Meet our staff

Thomas K. Bannon
Chief executive officer

Thomas K. Bannon holds lead responsibility for general management of the California Apartment Association. Prior to joining CAA, he was the staff director for U.S. Congressman Robert Matsui; vice president and legislative advocate for the California Building Association; and director of political affairs for the California Association of REALTORS. Bannon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and psychology and a master’s degree in public administration from California State University, Chico. 

Contact: tbannon@caanet.org, (916) 449-6432


Public affairs

Debra L. Carlton
Senior vice president of state public affairs

Debra L. Carlton is responsible for planning and implementing strategy for all legislative and regulatory issues of interest to members of CAA. She serves as the association’s chief legislative representative and is a registered lobbyist. Prior to her present position, she worked for the Sacramento law firm of Weintraub, Genshlea and Sproul, providing legal and legislative research for the real property section of the firm. Carlton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of California, Davis, and a master’s degree in public administration from Golden Gate University, San Francisco.

Contact: dcarlton@caanet.org, (916) 449-6422


Joshua Howard
Senior vice president for Northern California

Joshua Howard is charged with overall management of the association’s regional operations and public affairs efforts throughout Northern California’s greater Bay Area. Before joining CAA, he served as vice president of public policy and communications for the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce and as a senior aide to a former San Jose City Council member. Howard is a registered lobbyist in several Silicon Valley cities. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Santa Clara University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of San Francisco.

Contact: jhoward@caanet.org, (408) 342-3507


Jim Lofgren
Senior vice president for North Valley

Jim Lofgren oversees local public affairs and member services in 21 counties in the North Valley region. For 20 years, Lofgren served as executive director of the Rental Housing Association of Sacramento Valley, which merged with CAA in 2018. He previously was employed by the Associated General Contractors and the Building Industry Association. Lofgren holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of California, San Diego. 

Contact: jlofgren@caanet.org , (916) 449-6450 


Fred Sutton
Senior vice president of public affairs for Los Angeles County

Fred Sutton oversees the association’s local public and legislative affairs efforts throughout Los Angeles County. In addition, Sutton manages public affairs in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Prior to joining CAA, Sutton served as the director of government affairs for the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles and previously served as a deputy to a member of the L.A. City Council. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Arizona.

Contact: fsutton@caanet.org, (424) 307-1378


Greg Terzakis
Senior vice president for Central California

Greg Terzakis is charged with the overall management of the association in Central California and serves as its primary lobbyist in the region. Prior to joining CAA, he was the public affairs manager for Granville Homes in Fresno, the senior aide to a San Joaquin County supervisor, and a partner in a political-consulting and lobbying firm. Terzakis holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from the University of San Francisco.

Contact: gterzakis@caanet.org, (559) 221-2533


Rhovy Lyn Antonio
Vice president of public affairs

Rhovy Lyn Antonio manages local public and legislative affairs in San Mateo and Contra Costa counties. Prior to joining CAA, she served as chief of staff for former San Jose Councilman Pete Constant and worked for the city of San Jose for eight years managing land use policies and community development issues. Antonio holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from San Jose State University.


Contact: rantonio@caanet.org, (408) 342-3506


Anil Babbar
Vice president of public affairs

Anil Babbar manages local public and legislative affairs in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties. Prior to joining CAA, he held government-affairs roles for PG&E and the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS. Babbar holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from San Jose State University and a graduate degree in public administration from Golden Gate University, San Francisco.

Contact: ababbar@caanet.org, (408) 342-3509


Ben J. Benoit
Vice president of public affairs

Ben J. Benoit manages public and legislative affairs in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Benoit has been a council member for the City of Wildomar for nine years. He is also the vice chair of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the largest air district in the nation by size and population. Further, he is a member of the Southern California Association of Governments, a board that handles many issues, including setting the regional housing needs-assessment number.

Contact: bbenoit@caanet.org, (951) 226-5030


Whitney Benzian
Vice president of public affairs

Whitney Benzian manages legislative advocacy and political action for San Diego and Imperial counties. Prior to joining CAA, Benzian served as Rules Committee consultant, liaison to the business community and director of special projects for San Diego City Council President Ben Hueso, who is now a state senator. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal arts from Sarah Lawrence College in New York and a master’s degree in public policy degree from the Pepperdine University.

Contact: wbenzian@caanet.org, (619) 261-5374


Tony T. Bui
Vice president of state public affairs

Tony T. Bui is responsible for planning and implementing strategy for legislative, regulatory and political issues for CAA. He serves as one of the Association’s legislative representatives and is a registered lobbyist. Bui also directs CAA’s political activities through its political action and independent expenditure committees and oversees all candidate support and recruitment programs.  Prior to assuming his present role, Bui served as deputy chief of staff to various state legislators and then moved on to be director of public affairs for DeBoo Communications. He has also successfully managed numerous political campaigns.  Bui studied political science at San Diego State University.

