Session Descriptions & Speaker Bios

SAHMA Affordable Housing Conference: Alabama / Mississippi Session Descriptions:

Aging in Place and Bullying
Residents have a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Each person sees boundaries and communications differently. We will be looking at ways to understand and communicate. As housing professionals, we want to make our communities welcoming to all.

All Hands on Deck! Be Emergency Ready
Being prepared may not prevent a disaster, but it will give you confidence to meet the challenge. Learn what to do before, during and after specific events like; Floods, Fires and Hurricanes.

Customer Service Toolbox
Today maintenance quality is listed as the top reason why residents renew and future residents lease. With customer satisfaction now being impacted by online rating review sites, service performance has a direct impact on the effectiveness of your marketing. Prioritizing your service goals will impact occupancy and NOI. Discovering unreported service needs while in an apartment impedes maintenance efficiency. In this session you will learn how to implement educational service tools that elevate effective communication between office staff, maintenance staff and residents. Improve the diagnostics during the telephone service request to help the technician arrive fully equipped to accomplish all of the resident’s service needs during the first visit. Toni introduces you to easily duplicatable office and resident educational tools to prevent and improve maintenance. Learn about the benefits of new technologies like QR codes, Youtube “How To” videos, and web-based Q & A to support resident services. Service technicians will also learn how to sell a rent increase and invite positive feedback on the review sites. Turn your service department into a five-star community both onsite & online!

Employee Engagement: Tips and Tricks
Before attempting to improve employee engagement, you have to determine if your employees are engageable. Do they even want to be a part of the team? This session will help you discern which team members are in it for the long haul, or just a paycheck. You'll also learn how you can connect more successfully with your co-workers, to not only make a more pleasant overall environment but to reduce costly turnover.

Fair Housing Updates and Mandates
Sure, you may know the basics of Fair Housing but are you able to effectively use what you've learned in everyday interactions? The front office is front line and what you do and say can contribute to Fair Housing complaints and lawsuits. During this session we'll explore real-life situations that have taken place at communities across the country and determine the best way to handle them should they happen at yours.

How to be Prepared for an Active Shooter Situation
Active shooter incidents are often unpredictable and evolve quickly. In the midst of the chaos, anyone can play an integral role in mitigating the impacts of an active shooter incident. Learn ways to enhance preparedness through a "whole community" approach by providing products, tools, and resources to help you prepare for and respond to an active shooter incident.

How to Evict for Lease Violations Other Than Non-Payment
Conduct Related Evictions: how to gather, preserve and document evidence to successfully remove a disruptive tenant from your community.

How to Keep Your Property Charting the Right Course with AHFA
In this session, attendees will receive expert training on LIHTC and HOME topics from the staff of the AHFA Compliance Department. Topics include acceptable methods of verifying income and assets, Annual Owner’s Certifications, QAP requirements, and auditing procedures. This session usually ends with an open Question and Answer session where attendees can have their most pertinent questions addressed.

Mastering Your MOR
MASTering Your MOR - just as ships have tall mast that aide in sailing the vessel in the right direction – this session will help guide and support smooth sailing with your next MOR. Discussion includes detailed navigation of compliance, handy tips, decisions, and reminders for receiving an Excellent MORs.

Medical Deductions…What is Allowed?
Your resident shows up with a shoebox full of receipts, statements, and print outs and asks them all to be deducted on their next certification. Wading through all of this is confusing enough without having to worry about what can and can’t be included. During this session we will go through some typical scenarios and the bizarre as well – like are outfits for a companion animal an eligible expense? Bring your questions and your stories so we can sort through this shoe box of surprises.

Navigate Roundtable: Common Errors with the Contract Administrator
Be a part of the discussion on how to avoid common errors in various areas of Affordable Housing. Contract Renewals, Voucher Processing, Management Reviews, and Resident Issues are just a few topics that will be discussed.

REAC 365 for Managers
Be prepared for your REAC inspection 365 days a year. Implementing a Preventive Maintenance Plan that will ensure your property will be ready for that 14 day notice. Learn ways to ensure your team is staying on top of those maintenance items that could become possible deficiencies. Gain information about the new NSPIRE Inspection Model and better understand what the inspectors are looking for.

Rural Development
This introductory session will have a brief overview of the Rural Housing Program from its inception to current date. The course will also highlight specific RD occupancy regulations including Rental Assistance assignment, overage, and issues that may arise when combining LIHTC.

