The Team

  • Jim Brooks


    As President of Topa Management Company, Jim is responsible for setting and implementing strategic planning and decision making for a company-owned portfolio of office, retail and multi-family properties located throughout southern California and Hawaii. Additional responsibilities include identifying opportunities for growth while adhering to budgets and cost control management to achieve efficiencies in operations.

    Jim brings more than 26 years of principal based real estate investment, financing, asset management, operating, development and repositioning experience including an extensive network of relationships critical to driving investment opportunities and financial performance in key markets throughout the west coast.

    Having worked for several national and regional real estate firms in senior level management positions and/or in partnership including Angelo, Gordon & Co., Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund and its subsidiary Kearny Street Real Estate Company, The Koll Company, Tishman Speyer Properties, Empire Commercial Real Estate, and the Marcus & Millichap affiliated companies of Pacific Property Company and Urban Housing Group, Jim has demonstrated a successful investment and value-add track record for his former partners and employers while directing over $1.2 billion in acquisitions and financings.

    Jim holds a Master’s Degree in Real Estate Development from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles.

  • Jeanne Lazar

    Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

    As Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Topa Management Company, Jeanne is responsible for all finance and accounting functions, including portfolio performance measurement and reporting. She oversees simplification and modernization initiatives to improve efficiency and to create transparency across all disciplines. In her role, Jeanne participates in implementing and managing strategic operating initiatives throughout the company providing guidance and resources. In addition, Jeanne’s skill set uniquely qualifies her to participate in underwriting and acquisitions having participated in numerous transactions prior to joining Topa.

    Jeanne joins Topa with over 20 years of finance and accounting experience, most recently as Chief Accounting Officer of MPG Office Trust, Inc. in Los Angeles. She served for five years as Senior Vice President of Finance with the Irvine Company Office Properties Group in Irvine and 15 years in various capacities with The John Buck Company in Chicago. A graduate of the University of Illinois with a B.S. in Accounting, Jeanne began her career in public accounting in Chicago before joining The John Buck Company.

  • Anne Mehrtens

    Vice President, Asset Management

    As Vice President, Asset Management, Anne is responsible for implementing and managing Topa’s real estate strategy through-out its southern California portfolio. Working closely with Topa’s CFO, Leasing and Construction Management personnel, Anne is also responsible for the management of Topa’s on-site property management personnel, operating results and implementation of best practices to enhance the performance of its portfolio and workplace helping to drive NOI performance and growth.

    Anne brings over 25 years of real estate management experience to Topa. Anne began her career in property management operations ultimately becoming Vice President of Operations for Arden Realty where she was responsible for 9 million square feet of commercial real estate in several markets including Chicago, Northern CA, Seattle and Salt Lake City. Anne’s experience in recognizing and managing the bigger picture including a fundamental understanding of budgeting, forecasting, project management, ability to recognize ‘value-add’ opportunities, organizational management, financial acumen and ability to manage multiple teams and multiple portfolios while adhering to sound policy and procedure is an integral fit with Topa’s management team.

    Anne held several management positions before spending the last 15 years with Arden Realty and its successor, GE Commercial Real Estate where she earned GE’s highest leadership honor in 2009, the Summit Award.

  • DeeDee West

    Portfolio Manager, Asset Management

    As Portfolio Manager, Asset Management, DeeDee is responsible for executing on TMC’s day-to-day operations, training and development, as well as strategic initiatives. DeeDee works closely with the leadership team to create, implement and communicate a consistent operational standardization across the portfolio to increase efficiencies as well as driving operational savings. DeeDee also plays a critical role in assisting with the management of Topa’s on site property management teams to enhance performance and the customer service of its portfolio.

    DeeDee brings over 20 years of real estate management experience to Topa. DeeDee began her career in the property operations arena, most recently as Senior Operations Manager at Arden Realty where she was responsible for a portfolio which represented more than 2.5 million square feet of office and industrial real estate across the United States. During her 16 year tenure at Arden, DeeDee created innovative cost containment initiatives, implemented process improvement and successfully moved new policies through the organization. DeeDee’s signature is her ability to manage the ongoing need for cost efficiency and standardization while still maintaining the integrity of the assets along with employee training and development.

