Spotlight: Roger Brown, Maintenance Supervisor

When USA Properties Fund bought a Bay Area apartment community where Roger Brown was working in 2002, he worried about his future.

Brown, whose wife had just passed and was raising their two school-aged sons on his own, was concerned about the new company, his job and home, since he lived on the property as a maintenance technician.

But the acquisition of the apartment community became “a blessing,” providing much stability and numerous opportunities for Brown and his sons.


Fast-forward two decades, the company has sold the apartment community, but continues to invest in Brown.

“They’ve gone out of their way to help me,” says Brown, who recently celebrated his 20th anniversary with USA Properties, including the last 18 years at Terracina at Morgan Hill.

“USA has invested so much in me with training,” says Brown, maintenance supervisor at Terracina at Morgan Hill. “They’ve given me the tools to be successful. There’s nothing at this property that I can’t do.”

His confidence is backed by decades of experience – and training.

Before Brown joined the multifamily housing industry, he was an airport technician at the Oakland International Airport. For several years, he balanced both jobs – the airport during the day and handling maintenance in the late afternoon and evening.

“I knew everything I touched had to be correct, 100% perfect,” says Brown, adding that a mistake at the airport could have life-changing results for passengers.

It’s the same commitment he brings every day to work with USA Properties.

“Everything I do in someone’s home, I make sure to do it right the first time,” says Brown, who oversees a two-person maintenance team at Terracina at Morgan Hill. “I want people to sleep at night and not worry.”

His dedication and hard work have helped him land many jobs during the past four decades, from a position at a nuclear reactor to offshore oil rigs.

“I’ve done some jobs that I would never want to do again,” says Brown, who moved from Louisiana to California when he was 19 years old.

USA Properties has given Brown opportunities and stability.

“I don’t like to bounce around,” says Brown, who was at USA Properties’ Heritage Park at Hilltop affordable senior apartment community in Richmond for a couple of years before moving to Terracina at Morgan Hill. “When I work some place, I like to hunker down.”

And that’s good for Brown, his family – and residents.

“I’ve come to know so many families,” he says. “Some of the kids grow up, get married and they want to come back and live here.”


Like Brown’s oldest son, now in his early 30s, who grew up and rents an apartment at Terracina at Morgan Hill. So, Brown is just a short walk from his son – and grandson, who was born in July 2022.

And USA Properties is part of the family.

“USA has always made me feel like family,” he says. “They’ve given me the privilege to raise my boys and take care of them. USA sees the person, not just the position. I always want to show my appreciation through my work.”

He brings that appreciation and happiness to residents at Terracina at Morgan Hill.

“It’s the little things that make a difference,” says Brown, who knows some residents are struggling, whether they’re dealing with a health issue, a job loss or the death of a loved one. A happy face on a repair order tag or just kind words can make a difference. “When I walk away from you, I want to leave you with something positive.”

Away from work, Brown enjoys bike riding, playing basketball and walks in the park.

“I don’t look or act my age,” laughs Brown, who is remarried and likes to travel with his wife. The couple have traveled to the Bahamas, Canada and her native Philippines. “I love seeing new places.Roger Brown 1 | USA Properties Fund, Inc.

Spotlight: Natalia Todorov

Natalia Todorov is all about building community, developing relationships and embracing family.

For Natalia, all three come together as the Community Manager of Vintage Canyon, an affordable senior apartment community in Brea, and with USA Properties Fund.

“I was meant to be here at Vintage Canyon,” says Todorov, who recently celebrated her 20-year anniversary with the company, much of it as Community Manager at Vintage Canyon, while being a trainer, mentor, Yardi Buddy, and consultant for many Southern California employees. “Vintage Canyon is a family. As soon as you walk in, it feels like home.”

The 105-apartment community has been her passion, from working with her dedicated and hard-working onsite management and maintenance team to helping the hundreds of residents through the years at Vintage Canyon.

“I feel privileged to work here,” she says. “I embrace it as my own.”

‘USA Properties is a very special company’

The apartment community has been a huge part of her life, from the all-too familiar Bingo games and birthday parties to the eye-catching “The Descending Dancer” sculpture at the entrance of the property. Both of her children – now-adult daughter Sophia and almost-teenage son Theodore – were born while Todorov has been at Vintage Canyon.

“They were the children with 100 grandparents,” she laughs.

