Tom Palestina promoted to broker at ABI Multifamily

ABI Multifamily, the leading multifamily brokerage and advisory services firm in the Western U.S., has promoted Tom Palestina to broker. Palestina, a Scottsdale resident, began his career at ABI a year ago, working as an intern while attending Arizona State University. He was then brought on full time as a research analyst, where he deepened his knowledge of the multifamily real estate industry while finishing school and getting his real estate license.

ABI broker Dallin Hammond, who has been with the company three years, says it has been rewarding to watch Palestina move up in the company and pursue his desire to become a broker. “Tom is a great colleague, and he’s also a good friend,” says Hammond “When he first told me of his interest in real estate brokerage, I suggested he first learn the ropes by working on our data research team. I’ve been mentoring him over the past year, and it’s clear he thrives in our team atmosphere and is ready to apply all the knowledge he’s gained as our newest broker.” 

Palestina says brokerage comes naturally to him, as he’s been around it all of his life. His father has been an industrial real estate broker in New Jersey for 35 years and his brother has been a retail real estate broker for eight years. The new broker says it’s the relationship-building with clients that he particularly enjoys, along with the atmosphere at ABI Multifamily. 

“I knew ABI was where I wanted to be, because of how welcoming and genuine every person in every sector of the company is,” says Palestina. “I also really enjoy that brokers here collaborate on many different types of projects and deals, something that is pretty rare in this industry.”

Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie welcomes 2 patent attorneys

Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP announced Ralph Selitto and John Kim have joined the firm’s Intellectual Property Group as partners in the firm’s Phoenix office. Selitto and Kim bring with them extensive experience representing clients’ intellectual property interests in the areas of patent prosecution, counseling, litigation and licensing. With the addition of Selitto and Kim, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie further strengthens and enhances its resources in Phoenix to provide a broad range of intellectual property services to clients.

“Ralph Selitto and John Kim are well-respected patent prosecution attorneys who bring with them an impressive track record of success for clients,” said Ken Van Winkle, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie’s managing partner. “We’re excited to expand our IP patent capabilities in the Southwest and to introduce them to our clients.” 

Ralph Selitto is a registered patent attorney with experience in all aspects of intellectual property law and has assisted clients in the development and management of global patent, trademark and copyright portfolios, while counseling them on the strategic commercialization and valuation of their portfolios. Selitto’s work has included the preparation and prosecution of numerous U.S. and foreign patent and trademark applications, as well as drafting license agreements and infringement, validity and freedom-to-operate opinions. These efforts have enabled Selitto to develop broad experience in the evaluation of intellectual property, from both a legal and business perspective.

 John Kim is an experienced intellectual property attorney who has represented clients in a wide range of IP matters including patents, trademarks and copyrights. His transactional practice includes preparing and prosecuting patent, trademark and copyright applications in the United States and foreign countries, as well as conducting all types of investigations on intellectual property assets. Kim also has wide-ranging litigation experience involving patent, trademark, and copyright infringement claims. More recently, he prosecuted a number of AIA trials before the Patent and Trial Appeal Board of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

NAI Horizon adds to its property management team

NAI Horizon continues to grow its property management division with the hiring of Monee Neville.

Neville will support the daily operations of the property management team by performing administrative tasks and handling tenant relations. She will also be responsible for inspecting property conditions and coordinating maintenance work.

“I’m excited to have Monee join our team,” said Terry Martin-Denning, NAI Horizon CEO/Designated Broker. “Her personality and work ethic make her a great fit for NAI.”

Neville formerly served as an office manager for a wellness clinic is Seattle. She was responsible for developing intraoffice communication protocols, streamlining administrative procedures, inventory control, office staff supervision and task delegation.  She joins NAI Horizon after working in the Kyrene School District the past 3 years where she was an instructional assistant.

A native of Hutchinson, Kansas, Neville earned a bachelor of science in sociology from the University of Kansas.

Lani Baker promoted to CFO of Holualoa Companies

Holualoa Companies, a prominent Tucson-based real estate and investment firm, has promoted Lani Baker to the position of Chief Financial Officer.  

Baker’s promotion follows other leadership enhancements, including I. Michael Kasser’s transition to Founder and Chairman of the company and Richard Kauffman’s promotion to Chief Executive Officer late last year.

Baker has more than 15 years of experience in commercial real estate. Her skills and resources are targeted toward exceeding quality objectives and attaining revenue. Her areas of expertise and responsibility include commercial real estate transactions including acquisitions, financing and sales, treasury, and investor relations.

Baker is a native Tucsonan currently residing in Tucson with her husband and two children. She received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Arizona, Eller College of Management, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration.  In addition, she became a licensed CPA in 2012.

Baker’s community service includes working as a past Vice President and board member of the Lupus Foundation of Southern Arizona and a member of Angel Charity for Children. She was a recipient of Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 40 under 40 and a Tu Nidito Remarkable Mom in 2018.

Most recently, Baker was recognized as a “Real Estate Champion” in the “Women of Influence” awards by Inside Tucson Business. She is also the Board President of CREW Tucson, part of the nation’s premier women’s commercial real estate network.

Economic development association elects new board

The Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED) has elected nine members to its board of directors. 

The new board members representing rural Arizona are:  Fernando Garcia, AZED Pro, economic development specialist for the city of Casa Grande; Liza Noland, director of rural programs for Local First Arizona; and Tim Suan, community and economic development director for the City of Page.

Mitchel Allen, senior vice president, business development for Greater Phoenix Economic Council; Amanda Elliott, AZED Pro, Redevelopment Program Manager, Gilbert Office of Economic Development; Rob Millar, CEcD, economic development director for the City of Scottsdale; and Karla Moran, AZED Pro, senior project manager, economic development, for Salt River Project, were re-elected to represent metro Arizona communities. 

Newly appointed to one-year terms as advisory directors were Russ Yelton of White Mountain Economic Development and Associates and James Kerr, vice president, rural economic development, Arizona Commerce Authority.

The new board members were approved at AAED’s general membership meeting, which was held virtually.

AAED, founded in 1974, has a mission to serve as Arizona’s unified voice advocating for responsible economic development through an effective program of professional education, public policy, and collaboration.    

For more information on AAED, visit or call (602) 240-2233.

About AZ Business Leaders

AZ Business Leaders is an annual business-to-business publication that combines the who’s who of Arizona business community with their valuable leadership advice and knowledge. The magazine is published by AZ Big Media. To learn more about Az Business Leaders, contact Sheri Brown, director of sales.