    In addition to holding a California Real Estate Salesperson License, DeeDee has earned both her CPM and RPA designations and has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from UC Santa Barbara.

  • J.J. O'Brien

    Senior Vice President of Design & Construction

    As Senior Vice President of Design & Construction, JJ O’Brien is responsible for entitlements, project design and construction management of ground up development, value-add and renovation strategies for Topa and Topa affiliate company real estate as well as assisting on due diligence and strategy on new acquisitions.

    JJ brings over 30 years of experience in development, re-development, planning and construction for both large and small projects including extensive experience in entitlements, design, technical, contractual and construction administration process while managing multiple projects, design teams and consultants. Following graduation with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Notre Dame, JJ spent nearly 5 years with Dworsky Architects where he was responsible for a number of projects as architect eventually moving to the principal side of the real estate business working for owners and developers largely throughout southern CA, including stops with Homart Development Co., Cushman & Wakefield, PM Realty Group, CIM Group and Weintraub Real Estate Group.

  • Darren Bell

    Senior Vice President, Leasing

    As Senior Vice President, Darren brings to Topa more than 25 years of experience in commercial real estate leasing, development, investment, and management. Darren is responsible for overseeing the marketing and leasing of Topa’s 2.5 million square foot office and retail portfolio located throughout Los Angeles and Ventura County. He has negotiated and consummated over 1,500 commercial lease transactions throughout his career.

    Since joining Topa in 2002, Darren has been responsible for the execution of over $750 million in lease transactions representing over 3 million square feet. Prior to joining Topa, Darren held senior level positions with Lowe Enterprises in Los Angeles and CarrAmerica Realty Corporation in Washington, D.C. He holds an MBA Degree in Finance from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from Santa Clara University. Darren is a member of the Los Angeles Commercial Real Estate Association (LACRA) and serves as a chairman of Eagle Scout advancement in the San Gabriel Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

  • Danielle Butte

    Property Manager, Century City and Beverly Hills, CA

    As Property Manager, Danielle is responsible for the operations and management of 1800 Avenue of the Stars, a 300,000 square foot office building located on Avenue of the Stars in the prestigious Century City office market and Topa’s Beverly Hills portfolio consisting of a combined 75,000 square feet of commercial office space adjacent to the ‘Golden Triangle.’ 1800 Avenue of the Stars iconic design and location, was one of two of the first buildings constructed in Century City by Alcoa (Aluminum Company of America) in the late 1960’s featuring aluminum exterior panels with un-obstructed views to the north and west. Originally known as Gateway East, it mirrors Gateway West providing a front door to Century City. The building is home to a number of professional firms including legal, investment and retail banking.

    Prior to joining Topa Management Company, Danielle worked for both RREEF and Transwestern for a combined 5 years as a part of the management teams for the 1 million square foot Wilshire Courtyard office project in Los Angeles, CA. In addition Danielle, who joined Topa in 2013 as Assistant Property Manager and later promoted to Property Manager, holds a California Real Estate Salesperson license and is a graduate of USC where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.

  • Jericho Gilmore

    Property Manager, Westwood, CA

    As Property Manager, Jericho is responsible for Topa’s 220,000 square foot portfolio located in Westwood Village adjacent to UCLA, and is in charge of the operations and management of a diverse collection of both retail and commercial office tenants. Jericho brings over 10 years of property management experience to Topa, having worked for several institutional owners including Vornado Realty Trust and Shorenstein Realty Services in San Francisco.

    In addition to holding a California Real Estate Salesperson License, Jericho has earned the designation of Real Property Administrator (RPA) from BOMI, is credentialed as a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP) from the US Green Building Council, and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from UC Davis.

