Corporate Management Team

Chief Operating Officer & Managing Director

Jeff Gaines grew up in Woodland Hills, CA, and moved south to Newport Beach, CA, and La Jolla, CA, during his high school years before finishing up his schooling in Tempe, AZ, at Arizona State University (ASU) earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with a minor in Business in 1997. Immediately following college, Jeff began working for a private construction firm based in Riverside, CA, who's customers were some of this nation’s largest home developers, working his way up from a Sales Associate to Sales Manager in a short amount of time. In 1998, Jeff was given the opportunity to open up a new showroom and office in San Diego County. Over the course of 5 years, Jeff learned what it takes to run a business, tackling all aspects of it head on, while ensuring the customer was given a 5 star experience. In early 2002, Jeff met with Don and Pam Gaines (his parents and founders of GIT) and discussed the opportunity of taking over the daily operations of GIT from his parents and to begin forming a succession plan for the family company. Then on his birthday in May 2002, Jeff joined GIT as the VP of Operations. Eight years later, in 2010, Jeff was promoted to the Managing Director of GIT, taking full responsibility for running the day to day operations of the Company and aggressively searching for real estate investments around the country. During his tenure the company rapidly expanded purchasing several hundred million dollars in real estate in AZ, NV, TX, and OK, concentrating on its core business of buying well located apartment buildings, amassing one of the most sought after private real estate portfolios in the country. Jeff is married to Robin Gaines and they are college sweethearts and they have two children together.

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Director of Corporate Relations

Robin grew up in Philadelphia, PA, and always knew she wanted a warm climate for her college experience so she wound up attending Arizona State University, ultimately earning a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 1997. Robin’s first job out of college was with a recruiting firm that specialized in office & clerical staffing in San Diego and Orange County. During this time, Robin studied for and obtained her Real Estate Sales Person’s License and decided to join Prudential Real Estate and sell homes. She worked independently for her first year and earned the "Rookie Of The Year” award at Prudential but later joined forces with the number one agent by volume in San Diego as his sole Buyers Agent, then later being promoted to the Listing and Marketing Manager; helping close 375 homes on average, annually. After taking some time off to have children, Robin joined GIT and has held down various roles centered around marketing, HR, recruiting and asset management. Today, Robin is the Director of Corporate Relations where she spends her time speaking with the employees of GIT, administering Skype sessions with the onsite teams and speaking with employees one-on-one to recognize their commitment to GIT and significant milestones along the way. Robin is married to Jeff Gaines, they are college sweethearts and they have two children together.

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Founder & Director

Don founded Gaines Investment Trust in 1966. His vision continues to guide the growth of the company. Learn more about Don and the history of Gaines Investment Trust on our Company Bio page.

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Founder & Former Director

(1955-2019) It's with heavy hearts that we share the news that Pamela Kay Gaines passed away on December 5th, 2019. Not only was Pam the co-founder of Gaines Investment Trust, but she was also the matriarch of the Gaines family. Her professionalism, light-heartedness, courteous nature, and charisma made her a role model to many. Pam co-founded Gaines Investment Trust with Don Gaines and played an integral role in acquisitions and growth. A great leader, her passion was to provide all employees with satisfying careers. She also designed many of the clubhouses and models for all multifamily properties. She was committed to providing all customers with truly comfortable and beautiful places to call home. Learn more about Pam and the history of Gaines Investment Trust on our company bio page. Pam's beautiful legacy lives on through this company, and the many people she has touched and inspired.

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Executive Vice President

Matthew is based at the corporate office in San Diego. He oversees the operational success of the entire portfolio. He has held numerous roles since joining the team, including regional and national asset management positions. Originally hailing from Maine, Matthew graduated from Bryant University in 2011 with a Bachelor’s in Communications and Marketing. He came to the San Diego area in 2016 from New York City and brings extensive experience in management and operations. He is an avid golfer in his free time.

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Allison Gaines Bissonette
Senior Vice President

Allison Gaines Bissonette graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor’s Degree in English. Allison has worked for Gaines Investment Trust in many capacities over the past 25 years; she is currently the Senior Vice President of Gaines Investment Trust.

