Joanna Ellis, CAM, CAPS
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Joanna Ellis, CAM, CAPS
Ms. Ellis leads the team that delivers the company’s nationwide apartment mystery shopping services, currently averaging 6,000 shops per month. EPMS’ comprehensive, automated property management mystery shopping reports have made EPMS an industry standard in performance evaluation of onsite leasing professionals. Under her leadership, EPMS has established itself as the premier apartment mystery shopping company in the nation with clients that include most major apartment developers, management companies, and REITs. Ms. Ellis was also instrumental in creating the Ellis Benchmark, a widely recognized measurement score for best practices in the lead conversion process. In 2011, EPMS developed a multiple touch point resident surveys program, which is part of their Integrated Customer Experience Program that also includes apartment ratings and reviews through an alliance with Renter’s Voice.
Having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business from Texas A&M in 1983, Ms. Ellis has spent more than 20 years in the multifamily industry, and she now holds both the Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) and Certified Apartment Property Supervisor (CAPS) designations from the National Apartment Association. She is also a licensed Texas Real Estate Agent.
In honor of EPMS’ reputation for integrity, the Dallas Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals awarded Ms. Ellis, on behalf of the company, the 2008 Greater Dallas Business Ethics Award for mid-size companies. The Society of Financial Service Professionals established the American Business Ethics Award to honor companies that demonstrate a firm commitment to ethical business practices in everyday operations, management philosophies, and responses to crises or challenges. More information is provided at http://www.gdbea.org.
Francis Chow, CPA
Chief Strategic Officer
Mr. Chow brings over 15 years of financial experience primarily in the retail and consumer products industries. He is heavily involved in the development of Ellis’ Integrated Customer Experience Program designed to offer customers easily attainable solutions to drive true customer loyalty. The Integrated Customer Experience Program encompasses mystery shops, resident surveys, and Renter’s Voice (apartment ratings and reviews).
Previously as Chief Financial Officer for a retail healthcare company, he was responsible for all financial and administration aspects of the business which included responsibility for the customer loyalty program. Also, from 2006 through 2007, Mr. Chow served as interim CEO as well as CFO and was responsible for all aspects of the company. In 2007 Mr. Chow, merged the company with another retail healthcare company. Mr. Chow formerly served as Vice President of Finance for Timera, a retail workforce planning software company and Director of Finance for Triton, a broadband wireless company.
After graduating from Southern Methodist University in 1994, he began his career at KPMG auditing Fortune 100 retail and consumer products companies. Mr. Chow currently holds a BBA in Accounting, Organizational Behavior and Business Policy with a minor in Economics. He is also a Certified Public Accountant.
Maria Lawson, CAM
Vice President of Training and Development
Mrs. Lawson has teamed with Ellis since 2007, and has been in the apartment industry for over 20 years. She held almost every onsite position with Lincoln Property Company over a span of 16 years, including Regional Marketing Director, Regional Training Director, and ultimately Vice President of Marketing and Training.Mrs. Lawson has been involved in designing the content of a wide variety of industry training programs for LPC and Ellis. She is a regular contributor to Multifamily Insider’s ‘Insider Blog’. Mrs. Lawson has conducted extensive research on generational differences and other topics that impact employee performance and continues developing, reviewing, and delivering training tips and personalized programs on an as-needed basis.
Thanks to her extensive experience, Mrs. Lawson was able to play an integral role in developing the strategic and tactical touch points for the Resident Surveys piece of Ellis’ Integrated Customer Experience Program. She attended Broward Community College in Florida and Kaiser Paralegal College in Florida. She previously earned her Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) certification. She is currently pursuing her Certified Apartment Property Supervisor (CAPS) certification.
Vice President of Operations
Ms. Ford began her career with Ellis in 2003 and has served in many capacities throughout her tenure, including leadership roles in our Quality Control / Editing, Shop Resolution, and other Shopping Departments, as well as serving as Director of Customer Experience for over 3 years. In November 2017, she assumed her current role as Vice President of Operations, wherein she is responsible for overseeing the day to day operations of the shopping side of our business, supporting our team members, and working directly with our customers to ensure we are providing the best service possible.
Ms. Ford holds a Bachelors Degree in English with a minor in Sociology from Texas Woman’s University in Denton. She has prior experience as a graphic artist and designer and served as the Copy Editor of her college newspaper. She resides in Richland Hills, TX.
