Pacific Union Expands Across Bay Area, Tahoe With New Agents and New Offices

Pacific Union logoPacific Union International continues to expand across the Bay Area and in the Tahoe/Truckee region with the addition of 41 real estate professionals since October and the opening of several new offices.

We’re excited by this growth. It’s a sign of the Bay Area’s robust economy and healthy real estate markets, and it’s also recognition from homebuyers and sellers that Pacific Union is indeed the leading luxury real-estate brand in Northern California. We measure “luxury” by the quality of our people and our service, not the price of a property.

Here’s a rundown of new faces and new places at Pacific Union:


Patty and Gene CroninPatty and Gene Cronin
Patty and Gene bring 30 years of real estate marketing, negotiating, and home preparation skills to their clients. They are professional, attentive to detail, and accomplished in technologies that ensure their clients achieve their goals. Patty has 18 years of experience as a teacher, holds two master’s degrees, and is a certified residential specialist. Gene holds an MBA and is a certified property casualty underwriter, with a background in finance, insurance, marketing, and business management. They are consistently recognized as top real estate producers in the top 1 percent of all agents and brokers.

Michelle FordMichelle Ford
Michelle’s real estate knowledge goes back to the mid-1970s, when she entered the business in Illinois. (She also worked with builders and developers there.) Michelle has lived in the Bay Area since 1986. She worked for Pacific Union once before, and we’re happy to have her rejoin our team. She specializes in residential sales, is a graduate of the National Association of Realtors’ Realtor Institute, and is a certified residential specialist and seniors real estate specialist.

Holly HenkelHolly Henkel
Holly enjoys working with families moving to Contra Costa County from Berkeley and Oakland for the top schools or relocating from other areas due to a job transfer. She is particularly knowledgeable in neighborhoods, schools, and community services, having been a board member of the Educational Foundation of Orinda, Miramonte Parents’ Club, and OASIS (Orindans for Arts Support in Schools); president of the Newcomers’ Club; and volunteer coordinator for Orinda in Action Day. She also enjoys working with seniors buying and selling homes.

Debbie Johnston teamDebbie Johnston team
Debbie has worked throughout the East Bay in her almost-20-year career in real estate, but she concentrates on selling the “Lamorinda lifestyle.” Her strengths lie in her relentless pursuit to achieve the best results possible for her clients in every facet of the real estate transaction by using her well-honed negotiation, marketing, and problem-solving skills. Debbie’s real estate partner Lisa Geary complements those skills perfectly with her experience in interior design, project management, and technology. Together they deliver the most stress-free and financially positive home buying and selling experience in the East Bay.

Suzanne LookerSuzanne Looker
Having grown up in Piedmont, Oakland, Berkeley, and Contra Costa County, Suzanne is familiar with the real estate markets in both Alameda and Contra Costa counties, and she is experienced in short sales and foreclosure properties, as well as relocation situations, traditional sales, and purchases. She’s proud to call herself a “pet-friendly Realtor” and makes a point of giving animals extra care during an open house or broker tour. Suzanne holds a degree in psychology from California State University, Hayward — good preparation for handling people and the issues that arise when making a significant life change.

Amy PriceAmy Price
Amy is the latest member of the Kurt Piper Group at Pacific Union. She grew up in Lafayette and knows the ins and outs of the East Bay. Her love of real estate began at a young age when her parents built their first house from the ground up in the Burton Valley neighborhood of Lafayette. She and her husband carried on that tradition, and Amy was the general contractor on homes they built in Lafayette and San Francisco. She ran her own marketing firm for 10 years before getting her real estate license in 2004 and focusing on the lending and investment side of the business. Her experience includes property management, investor relations, and bridge loans.

Rothenberg teamRothenberg Team
Ron Rothenberg first worked in marketing and sales after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UC Berkeley. Skills honed during those years, such as customer service, finance, sales, marketing, technology, and negotiating, have helped him since he embarked on a career in real estate in 2000. Susan Rothenberg holds a bachelor’s degree and graduate certifications in education from the University of California, which led to a brief career in teaching and counseling. She moved to real estate full time in 1983 but found that her skills in negotiation, facilitation, and counseling remain as important now as they were in her earlier education career. Lisa Quiros is a 19-year resident of Lafayette and a real estate professional since 2005. She is a buyer specialist. Lisa previously worked in organizational management and human resources.