State of Mississippi Compliance Monitoring Update for 2020
Join Mississippi Home Corp for an annual compliance monitoring update. Topics will include inspections, file monitoring, and audits. All new information for 2020 will be discussed.

Tax Credit for the Unusual
Everyone has random questions regarding the tax credit program; from how to calculate anticipated income for a household member that currently has none to how to implement the SS COLA every year. This session will review some of the most common unusual and bizarre situations and give you some real suggestions on how to stay in compliance. If you plan to attend, please bring your MOST CRAZY situation so we can review it together.

VAWA and the Emergency Plan
While VAWA isn’t new, some of the recent changes can be a bit confusing. One finding that is being seen on management reviews in our area is a VAWA Emergency Transfer plan that is not specific to your property or that is just a duplicate of the HUD sample plan. In this session, we will break down the choices you need to make to be sure that your transfer plan meets the needs of your residents and your community. Bring your current plan and we will work on them together!

Wings of Positive Change
Our greatest amenity is our humanity, but being a great human being is not about a single act of kindness. Great human beings have daily habits that inspire relationships and make the world around them a better place. When we take those habits into our work life, we find reduced conflicts, and improvements in resident retention, relations, and overall improved well-being. Toni will share with us small ways that we can easily adjust our wingsĀ¯ to positively impact those we encounter by balancing authority with compassion, demonstrating integrity, and acting with kindness. We will learn how to lift our daily routines, identify what is dragging us down and how to build up the momentum to maximize the difference we make in the lives of the residents that we serve.

Speaker Bios:

Cade Barrett
Internal Auditor II, Alabama Housing Finance Authority
Cade Barrett has been a compliance auditor at the Alabama Housing Finance Authority for fourteen years.

Darron Mitchell
Lead Contract Management Specialist, Navigate Affordable Housing Partners
Mr. Darron Mitchell began his career in the Affordable Housing industry in September of 2004 with Navigate Affordable Housing Partners formerly known as JeffCo. In his years with Navigate, Mr. Mitchell has held the positions of Relationship Manager and Quality Control Specialist for MORs. Currently, he is the supervisor for the Contract Management Specialist department which is responsible for processing Contract Renewal and Rent Adjustments. Mr. Mitchell matriculated at Alabama State University and the University at Alabama at Birmingham, receiving degrees in Business Management and Criminal Justice. He also attended Miles Law School in pursuit of a Juris Doctorate. Mr. Mitchell also holds numerous certifications in the Affordable Housing industry.

DeAnna Baker
Lead Voucher Specialist, Navigate Affordable Housing Partners
Ms. DeAnna Baker started her career at Navigate more than 14 years ago in the Voucher department. She has worked her way up from processor, to trainer and now leads an extraordinary team of talented individuals each day as the Lead Voucher Specialist. In the 14 years spent in the industry, Ms. Baker has gained extensive knowledge of the voucher process as well as the functions of TRACS. She participates in TRACS Industry group, conducts internal and external trainings for property and agents as well as leading internal trainings for industry topics as needed.

Eugene Sharpe
Regional Manager, SPM, LLC
For the last 7 years Mr. Eugene Sharpe has worked for SPM as Regional Property Manager in the Affordable Family Housing Division. Prior to SPM, he spent 3 years working for a HUD CA where he conducted MOR’s and site inspections.

Gary Owens
Officer, Crime Prevention Department, Mobile Police Department

Gina Germany
Owner/President, Touching Hearts Senior Care
Ms. Gina Germany is the owner of Touching Hearts Senior Care, and the founder of Gulf Coast Senior Care a non-profit. Ms. Germany opened the doors of her senior care business on August 1, 2007. Ms. Germany possesses two degrees from Rogers State University in Claremore, OK. She created a 501c3 organization, Gulf Coast Senior Services, to address the Alzheimer’s/Dementia issues in the Gulf Coast area. Ms. Germany is a Certified Senior Advisor, Certified Dementia Practitioner, a Certified PAC Trainer with Teepa Snow and a Fit Mind Coach. Ms. Germany educates the public with workshops, conference sessions, support groups and trains her caregivers to be Certified Dementia Caregivers. She has also presented and trained over 700 Sheriff’s Deputies in Mobile, County. The most recent program Ms. Germany has added to her services is the Fit Mind program, which is a personal trainer for your brain and Music and Art Therapy for individuals living with all forms of dementia.

Ian Patton
Regional Manager, SPM, LLC
For the last 10 years Mr. Ian Patton has worked for SPM as Regional Property Manager in the Affordable Senior Housing Division. Prior to SPM, he spent 6 years working for a HUD CA where he conducted MOR’s and site inspections.