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Director of Marketing

Tiffany Gaines Bernstein is happy to be working with her parents, siblings, and husband at Gaines Investment Trust. As the Marketing Director, she is responsible for overseeing all marketing efforts, designing and curating all customer touch-points, and using her creativity to help guide the company in the direction of innovative growth. The majority of Tiffany’s work experience comes from running her own consumer products based business for six years which she sold in 2019. Prior to that she worked as an Innovation Consultant for Hyatt Hotels. Tiffany graduated with honors from New York University in 2012 with a BA in Social Entrepreneurship and received her Masters in Design For Social Innovation in 2014. Though her background and formal education are quite diverse, she’s had a lifetime of exposure to the real estate business, and received her Real Estate Salesperson License in 2009 at the age of 19.

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Blake Sudeck
Regional Operations Manager

Blake Sudeck grew up in Newport Beach, CA. He went out of state and studied for 4 years at The University of Colorado Boulder, where he majored in Strategic Communications, with a minor in Business. Blake has an extensive background in Sales and Operations. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf with family and friends. Blake represents the third generation of the Gaines family to join Gaines Investment Trust. He takes pride in continuing to build his family's legacy.

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Matthew Norris
Senior Vice President

Matthew Norris has spent over 20 years in real estate, investment banking, and venture capital. He holds an MBA from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and a degree in Economics from Claremont McKenna College. Joining the company in 2020 as an Operations Executive, he helps oversee the operations of the Gaines portfolio. Most recently, Matthew held a senior finance position in the western region for Kimco Realty, one of the largest publicly-traded REITs in the country focused on open-air shopping centers. Prior to Kimco Realty, he was responsible for data analytics and operational analyses within the property management division of Fairfield Residential, an owner/operator/developer of multi-family properties across the U.S. Prior to Fairfield Residential, Matthew dedicated 10 years to the bidding, development, and management of U.S. government leased office space throughout the country. During his career, Matthew also focused on helping early-stage technology and healthcare companies grow their businesses. He was a portfolio manager for Comdisco Ventures, a private equity associate at OffRoad Capital, and an investment banker at Banc of America Securities. Matthew grew up in San Diego and graduated from The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, CA. In his free time, he enjoys the outdoors and traveling with his family, learning Italian, and playing tennis.

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Operations Executive

Tracie Watt, CAM, CAPS, has been in the multi-family industry for over 30 years. She has held different roles, such as Community Manager and Regional Manager for Gaines Investment Trust, and currently held as an Operations Executive. Previously, Tracie worked for seven years with a national property management company on a corporate level and the onsite level for a multi-faceted exposure to all aspects of the industry. She has received her designations of CAM and CAPS through the National Apartment Association since 1997.

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Regional Manager - Texas

Terry Phillips, CPM has been in the property management business for more than 30 years. Prior to joining Gaines Investment Trust, she served as a Senior Vice President and Vice President at national property management companies. Terry received her education at Texas A&M University Commerce. She also holds a CPM designation from the Institute of Real Estate Management and a Texas Real Estate License.

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Regional Manager - Tulsa

Katrina Sauer has worked in multifamily housing for the last 18 years. After serving in the U.S. Air Force she found Property Management to be an exciting and challenging career path. She served as a Regional Manager overseeing two states six years before joining Gaines Investment Trust in 2019. Katrina earned her CAM through the National Apartment Association and CPM through IREM. She firmly believes in Leading by Example.

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Regional Manager

Lisa Bates has been in the Multi-Housing Industry for an impressive 25+ years. Prior to joining Gaines Investment Trust, she served many roles and first became a Regional Manager in 1999. Her skill set and passion for the Industry have earned her the responsibility of overseeing our Arizona and Nevada Portfolios, as well as the Title of Special Projects Coordinator. Lisa brings a high level of energy, knowledge, and leadership to GIT. She was named the Arizona Multi-Housing Association Property Supervisor of the Year for 2009 and holds an Arizona Real Estate License.

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Casey Lohmann
Regional Manager

Casey Lohmann began her career in multifamily management 14 years ago while pursuing her undergraduate degree in Political Science at the University of Florida. Casey has proven success managing various asset types that include new-development, renovation and value-add. Most she recently served as Director of Operations for a Dallas based student housing firm where she oversaw financial performance, asset management, company process/procedures and the performance of on-site management. Casey is passionate about building and developing strong teams that excel in value creation through superior customer service.

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In-House Recruiter

Tricia Cress is our In-House Recruiter, located in the Dallas, Texas area. She is passionate about bringing in talented, qualified candidates to the join the Company. Her diverse background in HR, advertising, sales, customer service, and the multi-family industry provides her exceptional skills when recruiting for various positions.