Eileen ShortEileen Short
Eileen is focused on taking whatever time is necessary to understand and meet a client’s needs in selling and purchasing a home. She understands the importance this decision can have for the entire family. Eileen is a longtime East Bay resident; her children attended the local schools and she holds a master’s degree from Saint Mary’s College in Moraga. Before starting work in real estate, she held various director positions in telecommunications and Internet companies and worked overseas.


Liz McFarlandAnita BeckerAnita Becker and Liz McFarland
Anita and Liz started their successful real estate partnership in 2009. They complement each other’s strengths and provide a healthy balance and diverse perspective so clients feel educated and prepared to make sound decisions. It’s no accident that Anita and Liz’s sales volume is among the highest in their local market year after year. In large part it comes down to their exemplary service coupled with deep market knowledge. Anita and Liz believe their clients deserve a personal touch in every detail and benefit from their wealth of experience and knowledge.


Katrina KehlKatrina Kehl
Katrina has been in real estate for 25 years, working as a commercial real estate leasing broker in San Francisco with corporate clients, such as Yahoo! and Peat Marwick. After deciding to focus on residential real estate sales, she joined our downtown Mill Valley office. Katrina is a 20-year Marin resident who has logged many hours of service volunteering for Mill Valley schools, the Discovery Council, and the Scott Valley Swim Team.

Bill SmithBill Smith
Bill has consistently been among the top-producing real estate professionals in the Tiburon-Belvedere market for years. Bill’s achievements include a lifetime membership in Frank Howard Allen’s Hall of Fame and making the Chairman’s Circle of Excellence every year of his career. He is very active in his community — he is a former mayor of Belvedere and currently serves on the City Council.


Selene RoseSelene Rose
Selene is a sixth-generation Californian with strong ties to the Bay Area. Raising two sons in the local schools has also helped make her an expert on all facets of life in Mill Valley. That insider’s perspective allows her clients to focus on finding their ideal properties. Selene has a reputation as a committed, enthusiastic, attentive, and detail-oriented real estate professional. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Santa Cruz and has university-level training in the legal field, which proves helpful with contracts and document organization.

Bjorn SandbergBjorn Sandberg
Bjorn has lived in Marin County more than 30 years – he and his family moved there from Sweden – and coached youth-league soccer, basketball, and baseball for many years. He currently coaches tennis at Redwood High School. Bjorn started working in real estate in 2007 after running his own graphics and printing company for 20 years. Both buyers and sellers benefit from his business background and his deep knowledge of the area.

Jeff SterleyJeff Sterley
Jeff is a Pacific Union alumnus and returns to our Kentfield office following a hiatus at Frank Howard Allen, bringing with him more than 30 years of experience. A Marin real estate veteran, Jeff has held a range of titles including senior vice president, general sales manager, and marketing director. He has represented more than 600 sellers, repeatedly receiving recognition for his closed transaction numbers.

Scott WoodsScott Woods
Scott recently joined our Tiburon-Belvedere Office. He has received multiple awards for his client service and enjoys a reputation as an agent who goes the extra mile. A Bay Area resident for 15 years and a Tiburon resident for nine, Scott is an avid pilot and musician.



Susan O'HigginsSusan O’Higgins
Susan has worked as a real estate professional for seven years — five of them as a manager whose offices ranked No. 1 in sales and volume. She has produced multimillion-dollar sales annually. Her sales have included investment properties, ranches, and residential and beach properties. Since relocating to the Napa Valley with her husband, wine expert and consultant Tom O’Higgins, she has sold residential and vineyard properties.


Bridget CannataBridget Cannata
A fifth-generation San Franciscan, Bridget has worked two years in real estate after a career in television journalism as a reporter and anchor at several CBS and NBC affiliates across the United States (most recently for CBS in Sacramento). She graduated from Saint Ignatius College Preparatory and holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish from UCLA and a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University. Bridget supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and has completed two fundraising marathons.

Brian CooneyBrian Cooney
Brian is celebrating his 25th year as a California real estate professional and has closed more than 500 sales transactions. His experience includes every aspect of the real estate industry — he specializes in residential and commercial properties, land, subdivisions, resorts, custom homes, bank-owned homes, short sales, and trust/probate sales. He was born and raised in Oakland and lives in San Francisco. Brian has also lived and worked in Southern California and Arizona.

