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 CEO. During his tenure, the Towbes Group successfully closed one of the largest leasing transactions in Santa Barbara county history. He also is Chief Operating Officer 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.
Michelle Konoske serves as The Towbes Group’s Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, and is a vital component of the Senior Management Team. Since 1999, Michelle has been a key player in the organization. As COO, Michelle is responsible for operational controls, leading the administrative and reporting procedures, and managing the organization’s leadership to continue the efficiency of the company. As CFO, Michelle oversees the entire accounting department, which includes the preparation of monthly financial statements for more than 40 projects managed by The Towbes Group.
Michelle 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.
Derek Hansen serves as the Executive Vice President at The Towbes Group 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 across the residential and commercial portfolios, including tenant improvements for both private parties, and tenants of The Towbes Group managed properties.
Derek serves as the Responsible Managing Employee for the A and B Contractor’s Licenses of The Towbes Group. His professional portfolio includes a wide variety of commercial buildings, single-family projects, multi-family communities, historical remodels, and custom estate homes.
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 more than one million square feet. With nearly 30 years of real estate experience, Traci’s career encompasses many 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.
Traci has served as a board member for the Downtown Organization and the Conference and Visitor’s Bureau, and she is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Jay Bardessono serves as the Vice President of Information Technology at The Towbes Group, with over 23 years of hands-on experience related to information systems and information technologies. Jay provides essential insight and leadership for the continued development of an innovative, robust, and secure information technology environment. His extensive experience in operations, enterprise computing, and telecommunications influence the projected technology strategy for the TG residential portfolio, commercial properties, and corporate office. Additionally, at The Towbes Group, Jay has been an integral player in implementing new systems such as virtual models, smart apartments, and full-stack Yardi integration, among other things.
Jennifer (Jenn) joined the Commercial Department at The Towbes Group in 2008 and has been in the real estate industry since 2003. Jenn serves as the Commercial Property Manager within the office, industrial and retail businesses. Her property management portfolio includes buildings located in Goleta, Santa Barbara, and Carpinteria, totaling nearly 200,000sf. As a property manager, Jenn oversees the operations needed to keep properties in premium condition, including leasing, capital projects, and tenant improvement projects.
Jenn’s experience reaches to many facets of the real estate industry, including escrow, real estate transactions, and loan processes. In addition to earning her Real Estate License, she is a certified IREM Accredited Commercial Manager (ACoM).
John Ensey began his career as an elementary school teacher and transitioned into corporate training management over 20 years ago. During that time, he has worked in a variety of industries including technology, software, hospitality, land development, biopharmaceutical, and health insurance. John specializes in instructional design, organizational development, and instructor lead training.
John has a B.A. in Human Resources and Organizational Development, MAE in Curriculum Development, and several certifications in online learning from UCLA.
As a licensed attorney, Kim Shlens has spent a significant amount of time as a real estate transactional associate with respected law firms and, for nearly a decade, managed the entire real estate portfolio of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust (now Union Bank). Her property investment acumen has been fine-tuned as a principal in her family’s real estate development business, as well as in the purchase and sale of investment properties.
Ms. Shlens is a graduate of the Eller College of Management, University of Arizona, with a Bachelor in Science in Business Administration, and Western State University, with a J.D. She also holds a real estate broker license with the California Department of Real Estate. In her leisure time, Kim enjoys traveling, surfing, hiking, and spending time with her family and friends.
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.
Dennis Kavanagh serves as The Towbes Group’s Controller. As Controller, he is responsible for day-to-day accounting operations, staff, production of multiple financial reports, and maintaining strong accounting systems. Furthermore, he is part of strategic financial planning and assists in overseeing financial operations and systems of the entire company.
Dennis began his career at Deloitte & Touché in San Diego. Before joining The Towbes Group, he was Assistant Controller of Mammoth Mountain, and before that, he was President & Founder of Kavanagh Accounting & Tax Services.
Dennis is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics with an emphasis in Accounting and earned his MBA in Finance from San Diego State University. He is a licensed CPA in the state of California and is a member of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Kristen Weidemann joined the Commercial Department at The Towbes Group in 2020 as a Commercial Property & Leasing Manager.
Her portfolio includes the management and operational activities of office, industrial and retail businesses. Overseeing millions in property capital and program funding; and enhancing the value of diverse businesses for the maximum benefit of the tenants, visitors, stakeholders, and the community in which she lives and works.
Kristen is a Certified Shopping Center Manager (CSM) and a Certified Retail Real Estate Professional (CRRP) as designated by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). She serves on the Board of Visit Santa Barbara, is active with the Downtown Santa Barbara Origination.