Monica Abeita is MFA’s director of policy and planning where she oversees federal and state housing policy, strategic planning, resource development and data collection. She is a native New Mexican who has worked for the past 17 years in housing, community and economic development. Before coming to MFA, Ms. Abeita was the long-range planner and interim planning director for the Town of Taos, economic development planner for the Pueblo of Sandia, and the Indian tourism program manager for the New Mexico Tourism Department. She also operated her own consulting firm where she developed and implemented economic development plans and projects in northern New Mexico and wrote affordable housing plans and grants. Ms. Abeita has a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature and a master’s in community and regional planning.
On staff with MFA since 2016, Amanda Aragon has been in the housing industry for 15 years. Before coming to MFA, Ms. Aragon was a compliance specialist working with HUD, LIHTC, HOME, RTC and USDA properties.
Patty Balderrama has been with MFA for 10 years and works as a program coordinator in its Housing Development Department. Ms. Balderrama oversees the State of New Mexico Tax Credit program and is the lead processor for the department. She also supports the LIHTC program by assisting with loan processing and closings. Before coming to MFA, Ms. Balderrama spent 13 years working as an originator and loan processor.
With more than 30 years of experience in accounting and finance, Julian Barela has been with HUD since 2010. He provides guidance and strategy for public housing authorities in the areas of asset management, Section 8 operations and management and housing development, including tax credit development programs. Mr. Barela works with several strategic teams that review and implement new HUD requirements. He is also currently managing the transition of a housing authority from receivership back to local control. Mr. Barela received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of New Mexico and the University of Phoenix.
Susan H. Biernacki, J.D. joined MFA in 2015 as the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program manager. Prior to joining MFA, Ms. Biernacki was an attorney with the City of Albuquerque, representing the city in its financial transactions including bond and economic development transactions. For the last three years prior to her retirement from the city, Ms. Biernacki was the deputy treasurer responsible for managing the city’s investment portfolio. Ms. Biernacki also served 17 years as a trustee for the Public Employee’s Retirement Association, a $13 billion dollar pension fund, and chaired the board’s Investments Committee for more than 10 years. She currently serves as a member of the Audit Committee for the Rio Grande Credit Union and is the treasurer for the Retired Public Employees of New Mexico. Ms. Biernacki obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of New Mexico in 1984 and her Juris Doctorate degree from the UNM School of Law in 1987.
Before joining MFA as the assistant director of its Housing Development Department earlier this year, Tanya Birks worked at HUD’s Fort Worth regional office as a senior financial analyst doing compliance reviews, affordable housing finance training and financial analysis for the HUD Multifamily Asset Management Division and the HUD Departmental Enforcement Center. Prior to her time with HUD, she worked for the U.S. Department of Labor as a financial investigator for labor unions and in the commercial real estate finance and development industry. Ms. Birks graduated from the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in finance and from the University of Texas at Dallas with a master’s degree in management.
Jean Block is a nationally recognized consultant and trainer on nonprofit management, FUNdraising, board development and social enterprise. She has written several books and manuals and is a regular presenter at national and regional conferences throughout the country.
Crystal Cantu is the brain injury information specialist at the New Mexico Brain Injury Resource Center, which is funded by the New Mexico Human Services Department. A state certified trainer for more 20 mandated courses for the DD/IDD waiver, Ms. Cantu has extensive experience with multiple waiver programs in New Mexico. Since 2001, she has worked with people with acquired brain injuries, both traumatic and acquired. Ms. Cantu specializes in providing information, referrals and education to people with brain injuries, their families and professionals in a club house/community center model. She also advocates for change in the way services are delivered to New Mexicans living with brain injuries.
The executive director for the Zuni Housing Authority since 2003, Michael Chavez has more than 25 years of professional management experience in Indian housing work. Before coming to the Zuni Housing Authority, he worked for 10 years for the Navajo Housing Authority in project planning and construction and for 12 years in utilities engineering with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority. Mr. Chavez is a graduate of the USDA Graduate School Certified Public Manager Program and is certified as a professional Indian housing manager through the National American Indian Housing Council. He is of Navajo/Zuni decent.
Laura Chavez is MFA’s community liaison. She works with local governments and community partners to coordinate the Affordable Housing Act, plans and ordinance. She also serves as the housing chair for the state’s Infrastructure Finance Conference. Ms. Chavez has more than 15 years of experience in social services and has worked with state and federal programs for 10 years. Before coming to MFA, she owned her own business providing training on state and federal program policy and provided direct services in areas of recovery, re-entry and reintegration, vocational and educational development, legal advocacy and housing. Ms. Chavez has completed the NM Real Estate Commission Broker’s Exam/Licensure and The National Association of REALTORS Mandatory Ethics Training. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and pre-law from UNM.