The connection, emotion and passion go beyond the apartment community. Vintage Canyon, the 25th property built and managed by USA Properties, is an extension of the company, where balance and family are just as important as hard work and success.

“USA Properties is a very special company,” Todorov says. “It was created with a lot of love and purpose.”

Many opportunities for Todorov, from learning software to training team members

There are many examples, from the company’s commitment to building affordable apartment communities for low-income families and seniors – many who may not be able to afford a home of their own – to the many career opportunities for team members.

Todorov was the first in her family to move from Bulgaria to the U.S. in 1997 and became a community manager at another Orange County apartment community in Southern California. After a few years, she joined USA Properties – and Vintage Canyon.

She has excelled as a community manager and expanded her skills, from becoming an expert in Low Income Housing Tax Credit Section 42 and getting a Housing Credit Certified Professional designation to learning PEAK and ACCUCert software programs.

Todorov was promoted to Compliance Auditor, which ensures residents meet stringent age and income requirements for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, and worked out of the Rancho Cucamonga Southern California office from 2004 to 2007. She became the Southern California trainer for new and seasoned team members holding regular in-person classes in Section 42 and current software used by the company. She continued to train USA employees even after she returned to be the community manager at Vintage Canyon in 2007.

Todorov was even offered a promotion to work at USA Properties’ corporate headquarters in Roseville, about 25 miles from Sacramento. But her family – and heart – were in Southern California and with Vintage Canyon. Her parents, who later moved from Bulgaria to the United States, were older and faced numerous health issues, not the best time for their daughter to move 300 miles away. Her father passed away in June 2022.

While the timing for the promotion – and the move from Southern to Northern California – was off, the company’s response to her difficult decision was perfect. Her colleagues, including her compliance supervisor Kimberly Tenold and the USA Multifamily Management President Karen McCurdy (both have since retired), understood.

“USA Properties is more than a company, it’s a family,” she says. “It’s a living, breathing entity.”

Much like her own apartment community of Vintage Canyon.

“Vintage Canyon has my heart,” says Todorov, whose birthday is the same day as when Vintage Canyon received its Certificate of Occupancy. “But I’m also ready for the next chapter.”

Away from work, Todorov enjoys spending time with her family – her husband Angel, who worked as a Maintenance Supervisor for USA from 2001 to 2013, and daughter and son – and their German shepherd, Bosco, adopted during the pandemic. She also likes to cook, bake, dance, and sing while surrounded with her multi-cultural friends, and to travel around the world. So far, she has been to China, Israel, Turkey, England, Mexico and six U.S. states.

“I think I have a lucky star above me,” she says.

USA Properties Fund completes lease up of Vintage at Sycamore

As of February 28th, the lease up of Vintage at Sycamore, a 99-unit affordable senior apartment community, has been completed, a little less than a year after construction began.

This lease up was a monumental effort led by Teri Brown, Regional Manager, and Megan Underwood, Compliance Manager, who, along with their teams, processed and moved in 99 households in a 30-day period.

Vintage at Sycamore 100 percent occupied sign

In addition to the leadership of Teri and Megan, we would like to acknowledge those that worked tirelessly to lease apartments, process applications, and get the apartments and buildings ready for residents to call home. This includes:

• Madeleine Garcia, Community Manager, Vintage Crest Senior Apartments
• Joanne Salinas, Community Manager, Vintage Paseo Senior Apartments
• Daniel York, Community Manager, Avenida Crossing
• Megan Bonham, District Compliance Auditor
• Ben Viramontes, Maintenance Supervisor
• Kerry Eldredge, Senior Superintendent, USA Construction Management
• Nancy Menchaca, Assistant Superintendent, USA Construction Management
• Mark McDermott, Project Manager, USA Construction Management
• John Kozler, Senior Project Manager, USA Construction Management

Spotlight: Kim Dobbs

Kim Dobbs believes in love at first sight.

It happened more than two decades ago on a “whirlwind” trip to the Sacramento region, when she gave up a job in Southern California to join a fast-growing company with a life-changing opportunity in the Sacramento region.

“I was looking for something different,” Dobbs says. “This was a welcome change.”

She has never looked back.

“I fell in love with the property right away, it’s so beautiful,” says Dobbs, Community Manager of Vintage Oaks in Citrus Heights. “You don’t see apartment communities like this. There’s never been a day that I didn’t want to be here.”

The 240-apartment community came with a company that she knew rather well – USA Properties Fund.