  • Belinda Head

    Senior Property Manager, Oxnard, CA

    With a 23 year career in real estate management, Senior Property Manager Belinda Head is responsible for a combined 600,000 square feet of commercial and retail space located on a 25 acre master plan in Oxnard, CA. Acquired by Topa in early 2000, ‘Topa Financial Center’ is considered the financial heart of Ventura County. The project provides an abundance of alternatives for tenants seeking space alternatives in a combination of high-rise, mid-rise and low rise office buildings supported by day-care and convenience retail. Responsibilities include not only the operations and management of team of on-site professionals, but the implementation of various re-development and value-add strategies.

    Prior to joining Topa, Belinda worked in various management capacities with industry leaders including William Wilson & Associates, Equity Office Properties, Trammell Crow Company and most recently nine years with CIM group. Belinda holds a BS Degree from California State University, Northridge and earned her RPA designation in 2003.

  • Curt Nakamura

    General Manager, Honolulu, HI

    As General Manager, Curt is responsible for both the operations and leasing of Topa’s 500,000 square foot Topa Financial Center located in Honolulu, HI consisting of two (2) Class A high-rise towers and retail podium. With over 20 years of direct Hawaiian experience in both real estate and finance, Curt joined Topa in 2001 following the acquisition of Topa Financial Center.

    A graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle, he has worked extensively in the financial and real estate markets in both Hawaii and Washington State. Curt is a member of BOMA, is a Director on the Board of the Fort Street Mall Improvement District Association and is a Trustee for the Institute for Human Services (emergency homeless shelter).

  • Dawn Pardinas

    Senior Property Manager, Westlake, CA

    As Property Manager, Dawn Pardinas is responsible for the operations and management of a team of professionals for a combined 450,000 square feet portfolio of suburban office and retail space predominantly located in Westlake, California, in the heart of Westlake Village, a large scale master plan originally conceived in the late 1960’s providing an abundance of open space, executive housing, and a highly regarded public school system. Considered the financial hub of north Los Angeles County, Westlake Village provides one of the nation’s strongest, diverse, well-educated and affluent communities in America.

    Prior to joining Topa, Dawn spent nearly 25 years in various real estate capacities including positions with Maguire Thomas Partners, Kilroy Realty, Tishman Speyer Properties, Cushman & Wakefield, JH Snyder & Company and most recently with Douglas Emmett. Dawn holds both an RPA and FMA designation.

  • Art Ponzio

    Property Manager, Brentwood, CA

    As Property Manager, Art is responsible for the day to day operations and management of a combined 310,000 square foot office and retail portfolio located throughout the Westside communities of Brentwood, Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades. Housing a mix of office and urban in-fill retail real estate, Topa’s portfolio consists of a mix of restaurant, high-end soft goods retailers, specialty retailers, supermarkets, and a combination of traditional and creative office space located along some of the more noteworthy locations along Montana Avenue, San Vicente Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard in the cities of Los Angeles and Santa Monica.

    After serving in the military, Art began a 17 year career in real estate management, holding several management positions with Unilev Management Company, Crown Realty & Development, Cushman & Wakefield and Arden Realty, and most recently with The Rader Company in Los Angeles where he was managing mixed-use, retail and industrial properties. Art holds a BS Degree from Woodbury University and received his designation as a Certified Property Manager in 2006.

  • Heather Riley

    Senior Property Manager, Century City, CA

    As Senior Property Manager, Heather Riley brings over 17 years of real estate and construction management experience to her role with Topa. Responsible for a combined portfolio of 1 million square feet of Class A office space in the prestigious Century City and Beverly Hills market, Heather is responsible for the operations, management, and leadership of an on-site team of professionals serving the needs of over 200 tenant customers. In addition to her management responsibilities, Heather brings extensive experience in construction management, space planning and marketing to Topa’s highly visible west Los Angeles portfolio.

    Prior to joining Topa, Heather began her career in real estate with Lincoln Property Company, before moving to various management capacities with Insignia, Transwestern, Divcowest, Arden Realty and Douglas Emmett, where she spent additional time managing a portfolio of 550,000 square feet in Honolulu, HI. Heather holds two real estate salesperson’s licenses in California and Hawaii.