Now the development director for Travois, Casey Cline joined the organization in 2011 as a project coordinator. She manages Travois’ housing development team and oversees the Low Income Housing Tax Credits application process for its clients. She also works closely with equity investors and helps clients apply for and receive gap financing through programs like the Affordable Housing Program, which is administered by the Federal Home Loan Bank system. Ms. Cline graduated with a degree in business administration from the University of Missouri and has an MBA and a law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Mayor Sam Cobb is a founding member of Lea County Housing, Inc. and served as vice president of its board until his election as mayor of Hobbs in 2012. As mayor, Cobb has been instrumental in developing 284 new affordable multifamily units and 993 market-rate units in the community. The city of Hobbs also incentivized the construction of 392 single family residences. Mayor Cobb utilizes a research-based approach to identify present and future housing needs and incorporate the research results into the community’s economic development and quality of life strategy. Mayor Cobb began his career in real estate sales and development when he received his New Mexico real estate broker’s license in 1978. In 1999, he obtained a manufactured housing dealer’s license and developed residential housing using manufactured homes.
As a product manager for Fannie Mae, Kellie Coffey is responsible for the management and strategic development of its single family rural housing initiatives. She also leads and executes Fannie Mae’s underserved market plan under the Duty to Serve Final Rule, which is designed to serve rural markets and underserved populations through innovative housing. Ms. Coffey joined Fannie Mae seven years ago and has held positions in the single family and loss mitigation divisions in Washington D.C. and, most recently, in business development. Prior to joining Fannie Mae, she worked for a nonprofit affordable housing organization and as a mortgage underwriter. Ms. Coffey holds bachelor's and master’s degrees in accounting and finance from Southern New Hampshire University.
A graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Law, Sarah Coffey is a domestic violence staff attorney at New Mexico Legal Aid. Formerly, she was an assistant district attorney in the second judicial district specializing in the prosecution of felony domestic violence cases. Ms. Coffey also served as the staff attorney for the Southwest Women’s Law Center where she advocated for changes in the legal system to support women’s access to economic security.
Shawn Colbert is the director of MFA’s Housing Development Department where she oversees MFA’s multifamily loan and grant programs including allocating and underwriting. Ms. Colbert started in the housing field in 1984 and has an in-depth knowledge of development, property management, affordable housing compliance and fair housing. Prior to joining MFA in 2016, she developed and oversaw management and compliance of successful affordable housing communities using a variety of funding sources, including Low Income Housing Tax Credits and HOME funds. Ms. Colbert is passionate about providing amazing, affordable living options for those with limited resources.
Debbie Davis joined MFA in 1986 and is the organization's reporting specialist. Ms. Davis is the program manager of the HOME multifamily development disbursement process and is responsible for production of the Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report for MFA-administered HUD programs and the construction of the New Mexico Consolidated Plan and Annual Action Plan. She is also accountable for compliance with environmental review, federal labor standards, relocation, site suitability and fair housing regulations. Ms. Davis has earned several housing certifications including HOME Program Specialist – Regulations and Administration, HCCP3, NCPE, CFM and COS. She holds a bachelor’s degree in speech/theater and English with a secondary teaching certification.
Michelle Den Bleyker is vice president of real estate development at YES Housing, Inc. She has more than 25 years of experience in the affordable housing industry, working in the areas of development, investment and lending. Ms. Den Bleyker has a broad understanding of how to combine a variety of funding sources and housing programs to create and preserve safe affordable housing. Prior to coming to YES, Ms. Den Bleyker held several positions at MFA, including manager of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. She received a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
Launi DeYoung has more than 20 years of experience in the human resources and organizational development fields. After 14 years with The Boeing Company, Ms. DeYoung founded OrgWorks, an organizational effectiveness consulting company, to assist organizations in areas she saw the most opportunity for improvement: leadership development, team dynamics and managerial skills. She works with a variety organizations from small entrepreneurial groups to large Fortune 100 companies. Ms. DeYoung has a master’s degree in organizational development from Pepperdine University, SHRM-SCP and SPHR certifications and is a licensed health benefits agent.
Miriam Diddy, AICAE, joined Atkin Olshin Schade Architects after graduating from the University of New Mexico with a degree in environmental planning and design. Born and raised in New Mexico, she is Diné (Navajo) with additional family roots in the Hopi Tribe. In addition to her work on planning, housing assessments, and mapping for projects at the Santo Domingo Pueblo, Pueblo de Cochiti, and Picuris Pueblo, Ms. Diddy recently developed a mobile survey platform that was piloted at San Ildefonso Pueblo and further advanced at several pueblos. She recently assisted on two comprehensive housing assessment projects using the mobile app for the Zuni Housing Authority and for the Pueblo of Laguna. Formerly, Ms. Diddy worked for Beverly Diddy Designs where she worked on a range of commercial and tribal projects in the Southwest.
Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D., is a nationally acclaimed economist and speaker specializing in making economics fun, relevant and educational. He is the chief economist for GraphsandLaughs, LLC, an economic consultancy that serves a variety of clients across the United States. He also writes a syndicated column and authors a daily 70-word commentary on the economy. Dr. Eisenberg is the creator of the multifamily stock index, author of more than 85 articles in publications such as Bloomberg, Bureau of National Affairs, Fortune and Forbes and a regularly featured guest on cable news programs, talk and public radio. He serves on the Expert Advisory Board of Mortgage Market Guide and is a regular consultant to several large real estate professional associations, hedge funds and investment advisory groups. Dr. Eisenberg earned a bachelor's degree in economics with first class honors from McGill University in Montreal and a master's and Ph.D. in public administration from Syracuse University.
Shawn Evans, AIA, is a principal of Atkin Olshin Schade Architects, a 25-person architecture firm in Santa Fe and Philadelphia. Mr. Evans led the broad planning and design team for the Siler Yard: Santa Fe Arts & Creativity Center, as well historic preservation projects for Ohkay Owingeh, Santo Domingo Pueblo, Cochiti, Jemez, and Zuni and Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Mr. Evans received a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a recipient of the Mid-Career Grant from the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation and has taught at Temple University, University of Pennsylvania and the University of New Mexico. He is a registered architect in New Mexico and NCARB certified.
Scott Florez is vice president of agent quality assurance for Alliant National Title Insurance Company where he provides training and educational services to the organization. He also owns and operates Title Land Consulting LLC, a company specializing in manufactured home title deactivations in New Mexico. Mr. Florez began his title career at an abstract company in Carlsbad, New Mexico in 1993 as a student employee. Before taking his current position, Mr. Florez worked for Fidelity National Title Insurance Company and for United General Title Insurance Company as an agency representative. He has also worked as Alliant National Title’s audit manager. Mr. Florez is an appointee to the New Mexico Real Estate Commission’s Education Advisory Committee.
In her third year at MFA, Jackie Garrity is the program manager for MFA’s Emergency Homeless Assistance Program. The program provides funding to shelters that assist and support homeless individuals, including survivors of domestic violence. Ms. Garrity works closely with the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness to support the 27 shelters located throughout New Mexico that receive EHAP funding.
Brian Gerritz is the president and co-founder of Pavilion Construction. With 20 years of experience in housing development, Mr. Gerritz has completed multi-million dollar affordable and market rate multifamily construction projects in communities throughout New Mexico and most other Western states. Under Mr. Gerritz’s leadership, Pavilion Construction has emerged as a client-focused, visionary industry leader.
Kelly Gilbreth, LPCC, is the clinical director for Crossroads for Women and works with the therapeutic communities of Pavilions and Maya’s Place. Formerly, she worked as a therapist at Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos, the Native American Community Academy, and at First Nations Community Healthsource, where she coordinated the Sacred Circle Program, a culturally-appropriate behavioral health program serving incarcerated Native American youth. She also provided individualized therapeutic services in conjunction with traditional cultural and healing practices in New Mexico youth detention facilities. Ms. Gilbreth has a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Dakota and a counseling and therapy degree from Roosevelt University in Chicago. She is an inheritor of the Anishinaabe culture with family from White Earth Ojibwe on her maternal side and Scotch/Irish on her paternal side.
An architect at Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, Hannah Feil Greenhood specializes in multifamily housing, commercial and mixed-use projects. She leads the firm’s Health and Wellness in the Built Environment Initiative, which uses evidence-based design concepts to integrate health and wellness design concepts into all projects types. She is one of the first WELL accredited professionals in the country and has presented and published several works about the WELL Building Standard, multifamily housing and technology. Ms. Greenhood is active in NAIOP New Mexico, the Developing Leaders Council for NAIOP New Mexico, Leadership Albuquerque and CREW New Mexico. She also volunteers in kindergarten through eighth grade classrooms where she teaches STEM through architectural concepts.
Kathy Griego has been in the housing industry for more than 30 years. She has extensive experience in Project- Based Section 8, conventional and market-rate properties, and LIHTC, HOME, RTC and USDA communities. Before joining MFA in 2004, Ms. Griego worked for 18 years as a property manager. Current certifications and accreditations include COS, HCCP and S.T.A.R.