Jennifer DavisJennifer Davis
Jennifer’s path to real estate began in Washington, D.C., as a sales representative for The Washington Post, where she taught Realtors to write effective ad copy for the newspaper. But San Francisco’s temperate climate was an irresistible draw, and Jennifer relocated here and worked in Internet-related business development before launching her career in residential real estate more than 10 years ago. She has built her success on strong repeat and referral business.

Virginia GraysonVirginia Grayson
Virginia grew up in a development family and had her real estate license by age 20. By 24 she was a licensed broker and at 34 opened her own brokerage. Today she is licensed in three states. Virginia began in residential sales in Seattle and moved into resort development work before moving to Sun Valley, Idaho, and then to San Francisco. She and her business partner, Stacey Rutherford, handle just about any type of listing and sale. They also help create investment groups for those wishing to diversify their portfolios to take advantage of San Francisco’s strong real estate market.

Nina HatvanyNina Hatvany
Nina is the top individual residential real estate agent in San Francisco. She was TRI Coldwell Banker’s No. 1 top-producing individual agent for more than 20 years and posted more than $180 million in residential real estate sales in 2012 alone. Nina was a professor at the graduate schools of business at Columbia University and UC Berkeley, and holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford University. She and her husband have lived in San Francisco for 30 years, where they raised three children. (Read our story when Nina joined Pacific Union.)

Natalie KitchenNatalie Kitchen
Working with Nina Hatvany, Natalie is an attorney with several years of experience in San Francisco real estate, both as a licensed broker and as a homeowner. She enjoys assisting buyers with the intricacies of purchasing, financing, and converting properties, and spends much of her time coordinating and preparing listings for sale. Natalie has a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a law degree from Harvard University.

Paul KitchenPaul Kitchen
Paul also works on Nina Hatvany’s team. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California and holds a juris doctorate from the UCLA School of Law. He is a member of the State Bar of California in good standing. Born and raised in San Francisco, he is particularly interested in the complexities of multi-unit buildings — and he owns and manages several apartment buildings himself.

Jessica Chungtang LeeJessica Chungtang Lee
Jessica has worked eight years in real estate, combining a deep knowledge of the global luxury market with dual master’s degrees in marketing and international business. She focuses on understanding the needs of her clients and works to give them the best deal possible, whether that means finding the home of their dreams or making a sale that will help them take the next step in their life. Jessica strives to minimize stress and maximize results.

Guy MajorGuy Major
Selling or buying real estate is a big deal. Mistakes can be costly in time and money, not to mention stressful. Guy works to ensure his real estate clients get accurate and timely information and strives to help them identify priorities, develop a strategy, and set a realistic timeline to execute that strategy. Guy grew up on California’s Central Coast and is an accomplished photographer. He has also made a career as a comic book artist and colorist.

Natasha MurphyNatasha Murphy
Natasha’s background includes extensive work for law firms, involving litigation and transactional matters and administration. She has also worked in leadership and administrative capacities at start-ups and nonprofit agencies, and these experiences have helped shape her client service focus, business savvy, and negotiating skills as a real estate professional. Born and raised in Galway, Ireland, Natasha has lived 16 years in San Francisco, giving her a thorough and detailed knowledge of the city’s many unique neighborhoods. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from San Francisco State University.

Stephanie O'BrienStephanie O’Brien
Stephanie uses her many years of working in advertising — years of strategic thinking and creativity — together with extensive real estate market experience, to help her clients buy and market properties in the Bay Area. She is a longtime resident of San Francisco and is active in numerous community groups. With her deep knowledge of the city (and also Marin County), clients can count on Stephanie for great advice on schools, as well as the latest restaurants, shops, and even microclimates and hiking trails.

Stacey RutherfordStacey Rutherford
Stacey has been a licensed real estate broker for 15 years and works in a business partnership with Virginia Grayson. She is a Bay Area native and UC Berkeley graduate who launched her real estate career in Sun Valley, Idaho. Stacey specializes in residential home sales and development projects. Stacey raised four children in Sun Valley, where she served on the board of several community agencies including the Sun Valley Board of Realtors. Since returning to San Francisco, she has become a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens.

Joseph WaskiewiczJoseph Waskiewicz
Joseph’s work as a real estate professional draws on his more than 30 years as a business executive and manager for domestic and international companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations. Joseph is a skilled negotiator with an in-depth knowledge of international markets. He specializes in international business development.



