Executive Leadership

Over the decades, Rancho Mission Viejo has often been recognized throughout the state and across the nation as a leader in the planning and development of successful large-scale, mixed-use master-planned communities as well as in its ranching, farming and other land use and lease operations. The basis of this success and recognition is the family’s commitment to the same values and beliefs which have guided them since 1882. Today, the senior members of the Ranch family are joined by a management team consisting of proven experts in their respective fields. Together, the long-term dedication of the Ranch family combined with the multi-disciplined and highly integrated experience, knowledge and integrity of each Rancho Mission Viejo management team member creates a company which is focused, prepared and motivated to, once again, achieve great success.

Meet the members of the Rancho Mission Viejo Executive Leadership Team:

Anthony R. Moiso—Chairman—Chief Executive Officer

Anthony R. MoisoAnthony R. Moiso is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Rancho Mission Viejo. He is responsible for the ranching, farming, planning, development, and financial management of all Rancho Mission Viejo business entities.

An Army veteran, Mr. Moiso is a graduate of Stanford University. He and his wife, Melinda, live in Newport Beach. The Moisos have four married daughters and thirteen grandchildren.

Donald L. Vodra—President—Chief Operating Officer

Don L. VodraDonald L. Vodra is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Rancho Mission Viejo, LLC, a fully integrated real estate development and management operation where he is responsible for managing all financial, operational, development, and strategic planning requirements for Rancho Mission Viejo, LLC and its affiliates.

Mr. Vodra’s extensive real estate experience has been established over 40 years of executive management, lending and investment experience within the real estate and banking industries.

    Mr. Vodra’s career includes tenures with:

  • Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. – Senior Vice President and Deputy Group Head, Real Estate Industries Group
  • Crocker National Bank, N.A. – Executive Vice President and Group Head, Real Estate Industries Group; President and Chief Executive Officer, Crocker Mortgage Company
  • Bracton Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Midland Bank, Plc, London; President, Chief Executive Officer and Board Director
  • Security Pacific National Bank, N.A. – Executive Vice President, Special Assets Group
  • Western National Group – Managing Partner and Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Vodra’s professional affiliations include the Urban Land Institute, Lambda Alpha National Honorary Real Estate Land Use Society, and Policy Advisory Board Member of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics at the University of California, Berkley. In addition, Mr. Vodra has served as Chairman of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of the United Way of Orange County, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Laura’s House, a Director of the United Way of Orange County, and Chairman of the March of Dimes of Southern California.

Mr. Vodra is a graduate of the University of Nebraska with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration.

Gilbert G. Aguirre—Executive Vice President—Ranch Operations

Gilbert G. AguirreGilbert G. Aguirre is responsible for all ranching, farming, agricultural and industrial lease operations as well as the daily management of all Ranch-related ranching interests. Mr. Aguirre joined the Ranch family in March, 1967.

A native of Tucson, AZ, Mr. Aguirre is widely recognized as a leader in the ranching industry. Mr. Aguirre has been the Managing Partner of the North Fork Cattle Company for four decades during which he also was an owner and General Manager of the historic PX Ranch in North Fork, NV for three decades.

A member of the National Cattlemen’s Association and the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association, Mr. Aguirre is a member, Past Officer and Past Chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee for the California Cattlemen’s Association. He also is a Past President of the Producers Livestock Marketing Association of Salt Lake City, UT, Past Director of the Board of the Producers Livestock Loan Corporation in Salt Lake City, UT, Past Director of National Livestock Marketing in Denver, CO, Past Director of the National Livestock and Meat Board in Chicago, IL, and a former member of the California Beef Council. Mr. Aguirre is a Board Member of Rancheros Visitadores and is affiliated with the Western Heritage Association.

In addition, Mr. Aguirre serves as President of the Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo, acclaimed as “the richest two-day rodeo in America.” In 2008, Mr. Aguirre was elected to the California Rodeo Hall of Fame. Locally, Mr. Aguirre is Past President of the Donna and Richard O’Neill Conservancy, a Board member of the J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center, and a Founder-Director of Capital Bank, both in San Juan Capistrano, CA.

A graduate of the University of Arizona where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science, Mr. Aguirre resides at Rancho Mission Viejo’s historic Cow Camp.

Jeremy Laster—Executive Vice President—Chief Operating Officer

Jeremy Laster

Jeremy Laster is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Rancho Mission Viejo, a family-owned ranching, farming and real estate development company in South Orange County, Calif. Jeremy is responsible for the strategic planning, development, operations and management oversight of all long-lived operating properties and assets owned or managed by the company and related entities.

Over the past 16 years, Jeremy has overseen the development and operation of more than 1.5 million square feet of commercial real estate assets, over 2,000 apartment units, and a wireless tower network spanning the entirety of Rancho Mission Viejo’s 23,000 acres of land holdings. Additionally, as company Treasurer, he is involved in all investment transactions, cash management functions and financial oversight at the corporate level.

