Principal, Managing Principal
After graduating from UCLA in 1977, Steve Leonard began managing his personal stock portfolio while entering the real estate business as his primary profession. He formed Pacifica Holding Company in the early 1980’s to take advantage of commercial real estate cycles, initially in Los Angeles, later in Denver in the early 1990s, and eventually back in Southern California in the late 1990s.
Commercial Real Estate Success
Pacifica assembled a portfolio in those markets through acquisition and, as the cycles progressed, development with private and eventually institutional investors. Later, as prices became inflated in each market and reached extreme levels, Pacifica sold its holdings and looked elsewhere for opportunity.
Following a successful cycle in LA, Pacifica Colorado eventually established the largest private commercial portfolio in that state. By 1998, as market values began to peak, Pacifica sold its 8 million square foot portfolio and management business for approximately $750 million. Pacifica’s principals then returned to the LA area and established its second major Los Angeles portfolio of approximately 4 million square feet. It was sold by 2004 for a total consideration of approximately $400 million. More recently, the Great Recession has generated new buying opportunities, and Mr. Leonard has formed groups to take advantage of them.
Pacifica Capital Investments
Returning to Southern California in 1998, Mr. Leonard secured his Series 6 Securities License and founded Pacifica Capital Investments. The firm is dedicated to implementing the same value-based investment philosophy in public equities that he has deployed so successfully in commercial real estate.
By concentrating holdings in the best managed companies, investing in only businesses it understands well, and buying stock only when priced at a discount to intrinsic value, Pacifica has generated an impressive track record that has attracted approximately 150 clients and families. Mr. Leonard is Pacifica’s biggest investor in a portfolio valued at over $260 million that also includes the investable assets of Pacifica’s other key executives.
Professional and Personal
Mr. Leonard has spoken at many investment forums such as the prestigious Value Investing Congress, both the LA and Denver Chapters of NAIOP, and the Colorado Real Estate Journal Forum. Steve has served on the board of directors of both public and private companies, including Colorado Gaming and Entertainment, BJ’s Pizza & Brew House, and Front Range Bank in Denver. He is also founder of Brokers for Battered Kids, a charitable organization that has raised almost $2 million for disadvantaged children in the Denver area.
Steve and his wife Cindy have two children and reside in Santa Barbara, California.
Principal, Chief Investment Officer
Kari Pemberton began working with Pacifica Capital Investments as a Research Analyst a decade ago. Although her most important role is serving as Chief Investment Officer, her experience includes leadership positions in virtually all aspects of Pacifica’s core operations, including trading individually managed accounts, regulatory compliance, marketing, investor communications, as well as establishing and administrating Pacifica’s investment fund and private equity ventures. Kari was also a featured participant in an interview with Value Investor Insight.
Prior to joining Pacifica, Kari was employed as a project manager in various sectors and later as a financial analyst in the Tax Department at the accounting firm of KPMG. From 2004 to 2009, she also assisted in the growth and disposition of two private wholesale distribution businesses.
She graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Puget Sound, and she lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and three children.
Principal, Sales & Marketing
Blake Isaacson has had a professional and investment relationship with Steve Leonard and Pacifica for almost thirty years. After graduating from Claremont McKenna College, he began working for Pacifica’s real estate brokerage affiliate in 1985 before initiating its entry into the Colorado commercial market in 1988 as Director of Acquisitions.
After that portfolio was bought a decade later, he used the proceeds to establish another successful one in Las Vegas which was sold in the mid 2000s.
Blake joined Pacifica as Principal, Sales & Marketing in 2005. During his tenure at the firm, assets under management at Pacifica have grown substantially. He has also assisted with the capitalization of several private equity and real estate ventures with Steve Leonard.
Blake was a founder of CalNet Business Bank in 2001. He is a licensed real estate broker in California where he has also been active in politics. As a result of that involvement, Blake was appointed to full time positions in both gubernatorial and presidential administrations while living in Sacramento and Washington, DC.
Blake resides in San Diego, California and has three sons.
Principal, Institutional Real Estate Investing
Matt Burton has had a 10 year professional relationship with Steve Leonard before he formally joined Pacifica in January 2016. At Pacifica, Matt is the principal in charge of all institutional real estate investing activities. These investment activities include direct real estate investments, partnerships and debt transactions.
Prior to Pacifica, Matt was a Principal at Mack Urban, where he was responsible for all equity and debt relationships and joint ventures. Mr. Burton was actively engaged in the planning, development, marketing and lease-up of over 4,000 multi-family units and sourced over $2.5 billion of debt and equity capital while at Urban.
Prior to joining Urban Partners in 2003, Mr. Burton served for 8 years as Vice President with American International Group (AIG) and SunAmerica (Sun) in Los Angeles. Mr. Burton ran the West Coast loan origination platform for Sun and AIG. In this capacity Mr. Burton placed and managed hundreds of loans for over $3.5. During his career, Mr. Burton has created and maintained strong personal relationships with key players in the capital markets.
Mr. Burton holds a B.A. degree in Government from The College of Arts and Sciences at Georgetown University and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Matt and his wife Natalie have two teenage children and reside in Pacific Palisades, California.
Blair Bodek started working with Pacifica as an equity research intern in 2014, while a student at Indiana University. After graduating in 2016, Blair began working with Pacifica full time. His areas of responsibility include: conducting research on public equity investments, client acquisition, equity account management, investor communications, and marketing.
While at Indiana University, Blair pursued a broad based liberal arts education that included studies in history, economics, and business. He also studied the economics of the European Union in Budapest, Hungary and worked in Wellington, New Zealand for the Kaufman Foundation promoting entrepreneurship.
Prior to joining Pacifica, Blair worked with Philadelphia Construction, a family business focused on real estate acquisition and management in Philadelphia. In this capacity, he held responsibilities in virtually all aspects of real estate investment management – market research, product acquisition, development, and property management.
Blair currently lives in Philadelphia and is active in various community organizations including the Young Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Men’s Club at RS.
Kacie McElmurry • Mindy Marquez