Westar Associates, headquartered in Newport Beach, California, is engaged in the acquisition, development, leasing, and management of real estate including shopping centers, apartments, self-storage, hotels, and mixed-use properties. Westar has developed and acquired 80 properties valued in excess of $2.6 billion.
In 1980, Bob founded Westar Associates. Throughout his career, he has developed and invested in over 150 projects including shopping centers, apartments, hotels, self-storage, and mixed-use properties. In 2017, he co-founded SmartRent, a real estate technology provider for apartments. He has served on numerous corporate and nonprofit boards, and received his BS and MBA degrees from USC.
Chief Financial Officer
Mark Hulme is a partner of Westar and is responsible for all Asset Management, Financing, Lender and Investor Relations, the Sale of Projects, and Raising Equity. Mark’s background is in commercial real estate lending, having worked for Wells Fargo Bank, Chemical Bank, and M&T Bank. He has been responsible for over $1 billion worth of real estate loan fundings. He is the past president of Orange County Youth Sports Foundation and graduated from Bucknell University with a BSBA.
Chief Operating Officer
Jud Dutrisac has been with Westar since 1995 and is a partner in the company. He oversees all aspects of Leasing, Acquisitions, Entitlement, Development, and Construction. Before being named COO, Jud ran Westar’s Leasing Division where he successfully negotiated 3 million square feet of retail leases. Prior to joining Westar, he spent 5 years with Grubb & Ellis, specializing in retail real estate. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College.
Executive Vice President, Entitlements
Connor Best has been with Westar since 2007 and is a partner in the company. He is responsible for the acquisition and entitlement of new projects. His background in planning, design, and construction management of both retail and apartment projects uniquely qualifies him to identify development opportunities for Westar. He was born and raised in Southern California. He attended the University of Colorado, and is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).
Executive Vice President, Construction
Ryan Best has been with Westar since 2010 and is a partner in the company, and is responsible for overseeing the development of Westar’s projects including construction management & entitlements. Prior to joining the development department, he was Vice President of Property Management for 5 years. He attended the University of Southern California and Columbia College Chicago.
Executive Vice President, Acquisitions & Leasing
Kam Walton joined Westar Associates in 2013 and is a partner in the company. He has 20 years of experience in real estate transactions and is currently involved with acquisitions, development, major tenant leasing and relations, as well as overseeing all aspects of the company’s 2 million square foot retail portfolio and the management of its in-house leasing team. Prior to joining Westar Associates, Kam spent several years working in brokerage with a focus on representing shopping center owners throughout Southern California, most recently as the senior retail advisor in Cushman & Wakefield’s Irvine office. Kam is a native of Southern California and is a graduate of Harvard University.
Senior Vice President, Accounting
Catie Allison is the Senior Vice President, Accounting for Westar. She spent 8+ years in public accounting with firms such as Deloitte and Haskell & White, and after working on Westar’s engagement for several years, she was offered the lead position in their accounting department in 2022. She graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree in Accounting. Catie has been actively licensed to practice as a Certified Public Accountant since 2015.
Senior Vice President, Property Management
Mike Wentworth is responsible for all operations of Westar’s shopping center portfolio property management, marketing, and security departments. Mike previously served as Westar’s Director of Operations. Prior to joining Westar, Mike spent 15 years with the Irvine Company and has experience in both the Irvine Company Retail and Office divisions. He graduated from California State University Fullerton with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration.
Vice President, Property Management
Marianne Emmerling is responsible for overseeing the management and lease administration of a portfolio consisting of 13 shopping centers with over 2 million square feet. Marianne joined Westar in 2001, as Property Manager, bringing with her vast real estate and property management experience having worked on the retail tenant side of the business with Krause’s Furniture and Denny’s Restaurants, as well as, shopping center management with GVD Commercial Properties. She attended Cerritos College and has her California Real Estate License.
Vice President, Leasing
Chris Walton oversees all aspects of leasing Westar’s two-million square foot portfolio. Prior to joining Westar, Chris focused primarily on anchor, junior anchor and pad leasing for Newmark Knight & Frank. Since January 2010, Walton has completed more than 600 lease transactions with a combined total consideration of approximately $300 million. He graduated with a Business Management degree from San Diego State University where he was the captain of the men’s basketball team. He is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and has been acknowledged for several professional achievements in the shopping center industry.
Vice President, Development
Zach LeLevier-Joseph has been with Westar since 2016. He is involved with the development and construction of new projects, and is responsible for the management of Westar’s Central Coast properties. Prior to joining Westar, Zach worked as a Civil Engineer for a private firm in Santa Barbara, and as a Project Manager for a General Contractor in Goleta, where he played an integral role in the construction of the Hollister Village mixed-use community. After growing up in Alaska, Zach graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a degree in Civil Engineering, and is a licensed California Professional Engineer.
Jade Field serves as Westar’s Leasing Director in handling the daily leasing activities for the company’s retail portfolio. Prior to joining the Leasing Team, Jade was responsible for various aspects of retail operations in Westar’s Property Management department including new tenant improvement construction, tenant coordination, and specialized project management. Before her time at Westar, Jade worked in the multifamily industry for 10 years with such companies as The Irvine Company, Essex Property Trust and Sares-Regis Group. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz and subsequently earned her Juris Doctorate degree from Trinity Law School. She is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and CREW Orange County.
Director of Operations
Bob Byrd joined Westar in 2023 to lend his skills as the Director of Operations. He is responsible for overseeing all operations, tenant coordination, and landscaping for Westar’s Southern California commercial retail portfolio. Bob received an HVAC certification from Orange Coast College and has a robust background in construction and extensive electrical knowledge. Prior to joining Westar, Bob spent 12 years working with and for the Irvine Company Retail Properties division. There he held the roll of Operations Manager for The Market Place Shopping Center, one of the company’s three Regional Centers.
Joe McCabe is involved with the operation and renovation of the Westar centers throughout Southern California. He has been involved in high end retail stores for the past 20 years in the Los Angeles area, primarily pertaining to the facilities maintenance and new system implementation in various flagship stores. He graduated from Los Angeles Valley College with an Associates of Science Degree. He is an active member of ICSC, as well as a member of IREM (Institute of Real Estate Management).
Ally Green, CRRP
Vice President, Marketing
Ally Green oversees all areas related to marketing & public relations for Westar. She is responsible for creating and implementing effective strategies that result in increased traffic and enhanced sales to the merchants of each Westar property. Ally graduated from USC with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. She is currently a participating member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and received her CRRP (Certified Retail Real Estate Professional) credential in 2019.
Morgan Curtis joined Westar in January 2023 to assist and lend her skills to the marketing department. She has a substantial background in digital marketing, particularly social media and design, along with client coordination. Morgan graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, concentration in Marketing, and a minor in Psychology. She is a participating member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and looks forward to her career development at Westar Associates.
Director of Security
Jacque Hill oversees all aspects of security for various centers in Westar’s portfolio. He has over 25 years of experience in the real estate and lending industry and has developed apartment buildings and single-family homes. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in Public Administration.
Director of Technology
Ben McCarthy joined Westar in August 2020 to drive all aspects of technology initiatives. Ben attended Kalamazoo Technical College in England before moving to the United States. He comes with over 20 years’ experience in the IT and Managed IT industries, and has attained numerous certifications, including from Microsoft, Citrix, and CompTIA.
Lauren joined Westar in 2020. As Executive Assistant, she coordinates schedules and provides administrative support to the partners at Westar. Prior to becoming Executive Assistant, Lauren worked with the Property Management department as their Property Coordinator, assisting with various aspects of lease administration.