Jeremy received his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Stanford University, where he also was a two-time NCAA champion and three-time All American on the varsity water polo team. Jeremy went on to represent the United States in Water Polo at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.

Jeremy continues to give back to water polo by serving as a director at USA Water Polo, the national governing body for the sport in the United States. In his spare time, he coaches varsity water polo at Santa Margarita Catholic High School, where his team won a CIF championship in 2016 and he was named CIF Coach of the Year.

In addition, Jeremy serves on the Board of the Orange County Youth Sports Foundation, is active in the Round Table of Orange County, the Gentlemen’s Haberdashery, and Stanford Professionals in Real Estate.

Jeremy was born and raised in Orange County, and currently resides in Ladera Ranch with his wife, Frandy, and their six children ages 9 through 16.

Elise Millington—Executive Vice President—Chief Financial Officer

Elise MillingtonElise Millington is responsible for the financing, financial planning, accounting and reporting, and the property and income tax management of various Rancho Mission Viejo, LLC real estate development and operating entities.

Prior to joining Rancho Mission Viejo in 2004, Ms. Millington served in various financial management capacities for the Irvine Company where she led the Corporate Finance and Accounting department as well as served as a Divisional Controller for the Land Development Group. Since joining Rancho Mission Viejo, Ms. Millington has led the Real Estate Finance and Accounting group primarily responsible for the financial planning and reporting, budgeting, analysis, and financing for real estate development projects and operating properties.

A native of Southern California, she also serves as Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair on the Board of the Boys and Girls Club of Capistrano Valley. She received her undergraduate degree in Accounting from California State University, Fullerton and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of California, Irvine. Ms. Millington resides in Ladera Ranch.

Paul Johnson—Executive Vice President—Community Development

Paul Johnson, Sr.

Paul Johnson is Executive Vice President – Community Development of Rancho Mission Viejo, a family-owned ranching, farming and real estate development company in South Orange County, Calif. For more than 35 years, Paul has been engaged in the planning, design and development of award-winning communities in South Orange County, Calif. Paul’s creative mark is seen throughout the neighborhoods, commercial centers and recreational amenities of Rancho Santa Margarita, Ladera Ranch, and now, the 23,000-acre Rancho Mission Viejo (The Ranch) community, the largest, new master-planned community in California.

As Executive Vice President – Community Development, Paul is responsible for all aspects of community development on The Ranch. This includes urban planning and design, development, builder land sales, construction, marketing and administration as well as the formation and operation of the Community Master Maintenance Corporation and Community Services Organization.

In the coming years, The Ranch is poised to become a landmark community of mixed-use, inter-generational villages, collectively encompassing 6,000 acres, more than 14,000 homes and up to five million square feet of non-residential uses. Ultimately surrounding the villages on The Ranch will be the 17,000-acre Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo – a place of habitat preservation/study and educational enrichment.

Paul attributes his achievements to the stewardship of the O’Neill/Avery/Moiso family, owners and managers of the historic Rancho Mission Viejo since 1882. His admiration for Tony Moiso and family has been a constant, even when Paul served as Project Manager for The Fieldstone Company where he was responsible for project-specific land acquisition, entitlement, product development, marketing, construction, and homebuyer warranty.

Paul received his Bachelor of Arts degree in urban studies/engineering from California State University, Northridge and an M.B.A. from California State University, San Bernardino. He holds a B-1 General Building Contractor’s license. Paul is a past President of the Building Industry Association – Orange County and has served on the Executive Board for the Building Industry Association – Southern California. In 2013, Paul was named “Person of the Year” by BIA-SC’s SAGE Council. In 2017 he was honored into the California Homebuilding Foundation Hall of Fame.

Marc Lamkin—Senior Vice President—Community Development

Marc Lamkin

Marc Lamkin is Senior Vice President, Community Development of Rancho Mission Viejo, a family-owned ranching, farming and real estate development company in South Orange County, Calif. He joined Rancho Mission Viejo in 1999 and is primarily responsible for residential land sales, builder selection and negotiation of land sale agreements.

Marc also participates in land planning, product development and optimization, neighborhood design, management of entitlement efforts and creation of design guidelines. In addition, he is involved in the drafting of community governance documents and serves as a declarant board member. Marc’s responsibilities also include providing oversight for the design and construction of vertical elements within development areas such as clubhouse and recreation facilities, office, retail and apartment components.

Prior to joining Rancho Mission Viejo, he was a project manager with Pacific Bay Homes, where he helped oversee numerous residential projects, including One Ford Road in Newport Beach, Calif.