“He always had positive things to say,” Dobbs says of her husband, Alan, who was in management with USA Properties in Southern California, and later moved to construction with the company. He died in 2007. “He loved USA. He was passionate about USA.”

Soon, Dobbs knew why.

“I’m amazed to see where the company was 20 years ago, and where we are today,” she says. “They’ve helped so many families by providing affordable housing.”

Vintage Oaks was the first affordable senior apartment community for USA Properties, opening in 1994. Vintage Oaks has served as the blueprint for future senior communities for USA Properties.

“They are such fun, unique people,” Dobbs says of the seniors at Vintage Oaks. Dobbs had extensive property management experience in Southern California but never with an all-senior community like Vintage Oaks. “The most fascinating things are their stories. There’s never a dull moment. No day is ever the same.”

And that keeps Dobbs busy, engaged and more than satisfied.

While many of Dobbs’ colleagues are checking for new opportunities at other communities or climbing the corporate ladder with USA Properties, she is happy remaining at Vintage Oaks. Her Assistant Community Manager, Tami Higgins, arrived at the apartment community a few months after Dobbs.

The continuity makes for a successful team at Vintage Oaks.

“They all know and love their jobs,” she says. “Everything comes so easy. I’ve been blessed with good people, very easy people to work with.”

‘This is their home, their community, their family’

Dobbs’ job has also become a lot easier with LifeSTEPS, a social-services program that helps low-income residents at many of USA Properties.

“It took a huge burden off us when LifeSTEPS arrived,” she says. “They are very instrumental.”

LifeSTEPS offers financial assistance to residents, from budget counseling to helping with unexpected emergencies like a death or a job loss. A few years ago, LifeSTEPS and USA Properties partnered to establish the RN Coaching Program, providing an on-site RN once a week at Vintage Oaks. The award-winning program helps residents deal with colds, coughs, chronic conditions and other health issues and even double-checks prescriptions.

“It’s huge, monumental for residents,” Dobbs says. “We are working with residents so they can stay here in their homes. We don’t want them to move, we want them to stay in place. This is their home, their community, their family.”

It’s the kind of forward-looking effort that makes USA Properties special.

“USA Properties wants to serve, wants to help,” she says. “It’s a company that cares about residents and employees. I’m very fortunate, I feel very blessed.”

Outside the office

Kim Dobbs takes full advantage of living near the American River, where she can bike, hike and even fish. “It’s a gorgeous area.” She also enjoys hanging out in downtown Fair Oaks and spending time with her granddaughter who lives in Southern California.

Spotlight: Luis Loaiza

Hard-working Luis Loaiza embraced a hard-to-imagine challenge of a never-day-off, 80-hour per week work in order to provide for and build a better life for his young family.

Loaiza had two full-time jobs for four years. His “days off” were Mondays and Tuesdays, when he worked only eight hours.

“It was the hardest thing, but I was doing it for good reasons,” says Loaiza, a devoted husband and father of three children – between the ages of 10 and 13. “But I never even thought about it.”

He just worked. A lot.

His wife battles health issues, which affects how much she can work. So, Loaiza decided to double-up on his workday and join a very select group of 4 million Americans – less than 2.5% of the workforce – who hold two full-time jobs, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Loaiza was in maintenance at a local hotel when his wife came across a job listing for a similar position at an affordable apartment community in 2017.

“It sounded like something I wanted to do,” says Loaiza, who was intrigued by the opportunity at USA Properties’ Terracina at Cathedral City. “It was supposed to be my second job. It just kind of worked out.”

Numerous jobs help him excel as a maintenance supervisor

Soon, the 80-apartment community became his favorite job. And a career.

“I’ve done everything,” says Loaiza, who has been in construction, landscaping, retail and even repaired air conditioning units for two years. “I have nothing but respect for all trades. It took me a while to find something that I really like.”

Being a maintenance supervisor fits his long list of skills – and his long-term goals.

Loaiza excelled as the maintenance supervisor at Terracina at Cathedral City. He was promoted to the same position in August 2021 at Amanda Park Senior Apartments in Murrieta – USA Properties’ largest apartment community at 397 units.

“So far, so good … and we’re doing better every day,” says an upbeat Loaiza, who supervises a two-member maintenance team and a contractor. “Work has been great.”

Loaiza is learning there are a few differences between an affordable family and a senior apartment community, especially one that is five times larger than his previous property. But his approach remains the same.