Karen GrotteKaren Grotte
Karen has worked full time as a real estate professional for eight years, backed up by a 30-year career in banking, finance, sales, management, human resources, and lending. She has been recognized as one of the top agents in Northern California for the past four years and is committed to satisfying her clients’ real estate needs through personalized service and attention to detail. Karen is a lifelong Sonoma County resident and graduate of Montgomery High School, Santa Rosa Junior College, and Sonoma State University.

Cheri JohnkeCheri Johnke
Cheri is a second-generation Santa Rosa resident with a vast knowledge of the area that benefits both buyers and sellers. She has worked full time as a real estate professional and is an accredited relocation specialist and a graduate of the National Association of Realtors’ Realtor Institute. She is a member of the Pro-Net Marketing group, where top agents from competing firms meet weekly to preview each other’s listings and match qualified buyers with motivated sellers. Cheri personally handles every detail of her clients’ transactions.

Michael LoijosMichael N. Loijos
Michael has more than 20 years’ experience in the real estate industry in both lending and sales and has a reputation for honesty, trustworthiness, and professionalism among his colleagues. He is committed to exceeding his clients’ expectations through personalized service that is sensitive to the complex processes of buying and selling property. Michael is a lifelong resident of Sonoma County and a graduate of Piner High School and UC Santa Barbara.


Katie BentyKatie Benty
Katie joined our Tahoe/Truckee offices in October 2012 from Tahoe Mountain Resorts Real Estate. A 20-year resident of the Tahoe/Truckee region, Katie has been selling real estate in the area since 2004. Katie has extensive knowledge of the Truckee marketplace and treats her clients with compassion and integrity. In her free time, she enjoys running local trails, paddling on the lake, skiing at Squaw Valley, and spending time with her family.


Rich HarterRich Harter
For 20 years Rich owned and operated the most successful independent real estate company in Truckee, Pacific Crest Properties, before selling it in 2010. He joined Pacific Union’s new Tahoe/Truckee offices after learning about the company and its values of professionalism and service. He is an expert on the region’s real estate market, and his strong client base stands as evidence of his reputation in the community.

Gina MillnerGina Milner
Gina recently joined our Tahoe/Truckee offices after working in real estate in the area for more than 15 years. Prior to becoming a real estate professional, she worked in accounting, river rafting, and the ski industry. Gina has a keen ability to match buyers with their ideal property and is a strong negotiator. She is also an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys running, skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and other sports.

Merrill MilnerMerrill Milner
Merrill comes to our Tahoe/Truckee offices with enviable knowledge of the region — he has lived in the area for 29 years. He prides himself on being a relationship-based, rather than a transaction-based, real estate professional. He brings a sense of honesty to his work and strategizes diligently to achieve his clients’ goals.



In addition to hiring new agents, our offices have been growing quite literally by leaps and bounds.

Our Lafayette office opened in August in a 2,900-square-foot space at 201 Lafayette Circle, Suite 100. The phone number is 925-444-4300, and the office accommodates more than 20 agents and assistants.

Also in Contra Costa County, we’ll be opening an annex to our Danville office in early spring. There’s simply no longer enough space for all of our agents in the current location at 101 Sycamore Valley Road West. The new 1,978-square-foot annex will be located across the street at 673 Sycamore Valley Road West.

Contra Costa Branch Executive Ellen Anderson oversees both the Lafayette and Danville offices.

Heading north, Sonoma Valley Branch Executive Jill Silvas has moved her team to a new, 4,000-square-foot space at 135 West Napa St. in Sonoma. The office phone number remains 707-939-9500.

In late spring, Branch Executive Rick Laws will be expanding his Sonoma County offices to Healdsburg. We’ll get back to you with contact information when the office opens, probably in early May.

Our Tahoe/Truckee Branch Executive Sally Gardner has been busy, opening our Truckee office last summer and our Tahoe City office in November.

“Pacific Union decided to go into the Tahoe/Truckee region because 80 percent of homeowners here are second-home owners, and most of those people are from the Bay Area,” Gardner said. “Being able to offer the brand that Bay Area residents have come to know and trust in Tahoe was a natural progression.”

Our Truckee office is located at 11637 Dolomite Way, No. 1, with a phone number of 530-587-7098. Our Tahoe City office is at 243 North Lake Blvd., Suite 2. The phone number is 530-581-1882.

Share this post:

Sign Up for Daily Blog Updates

Receive daily blog posts from Compass in your inbox.