Silver Fern Companies of Phoenix AZ team and field staff


Silver Fern Companies is a full-service real estate consulting firm servicing the Valley’s leading land developers and homebuilders. Our comprehensive scope of development services offers you continuity throughout a project’s entire lifecycle. Our approach to project management is that we take ownership of the end result and mitigate the risk for the client. We start with the zoning process and deliver finished residential lots to landowners. Our entitlement and construction management personnel specialize in land development from small infill multi-family to large-scale master planned communities.


Our services include: – Due Diligence – Entitlement, Engineering Coordination – Dry Utility Design Coordination – Project Estimation & Value Engineering – Construction Management – Project Closeout – Property Inspections


Working with Silver Fern Companies allows an owner to gain an experienced land development team, removing the need to hire staff to complete a project. With Silver Fern’s combined 70 years’ experience in the Arizona land development industry we have the experience and foresight to identify and mitigate problems before they arise. From project conception through the design phase to final finished lots, we act as a direct extension of the owner, navigating the critical path to a successful on-time on-budget project delivery.


John Fortini Silver Fern President
John Robert Fortini passed away Thursday, February 21, 2019, after a courageous battle with prostate cancer. He fought for almost seven years despite his doctors’ initial shorter prognosis. John always found a way to beat the odds. Read more about John’s legacy and his impact on our firm, our clients and the community.


Stephen Ochoa, Principal of Silver Fern Companies and Otago Development

Stephen Ochoa Silver Fern Principal
Stephen met John in the summer of 1998 while working as a grading contractor on a project John was managing. By that September, Stephen had joined the firm and has been an asset ever since. John’s mentoring and “tough older brother” type of affection led to a strong, enduring 20-year partnership, which Stephen credits in preparing him for this new role. “I am fortunate to have met John, as he helped mold me into the person I am today. From my first day on the job, we created a friendship, which turned into a mentorship and ended in a business partnership. I am blessed that I was able to share John’s last days with him. Fortini will be forever missed.” As Silver Fern Companies’ new leader, Stephen brings hands-on construction experience and strong oversight in providing cost-effective solutions to clients. His passion for demolition and construction started during his time spent in the United States Marine Corps. Stephen enlisted right out of high school and served with 1st Marine Combat Engineer Battalion stationed at Camp Pendleton, San Clemente, California. During his time, he served in “Operation Restore Hope” which allowed him to see a different kind of life in Mogadishu, Somalia. He credits the Marines for providing him the skillset to be an effective and dedicated leader. Prior to his Principal role for Silver Fern Companies and Otago Development, Stephen served in a variety of positions within the firms, including Vice President, Director of Construction and Project Manager. Today, Stephen focuses on business operations while overseeing all aspects of current and future projects. His solid, industry-honed experience ensures clients receive the best knowledge and foresight — ensuring projects are designed and constructed seamlessly.


Amy Weidman, Vice President, Forward Planning

Amy Weidman Silver Fern Forward Planning Director
Amy brings extensive experience in all aspects of entitlements, to include zoning, land planning, platting, engineering and architecture. She works diligently to maneuver through the many obstacles when entitling a project. Amy collaborates with governing agencies, contractors, consultants and our clients to ensure the success of a project. Her Bachelor of Industrial and Applied Mathematics and minor in Environmental Geology degree and 21 years in the industry have enabled her upward career trajectory from working for an engineering firm, public homebuilder and a private land development firm to leading the Silver Fern Companies Entitlements and Land Planning Division.

Sandi Elmore, Forward Planner

Sandra Elmore Silver Fern-Forward-Planner

Sandi provides support to our Forward Planning and Land Development Directors and assists with all aspects of the entitlement process — project due diligence investigation, plan tracking, various project-related submittal coordination and summaries of findings. Sandi’s background in the real estate industry is extensive and includes entitlement work, legal and title review and resolution, sales, property management, land development and general management of real estate sales and development offices.

Robert Butteweg, Project Estimator / Dry Utility Coordinator

Robert Butteweg Silver Fern-Project-Estimator/Dry-Utility-Coordinator

Robert provides support to the Entitlement and Land Planning team by assisting with the dry utility design and coordination on projects during the planning and engineering phase through project development and construction phase. In addition, Robert assists with the project budget/estimating process during the initial phase of projects. Combined with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Construction Management, Robert brings more than 25+years of experience in civil roadway/utility design and site development.