“I always look at residents as customers, because they are,” says Loaiza, who will soon move with his family to Amanda Park Senior Apartments. “I try to do what I can to make residents happy.”

And if he ever runs into a challenge, he can seek the advice of his uncle, who recently retired as a longtime employee of USA Properties. Loaiza grew up in a USA Properties-owned apartment community in Desert Hot Springs.

“It was a great place to live,” he says. “I stayed there through high school.”

A ‘clear path’ with ‘the opportunity to move up’

Amanda Park Senior Apartments and USA Properties have also been a great place to work. “Everyone has been so nice to me,” Loaiza says of his coworkers and residents.

Of course, the ever-ambitious and goal-oriented Loaiza is already looking at down-the-road opportunities with the asset preservation team or in construction with USA Properties.

“What I love about this company is you can see a clear path,” he says. “You see the opportunity to move up.”

But, for now, he is enjoying the new job, the much-shorter work week – and a lot more time with his family.

“When I worked two jobs, I didn’t see them very much,” he says. “Now, I see them every night. It’s great having all this time with my family. It’s priceless, and something I don’t ever want to take for granted. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Outside the office

Luis Loaiza, his wife and three children enjoy spending time together, especially in San Diego, where LEGOLAND, the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld top the favorite things-to-do list.

Spotlight: Jeanette Gutierrez

Property management is the family business for Jeannette Gutierrez.

So, when Gutierrez moved across the country from New Jersey to California almost three decades ago, she knew where to start looking.

“I hopped on a Greyhound bus with a 1-year-old on my lap and set my roots here,” says Gutierrez, Assistant Community Manager for Rancho Carrillo Apartments in Carlsbad. “I went from such a rough life to so many things opening up for me.”

Her career has opened many doors, and helped her land with USA Properties. “My entire family is in property management,” she says.

For Gutierrez, property management is more than a career. It’s a calling, a connection.

“I like helping people,” says Gutierrez, who still carries her Brooklyn accent. “Sometimes (residents) come to you desperate.”

Like a 23-year-old resident who had a parent pass away and another was deported. All of a sudden, the young man became the guardian of his teenage and elementary school-aged sisters.

“He is raising his two sisters and working so hard,” Gutierrez says. “I am so proud of him. But I’m also proud that we were able to help them. It’s very rewarding.”

From her colleagues at Rancho Carrillo to senior executives at the company’s corporate headquarters, USA Properties wants to help residents – and team members – succeed.

“The camaraderie, the connection that everybody has is something I’ve never experienced,” she says. “I love my team. We have become like family.”

Indeed, Gutierrez – who has two sons – enjoys cooking for her coworkers and residents. She has cooked Christmas breakfast for residents and donned a Super Mario Bros. character costume for Halloween, handing out bags of candy to families.

It’s the kind of treat that makes Rancho Carrillo a special place, she says.

‘We’re all connected, and ready to help each other’

Affordable apartment communities often demand more paperwork than traditional properties, from checking on the household income of residents to filing the necessary forms under the tax credit program.

“The workload can be intense,” says Gutierrez, who was largely at market-rate properties before joining USA Properties in 2018. “It’s more time-consuming, but very rewarding.”

She never feels alone – and always has support, even during the Covid lockdown and throughout the pandemic. Her regional manager checks in every week and is available whenever needed.

“She is pretty amazing, she has done that the entire time,” Gutierrez says. “It’s so impressive.”

The we’ve-got-your-back approach at the apartment community and from the corporate office makes a huge difference.

“We’re all connected and ready to help each other,” says Gutierrez, who helped with leasing when Liberty at Aliso opened in nearby Aliso Viejo. “I can’t wait until we can all get together, again.”

She is happy with her decision to join USA Properties – where the president wants team members to call him by his first name – and plans to remain until she retires, quite a few years down the road.

“The company is amazing,” says Gutierrez, who has a six-minute commute from her home to Rancho Carrillo. “The pay and the benefits are great. If you believe in the mission, you will be satisfied.”

Outside the office

Jeannette Gutierrez is a self-described “homebody,” who enjoys cooking and “taking care of things that take time to obtain,” especially her home. She lives on a friendly cul-de-sac, where neighbors hold a monthly potluck.

“I’ll cook for the entire neighborhood,” says Gutierrez, who didn’t participate in the monthly parties when she first moved into the neighborhood. “Now, I’m the last one to go home.”

