Our Team

Craig Smith – Chief Executive Officer/Founder


As founder of Fountainhead Development, Craig Smith brings over 30 years of retail shopping center and commercial real estate knowledge, expertise, and experience to bear on each Fountainhead Development project.

Initially, Craig was responsible for all aspects of Fountainhead’s development process including business development, site acquisition, marketing, entitlements, title issues, lease negotiations, signage programs, environmental issues, financing, construction supervision, and the liquidation of completed product on over 70 projects.

Craig currently focuses on strategic planning, business development, and managing Fountainhead Development. Craig has developed, leased, and managed in excess of one hundred retail projects and shopping centers. Craig has successfully managed Fountainhead through three market changes over the past 16 years and has succeeded in accurately identifying each change, its impact of market direction, and positioned Fountainhead for continued success. A few notable accomplishments for Fountainhead Development are: i) the development of the first drive-thru Starbucks in Southern California; ii) the #1 buyer of excess properties from Arco in the State of California for several years running; and iii) the recent completion of the first ground up Aldi in California.

Prior to founding Fountainhead Development, Craig joined Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Group in 1984 in the commercial group-training program. Over the next two years he gained experience in various specialties including appraisal, consulting services, marketing research, and brokerage services. Upon his completion of basic training, he spent the next year learning his specialty; retail brokerage. Craig eventually went on to become a Senior Associate at CB Commercial. During his tenure, he generated and completed real estate transactions in the millions of square feet with a market value in the hundreds of millions. Craig left CB Commercial in 1995 to start Fountainhead Development.

Craig graduated in 1983 from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in investment finance. Craig speaks regularly at the University of Southern California Masters of Business Administration program and industry related events.

Craig is a devoted outdoorsman.

Tom Swieca – Partner

As a Partner at Fountainhead Development, Tom Swieca is responsible for generating and tracking opportunities for new development projects. Primary responsibilities include site identification and acquisition, as well as maintaining relationships with national / regional tenants through strategic analysis that best suits the particular tenant’s needs. To ensure that the “Tenant’s Needs” are best served; Tom pursues positive relationships with the brokerage community, city and county officials, as well as property owners to create “added value” to all involved.

Tom joined Fountainhead Development in 2014 after a 30 year career in the sales and leasing of commercial real estate. Joining Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Group in 1983; Tom specialized in the leasing and development of retail properties; shopping centers from 1 acre in size to power centers in excess of 800,000 square feet. In addition to Landlord representation and development, tenant representation became an integral part of Tom’s business plan. He exclusively represented many national and regional retailers from 1,000 to 100,000 square feet in size with the responsibility of maximizing market penetration and competitive advantages. As Coldwell Banker Commercial became CB Richard Ellis, a team was built around Tom as Senior Vice President that focused on new retail development, tenant representation, shopping center marketing, investment sales, strategic analysis in support of tenant expansion, and consulting services for governmental agencies.

Tom graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. He is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

Tom enjoys slowing his golf swing down, tailgating at UCLA football games, and following kids to their water polo games at UC Irvine.

Eric Schneider – Director of Real Estate

Eric Schneider brings over 28 years of real estate operational experience to Fountainhead Development. As the Director of Real Estate, Eric manages all acquisition, disposition, leasing, financing and legal activities while providing further oversight to the development team.

Prior to joining Fountainhead, Eric was a retail asset manager at American Reality Advisors (ARA), one of the largest privately held real estate investment management firms in the U.S. At ARA, Eric provided direct oversight of the firm’s retail real estate assets, including Core, Value-add, Separate Accounts and Commingled Funds located throughout the United States.

Previous to ARA, Eric was the Director of Real Estate for the West Coast office of Auburndale Properties, Inc. located in Los Angeles. A dedicated and valued contributor for over 25 years, Eric directed all aspects of management, leasing, construction and operations of a portfolio of retail and industrial properties exceeding 2M square feet throughout the Western States.

Eric is a licensed California Real Estate Broker and since 1993 has held the designation of Certified Shopping Center Manager (CSM) from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). He completed ICSC’s Development Design & Construction Institute in 2006 and is a certified U.S. EPA Green Lights Surveyor. Eric graduated from San Diego State University in 1988 with a B.S. in Real Estate Finance, then completed construction management coursework at UCLA in 1989.

A native to Southern California, Eric enjoys combining long distance triathlon and running races with travel. He is most proud of his two, fourth generation California sons, one currently a resident oral surgeon and the other serving the U.S. Navy as an aviation cadet.

Vasanthi Okuma – Director of Development

Vasanthi Okuma’s primary focus at Fountainhead Development, is land development, planning, entitlements, design, due diligence, project management, and construction administration.  Her knowledge base and technical expertise stems from over 20 years of experience in all phases of commercial architecture and development services for large retail centers as well as Tenant-driven expansions.   Her long list of clientele includes national anchors such as IKEA, Home Depot, In-n-Out, Family Dollar, CVS and Target.