As the director of west coast acquisitions for Red Stone Equity Partners, Matt Grosz is responsible for the origination, acquisition, financial underwriting, partnership structuring and syndication of affordable housing and historic tax credit investments. He has more than 15 years of experience in real estate investment, finance, development and LIHTC syndication. Prior to joining Red Stone, Mr. Grosz operated as the chief investment officer for Chelsea Investment Corporation where he structured and secured financing for more than 1,300 housing units with total development costs approaching $500 million. Mr. Grosz’s development and syndication experience includes high density urban infill mixed use, suburban development, acquisition rehab, HUD preservation, rural development, farm labor housing, senior housing and housing for special needs, veterans and homeless populations.
Amanda Hatherly is the director of the NM Energy$mart Academy at Santa Fe Community College, a Weatherization Assistance Program training center. Ms. Hatherly and her team work to deliver high-quality energy and water efficiency training across the Southwest. She is also a principle investigator on a National Science Foundation grant developing water efficiency curriculum and is part of the team that developed the national Water Efficiency Rating Score. Ms. Hatherly serves on the boards of the Building Performance Institute, the Santa Fe Area Homebuilders’ Association, and Energy Out West.
Pamela Hett is owner of The Hett Agency, a social media marketing firm based in Las Cruces. She has worked with more than 30 clients in Southern New Mexico. A small business owner for 16 years, Ms. Hett previously owned her own direct marketing business. She is very involved in her community including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce and the Las Cruces Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Hank Hughes has served as the executive director of the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness since July 2001. Under his leadership the coalition has facilitated the development of hundreds of units of new supportive housing for people who are experiencing homelessness. Prior to his current position, he was executive director for St. Elizabeth Shelter in Santa Fe. Mr. Hughes has a master’s degree in environmental systems engineering from Cornell University.
Flynann Janisse (Flyn) is the executive director of Rainbow Housing Assistance Corporation, president and executive director of Equality Community Housing Corporation and president and chairman of the board of Placet Development Corporation. She supports the national operations of Rainbow’s award-winning Resident Services Division and oversees the asset management for an extensive affordable housing portfolio. Prior to joining Rainbow, Ms. Janisse was the director of property management at Community Services of Arizona. She has extensive experience in managing market rate, Section 42 Tax Credit, Project Section 8 and HUD and RD-financed housing communities. As an advisory board member for Novogradac’s Journal of Tax Credits, Ms. Janisse provides industry knowledge through publications reaching more than 45,000 readers.
Aaron Krasnow is a vice president/investment manager for the Tax Credit Equity Group of RBC Capital Markets. He is responsible for ensuring appropriate underwriting and risk mitigation for multifamily apartment investments financed through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. He also originates new LIHTC investment opportunities in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Nevada, Minnesota and Iowa. Mr. Krasnow has more than 20 years of experience working in the affordable housing finance and development industries as a soft money lender, developer, underwriter and originator.
Laura Kuehn has been employed with the Albuquerque Police Department since 1997 as a crime prevention specialist. Ms. Kuehn is designated by the International Society of Crime Prevention Practitioners as an International Crime Prevention Specialist and is certified as a National Crime Prevention Specialist by the National Crime Prevention Association. She is also a certified instructor through the International Crime Free Programs Association. Ms. Kuehn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science with minors in criminal justice and psychology, and a supplementary degree in Law and Society. She also received Crime Prevention through Environmental Design training from the University of Louisville.
Alexandra Ladd has been the director of the Office of Affordable Housing for the City of Santa Fe since 2012. She had a previous six-year stint with the city as a housing planner. In her current position, Ms. Ladd administers Santa Fe’s inclusionary zoning program, oversees funding allocations from HUD and Santa Fe’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, manages operational grants to local housing services providers and works on affordable housing policy issues. Previously, she worked as a planning consultant and wrote affordable housing plans for the cities of Santa Rosa, Taos, Las Vegas and Belen as well as Lea County.
Michael Langford is the adult brain injury division director at ARCA. During his 35 years working with adults and children with disabilities, he has developed and managed programs in residential, day treatment and vocational settings. He has also managed functional rehabilitation programs for adults and children who are served by multiple systems including treatment foster care. Mr. Langford specializes in behavioral programming that blends natural support and specialized support systems.
Cory Lee has more than eight years of experience working with women who are dealing with substance abuse, poverty and domestic violence issues. Ms. Lee began with Crossroads for Women in 2011 as a case manager at Maya’s Place and was promoted to program director in 2014. In 2015 she was tasked with overseeing the opening of The Pavilions in Los Lunas. Currently, she is the director of therapeutic services for Crossroads. Ms. Lee earned a master’s degree from Columbia University where she focused on understanding empowerment in women’s narratives.
