there, he served as Director of Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance, Director of Multifamily Programs, and Financing Risk Manager, among other positions. Mr. Sertich currently serves on the board of directors for the ALS Association of Greater Sacramento. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Brooke Shorett

Brooke Shorett joined Vitus in 2016 and serves as a Director of Development Management. During her time at Vitus, she has overseen over $260 million in acquisitions and coordinated $170 million in low-income housing tax credit syndications. Brooke holds a Bachelor of Science from Duke University and a Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE) from the University of Washington.

Sindy Spivak

Sindy Spivak, West Region Market Executive for Community Development Banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, manages a team of community development experts who provide financial solutions for affordable and mixed income housing projects, while also working closely with key partners to provide the full scope of bank products to clients. Spivak previously managed the bank’s credit products team responsible for community development loan originations and portfolio management. She joined the bank in 1997 as a relationship manager responsible for creating and managing debt relationships nationally with low income housing tax credit syndicators. From 2003 to 2010, Spivak managed the bank’s tax credit equity investments group responsible for working with national syndicators in the identification and origination of low income, historic and new market tax credit equity investments. Spivak has over 25 years experience in underwriting, originating and managing financial products for a wide array of commercial real estate developments, including retail shopping centers, hotels, multi-family housing, for-sale housing, warehouses, office buildings, faith-based corporations, social services providers and quasi-government agencies. She serves as a board member of National Equity Fund and Abode Communities.

Armand Tiberio

Mr. Armand Tiberio is Vice Chairman at CBRE Affordable Housing, a specialty group within CBRE, the largest investment real estate brokerage firm in the country. Since beginning his investment brokerage career with Marcus & Millichap in 2000, Mr. Tiberio has overseen the closing of over $14 billion of affordable housing multifamily product nationwide.

Mr. Tiberio was a Founding Partner of the Tax Credit Group of Marcus & Millichap— the country’s leading brokerage team of Section 42 Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties—before the company merged with CBRE in December 2015. His primary responsibility at CBRE Affordable Housing is overseeing disposition strategies for large investor and developer clients, with emphasis on how to maximize value and protect investor members from tax credit liabilities. Mr. Tiberio has worked closely in assisting the country’s largest institutions (including syndicators, developers, and direct investors) in implementing large scale disposition plans.

As an industry pioneer in the disposition of LIHTC product, Mr. Tiberio is a frequent speaker and panelist at industry events hosted by the Institute for Professional and Executive Development (IPED), the National Housing and Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA), and the Affordable Housing Investors Council (AHIC). He also sits on the board for the NH&RA.

Anthony Zeto

Anthony has been with TCAC for nearly 17 years and has served as Deputy Executive Director since the end of 2016.  As the Deputy Director, he acts as primary policy advisor to Executive Director on all program matters and oversees the day-to-day operations of the Committee.  He has represented TCAC at local, state and national tax credit events including TCAC workshops and public hearings.  Mr. Zeto received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Davis.