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.


Stephen Ochoa, Principal of Silver Fern Companies and Otago Development

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.

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 Forward Planning

Jason brings over 20 years of experience as Director of Forward Planning to Silver Fern Companies.  He holds a BS degree in Geology with a Hydrogeology Emphasis from Northern Arizona University. Prior to joining Silver Fern Companies, Jason worked for Taylor Woodrow Homes, Taylor Morrison Homes, and Associated Asset Management (AAM).  His history involves bringing projects from concept to completion on Master Plan Communities to infill sites.  Jason currently directs and oversees the company’s Entitlements and Land Planning responsibilities.  His extensive construction knowledge and experience is an asset in the aspect of entitlements, which include zoning, land planning, platting, engineering and dry utility coordination.  Jason works diligently to maneuver through the many obstacles when entitling a project.  He collaborates with governing agencies, utility companies, contractors, consultants and our clients to ensure the success of a project.

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 the 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.


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 preparation of comprehensive bid packages, overseeing daily activities as it relates to the field, project reporting, managing schedules, reviewing proposals and budgets and preparing bid comparisons relating to scope. Austin also manages critical path timelines to ensure on time deliverables to the municipalities. Prior to joining our company Austin gained valuable experience working as a heavy equipment operator.

Bryt Adamson, Project Manager

Bryt Adamson, Land Development Coordinator

Bryt joined Silver Fern Companies in 2020 and works closely with senior management to implement and manage our project’s critical paths and identify construction timelines. She reviews and interprets project designs and materials for constructability and to develop scopes of work for preparing comprehensive bid packages. Her role includes overseeing the day to day field operations throughout the construction process, reviewing proposals, preparing bid comparisons, construction budgets and schedules. Bryt brings more than eight years of experience, integrity and determination to deliver the highest quality service for our customers — 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

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.

Ryan Beard, Project Accountant

Ryan joined Silver Fern in August 2021. As Project Accountant, he is responsible for reporting directly to the Accounting Manager and assists with monthly draws and billing as well as any other accounting tasks required. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Finance, Ryan has the knowledge and understanding of accounting principles with exceptional organizational skills to assist in managing projects efficiently.


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.


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.