She also enjoys long drives and looking at architecture or going to the beach. “I love to listen the ocean and watch the sunsets.”

Spotlight: John Kelly

John Kelly is building a career and much-needed housing for residents, while also giving back to his community and living his personal mission with USA Properties.

Opportunity coupled with philanthropy is a tough-to-beat combo in the workplace for Kelly.

“I saw USA online, and one of the things I read up about was the JB Brown Fund and how the company gave back to the community,” says Kelly, a Construction Project Manager. “That was something that really drew me to the company.”

The JB Brown Fund, a partnership between USA Properties and LifeSTEPS – a social-services provider at many USA-owned affordable apartment communities – helps residents with everything from attending college or participating in youth sports to dealing with an unexpected money crunch.

“USA is really a proponent to helping people grow, employees and residents,” says Kelly, who was hired as an Assistant Project Manager before being promoted to his current position. “There is a lot of room for growth here. And they give you many opportunities to do different things.”

‘The faith, the belief they have in me’

Kelly has been involved in eight construction projects since joining USA Properties in 2016, including being the on-site project engineer for Santana Terrace – a market-rate community in Santa Clara. He embraced the challenge and did a lot of on-the-spot problem solving to keep the project moving forward.

“It showed the faith, the belief they had in me to keep the project moving forward,” he says of his project team. “I did a lot of problem-solving. I’m really proud of the way we finished that project.”

More recently, he has been involved in the development of Terracina at Lancaster – an affordable apartment community in Southern California – and an extensive renovation of Sierra Sunrise, a senior community in the Sacramento region.

Certainly, completing a massive construction project – one that takes many months and tens of millions of dollars – makes him proud. But the best feeling comes from watching the response of residents.

“It’s so amazing to see people move into these homes that are absolutely beautiful,” he says. “These are families, people who are struggling.”

The company’s efforts go beyond its own properties. USA Properties partners on numerous construction-related efforts in the community, including those for HomeAid Sacramento and Veterans of America.

“Those are the kind of things that I love to do,” Kelly says. “Giving back to people and helping people is part of who I am, its interwoven with my faith.”

College student, mill worker and math tutor

He is also about focusing on his goals and hard work and, just as important, being part of a team and helping others reach their potential.

“Participating in sports in high school taught me a lot,” says Kelly, who ran the mile for his high school track team and dramatically improved his time – and results. “I went from last to first. Sports showed me that if you put in the hard work, you can achieve anything.”

He continued to embrace the approach while attending College of the Siskiyous, where he balanced a full class load while working in a lumber mill, ran track, and also tutored students in math. He transferred to Sacramento State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering.

After earning his degree, Kelly was hired as a drafter for a steel company and later joined a civil engineering company working on the new Bay Bridge. Then, he was hired as a project engineer for a Bay Area construction company.

But Kelly wanted a career with growth and opportunity where he could learn – and also give back. USA Properties checked all of those boxes and more.

“It’s a great place to work,” says Kelly, who recently bought a house and got engaged. “It’s a great work environment that fosters growth, while also encouraging a work-life balance. I feel very grateful and blessed to be doing what I do every day.

Outside the office

John Kelly & Gina Villani at Sienna Restaurant, where they got engaged.

Spotlight: Megan Bonham

USA Properties has delivered beyond Megan Bonham’s expectations.

Bonham became aware of the company – and property management – while she worked for the U.S. Postal Service during the summer. She delivered mail to an apartment community in Rocklin and wanted to learn more about the profession.

Unfortunately, Bonham joined another company. It was not-the-best experience. Then, she applied and was hired by USA Properties.

“I could just tell it was a much better company,” Bonham says of USA Properties. “USA just cares – about its employees and residents.”

She started with the company as a leasing agent for Terracina Meadows in Sacramento in 2009 and was later promoted to Assistant Community Manager at nearby Vintage Natomas Field.

In 2013, she was promoted to Compliance Auditor, a challenging and critical position that reviews files, from checking the assets and income of low-income residents to ensure that they qualify for tax credit housing to the occasional inspection of properties and the list goes on.

It can be a difficult, humbling and rewarding workday.

“It definitely makes you feel blessed,” says Bonham, who sees the financial challenges in the paperwork of many residents. “It really makes you feel grateful.”

‘Always moving forward and wants to improve’

While she enjoyed being at the apartment communities and the day-to-day interaction with residents, her current position is a better fit.