A technology trainer with a real estate and technology background, Jack Lindberg has been teaching real estate professionals for more than 20 years. His web design and social media classes were among the first to be approved for continuing education credits. He has also written five books on social networking websites including LinkedIn for Real Estate, designed classes for the National Association of Realtors® and has been a best-selling author on realtor.org. A real estate agent, broker and general contractor, Mr. Lindberg created two real estate website platforms and consulted on the development of many others.
As president of a small consulting firm, Project Moxie, Jenn Lopez works throughout the Southwest on affordable housing and homeless programs. Prior to launching the firm, Ms. Lopez was the director of homeless initiatives for Colorado Governor John W. Hickenlooper where she worked across state agencies to implement programs designed to prevent and end homelessness. Her work included the Pathways Home Supportive Housing Toolkit and the Coming Home Colorado Action Lab series to reduce veterans' homelessness. Her efforts resulted in more than $200 million in housing investments and 530 units of permanent supportive housing units over a two-year period. From 2006 to 2013, Ms. Lopez was the executive director of the Regional Housing Alliance.
Allegra Love is an attorney and director of the Dreamers Project. She began her career at Santa Fe Public Schools in 2005 as a bilingual elementary school teacher and followed her passion for working with immigrants by going to law school. After graduating from the University of New Mexico School of Law, Ms. Love began working for the Adelante program of Santa Fe Public Schools, where she founded the Dreamers Project. She volunteers extensively for organizations like the Santa Fe Youth Commission, No More Deaths and New Mexico Dreamers in Action (NM-DIA). She also works to defend Central American women and children who are detained on the US border. Ms. Love is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and is a licensed teacher in the state of New Mexico.
George Maestas is a housing development program manager for MFA. He works with affordable housing developers to underwrite the financing of the construction and/or rehabilitation of multifamily housing for low- and moderate-income households. Although fairly new to MFA, Mr. Maestas has more than 21 years of banking experience, with 15 years in commercial lending. He holds a Credit Risk Certification from the Risk Management Association.
Ravi Malhotra has 29 years of experience as a social entrepreneur and engineer. He has led award-winning research and development efforts and successfully launched eight new social ventures. He is currently focused on providing turn-key solutions for the green retrofit of multifamily properties through two nonprofit ventures: Triple Bottom Line Foundation, a CDFI that provides energy financing, and ICAST, which offers design, development, planning and construction services. Mr. Malhotra holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, India and a master’s degree in engineering and business administration from the University of Texas at Austin.
Officer Gloria Marcott joined the Rio Rancho Police Department in 2015 after 12 years at the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. Ms. Marcott has held the positions of field deputy, field training officer, firearms instructor, officer survival instructor, emergency response, SWAT team crisis negotiator and DEA task force officer. In 1992, Ms. Marcott began Everyday Defense, a self-defense company that focuses on helping young girls and women create their own victim-proof environments at home, work and in the community. She has trained more than 10,000 women.
Kelly Marrocco is a manager of affordable lending and access to credit in Freddie Mac’s single family housing division. She manages the strategy and policy efforts for rural housing initiatives and supports strategy and policy for manufactured housing in support of Freddie Mac’s underserved markets plan. Before joining Freddie Mac, Ms. Marrocco spent 10 years administering affordable housing programs for a county government including a Community Development Block Grant, a down payment assistance program and housing development fund. Ms. Marrocco holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from George Washington University, a master’s certificate in local government administration from Virginia Tech and a certificate in housing finance through the National Development Council.
Angie Martinez began her career in the housing industry in 2006 as a leasing consultant for a Low Income Housing Tax Credit property. Since then she has worked as a compliance officer and property manager for more than 10 properties in New Mexico and Arizona. Her portfolio has included LIHTC, Project-Based Section 8, HOME, BMIR, Housing Trust Fund and Go-Bond units. Ms. Martinez has been with MFA since 2015.
Lisa Maury is the Albuquerque Continuum of Care program director for the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness. She leads the City of Albuquerque’s collaborative applicant process for HUD’s annual Continuum of Care grant, which provides funding for 23 housing and service programs in the city. Prior to coming to NMCEH in 2015, Ms. Maury worked in direct service, community planning, advocacy and nonprofit development for agencies serving persons experiencing homelessness.
