Chairman of the Board
Executive VP and General Counsel
Vice President – Human Resources
Vice President – Construction
Vice President – Residential Properties
Vice President – Commercial Properties
Director of Project Management
Our team consists of motivated and talented team members in every department: Construction, Development, Project Management, Residential Property Management, Commercial Property Management, Investments, Accounting, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Corporate Services. With a strong management team, we strive to provide quality commercial and residential real estate developments and create positive environments for people to live, work and shop. We help team members, customers and communities realize their potential.
SHARE is an internal mentoring initiative designed to teach, apply and live the core values and leadership principles of the Towbes Group.
Drawing from the research of leadership expert Jim Collins, the Towbes Group’s SHARE program pairs participants and mentors with the purpose of fostering “Level 5 leaders” – those who combine deep personal humility with intense professional will.
Mentors convey how they apply the core values in the workplace and model the seven characteristics of Level 5 leadership: Humble, Quiet, Professional Will, Personal Humility, Gives Credit, Steward, Common Vision.
SHARE participants better understand the role and decision-making practices of the Leadership Team. In the process, they become stronger leaders and future mentors.
The Employee Advisory Board [EAB] is a key component to fostering an open exchange of ideas between senior management and staff.
The EAB is comprised of employees nominated from any department within the company. Representing their co-workers, the group synthesizes employee suggestions for consideration by senior management. Their primary focus is flagging operational concerns that have the potential for long-range effect on employees.
Engaging employees and providing a forum for constructive dialogue aligns powerfully with the Towbes Group’s core values and mission.
Contact us to learn more about the Towbes Group and to join our team.
Michael Towbes is a very experienced developer, property manager and general contractor and a long term owner of an extensive real estate portfolio located from Westlake Village to Santa Maria. A licensed civil engineer and general contractor, he has nearly 60 years of experience in real estate development and construction, with more than 55 years in Santa Barbara County. His focus has been almost entirely within a 60 mile radius of Santa Barbara, with a significant portion of that work within the City of Santa Barbara. Through The Towbes Group (“TGI”), he develops constructs and manages an extensive portfolio of office buildings, shopping centers, business parks, apartments, and most recently a medical office complex for the Sansum Medical Foundation Clinic. His projects have won a number of Santa Barbara Beautiful and Goleta Beautiful awards.
While a large part of his construction has been for his own account, he has also been selected as the general contractor for the Montecito Sea Meadows housing project, the Ridley-Tree addition to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Foothill Centre medical offices for the Sansum Medical Foundation Clinic, and currently the $65 million residence hall for the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics at UCSB. For both the Montecito Sea Meadows project and the Kavli Institute project, Mr. Towbes was personally chosen by Charles Munger to be the general contractor.
Michael Towbes is Chairman of the Board and owner of Montecito Bancorp, a Santa Barbara based bank holding company which owns Montecito Bank & Trust, with assets of $1.2 billion. He has also been named Santa Barbara’s Man of the Year, an honor bestowed upon those who have had a unique and significant impact on the local community, and the recipient of the UCSB Chancellor’s Medal, the Westmont College Medal of Honor, and innumerable other local honors. He is a Senior Life Director of the National Association of Homebuilders and a member of the California Building Industry Hall of Fame. Among the many local boards on which he has served is Cottage Hospital, where he was a board member for 27 years, including 5 years as president. He has been a resident of Santa Barbara for over 54 years.
Craig Zimmerman, President of The Towbes Group, is responsible for oversight and all operating divisions, including development, construction, commercial and residential property management and maintenance services. Under his leadership, the company has seen consistent annual growth. In addition, Craig is one of the founders and managing principals of Towbes Capital Partners, a real estate investment division of The Towbes Group. He also sits on the board of directors at Montecito Bank & Trust, the oldest and largest locally owned community bank in the tri-counties. Craig was also named “Executive of the Year” at the June 2014 South Coast Business & Technology Awards Ceremony. He has been a resident of Santa Barbara for 16 years.
Craig Zimmerman has twenty six years of experience in real estate. As President of The Towbes Group, he will oversee the project, including the construction budgeting and financing and ultimately the construction and completion of the facility. Craig Zimmerman has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Entrepreneurial Services from the University of Southern California and holds the company’s broker California real estate license. He is the former Chair of the Board of the UCSB Economic Forecast Project and a Board Member of the Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation, Santa Barbara Middle School, Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, Santa Barbara Hillel, Royal Pride Foundation (San Marcos High School) and the Santa Barbara High School Foundation.
Since joining the Towbes Group in 1997, Robert Skinner has served in a number of key leadership roles. He currently oversees all aspects of the company’s business as Executive Vice President and General Counsel. During his tenure, the Towbes Group successfully closed one of the largest leasing transactions in Santa Barbara county history. He also is Chief Operating Office and General Counsel of the Towbes Group-affiliate Montecito Bank & Trust.
In addition to his real estate and banking responsibilities, he is one of the founders and managing principals of Towbes Capital Partners, the real estate investment division of the Towbes Group. He is the chief executive officer of Agility Capital, a venture-debt fund he co-founded in 1999. Along with Michael Towbes, he formed and is managing partner of Twenty One East Victoria Investments, a firm focused on opportunities created by California’s central coast technology industry.