Prior to joining Pacific Bay Homes, Marc worked as a real estate lender for various banks and a life company (First Interstate, Wells Fargo, and Travelers), providing construction and permanent loans for a variety of purposes such as Land A & D, tract financing, apartment, office and industrial financing.

Marc came to California in 1985 from Texas where he obtained a BBA in Real Estate & Urban Land Development from the University of Texas, Austin in 1980.

Jack Morales—Senior Vice President—Community Development Construction

Jack Morales

Jack Morales is Senior Vice President, Community Development Construction of Rancho Mission Viejo, a family-owned ranching, farming and real estate development company in South Orange County, Calif. Jack is responsible for coordinating, communicating and collaborating with The Ranch Finance Team, Planning Team, Design Team, Construction Team as well as consultants and contractors on the design and construction of the multiple mixed-use and residential villages on The Ranch.

After coming to The Ranch in 2002, Jack played an instrumental role in its land development construction efforts for the Village of Sendero, and of the planning and design efforts to launch the Village of Esencia. He is now working with a multi-faceted project team on the vision for Planning Area 3, the largest planning area of the 23,000-acre master-planned community of Rancho Mission Viejo.

Jack began his career in land surveying in 1988 and gained experience with three civil engineering firms. In 1999, he was named Project Surveyor for the highly successful Rancho Mission Viejo, LLC community of Ladera Ranch.

Jack is a self-proclaimed baseball fanatic and serves his community as president of Costa Mesa Pony Baseball. He enjoys attending church, playing golf and spending quality time with family and friends.

Lissa Freese—Senior Vice President—Ranch Operations

Melissa M. FreeseLissa Freese is responsible for Rancho Mission Viejo, LLC’s day-to-day operations, insurance, staffing and multiple agency interaction for Rancho Mission Viejo’s related commercial lease, ranching and for-sale agricultural activities.

A native of Tucson, AZ, Ms. Freese has been a member of the Ranch family since 1967. She sits on the Board of Directors and serves as an Officer of The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo and is a member of the Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo Committee. Ms. Freese also is a member of the Orange County Sherriff’s Advisory Council and volunteers at the J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center in San Juan Capistrano, CA.

Ms. Freese is a graduate of the University of Southern California where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications.

Laura Coley Eisenberg—Senior Vice President—Open Space Resource Management

Laura Coley Eisenberg

Laura Coley Eisenberg is Senior Vice President, Open Space and Resource Management of Rancho Mission Viejo, a family-owned ranching, farming and real estate development company in South Orange County, Calif. Laura, who joined Rancho Mission Viejo in 2000, is responsible for the local, state and federal agency permitting of all new development projects for the company.

Most recently Laura has overseen the development of three large-scale habitat protection programs in cooperation with federal and state resource and regulatory agencies. These programs are the Southern Subregion Habitat Conservation Plan (SSHCP) with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) for the San Juan Creek Watershed and western San Mateo Watershed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and a Master Streambed Alteration Agreement with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

These efforts involved management of a diverse suite of consultants to produce multiple scientific studies, a complex set of issues to resolve prior to approval and intense negotiations with agency staff with opposing views. Combined, the SSHCP, SAMP and MSAA provide for the perpetual protection and management of 32 covered species (seven listed species) and 10 associated habitat types in a 20,868-acre habitat reserve (The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo), while permitting development of residential and commercial uses, associated infrastructure and ongoing ranch operations, including cattle grazing.

With approval of these habitat protection programs, Laura is now responsible for implementation of the Habitat Reserve Management and Monitoring Program in her capacity as Executive Director of the Rancho Mission Viejo Land Trust. She is also responsible for oversight of the public education programming on The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo, which annually attracts several thousand visitors.

Laura received her Bachelor of Arts in Geography with an emphasis in Urban Planning from California State University, Fullerton.

Laura is married and has two children. She enjoys horse riding, running, boxing and practicing yoga.

Linda Fitzpatrick—Senior Vice President—Human Resources—Facilities

Linda Fitzpatrick

Linda Fitzpatrick is Senior Vice President, Human Resource/Facilities of Rancho Mission Viejo, a family-owned ranching, farming and real estate development company in South Orange County, Calif. She is responsible for managing all human resource functions, including payroll and employee benefits for Rancho Mission Viejo, LLC, the San Juan Company and Rancho Mission Viejo Land Trust.

Linda’s leadership demonstrates the company’s culture and core values. In addition to her human resource responsibilities, she also manages the contractors for all facilities management at Rancho Mission Viejo’s corporate office.

Linda, a long-time Orange County resident, has worked at Rancho Mission Viejo for 12 years. Prior to joining The Ranch team, she held positions at Lennar Homes for 13 years and at Irvine Company for eight years. She also served her community as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and Home Aid to address housing needs in Orange County.