James Odom
Veterans Service Officer, Alabama Department of Veteran Affairs
Mr. James C. “Jamie” Odom served over 32 years in the Navy, with 22 of those years as a Reservist. He retired in December, 2017, as a Master Chief Steelworker/Seabee. After retiring from the Navy, he accepted the position as an Assistant Veteran Service Officer for Mobile County in March, 2018 and in January 2020, Mr. Odom became the Veteran Service Officer/Supervisor for the Mobile County Office. The office is staffed with three Assistant Veterans Service Officers and an Administrative Assistant. Mr. Odom’s past experiences have been as a construction worker, Supervisor and Project Manager, in addition to being a High School Welding Instructor for the Alabama Dept of Education.

Jeffrey West
Senior Field Inspector, Red Mountain Inspection Services, LLC
Mr. Jeffrey West has over 20 years experience with property management companies across America and was an active participant in the early REAC inspections in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He has conducted over 100,000 unit inspections in 41 states and also served as a Housing Supervisor for the US Military in Iraq for 4 years. Mr. West conducts Mock REAC Inspections, company maintenance REAC preparation training sessions, Property 100% Self Inspections and assists with REAC score appeals.

Jennifer Scott
Occupancy Coordinator, SPM, LLC
Ms. Jennifer Scott has worked in the affordable housing industry for the past 15 years with experience as a Property Manager, Regional Manager, and Director of Compliance. Ms. Scott is knowledgeable in various programs including HUD, LIHTC, HOME, BOND, CDBG, NSP & NMTC, specializing in Tax Credit New Construction, Acquisition, and Re-Syndication. She holds multiple industry designations including CPO, ACPO, BOS, HCCP, & SCHM.

John V. Lee
Attorney, Lee & Hughes, LLC
Mr. John V. Lee represents landlords in residential legal matters, and he has successfully litigated landlord tenant cases for 40 years. He represents clients that manage conventional and affordable housing communities. His affordable housing clients participate in various HUD programs, Rural Development, Tax Credit and Alabama HOME programs. He is a graduate of The Florida State University and holds Bachelor and Master's Degrees with Honors. He attended Samford University's Cumberland School of Law where he was a member of the Cumberland Law Review. He received his Juris Doctorate Degree in 1978. Mr. Lee participated in the committee that drafted Alabama's Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act (URLTA) which became effective in 2007 and subsequent amendments. He is the legal advisor and Board member of the Mobile Bay Area Apartment Association and the Alabama Apartment Association.

Joseph Hilliard
Interim Disaster Program Manager, Red Cross

Kay Quatroche
Director of Service Coordination, AHEPA Mgmt Company
Ms. Kay Quatroche joined AHEPA Management Company in 2014 as a Quality Assurance Manager who focused on developing the company’s online training services for Service Coordinators and the Quality Assurance for Service Coordination. She became the Director of Service Coordination in May 2019, and she and her team of 4 QA Managers, oversee approximately 100 Service Coordinator’s Quality Assurance and training. The department continues to grow adding contracts for Quality Assurance and new hiring and ongoing training for Service Coordinators. Her educational background includes a M.B.A, B.A. in Psychology, B.A. Advertising, and a B.F.A.

Larry Sisson
President, TESCO Properties, Inc.
Mr. Larry Sisson is the President of TESCO Properties, Inc., an apartment management and development firm based in Memphis, TN. TESCO has successfully managed apartments for over 20 years and currently owns or manages over 6,000 units in 11 states. Mr. Sisson received his Juris Doctorate degree from the School of Law at the University of Memphis and is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). He holds the Certified Property Manager designation (CPM) and National Affordable Housing Professional Executive level (NAHP-e) designation. Mr. Sisson is a national instructor and is certified to teach NAHMA's Fair Housing Compliance (FHC) course and the Certified Professional of Occupancy (CPO) course.

Lia Nichole Smith
VP of Education and Performance, ApartmentRatings and SatisFacts
Ms. Lia Nichole Smith is the VP of Education and Performance for ApartmentRatings and SatisFacts. She has proven experience in solving challenges for conventional, affordable, senior and student communities. Before coming to ApartmentRatings and SatisFacts, Ms. Smith was the Director of Marketing and Training at SPM Property Management where she constructed their first-ever online learning academy and developed and managed the organization's resident feedback program.