Contact: tbui@caanet.org, (916) 449-6423


Matt Buck
Vice president of public affairs

Matt Buck manages CAA’s legislative advocacy and political action programs in East Los Angeles County. Prior to joining CAA, he was the regional public affairs staff for the Western Municipal Water District, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues and O’Reilly Public Relations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in social science from California State University, Los Angeles, and has an executive master of business administration degree from the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School.

Contact: mbuck@caanet.org, (949) 734-2025


Victor Cao
Vice president of public affairs


Victor Cao manages CAA’s legislative advocacy and political action programs in Orange County. Before joining CAA, he was chief of staff for the Orange County Board of Supervisors and government affairs manager for the Building Industry Association of Orange County. Cao is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine, and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.

Contact: vcao@caanet.org, (949) 474-1411


Beverly Kenworthy
Vice president of public affairs

Beverly Kenworthy manages CAA’s legislative advocacy and political action programs in Central Los Angeles. Before joining CAA, she was director of public policy with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and senior planning deputy for former Los Angeles City Councilman Jack Weiss. Kenworthy is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where she holds a master’s degree in public policy and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and American literature.

Contact: bkenworthy@caanet.org, (213) 804-6870


Alex Khalfin
Vice president of public affairs

Alex Khalfin manages local public and legislative affairs in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties. Prior to joining CAA, he was a government affairs officer for Amtrak, government affairs coordinator for the San Mateo County Association of Realtors and legislative coordinator/senior constituent affairs representative for the governor’s office. Khalfin also has served as a planning commissioner for the city of South San Francisco. He holds a master’s degree in government from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations and political science from the University of California, Davis.

Contact: akhalfin@caanet.org, (707) 200-9070


Mallori Spilker
Vice president of public affairs

Mallori Spilker manages local public and legislative affairs for the greater Sacramento Valley region, including the counties of Butte, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Shasta, Solano and Yolo, and assists CAA’s public affairs program with statewide legislative advocacy. Prior to joining CAA, she served the California Association of REALTORS as a government affairs field representative, and United Contractors as their regulatory affairs manager. Mallori holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in politics from University of California Santa Cruz.

Contact: mspilker@caanet.org, (916) 449-6456


Robert Bicker
Legislative analyst

Robert Bicker is CAA’s legislative analyst and is responsible for coordinating the day-to-day tracking of the association’s public affairs program, which includes bill identification, tracking and analysis. Prior to joining CAA, Bicker was a legislative assistant at the California Chamber of Commerce and a law indexer for the Capitol Legislative Counsel Bureau. He holds an Associate of Arts degree from Sacramento City College in languages and literature.

Contact: rbicker@caanet.org, (916) 449-6424


Mike Nemeth
Communications director

Mike Nemeth manages CAA’s media relations and communications programs, including the association’s weekly electronic newsletter. Prior to joining CAA, Nemeth was managing editor for The Salinas Californian. He also worked as a reporter for two daily newspapers in Florida. Nemeth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Central Florida.

Contact: mnemeth@caanet.org, (916) 449-6426


Lillie Schneider
Public affairs manager for Southern California

Lillie Schneider assists with the direction of CAA’s legislative, political and public affairs objectives. Her background working in nonprofit management gives her the knowledge and experience to also contribute to the success of the association’s membership, fundraising and events efforts. Schneider holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, with an emphasis on communications, from San Jose State University.

Contact: lschneider@caanet.org, (949) 474-1347


Keshav Kumar
Public Affairs Coordinator

Keshav Kumar supports CAA’s advocacy efforts by researching and analyzing public policies on rental housing, tracking legislation, writing fact sheets, briefing memos and other documents. Prior to joining CAA, Kumar held positions including government affairs associate for the Santa Cruz County Business Council, campaign representative for Santa Cruz Together, which fought against Santa Cruz’s rent control campaign, and outreach coordinator for the Mayor of Santa Cruz. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Contact: kkumar@caanet.org, (408) 342-3508


Membership & Operations

Kevin Pellegrino
Senior vice president of membership and operations

Kevin Pellegrino manages the business side of the organization, and his team is responsible for accounting, events, finance, human resources, information technology, marketing and membership. He has a long career of working in the information-technology, financial-services, medical, education and nonprofit/association industries. Pellegrino’s specific areas of expertise include database design and marketing, sales, and operational auditing and implementation. He has an undergraduate degree in psychology and a master’s in business administration from Canisius College in Buffalo New York. Prior to joining CAA, he worked for Hewlett-Packard and the California Chamber of Commerce.

Contact: kpellegrino@caanet.org, (916) 449-6441


Laura Meadows
Controller

Laura Meadows is the controller for CAA, with principal responsibility for accounting, finance, human resources, payroll, IT and office management. Laura holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and accounting from California State University, Sacramento. Prior to joining CAA, Meadows worked as a member service representative for the Golden 1 Credit Union. 