Janie McGuigan works as a private consultant for supportive housing programs. Formerly, she was employed in the government and nonprofit sectors in New Mexico and Texas where she focused on human services planning, design and evaluation. Ms. McGuigan also managed state and federal grants and community fund allocation processes for United Way. Until her retirement from the New Mexico Human Services Department, she administered supportive housing programs for persons with disabilities. Ms. McGuigan holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico and a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Erik Meek has almost 15 years of experience in law enforcement on the local and federal level. Prior to working undercover in the gang unit, he worked as a narcotics detective and uniform field patrol, all with the Albuquerque Police Department.
Natalie Michelback is MFA’s program manager for the HOPWA program and the Continuum of Care Performance award program. Ms. Michelback began her career in the mortgage industry in 1984 working in mortgage origination and servicing. She joined MFA’s mortgage servicing team in 2005 and transferred to MFA’s Community Development Department in 2012 to work with state and federal homeless and domestic violence programs.
Jeff Nishita is a partner in the San Francisco office of Novogradac & Company LLP. He provides numerous services in the real estate industry including audit and tax services, consulting, forecasting, LIHTC and tax exempt bond application assistance and training. He also co-founded the firm’s LIHTC Working Group and its community service program. Mr. Nishita has extensive experience with HUD, Uniform Guidance (and A-133) and a variety of state auditing requirements. Mr. Nishita graduated with Honors from Santa Clara University’s MBA program and received a bachelor’s degree in business economics with a concentration in accounting from the University of California – Santa Barbara. He currently serves on the Santa Clara University Accounting Advisory Board and is licensed in California and Colorado as a certified public accountant.
Michael Nitsch is the balance-of -state Continuum of Care project manager for the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness. He works with agencies across the state to build systems and relationships to better assist individuals who are experiencing homelessness. Mr. Nitsch’s background is in academia; he holds a Ph.D. in government from Harvard and a master’s degree in religion from Yale. Ultimately, he decided to focus his career on working with and for those experiencing homelessness. Before moving to Santa Fe in the fall of 2017, Mr. Nitsch helped manage an employment program for homeless adults at St. Francis House in Boston -- the largest day homeless shelter in New England.
Patrick Ortiz has been in the affordable housing field for more than 23 years and with MFA for 15 years. As the assistant director of MFA’s Asset Management Department, he is responsible for compliance of the tax credit, TCAP, TCEP, HOME, 542c, RTC and Section 8 programs. Before joining MFA, Mr. Ortiz worked for Monarch Properties, beginning in the maintenance department and eventually becoming a property manager for market-rate, rural development, tax credit and Section 8 properties. He holds HCCP, NCPe, C13P, Shining Star, COS, HCM-R and SBS designations.
Natalie Pena is the Director of Programs for the American Lung Association in New Mexico. In addition to leading several of the Lung Association's signature programs, she manages the Smoke-Free at Home NM program. Ms. Pena works closely with property owners and managers and public housing authorities to adopt multi-unit, smoke-free policies. She also educates housing industry leaders on the impacts of second and thirdhand smoke while working toward the goal of making all New Mexico multifamily properties smoke-free.
Abraham Placencio began his public service career in Arizona in the late 1980s when his friends began to become ill and lose their lives to HIV/AIDS. He was a founding member of Aids Coalition to Unleash Power and also worked on the Arizona Stop AIDS Project. When he moved back to his home town of Albuquerque, Mr. Placencio worked for New Mexico AIDS Services and taught sexuality education and health classes for Planned Parenthood. As the outreach team lead for St. Martin’s HopeWorks, Mr. Placencio currently does outreach to people who are experiencing homelessness. He also works with Truman Health Services to do free rapid HIV and HEP C testing in homeless shelters and with Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless on their syringe exchange and Harm Reduction Education programs.
Tom Prettyman is an attorney at New Mexico Legal Aid’s Housing and Consumer Law Unit in Albuquerque. He is a graduate of the College of William and Mary with undergraduate and master’s degrees in chemistry. He also graduated from Rutgers-Camden School of Law. Mr. Prettyman is a former Peace Corps volunteer to Tanzania.
Steven Michael Quezada was born in Albuquerque and graduated from West Mesa High School. He attended Eastern New Mexico University where he studied theater arts. Mr. Quezada played DEA Agent Steven Gomez in Breaking Bad from 2008 to 2013. He has appeared in films such as First Snow, Beerfest and Kites, on television series that include Wildfire, Crash and In Plain Sight, and hosted the talk show The After After Party. In addition to his successful career as an actor, Mr. Quezada is one of the most recognized comedians from the Southwest, touring comedy clubs across the United States since 1987. In 2013, Mr. Quezada was elected to the Albuquerque school board, running unopposed for the District 2 seat on the city’s Westside. In a three-way race in 2016, he won the Bernalillo County Commission District 2 seat with 36 percent of the vote.