Matt Cornelson
Occupancy Specialist, SPM, LLC
Mr. Matt Cornelson has worked in the affordable housing industry for the past 17 years as a Regional Manager, Asset Manager, Compliance & Training Coordinator and Occupancy Specialist. His experience ranges from Rural Development, HUD, LIHTC, HOME, and many others. He holds several designations in affordable housing including the HCCP, CPO, HCM and is a certified Realpage trainer in all affordable programs.

Nate Greathree
Contract Administration Coordinator, Navigate Affordable Housing Partners

Robert Collier
Senior Vice President of Program Compliance, Mississippi Home Corporation
Mr. Robert Collier, Senior Vice President of Program Compliance joined the Mississippi Home Corporation in 1991. As Senior Vice President of Program Compliance, Mr. Collier's responsibilities include overseeing and assessing qualifications of projects, applications and applicable housing programs for compliance, monitoring and evaluation, technical assistance and training. In addition to a graduate degree from the University of Tennessee in Public Administration, and undergraduate degree in Political Science from Alcorn State University, Mr. Collier has graduated from a statewide 15-month educational leadership program (PRO-MISSISSIPPI) encompassing four areas: government, community development, communications, and leadership. He completed the State and Local Government Senior Executive Program as a Fannie Mae fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2003 and Leading in an Era of Complexity at the Stayer Center for Executive Education at the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame in 2017. Mr. Collier was nominated and elected in 2014 to serve a three-year term on the Housing Credit Certified Professional Board of Governors, an arm of the National Association of Homebuilders based in Washington, DC. He was re-elected to serve a second three-year term beginning in January 2018.

Sonja Horn
Director of Compliance, Marcrum Management Co./DASH Compliance
Ms. Sonja Horn is the president and founder of DASH Compliance consulting company. She also works as the Director of Compliance for Marcrum Management Company out of Birmingham, AL. Ms. Horn started her more than 20 years in the affordable housing industry as an on-site manager and knows first-hand the challenges that both managers and owners face in the ever-complex world of HUD and tax credit compliance. She is the VP of Education for SAHMA and sits on the Board of Directors.

Terrill Bryant
Quality Assurance Manager, AHEPA Mgmt Company
Ms. Terrill Bryant has a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Administration from Auburn University. She is a Quality Assurance Manager with AHEPA Management Company. Ms. Bryant has worked in the social services field for over 15 years. She owned and operated Gulf Coast Support Coordination in Pensacola, Florida where she assisted individuals with developmental disabilities to live as independently as possible. She also was the Service Coordinator for AHEPA 296 where she assisted the residents to age in place. Ms. Bryant serves on the Board of Directors for Spero Therapeutic Riding and teaches children and adolescents with emotional and/or developmental challenges horseback riding.

Tom Peaspanen
Compliance Coordinator, Alabama Housing Finance Authority
Mr. Tom Peaspanen heads the compliance department for AHFA and has many years of experience helping owners and managers provide low income housing for the people of Alabama.

Toni Blake
President, TotallyToni.com
Ms. Toni Blake is a popular international speaker, consultant, author and comedienne inspiring thousands of multifamily apartment industry professionals every year. With over 30 years of training experience, her “laugh while you learn” approach has made Toni one of the most sought-after experts in her field. As a published author, her ideas have been published in dozens of trade magazines and blogs across the country. In November 2008, Ms. Blake was awarded the Multifamily PRO “Industry Legend” Award. She was selected by the National Apartment Association as one of the industry’s “Marketing Gurus” and is recognized for her research and innovative concepts in customer service, sales, marketing and social media. She was honored at the very first Multifamily PRO “People’s Choice Awards” winning awards for “Educational Excellence” and “Imagination and Innovation.” She currently serves as President of TotallyToni.com.

Vernell Callahan
Contract Administration Coordinator, Navigate Affordable Housing Partners

Vickie Bell
Corp. Trainer, Navigate Affordable Housing Partners
Ms. Vickie Bell currently holds the position as Corporate Training and Education Specialist for Navigate Affordable Housing Partners, Contract Administrator for the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Connecticut, and Virginia. Notable is her 38 years plus in the housing industry. She is a former HUD REAC Inspector and Real Estate Broker. Ms. Bell currently holds several professional designations including – FHC, HCCP, SHCM, CPO, CMM, CHM, TCS, Site Base Budgeting, HCV Specialist, Housing Choice Voucher Specialist. Ms. Bell is the State of Alabama SAHMA Elderly/Disabled Committee chair, a member of Toastmasters International and the American Society of Training and Development. She also conducts a YouTube video series entitled “Tuesday Tips”, which distributes helpful industry compliance information.