John Nagel, Senior Vice President

John Nagel Silver Fern Land Development Manager
As Senior Vice President, John brings more than 20+ years of land development experience, including a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies and Urban Planning from The University of Iowa. He uses his extensive knowledge in managing land development projects, budgeting, scheduling and contracting to work closely with clientele and Silver Fern Companies’ leadership team to ensure on-time and on-budget deliveries. John is adept at problem-solving and coordinating efforts between engineers, architects, municipalities and contractors to successfully complete every project. In John’s role as Senior Vice President, he is responsible for overseeing the growth of the team to ensure top performance while achieving desired results and finding efficient and effective solutions that create value for the organization and our clientele. John is also responsible for formulating, administering and maintaining land development budgets from due diligence through completion and overseeing the team’s growth while driving results consistent with the Company’s values, vision and culture. Before joining our team, John worked for several years developing land for a national homebuilder here in the valley.

Jason Meyers, Director of Land Development West Valley

Jason Meyers Silver Fern Land Development Manager
Jason brings 20 years of expertise as Director of Land Development for Silver Fern Companies. In addition to his Bachelor of Geology/Hydrogeology degree, Jason directs and oversees all construction activity on our West Valley projects, from consulting on project drawings to estimating, scheduling, budget management, dry utility coordination to final walk-throughs and project completion. Prior to joining Silver Fern Companies, Jason worked for AAM and Taylor Morrison Homes.

Robert Takahashi, Project Manager

Robert Takahashi Silver Fern Project Engineer
As Project Manager, Robert reviews construction drawings, property reports, proposals, plan submittals and ALTA Surveys. He prepares our bid scopes and construction schedules, as well as assists the Directors of Land Development with the coordination of daily construction activities. Along with his Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from ASU and participation in many local associations, including the Valley Partnership Advocates program and ABA AZ Young Builders Council, Robert’s coordination and management ensure that nothing falls through the cracks on the job site. Robert was also highlighted in AZRE’s 2018 report on “20 in their 20s in commercial real estate” for millennials making a name for themselves in the industry.

Austin Brown, Project Engineer

Austin Brown Silver Fern Engineer
Austin joined Silver Fern Companies in 2018 and is involved in many project-related aspects of our business, including performing site and sub checks, overseeing sewer, water and power inspections, handling project reporting, performing schedule reviews and much more. Prior to joining our company Austin gained valuable experience working hands-on in the field at Southwest Earthworks as a heavy equipment operator.

Bryt Adamson, Project Engineer

Bryt Adamson, Land Development Coordinator
Bryt joined Silver Fern Companies in July 2020 and provides coordination and support to the Directors of Land Development and Project Managers. She assists with all aspects of project delivery, from contracting, construction permitting through to site inspections and project reporting. Bryt brings more than six years of experience, determination, integrity and superior customer service to her role — having previously partnered with Hilgart Wilson and Courtland Homes.

Jill Pederson, Senior Project Coordinator

Jill joined Silver Fern Companies in April 2022. She provides direct support to the Director of Land Development and Project Managers through contract coordination, permitting and homebuilder closeout packages. Having previously served at Torrent Resources and SimplexGrinnell, Jill brings more than fifteen years of commitment, integrity and enthusiasm to her role at Silver Fern.


Medina Barut, Accounting Manager

Medina Barut Silver Fern Project Accountant
With a Bachelor’s in Finance and Economics, Medina is responsible for the construction billing and draw process that ensures projects are financially kept on track. Her expert attention to detail and passion for streamlining processes allows clients to have full confidence that their project is managed to the last cent. Medina’s accounting and management experience dates back to 2006 and her role with Hunt Construction.


Zahra Layani, Operations Manager

Zahra Layani Silver Fern Office Manager
Since joining in 2013, Zahra has organized office operations and procedures to ensure a smoothly run and efficient business. Her duties include overseeing everything from invoicing to quality control and overhead budgeting along with human resources and compliance.

Ty Cudic, Administrative Assistant

Ty Cudic Silver Fern Administrative Assistant
Ty joined Silver Fern Companies in August 2020 and provides administrative support to Department Managers. Having a varied background from consumer finance to logistics coordination has allowed her to sharpen her communication, organization and collaboration skills. She proficiently assists with daily office operations and project accounting, along with front desk reception. Ty brings efficiency and dedication to her role with a passion to contribute, support and make a difference.