Felipe Rael is the executive director of the Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership, a 25-year-old nonprofit dedicated to the revitalization of Albuquerque's urban neighborhoods by developing quality affordable and market rate housing opportunities. He is the former director of housing development at MFA and also held management positions at Arbor Commercial Mortgage, Bank of America, Berkshire Mortgage and Bascom Group. Mr. Rael serves on the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas Advisory Council, the City of Albuquerque Affordable Housing Committee and the ICAST (International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology) Advisory Board. Born and raised in New Mexico, Mr. Rael holds degrees from Claremont McKenna College and an MBA from the Drucker School at Claremont Graduate University.
Shelley Repp founded Spoken For in 2011 to provide resources for human trafficking victims as well as training and awareness for service professionals and the general population. She has developed relationships with local, state and federal agencies to provide resources and services to human trafficking victims throughout New Mexico. Ms. Repp is a sought-after speaker and trainer and is a member of the New Mexico Human Trafficking Task Force.
Roman Seaburgh is director of strategic initiatives for the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness. He began his service career as an Americorp volunteer and has dedicated himself to serving the most vulnerable citizens in our communities: the chronically homeless. Mr. Seaburgh developed, implemented and maintains the statewide coordinated assessment entry system. The system is the central clearinghouse for identifying and referring persons experiencing homelessness to the agencies and programs best suited to assist them. The system includes more than 40 agencies. Mr. Seaburgh also provides extensive technical assistance to administrators of the HUD Continuum of Care program. He is motivated by his desire and dedication to end homelessness through efficient, effective strategic initiatives.
Kelle Senyé, ARM®, became the executive director for the Apartment Association of New Mexico in 2010 after serving as a member -- both primary and associate -- for more than 15 years. Her background is in property management and advertising. Ms. Senyé has a bachelor’s degree from Eastern New Mexico University and an ARM® designation from the Institute for Real Estate Management. She was appointed to the National Apartment Association’s Communications Advisory Board in 2012 and serves as team liaison for the government affairs and membership committees for AANM.
As the senior manager of public policy at Novogradac, Mark Shelburne advises state agencies, local governments, financial institutions and developers on a variety of housing topics that include fair housing, allocation policy, program compliance and policy innovation. He is widely regarded as one of the country’s top experts on the relationship between fair housing and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, has written a book on the subject and is a frequent contributor to Novogradac’s Journal of Tax Credits. Prior to coming to Novogradac, Mr. Shelburne served as the counsel and policy coordinator for the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency for 13 years. Mr. Shelburne has degrees in law, planning and public policy from the University at North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
A tribal member of the Pueblo of Tesuque, Janice Shije has more than 10 years of experience in tribal housing and affordable housing. She worked for Albuquerque HealthCare for the Homeless and the Supportive Housing Coalition before joining MFA’s asset management team last year. Ms. Shije has a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Rose Silva-Smith has been with YES Housing Inc. since 2002. As vice president of asset management, she is responsible for the fiscal performance and management operations of the portfolio of multi-family and senior developments throughout New Mexico and Arizona. Ms. Silva-Smith also does asset performance analysis of new and rehab construction developments. In her more than 30 years of experience in real estate asset management, Ms. Silva-Smith has held similar positions with Apartment Investments and Management Company, Great West Realty and Monarch Properties, Inc. She has achieved various industry-related professional designations through the National Center for Housing Management, National Association of Home Builders and Compliance Solutions. Ms. Silva-Smith is also a licensed New Mexico real estate associate broker.
Linda Simon, MA is a consultant for Continuum of Care permanent supportive housing programs. For 15 years, Ms. Simon has managed and provided direct services for permanent supportive housing programs in both the government and nonprofit sectors. She also works to promote policies that help individuals increase their ability to be self-sufficient and to claim their places as engaged members of their communities.
Joseph Stevens has worked in weatherization since the program began in 1977. He has held a variety of positions including crew worker, crew leader, LIHEAP heater repair/replacement program director, residential services director and weatherization director. He is now the executive director of his own weatherization company, Central NM Housing. Mr. Steven’s vast knowledge of DOE’s and WAP's weatherization and energy efficiency programs makes him a sought-after trainer. He is also a certified Lead Safe renovator.
Ashley Strauss-Martin, J.D., has served as general counsel for the REALTORS® Association of New Mexico since 2007. Her many duties include answering real estate transaction and forms questions for members via RANM’s legal hotline and drafting standard forms and contracts for use in real estate transactions. Prior to joining RANM, Ms. Strauss-Martin was an associate attorney for John Hall and Associates in Santa Fe and then went on to open her own law practice. She earned her juris doctor degree from the University of New Mexico.