Mystery Shop Order Processing Team Leader
Mrs. Allen started working for Ellis in May of 2012 as an Online Editor. After two and a half years, she was promoted to Editing Team Leader where she served for several years. In July 2017, she transitioned to the Order Processing team where she quickly moved up to the Team Leader role within that department. She now directly oversees the process of all incoming orders as well as maintaining customer accounts and serving in a customer relations role.
Mrs. Allen resides in Mesquite, Texas with her husband Shawn, her three sons, Christian, Tyler and Austin, and their dogs, Oreo and Chip.
Survey Implementation Team
Mrs. Cole started her career with Ellis in March of 2013 as an Online Editor. In January 2014, she transitioned to the Survey Implementation team where she assists in setting up data integration for customers on the resident surveys program. She works closely with our clients to get new properties onboarded.
Mrs. Cole has worked in several fields during her career including the hospitality, medical and sporting goods industries. She has experience in sales, human resources, business development, trade show organization, editing and procurement. She holds a paralegal certificate from Sam Houston University and resides in Montalba, Texas with her husband Rich. She is an avid reader and enjoys outdoor pursuits such as hiking and kayaking.
Senior Team Leader – Shopping Operations
Ms. Comeaux started with Ellis in 2006 as an Editor. She was promoted to Edit Team Leader a few years later and has worked her way up to her current position of Senior Team Leader – Shopping Operations. She now oversees the mystery shop process from the time a shopper accepts the assignment through the quality assurance process, overseeing a team of about 60 employees who directly work with shoppers.
Alison lives in Spring, TX with her four children, Elijah, Joshua, Gracie and Danielle.
Rachelle began her career in the multifamily industry, starting onsite. After an excellent record in asset financials and team development, she was provided the opportunity to serve as a Regional Training Manager. During the last 6 years, her skills have been successful in evaluating the needs of learning content, course design and facilitation on all platforms. Rachelle is also a Certified Development Dimensions International Facilitator (DDI).
Rachelle joined the Ellis team in 2019 as a Performance Strategist for the Resident Survey Program. Her vast experience and skills dealing with internal and external customers, including how onsite performance can impact business results, allows her to aid our clients in developing action plans that lead to loyal customers and employees.
On a personal note, Rachelle grew up in New Mexico where she attended the University of New Mexico and Eastern New Mexico University. Rachelle lives in Austin with her husband and two dogs, her two Golden Retrievers Dallas and Annie. In her spare time she enjoys painting, healthy cooking, home improvement projects with her husband and having fun with her nieces and nephews.
Candace began her career in the multifamily industry, starting onsite. She demonstrated a talent for developing others and was provided the opportunity to serve in various other roles, including Field Marketing Manager and Senior Regional Training Manager. Candace earned a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) designation, from the Association of Talent Development. She is also a Development Dimensions International (DDI) Certified Facilitator.
Candace joined the Ellis team in 2019 as a Performance Strategist. Her knowledge and experience of connecting performance management solutions to business results allows her to assist our clients in selecting performance solutions to improve employee and customer loyalty.
Candace is a lifelong resident of Texas and attended the University of Houston. She resides in Sugar Land with her husband and two sons. She enjoys spending time with her family, brunch, reading, party-planning and decorating.
Director of Audio/Video Shopping Department
Mr. Hunt began working with Ellis in 2016 overseeing the day to day operations of our Audio/Video shopping department. In this role he supports our A/V team members and shoppers, and he is responsible for timely execution of all Audio/Video shops and communicating with customers regarding their A/V shop requests. He directly oversees the team responsible for managing Audio and Video shops and working with shoppers.
Mr. Hunt has an Associates Degree in Engineering. Prior to joining the Ellis team, he worked in sales and marketing for a retail firm. He lives in Richland Hills, TX with his family.
Director of Customer Relations
Mrs. Kittelson began working with Ellis first as a shopper in 2001. In 2003, she joined our team, working in Shopper Support. In that role, she was the primary contact for shoppers’ questions about their shops. Mrs. Kittelson took on the role of Director of Customer Relations in 2006 and in that position continues to work with our shoppers and clients alike, ensuring that shops are completed accurately and in a timely manner.
Mrs. Kittelson graduated from the University of Central Florida in 1989 with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration. Prior to joining the Ellis team, she worked in advertising sales and the travel industry. She lives in San Antonio with her husband and two children.