Contact: lmeadows@caanet.org, (916) 449-6437


Compliance & Education

Heidi Palutke
Senior vice president of compliance and education

Heidi Palutke holds principal responsibility for CAA’s compliance and education programs, including the development of statewide and local compliance forms and materials. She conducts research and analysis of state and local legislation to support CAA’s public affairs team. She also represents CAA before various regulatory agencies and departments and manages CAA’s various litigation projects. Prior to joining CAA, she was an associate with the Law Offices of Andrew L. Packard in San Francisco and served as a legal policy analyst for Lead Safe California. Palutke holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations from Michigan State University, and a Juris Doctorate from Golden Gate University School of Law, San Francisco. She is a member of the California State Bar and has been admitted to the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.

Contact: hpalutke@caanet.org, (916) 449-6425


Margarita Carazo
Education and training director

Margarita Carazo is responsible for managing logistics of all education programs, including in-person classes, webinars, on-demand classes, educational email marketing, and video editing. She also manages the California Certified Residential Manager certification program. Prior to joining CAA, she worked for Gerson Baker & Associates. Carazo has also held positions as a medical assistant and holds the designation of certified medical assistant.

Contact: mcarazo@caanet.org, (408) 342-3511


Ninder Grewal
Policy and compliance counsel

Ninder Grewal advises CAA’s state and local public affairs teams, provides education and compliance materials, and helps staff the member helpline. She brings over direct experience in landlord tenant real estate law through her past representation of property owners and managers in all areas of the residential landlord tenant relationship including unlawful detainers, rent control, subsidized housing, lease enforcement, property abandonment, landlord’s right of entry, landlord’s duty to repair and maintain property, and changing terms of tenancy. She has Bachelor of Arts degrees in math and business management economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, a Juris Doctorate from the Seattle University School of Law and is a member of the California State Bar. Previously worked as an attorney for the Kimball, Tirey & St. John law firm.

Contact: ngrewal@caanet.org, (916) 449-6436


Andrea Moss
Member compliance services attorney

Andrea Moss is the primary attorney for CAA’s Landlord Helpline, which provides answers to member questions on state and local laws on landlord-tenant matters. She also provides support for CAA forms. In addition to practicing law, Moss has held several positions in property management, working for companies such as Gerson Bakar and Associates and the Irvine Company. Moss holds a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, Long Beach, and a Juris Doctorate from Western State College of Law. She is also a member of the California State Bar and holds a State of California Real Estate Broker’s License.

Contact: amoss@caanet.org, (916) 449-6428

Stephanie Shirkey
Senior policy and compliance counsel
Stephanie Shirkey advises CAA’s state and local public affairs teams, provides education and compliance materials, and helps staff the member helpline. She brings over a decade of experience in drafting legislation and writing legal opinions for members of the Legislature on a wide variety of topics, including state and local government, business and taxation. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of California Hastings College of Law. She is also a member of the California State Bar.

Contact: sshirkey@caanet.org, (916) 449-6439


Events

Hillary Burden
Director of events for Southern California
Hillary Burden is responsible for CAA events in Southern California, including sponsorships and sales. CAA delivers quality education and signature events like CAA’s Property Manager’s Forums, award shows and PAC fundraisers. Hillary also develops and maintains strong working relationships with business partners, vendors and venues to accomplish CAA’s event goals. In her previous job, she was member relations director for a private company. She received a bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly Pomona in hospitality management.

Contact: hburden@caanet.org, (949) 734-2026

Brandy Peak
Director of events for Northern California

Brandy Peak is responsible for events in Northern California, including the association’s largest, the CAA Connect Conference and Expo. Brandy curates the member experience at nearly 20 events, threading connections among members while working to strengthen the rental housing industry. She is a certified association executive through the American Society of Association Executives. Her previous roles include director of membership and professional development at the Indiana Apartment Association and assistant manager of membership for the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. She holds a master’s degree in sociology and gender from Illinois State University and a master’s degree in nonprofit management from DePaul University.

Contact: bpeak@caanet.org, (408) 342-3517

Support staff

Amy Baker
Data integrity specialist

As the data integrity specialist, Amy Baker works on accounting matters with CAA’s controller and senior vice president of membership and operations. Since joining CAA in 2001, Baker has worked in many areas of the association, including education and the CCRM Certification program, and she has worked closely and directly with the events and membership teams.

Contact: abaker@caanet.org, (916) 449-6452


Sonia Chavez
California membership specialist

Sonia Chavez oversees statewide renewals for CAA. Her duties include addressing prevalent membership questions, verifying property data within CAA’s membership and facilitating the renewal process for existing members.

Contact: schavez@caanet.org, (916) 449-6451


Briana McDaniel
Member services coordinator

Briana McDaniel is CAA’s front-line member services coordinator. She is the voice you hear when you first call CAA. Before joining the association’s team, McDaniel worked in customer support in the telecommunication industry.

Contact: bmcdaniel@caanet.org, (916) 449-6444