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Our Team


The One Who Makes Things Work

Hank leads SearchLight’s maintenance division, which we established in 2022. He vets and engages contractors and makes sure that they are well-qualified for the job. A hands-on manager, Hank spends much of his time working on-site at our clients’ properties, which include multifamily buildings, commercial facilities, and single-family homes. On these visits he assesses maintenance needs and schedules repairs, ensuring that they are completed quickly, effectively, on budget, and with minimum disruption to tenants or residents. Before joining SearchLight, Hank served as an operations and maintenance manager at Sunrise Growers in Santa Maria. His previous positions include plant engineer and maintenance manager for other prominent companies in both California and Tennessee. At one of them -- Knott’s Berry Farm Foods -- he met Michelle Shipman, who just so happens to be our founder and principal broker. A fruitful experience indeed! Born and raised in Tennessee, Hank earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Memphis State. He still visits the state frequently to hunt and fish – hobbies that he also pursues in Colorado and California. Like Michelle, he’s a dog lover who spends time with the Shipmans’ two labs -- Cocoa (AKA SearchLight’s director of leashing) and Blossom.

The One Who Makes $h!t Happen…

Gloria divides her time between interacting with clients, supervising staff, and developing and implementing policies to ensure compliance and the highest standards of quality. She is excited about SearchLight’s future and looks forward to participating in the firm’s evolution. Before joining SearchLight, Gloria served for 14 years as an administrator at a local laboratory, worked for Dignity Health, and studied at Alan Hancock College. This experience prepared her well for her role at SearchLight, which requires strong organizational and leadership skills. Gloria is a local, born and raised in Santa Maria, Ca. In her spare time, she shares her passions of health and fitness with the community as a personal and group trainer at a local gym. If she’s not in the office, you can probably find her enjoying the outdoors or volunteering at her church which she describes as her “happy place”.

The One Who Holds It All Together

Stephanie, SearchLight’s business manager, joined the firm in 2015. She oversees both general operations and the property management division. According to Stephanie, the best part of her job is helping people and making their lives easier. Previously, Stephanie worked as an assistant manager for a bank in Santa Maria, where she was born, raised, and educated – she studied business at Santa Barbara Business College. On typical weekends, Stephanie travels and camps with her husband, who shares her love of the outdoors. Occasionally, they persuade one or more of their three grown children to join them. That’s often a tougher task than any business challenge!

The One Who’s One for the Books

Debbie, who has worked with SearchLight since 2014, handles payroll and accounts payable for the brokerage side of the business. On the property management side, she reviews general ledgers and she balances books for our landlord clients. After studying accounting at Cal Poly, Debbie initially joined a large accounting firm in San Luis Obispo, but she decided to change course and become a sole proprietor, specializing in bookkeeping for small businesses along the Central Coast. Her clients represent many different industries, and she enjoys the variety. Debbie grew up in Arroyo Grande and still lives there. In her spare time, she gardens, lifts weights, participates in CrossFit programs, and walks her dog – a boxer named Amelia.

The One Who Keeps Everyone Happy

Julia’s manages buildings and houses owned by SearchLight clients. She enjoys her responsibilities because she loves cultivating relationships and providing friendly, efficient customer service. Her property management career began at Greystar, where she started out as a leasing professional at a multifamily complex and then rose to assistant manager. She subsequently spent a year at Afton Properties, also as an assistant manager. Tenants she interacted with in both positions went straight to her with any requests; she was known for her bubbly personality. Julia, who studied business management, was born and raised in Santa Maria. She loves the area because it is so close to the beaches she visits regularly with her daughter Avi, who’s 11 years old. Another member of the family is Darla, whom Julia describes as “a small kittycat.” When she’s not at work or at the beach, you’ll find Julia spending time with friends and family and dining out. Her fuel? Fun.

The One Who Works Like a Dog

Cocoa is our director of “leashing” and serves as the company mascot. He was initially hired as a security consultant, but this role was not a good fit for him. This became clear whenever Cocoa encountered a stranger. No barking or growling; just lots of wet, sloppy kisses. We adjusted his job description accordingly. He still takes on important roles in real estate, however. For example, he is an expert in surveying backyards.