our board of directors
Duane Henry – Executive Director
Duane is responsible for the day to day operations as well as strategic planning for Step Forward Communities. He brings a diverse background of experience to the company. Duane spent 4 years as a special education teacher in Arizona. More recently, however, he spent the last 13 years as a military officer and aviator, flying the F-15E Strike Eagle. As a military officer, his assignments included many ground duties that required leadership, project management and execution, organization, and decision making skills. Duane’s experience in fighter aviation garnered important critical thinking, decision making and communication skills. The high speed environment of a fighter cockpit sharpened his skills in defining situations, analyzing problems, executing a course of action, and evaluating results. Duane is a graduate 0f Northern Arizona University.
John McClendon – Board Member
John is an equity shareholder at Liebold McClendon and Mann law offices which focuses on representation for legal matters that range from California Environmental Quality Act to land use litigation for zoning, redevelopment, property acquistition, and eminent domain and more. John’s practice focuses on the land use entitlement process with an emphasis on CEQA and other environmental laws, the Coastal Act, Planning & Zoning Law, Subdivision Map Act, and water law. An experienced litigator, he has brought and defended scores of environmental, land use, housing and water law actions, including more than a dozen before California’s appellate courts. John is a graduate of the University of California Irvine and Santa Barbara and received his Joris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Southern California Law Center, Los Angeles..
Norma A. Choza-Sanchez – Director
Norma is Director of Compliance for Alliant Asset Management, LLC. Norma established Alliant’s compliance team, including developing and implementing policies and procedures and assisting in the creation of a compliance database system. She leads her staff out of two offices, Woodland Hills and Los Angeles. She is responsible for monitoring all regulatory requirements, establishing policy and verifying compliance oversight for 826 developments located through 47 states. Norma and her staff verify site compliance by assisting in the strategy and implementation of new property start-ups, assisting in the training of site staff on compliance related policies and procedures, and conducting annual desk-audits for properties that have reached rental achievement and/or have stabilized. Norma is also responsible for reviewing state monitoring agency reports and providing accurate and timely reports to investors. Norma has a strong knowledge of HUD programs, specifically HUD Management and Occupancy Reviews, PHA audits, Section 8 contracts, HOPE VI, Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), Tax-Exempt Multifamily Revenue Bonds, IRS Section 42, HOME/CDBG funds, USDA RD and HUD’s REAC Online Secure Systems. Prior to joining Alliant, Norma started her Low-Income Housing Tax Credit career in the property management department of a non-profit organization that restores builds and manages affordable housing in the City of Santa Monica. While at the non-profit, Norma worked as an Occupancy Specialist and later a Property Supervisor overseeing staff and 24 properties. Norma brings more than 20 years of compliance experience and expertise with communities financed using the LIHTC program.
Dean Obst – Advisor to the Board
Dean is a Vice President of a national syndicator. He works to analyze and resolve disputes with partners, as well as, address the core issues of distressed assets within an extensive national portfolio. Prior to joining AIG, Dean started his Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) career in the asset management department of a national syndicator that was later purchased by a REIT. Dean then worked for another national LIHTC syndicator overseeing their troubled assets and later leading a team of asset managers. Dean then joined a tax credit developer, specializing in the rehabilitation of RD and HUD properties in California and Texas, as their Vice President of Operating and Director of Asset Management. While at the development organization, Dean established an asset management department, including developing and implementing policies, procedures and a database system. Dean was then director of asset management for Enterprise Community Asset Management, Inc where he lead a staff in Los Angeles responsible for the physical, financial and regulatory oversight of a portfolio of 327 multifamily developments located throughout 5 western states. Dean and his staff ensure the long-term health of affordable housing investments through site visits, financial analysis, problem solving and workouts. Dean brings more than 15 years of housing operations experience and expertise with communities financed using LIHTC and HUD programs. Dean attended California Polytechnic University Pomona where he received a bachelor’s degree in business administration.