Throughout her time at Orchard, Elizabeth has worn many hats; leasing agent, on-site corporate property management for Applied Materials, philanthropy consultant, and Orchard’s North First Street ARTSpace coordinator.
Elizabeth Lewis is the Owner and Board Chair of Orchard Commercial, Inc. She began her career in commercial real estate as an office leasing agent with Cornish and Carey Commercial, Palo Alto. She won the Rookie of the Year award in 1985/86 and held the exclusive listing for the tallest office building in Palo Alto at 525 University Avenue for 17 years.
In 2000 she and her husband, Joe Lewis, purchased the property management firm of Orchard Properties, rebranding it to become Orchard Commercial, Inc. Over the years she worked alongside Joe to grow the company into the largest privately‐owned property management firm in Silicon Valley.
She holds the RPA designation from BOMA and a current CRE license. In 2008 she began her service as a council member of their hometown and is currently the Mayor of Atherton.
The People Behind Orchard Commercial
Known for delivering the highest levels of service and market expertise, our regional team of asset, portfolio, and property managers, accountants, leasing and marketing experts add value to any portfolio.
Elizabeth Lewis is the Owner and Board Chair of Orchard Commercial, Inc. She began her career in commercial real estate as an office leasing agent with Cornish and Carey Commercial, Palo Alto. She won the Rookie of the Year award in 1985/86 and held the exclusive listing for the tallest office building in Palo Alto at 525 University Avenue for 17 years. In 2000 she and her husband, Joe Lewis, purchased the property management firm of Orchard Properties, rebranding it to become Orchard Commercial, Inc. Over the years she worked alongside Joe to grow the company into the largest privately‐owned property management firm in Silicon Valley. Throughout her time at Orchard, she has worn many hats; leasing agent, on‑site corporate property management for Applied Materials (2 years), philanthropy consultant, and Orchard’s North First Street ARTSpace coordinator. She holds the RPA designation from BOMA and a current CRE license. In 2008 she began her service as a council member of their hometown and is currently the Mayor of Atherton.
Byron Renfro is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Orchard Commercial, Inc. He joined Orchard in 2001 and is uniquely qualified to coordinate the operational integration of all of Orchard’s services. Byron directs new and renewal leasing while providing value analysis for clients identifying new investment opportunities.
Byron received his BA from Holy Cross and his MBA from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. He is a LEED Accredited Professional, member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and of the Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center. Byron has served on the board of NAIOP Silicon Valley for over 10 years and was the NAIOP President in 2018.
Melissa Bowman has more than 35 years of experience in real estate accounting. She began her real estate career with the Landsing Corporation in Menlo Park, where she was responsible for accounting, network administration, and tax and SEC compliance for public and private real estate investments with assets totaling more than $700 million. In addition to her expertise in public and private tax accounting, she is an expert in tenant expense analysis and recovery, including real estate system design and customization. She has been the controller for Orchard Commercial for 28 years. In addition to her accounting responsibilities, Melissa has played a large role in the firm’s charitable programs and has developed a robust package of employee benefits, as the firm has quadrupled in size. One of her more important contributions to real estate accounting in Silicon Valley is her consistent work as instructor of the BOMA Accounting Course for property managers. The next generation of property managers in Silicon Valley has learned accounting from Melissa.
Katy Jessup has been in the commercial property management business for more than 30 years, the last 19 of which have been at Orchard Commercial. The usual comment from clients about Katy is, “She is the best property manager I have ever worked with.” She holds a degree in Applied Economics from the University of San Francisco as well as an RPA and an FMA from BOMA, and she has served on the BOMA Silicon Valley board for more than a decade, including two years as president. Katy has also been recognized by the Silicon Valley Business Journal for her property management heroics. Within the Orchard organization, Katy has displayed an extraordinary level of leadership and training for up‐and‐coming property managers, providing a standard for all. She is detail oriented, enjoys construction, proofreads legal documents, and has worked as an accountant — she’s someone who really has it all.
Debbie Kaiser has more than 35 years of commercial property management experience, with the last 13 years as a senior property manager at Orchard Commercial. She oversees teams of managers both at the home office and in offsite offices. Providing support, training, friendship, and diligence, she creates great teams. Since 2000 Debbie has been a major contributor to a property manager association in San Mateo County called ACREM and she has been a member of its board since then, serving many terms as president. This unique organization serves a community of commercial real estate managers who are too far removed from BOMA Silicon Valley or San Francisco. Debbie holds both RPA and FMA designations from BOMA. Prior to Orchard, Debbie worked at Grubb and Ellis, Foster Enterprises (founders of Foster City), Limar Realty, and the Raiser Organization. She has managed a wide variety of challenging projects and brings a wealth of experience to her daily Orchard responsibilities.
Sonia Ayala is a Vice President at Orchard Commercial, Inc. She has worked in commercial real estate for 25 years and joined Orchard in 2009. While at Orchard, Sonia has managed portfolios for private investors, institutional clients and REITs, working extensively on industrial and office property types. She maintains tenant and vendor relations, prepares budgets and CAM reconciliations, provides construction management services for capital projects and tenant improvements as well as negotiates lease renewals. Her clients appreciate her organized and practical approach to problem solving and value creation. In particular, Sonia’s background in financial analysis plays a vital role in helping her clients realize their goals and objectives. She holds a degree in Sociology from San Francisco State University, obtained her real estate license in 2005 and has her RPA through BOMA.
Tim Ballas is responsible for all asset management, property manager recruiting, and new business development activities at Orchard Commercial. He has 35 years of experience in commercial property management, having served as managing director and market leader for CBRE in the Bay Area for 12 years, following 13 years with Cushman & Wakefield in Houston, Dallas, and San Francisco. He has served on the boards of BOMA San Francisco, Oakland/East Bay, and California, as well as the real estate advisory board of City College of San Francisco. Tim holds a BA in Business from Sam Houston State University, has been recognized as a “Who’s Who” in Silicon Valley, and is a frequent industry panelist, guest lecturer, court-appointed receiver, and a known and respected industry leader. Tim has been awarded both CPM and CCIM designations.
Ginger Gour is the Accounting Manager for Orchard Commercial with over 30 years of commercial real estate accounting experience. Ginger’s experience includes 10 years with Orchard Commercial, in addition to 20 years with McCandless Management Companies. Responsible for the oversight of privately held and JV’s for institutional clients such as AEW, Cigna, Prudential, Panasonic, and the California Teachers’ Association. Responsibilities included producing financials, CAM recs, audit and tax preparation. At Orchard, Ginger and the VP/Controller perform a final internal review of all financial reports for compliance to Orchard Commercial’s processes and standards. Her role includes preparation of budgets, CAM reconciliations and financials. Ginger leverages her many years of experience to manage the outstanding team of accountants at Orchard Commercial to deliver the highest quality financial reports for Orchard Commercial and their clientele.