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Customer Service Manager

Erin has been employed with Gaines since June of 2015 and was recently promoted to Customer Service Manager, Pricing Manager, and LMS Training Manager for all of the GIT multifamily properties. She studied Fashion Merchandising and Marketing at the University of North Texas and has over 8 years of customer service and sales experience.

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Operations Assistant

Angelica is originally from Riverside, CA and moved to San Diego in 2009. After working in Real Estate law and Human Resources for 5 years, she joined GIT in 2017 as an Operations Assistant.

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Hannah Chapman
Regional Training Manager – Texas & Oklahoma

Hannah is a native Dallasite and has been with Gaines Investment Trust since December 2016. She graduated from Ouachita Baptist University with a Bachelors in Vocal Performance. Hannah enjoys the opportunity to train both our new and tenured team members in our Texas and Oklahoma Regions. She has a background in sales and has nourished her love of teaching and training for well over a decade from Cambodia to the United States.

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Aretha Denton
Marketing Associate

Aretha grew up in Apple Valley, California before moving to Stillwater, Oklahoma in 2014 where she started her career in property management as a Leasing Professional. After being there for 3 years, she moved to Tulsa and continued her career as a Leasing Professional with a different property management company. Looking to gain more experience and responsibility she took on a role with Gaines Investment Trust as a Leasing Professional and quickly promoted to Leasing Trainer. After 7.5 years in the industry, she was eager for a big change and was presented the opportunity to take on the Marketing Associate position with the company.

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Allison Lazerus
Operations Administrator

Allison Lazerus joins the team of Gaines Investment Trust as Operations Administrator. She hails from upstate New York, where she grew up in a family involved with commercial construction and real estate investments. She earned a B.A. in Spanish from the State University of New York at Albany. Following college, she moved to Manhattan where she managed operations and oversaw securities transactions for an investment advisory firm. She held General Securities, Uniform Securities Agent, and Options Principal licenses. After a family decision to move west, Allison pivoted into the field of education. She earned an Educational Leadership from National University and obtained a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with a Bilingual Certification. She retired from teaching after thirty years. Applying her experience as an educator and skills in interpersonal communication, organization, leadership, and analysis, Allison brings diverse talents to the team. Allison enjoys spending time with her family and traveling in her spare time.

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Accounts Payable Supervisor and Payroll Supervisor

In January, 2000, Danielle moved from Seattle, Washington to San Diego, California. Danielle has been with the company since February 2004 and started as the Administrative Assistant, moved to Accounts Payable and worked as the Bookkeeper for the first six years. Recently, her roles have changed and she is both in accounting as the Accounts Payable Supervisor and in human resources as the Payroll Supervisor.

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Rita Franco
Yardi Support

Rita is a native of Southern California. She has worked in the Real Estate Industry in various roles for the past 20+ years. Rita started with Gaines in 2021 and currently works as our Yardi Support Desk for our Property Teams and Corporate users. Rita also has a background in Accounting and Finance in Residential, Commercial, HOA, REITs, Private Real Estate Funds/Trusts and Real Estate Construction projects.

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Deposit Accounting Specialist

Danielle moved to San Diego in 2005 from Northern California. Danielle has worked for Gaines since May of 2006. Danielle started as an Accounts Payable Specialist and then moved up to Deposit Accounting Specialist to handle deposit accounting for the entire Gaines portfolio.

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Accounts Payable Specialist

In 2003, Diwata immigrated to Chicago from the Philippines. She moved to San Diego in 2005 and started her seven year professional career as an Accountant in property management. She also has two years of previous experience as an Accounts Payable Specialist, before starting with Gaines in 2016.

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Zina Rhodes
Financial and Accounting

Zina is a native of the Los Angeles area. She is a USN veteran and was stationed at Point Loma Naval Base in San Diego. Enjoying her time in San Diego, she decided to make it her home after her tour of duty was over. Zina will be completing her Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree from the University of Phoenix in 2022. She has over 20 years of commercial and residential property management accounting experience within the public and private sectors of real estate. She joined the Gaines Team in 2021 where she serves as a Portfolio Accountant.

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Victor Holland
Portfolio Accountant

Born and raised in San Diego, Victor joined us as a portfolio accountant in October 2021. He graduated from the University of San Diego in 2017 as a Bachelor of Accountancy and holds previous work experience in accounts payable. He is a fan of ice hockey and other sports and played roller hockey competitively from age 6 into his college years.

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