“I love being at the corporate office and my team,” says Bonham, who likes the camaraderie and the ever-changing industry. USA Properties is “always moving forward and wants to improve. They always want to hear your suggestions.”

And Bonham always wants to help the company and herself improve.

“You’re learning new things all the time” with tax credit housing, says Bonham. “I’m always open to learning new things, and I’d like to learn more and move up within the company.”

With USA Properties, career growth is important. Employees are encouraged to expand and learn new skills. The company even offers a tuition reimbursement program.

‘We work amazing as a team’

But the best benefits with the company go beyond the obvious.

Bonham says quarterly team luncheons, holiday parties, birthday celebrations and milestone anniversary celebrations are just some of the ways USA shows it cares. The company also offers eight paid hours every year to volunteer at local nonprofit organizations.

“There are just so many things through the years that make USA special,” says Bonham

Of course, a good work-life balance is also important, especially for Bonham, a busy mother of two elementary school-aged daughters.

“The company is very flexible with my schedule,” she says. “They are very open and understanding.”

The company, camaraderie with coworkers, compensation and the often-overlooked perks, add up to a rewarding and successful career for Bonham.

“If you can, get in with this company,” she says. “I never want to leave this company. It’s like a family.”

Outside the office

Megan, her husband and two daughters are often busy with work, school and play dates. But they always try to find the time during the year for trips to Hawaii and Vermont, where she grew up.

Spotlight: Yvonne McDonald

A temporary gig became a career and, in some ways, a life-changing opportunity for Yvonne McDonald.

McDonald entered property management in 2012, working for a temp agency at a variety of communities but a two-month assignment at a USA property in Woodland touched her heart in a special way.

Sadly, the position ended and she was placed at a market-rate apartment community in Stockton. It was a beautiful property and it became a permanent job. The two-hour, round-trip commute was demanding, especially since she also took care of her mother before and after work.

A long day at work was followed with a long drive home to Sacramento – and the challenges of being a caregiver after the traditional workday.

“The travel was just way too much,” she says. “It was also emotionally hard.”

In January 2016, she sought work closer to home and remembering her affection for the way USA Properties treated its employees, communities, and residents, she applied and interviewed at two USA Properties.

Sierra Sunrise hired her as Assistant Community Manager, a project-based affordable senior apartment community less than 15 minutes from her home.

“I fell in love with USA as a company as a temp employee, from what the properties looked like to how residents were treated,” she says. “It was just the right fit.”

It was a good fit for USA Properties, too. The company promoted McDonald to Community Manager of Sierra Sunrise in 2019.

The affordable apartment community, about 15 miles from the company’s corporate headquarters, is definitely unique. Many residents at Sierra Sunrise receive housing assistance from U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD), while others are through the tax credit program.

Together, the apartment community provides much-needed – and much-appreciated – housing to low-income residents, many who may not have another option.

“Having worked in the industry, USA offers a top-notch product without charging a top price,” says McDonald, who handles plenty of paperwork with the two programs. “USA wants to provide a quality product to the underserved. They show so much care for residents.”

‘You want everyone to enjoy the best life possible’

It’s an approach that connects with McDonald – and her residents.

“The residents are so appreciative, they know they have a blessing,” says McDonald, who feels a connection to her late-mother through the residents at Sierra Sunrise. “It’s like seeing my mom every day. I have a lot of empathy; my eyes drain a lot. You want everyone to enjoy the best life possible.”

Her connection with residents started during her job interview at Sierra Sunrise. A woman, Marilyn, who lived at the community sat on a bench and spoke with McDonald after the interview.

“On my first day of work, she came over and gave me a hug,” McDonald says. “She made me feel welcome from day one.”

Later, Marilyn introduced McDonald to her pastor, and the relationship paved the way for an on-site food program. They hope to add a Meals on Wheels Hot Lunch program in the next 12 months at Sierra Sunrise.

“There’s a huge need for food, but also to share a meal with people,” McDonald says. “All of this was made possible because Marilyn had a friend who visited her every week.”

Of course, McDonald had a lot do with it, too. And now she is deeply involved in the extensive renovation of Sierra Sunrise.

Once completed, the new community room and kitchen will help provide more food – and hot meals – to residents. The project includes the addition of quartz counters in the kitchens and bathrooms, glass cooktops, and new appliances and flooring in housing units. New landscaping and the installation of rooftop solar panels are also part of the 18-month project at Sierra Sunrise.