In addition to serving as a member of The Ranch senior leadership team, Linda is an avid world traveler whose journeys have taken her from the Great Wall of China, to New Zealand, to Morocco. When not partaking in an epic adventure, she and her husband, Bob, live in San Clemente.

Mike Balsamo—Senior Vice President—Governmental Relations

Mike Balsamo

Michael E. Balsamo is Senior Vice President, Governmental Relations of Rancho Mission Viejo, a family-owned ranching, farming and real estate development company in South Orange County, Calif. He is responsible for interfacing with various local and regional jurisdictions to oversee the planning and entitlement for community development and major infrastructure including schools, public safety facilities, transportation, water and other vital facilities and services.

Prior to joining Rancho Mission Viejo, Mike was the Chief Executive Officer for the Building Industry Association of Southern California. In this role, Mike led BIASC in advancing its mission to be the single voice of building and development in Southern California, championing the interests of its more than 1,100-member companies encompassing four regional chapters including Orange County, Los Angeles/Ventura, Riverside/Imperial, and San Bernardino counties.

Mike has committed his career to balancing development needs and environmental considerations. To this commitment he brings more than 25 years of experience in land use planning and real estate development in both the public and private sectors, including serving as a land planner for the cities of Irvine and Lake Forest and for the County of Orange as well as a contract role with the Irvine Company and a project management position with Lennar Homes.

Mike is a long-time resident of Orange County and graduate of UC Irvine, where he studied both Political Science and Environmental Science. He is married with four children. He and his family reside in San Juan Capistrano.

Cynthia Tessin—Senior Vice President—Finance—Accounting

Cynthia Tessin

Cynthia M. Tessin is Senior Vice President, Finance and Accounting of Rancho Mission Viejo, a family-owned ranching, farming and real estate development company in South Orange County, Calif. In this role, she leads a team that oversees the financial planning, accounting, financing, and reporting of multiple Rancho Mission Viejo, LLC, real estate development and operating entities. Prior to joining Rancho Mission Viejo as an employee in 2013, she provided financial analysis consulting to the company.

Cynthia’s career comprises more than 30 years of experience in real estate, management, finance, and accounting including tenure with:

  • Integrated Real Estate Resources: Director – Planning and Analysis, where she provided financial analysis, strategic planning, and project management.
  • The Irvine Company: Director – Financial Reporting and Internal Control
  • Coopers & Lybrand: Audit Supervisor

Cynthia graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant. She received the Building Industry Association of Southern California’s President’s Award in 2012.

Jeff Thompson—Senior Vice President—Capital Projects

Jeff Thompson

Jeff R. Thompson is Senior Vice President, Capital Projects of Rancho Mission Viejo, a family-owned ranching, farming and real estate development company in South Orange County, Calif. For more than 14 years, Jeff has supported the implementation of The Ranch Plan, a unique land management plan that is guiding development of the master-planned community of Rancho Mission Viejo. As a member of the senior leadership team, Jeff focuses on procuring and enhancing land entitlements and facilitating design for construction of capital projects for infrastructure and development, including watershed management.

Jeff’s 20 years’ prior experience includes Walt Disney Company for the Disneyland Resort expansion, CH2M Hill for the Design/Build team of the Eastern Transportation Corridor, and consulting to governmental municipalities, districts, and schools. He is licensed as a Civil Engineer and Land Surveyor in California. He is also a licensed Civil Engineer in Arizona and Washington.

Jeff is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Program for Leadership Development. He has also earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from USC and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Civil Engineering from CSU Long Beach. Jeff is a member of the Citizens Advisory and Environmental Allocation Clean-up Committees for Orange County Transportation Authority and Planning Commission for the City of Tustin, his home town. He is also adjunct professor at Cal Poly Pomona for a business-law class for the College of Engineering.

Jeff and his wife, Cheri, have been married for more than 33 years. Jeff believes their four children have helped him acquire great qualifications for management while multi-tasking and prioritizing important resources.

Brett Lawrence—Senior Vice President—Investments

Brett Lawrence

Brett Lawrence is Senior Vice President, Investments of Rancho Mission Viejo, a family-owned ranching, farming and real estate development company in South Orange County, Calif. He is responsible for managing all functions related to the portfolio of cash equivalent, financial, and real estate assets owned by Ranch Mission Viejo and affiliated persons and entities.

Prior to joining Rancho Mission Viejo in 2019, Brett was with WCM Investment Management, where he was a Client Portfolio Manager and non-voting participant in the Investment Strategy Groups for the global, fundamental growth equity strategies. His career started with Carpenter & Company, most recently as EVP and Chief Operating Officer, and as Principal for the Carpenter Community BancFund, a private equity fund focused on the banking industry.

Before beginning his investment career, Brett served six years on active duty as a Surface Warfare Officer in the United States Navy.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the U.S. Naval Academy and his M.B.A. from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

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