Prior to joining the Towbes Group, Mr. Skinner was an attorney with the international law firm of White & Case specializing in real estate transaction and bankruptcy work in the Los Angeles and New York offices. His legal expertise encompasses complex business litigation and construction and real estate law.
As a community leader, Mr. Skinner has served on the Boards of Directors of Montecito Bank & Trust, the Towbes Foundation, Barrister Executive Suites, the Santa Barbara Foundation, Camerata Pacifica and the development committee for the Santa Barbara Zoo.
Mr. Skinner is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Juris Doctorate.
Beth Sparkes, as Vice President of Human Resources, plays an integral role in establishing the programs and processes that help express the company’s mission and core values.
She directs all benefits ; compensation, recruitment, payroll, policies and procedures, worker’s compensation, and employee relations and training programs in support of the Towbes Group’s team members. She works with more than 100 people spread across 14 locations from Ventura to Santa Maria.
Ms. Sparkes joined the Towbes Group in 2003 and was promoted to Vice President in 2004. She brings with her more than 20 years of human resources experience.
A member of the senior management team, Michelle Konoske brings a wealth of financial insight and experience to her role as Chief Financial Officer. For the company, Ms. Konoske is responsible for overseeing the work performed by the accounting department, which includes the preparation of monthly financial statements for more than 50 projects managed by the Towbes Group as well as the annual preparation of income tax returns for more than 30 entities.
Prior to joining the Towbes Group in 1999, Ms. Konoske worked as a tax manager at a local public accounting firm, where she specialized in taxation of businesses and high net worth individuals. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California Society of Certified Public Accounts. She also serves on the Finance Committee for The Granada, a premier performing arts center in Santa Barbara.
Ms. Konoske holds a Bachelors of Arts in Economics from Westmont College and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant.
Derek Hansen serves as the Vice President of Development Construction and part of the Senior Management Team. He is responsible for the oversight of all construction staff, budgets, department activities, and direction on the building and systems implemented for the development of all new projects. Through his oversight of the Property Services Group, he guides the management of capital improvement projects in the residential and commercial portfolios. This also includes tenant improvements for both private parties, as well as tenants of Towbes Group managed properties.
His professional resume includes a wide variety of commercial buildings, single-family, multi-family, and custom estate homes. He attended University of Nebraska at Omaha towards a BA in International Relations, Marketing, Finance and is a Licensed General Contractor in the state of California. Derek has represented The Towbes Group as a member of the Santa Barbara and Santa Maria Valley Contractors Associations, Vice Chair of the Housing Advisory Committee to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, and The Central Coast Homebuilder’s Association, where he was an Executive Committee member, President and served on the Board of Directors.
As Vice President of Residential Properties, Jim Carrillo lends extensive experience in multi-family property management to the Towbes Group.
Prior to joining the company in 2005, Mr. Carrillo worked at Lincoln Property Company/Legacy Partners for whom he managed residential properties throughout Central and Southern California. His diverse portfolio included conventional and affordable housing with ownership ranging from private investors to large institutional entities and pension funds.
Mr. Carrillo is a Certified Property Manager (CPM®) as designated by the Institute of Real Estate Management. He serves on the Board of the Santa Barbara Rental Property Association, the California Rental Housing Association (CalRHA) and is a delegate to the National Apartment Association.
Traci Taitt joined the Towbes Group in 2007 as Vice President, Commercial Properties. She provides strategic counsel and management oversight of the work performed by the commercial properties department, including the leasing and management of more than 20 retail and commercial properties totaling 2 million square feet.
With nearly 30 years of real estate experience, Ms. Taitt’s career encompasses a number of accomplishments, most notably with several national shopping center developers.
In 1990, she was a key member of the development team overseeing the construction and opening of Paseo Nuevo shopping center, an award-winning redevelopment project located in downtown Santa Barbara. She also supervised the management and operations of four other regional shopping centers and mixed use developments located throughout California.
Ms. Taitt is a graduate of University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Economics. She has served as a board member for several local civic organizations, including the Downtown Organization and the Conference and Visitor’s Bureau. She is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Craig Minus worked as the Development Intern for The Towbes Group for one year; when a permanent staff position opened in the Development Department in 2007 and Craig was recruited to fill that position. In his current position, Craig is responsible for the management of consultant design teams and the public agency entitlement process for both the company’s new development and redevelopment projects. Craig Minus has a deep background in real estate and urban planning. His has previously worked as a land planner for B3 Architects and Berkus Design Studio and as a transit planner for the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District. The Business Times named Minus to the “40 Under 40” list in 2009. He was recently honored with the 2014 Government Affairs Award by the Home Building Industry Association of the Central Coast, where he was a board member. Craig currently serves as president for Coastal Housing Coalition as well as president for the Knollwood Village Homeowner Associations. Minus earned bachelor’s degrees in environmental studies and geography from UC Santa Barbara and his master’s degree in city and regional planning from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.