Prior to working at Fountainhead Development, Vasanthi was a Development Manager at a national development company, managing numerous ground-up projects from site selection to grand opening. Her career portfolio included the west coast and Washington, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, with special focus in Southern California, and the City of Los Angeles. Vasanthi enjoys challenges and has completed controversial projects requiring multi-layer, multi-agency approvals, EIRs and Superfund sites.

Vasanthi first attended school in Bangalore, India, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree.   Later, she moved to Dallas, Texas to attain her associate degree in Interior Architecture & Design. She completed over 12 years in architecture and construction before transitioning to land development, where she found her true passion.

Aside from her professional life, Vasanthi enjoys reading, visiting big cities, watching her son’s water polo games, playing tennis, walks on the beach, cooking & entertaining.

Sheri Franco – Asset and Operations Manager

Sheri Franco joined the Fountainhead Team in 2007 and brings over 20 years of real estate experience with her. Sheri successfully served Fountainhead in the capacity of Project Manager for a number of ground-up construction projects, and she currently fills the role of the company’s Asset and Operations Manager. She oversees the general corporate and project accounting, financial analysis, asset management including tenant coordination, and property management.

Prior to joining Fountainhead, Sheri was employed by a general contracting firm specializing in multi-family reconstruction projects, as the Business Administrator and Human Resource Manager. Her responsibilities included managing and directing the course of the general business operation.

Sheri’s prior experience also includes working with a national, publicly-traded Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) which specializes in developing, redeveloping, acquiring, and managing luxury apartment communities throughout the United States. She was a member of the development and acquisitions department, and served as a project coordinator and construction administrator.

Additionally, Sheri’s experience includes employment with a Southern California based homeowners association (HOA) management company. This Southern California based HOA Management Company represented over 136 HOAs.

Sheri enjoys spending time in nature, creating colorful art projects, reading, and has a passion for writing.

Francis Chu – Senior Development Manager

Francis Chu is a registered architect with over 30 years of experience in the architectural and development field. His focus at Fountainhead Development will be in architecture, land development, planning, entitlements, due diligence, project management, and construction administration.

Prior to joining Fountainhead, Francis was an architectural and development consultant on various retail and clean fuel projects for developers and end user.

Previous to his consultant work, Francis was the Director of Development for the Southern California office of a national development company focusing on west coast expansion for national retailers.

He was the regional manager and principal of two national architectural firms with national clients such as Home Depot, Costco, Kohl’s, Family Dollar, CVS, In-n-Out Burger, Five Guys Burgers, and other development companies. His architectural and development experience span from Utah, Arizona, Dallas, Nevada, Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, and to Guam.

Francis obtained his Bachelor of Architecture with a minor in Business Law from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He is a member of NCARB.

He enjoys trying out new unusual food, tennis, obeying the wife, and going incommunicado on vacations.

Desiree Razo – Leasing Associate

Desiree’s current role at Fountainhead Development is preparation, control and completing Letters of Intent for potential land acquisitions and lease transactions, providing analysis at every step in the process. Desiree’s responsibilities are intertwined with the Director of Real Estate and Director of Development.

Desiree’s career in real estate began 2000 as a construction administrator for Gap, Inc., Banana Republic and Old Navy retail projects in Southern California. Subsequently, she was involved in all aspects of a startup commercial and retail general construction firm in the capacities of office manager, payroll manager, project engineer and construction accountant.

Prior to Fountainhead Development, Desiree held an eleven-year tenure at a development firm focused in necessity-based retail shopping centers where she transitioned from construction to real estate development as an assistant tenant coordinator. She facilitated pre-construction for retail shopping center tenants in Menifee, Palm Springs and Visalia, California. Thereafter, she made the shift from development to operations as a lease administrator for the firm’s sixty-two property portfolio.

Desiree studied at San Diego State University and obtained her Bachelors of Arts from Brandman University. She also holds a certificate in Construction and Development Management from the University of California, Irvine.

Among Desiree’s hobbies are CrossFit, travel, snowboarding, cooking and cheering on her favorite hockey team the LA Kings.

Tae Kim – Project Manager

As the newest addition to FHD, Tae Kim performs Project Management functions for the Development Team, engaged from project conception; through planning, entitlement and design; onto construction administration.

Prior to joining FHD, he worked for S.L. Leonard & Associates, where he represented developers, management companies and educational institutions with diverse capital projects which included tenant improvements, renovations, retrofits and new construction.

Tae graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.

Lisa Fogarty – Office Administration

With over 20 years of experience managing business relations and organizing large scale special projects for the National Football League, Lisa’s role within Fountainhead Development is to assist the executive team with day to day activities; oversee general administrative matters and most importantly coordinate and document action items and detailed timing obligations as well as milestones of every escrow and purchase the company undertakes.

A Southern California native, Lisa is a graduate of The University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science.

Lisa enjoys cooking, entertaining, playing tennis and golf as well as volunteering with her two daughters.

 


Watch This Video: Craig Smith,
CEO of Fountainhead Development