“It’s like a birthday surprise,” she says of the soon-to-be completed project. “Residents know that something better is coming.”

It’s a feeling McDonald had when she joined USA Properties.

The company “treats employees with so much respect,” she says. “USA has so much to offer.”

Outside the office

Yvonne McDonald’s busy day at the office often continues when she gets home. McDonald, who has two twentysomething sons and a daughter, is a first-time grandmother. She lives in her childhood home, and has been completing home-remodeling and design projects in recent years. She’s also learning how to cook again, and determined to master sewing. “My mother was an amazing seamstress.”

Spotlight: Laura Langman

Sometimes practice is perfect.

When Laura Langman interviewed for the Controller position at USA Multifamily Management in 1998, she considered the interview practice for another position she wanted – with another company.

But the more she learned about USA Properties, from friends in the accounting industry to digging up information on the still-infant internet, the more she liked the opportunity and the possibilities it presented.

Almost a quarter-century later – and with about five times as many apartment communities – Langman remains happy with her decision to join USA Properties.

“It was the environment,” says Langman, a Certified Public Accountant who joined USA Properties after being an auditor with Ernst & Young. “I was part of a team.”

A critical piece of the team. In 2001, Langman was promoted to USA Properties’ Controller while keeping her original position for three years. She has been deeply involved in the company’s growth and finances from her very first days, handling everything from the annual corporate audits to the complexities of stock repurchases and sales.

“I wanted to own my own work,” Langman says of the decision to leave Ernst & Young.

And learn along the way. The company’s fast-paced growth required long hours and learning new skills.

Ed Herzog, one of the company’s first employees and now-retired Executive Vice President Chief Financial Officer, was her supervisor and mentor and remains her friend today.

“Ed was a great teacher,” she says. “He took the time to teach me to understand the business. He always made you feel like you mattered and acknowledged the things you did well.”

‘This is your finest hour’

Accounting is about crunching numbers, recording, analyzing, and reporting financial transactions, an often-overlooked but necessary task that gets little attention compared to closing a big deal or the opening of a new property.

“I’ve always felt supported and appreciated,” says Langman, who remembers company founder J.B. Brown’s annual practice of coming into her office while she was busy working on the company’s audits. Being a history buff, Brown would quote Winston Churchill and say, “This is your finest hour.”

Well, actually finest hundreds of hours.

“I like the numbers, I like the work, I like the detail,” Langman says. “I’m very detail-oriented.”

As the company grew and the accounting departments became larger, Langman’s love for the numbers was overshadowed by her duties as a supervisor.

Langman, who enjoyed the company and embraced the work, was starting to think maybe this is longer a good fit. She had not updated her resume but was starting to contemplate other potential opportunities.

Mentor Herzog had a better idea. In 2012, he established a Corporate Assistant Controller position for Langman. She could focus on task completion without the distraction of managing a department.

“The company made use of my skills, those I really like and am good at,” says Langman, a former financial services specialist with the U.S. Air Force that helped her graduate from CSU, Chico.

Now, Langman can continue doing what she enjoys and excels at for USA Properties.

Company President Geoff Brown has “more than once acknowledged the work that I do, saying ‘I need Laura to do that or look at that,’” says Langman, who greatly appreciates the kind words. “Ed made me feel that I was mattered as a human being and not just a cog in the work wheel.”

Outside the office

Animals, exercise, and home-improvement projects are Laura Langman’s passions.

She volunteers with the Placer SPCA – has fostered more than 100 kittens – and Lend a Heart, an animal-assisted therapy group that helps people, from seniors in memory-care facilities to special-needs students.

“I wanted to feel that I did something to give back,” says Langman, a self-described workout enthusiast.  “I kept thinking what positive impact do I have on this world?”
She and her white miniature poodle, Brodie, have connected with many people during the past several years.
“He made a connection with this man, it was awe-inspiring,” she says of a visit with an elderly man residing at a memory-care facility. The gentleman seldom spoke but he connected with and talked to Brodie. “Brodie reached out and touched this man’s soul … It gave me chills.” Brodie had gently turned his head up and gazed peacefully into the man’s eyes.

When Langman and Brodie are not helping people, such as nervous flyers at the Sacramento International Airport, they are often busy with home-improvement projects.
“I thought it was my starter home,” says Langman, who bought her first house soon after joining USA Properties. “But, like my job, I’m still here after all these years.”