Sabrina Su joined MFA’s Housing Development Department in 2015, where she is the program manager responsible for the HOME, New Mexico Housing Trust Fund, National Housing Trust Fund and 542(c) Risk Sharing Loan programs. Prior to joining MFA, Ms. Su spent five years at Enterprise Community Partners as a project manager for a multifamily rehabilitation program funded by the City of New York. Earlier in her career, Ms. Su was an analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and an independent consultant to community-based organizations and foundations on issues related to expanding low-income households’ access to financial services.
Ted Swisher is the executive director of Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity and vice president of Habitat for Humanity New Mexico. Mr. Swisher’s entire 40-year career has been focused on affordable housing. In addition to serving as vice president for Habitat in the United States, he founded Habitat for Humanity Australia. He has also worked for the city of Santa Fe’s affordable housing office and for Centex Homes.
Shannon Tilseth is MFA’s program manager for the Rental Assistance Program, which provides short- and medium-term rental assistance to individuals experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. She also manages MFA’s Linkages Program, a supportive housing rental assistance program for homeless or precariously housed individuals with severe mental illness. Ms. Tilseth has been with MFA for 13 years in the Community Development Department.
Floyd Tortalita is from the Pueblo of Acoma and has been the executive director of the Pueblo of Acoma Housing Authority (PAHA) since 2009. He has more than 18 years of experience in the planning, design and construction of housing development projects on Acoma and Laguna Pueblos. Mr. Tortalita served as the Region 8 representative on the NAIHC Board of Directors for six years and is currently the Region 8 representative to the AMERIND Board of Directors.
Samantha Vigil has been in the housing industry for seven years. Before coming to MFA, Ms. Vigil worked for the Pueblo of Pojoaque Housing Corporation as the resident services specialist of the LIHTC, HOME properties.
James Walker is the program director for Catholic Charities’ Center for Self-Sufficiency and Housing Assistance. Mr. Walker spent 19 years as a Catholic missionary in Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Colombia and India, where he served the poorest of the poor. He also ran a drop-in center in Los Angeles for women and men experiencing homelessness. In 2009, Mr. Walker came to New Mexico to work with Catholic Charities as a case manager and administrator of the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing program in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties. As program director, Mr. Walker oversees multiple homeless prevention and supportive housing programs that utilize a Housing First model.
Jimmy Wayne is a former foster kid turned award-winning country recording artist whose songs and story highlight his mission to raise awareness for children in foster care. Jimmy’s hits include Stay Gone, Paper Angels, I Love You This Much and Do You Believe Me Now, which earned BMI’s prestigious Million-Air Award marking one million radio spins in America. In 2009, Mr. Wayne toured with Brad Paisley and recorded Sara Smile with rock ‘n roll hall of fame duo Daryl Hall and John Oates. He has performed at the Grand Ole Opry more than 200 times.
In 2010, Mr. Wayne walked from Nashville to Phoenix to raise awareness for kids aging out of the foster care system. His memoir, Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way, was published two years later and was a three-time New York Times bestseller. Mr. Wayne received the prestigious Points of Light award from President George W. Bush in 2014. He lives in Nashville and continues to work tirelessly on behalf of at-risk foster youth.
Dan Wendle is vice president and director of acquisitions for Raymond James tax credit funds West region where he oversees property acquisitions in the Western United States. Prior to joining Raymond James, he spent 13 years as acquisitions director with a major national nonprofit syndicator. Mr. Wendle attended the University of Oregon and received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Portland State University’s Hatfield School of Government.
During the 33 years Christi Wheelock has been in the field of affordable housing, she has worked with LIHTC, HOME and rural housing programs. Ms. Wheelock joined MFA in 2016 after working for the Yarco Companies as a regional property manager and compliance manager overseeing New Mexico and Arizona affordable communities.
Matt Zarlengo is vice president of community investments for Community Development Trust. Based in Denver, he is responsible for sourcing both debt and equity investments in affordable housing projects throughout the Western United States. Prior to joining CDT, Mr. Zarlengo was vice president of commercial real estate at US Bank where he originated construction and permanent debt financing for affordable housing clients in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. He also worked as a senior financial analyst for Mercy Housing, Inc. a national leader in the development and preservation of affordable housing. Mr. Zarlengo holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Colorado State University and a master’s in Real Estate Finance and Construction Management from the Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management at the University of Denver.
Registration space and hotel rooms are limited, so be sure to register as soon as registration opens.
Hotel rooms can be reserved at any time - reserve hotel room now.