The Nation’s Leading Apartment Mystery Shopping Company

Established in 1984, Ellis, Partners in Management Solutions, (EPMS) is one of the multifamily industry’s most respected and sought-after providers of executive-level management and marketing consulting services. With services centering on both lead conversion (apartment mystery shopping) and resident retention (resident surveys), the Ellis team is here to help your properties and onsite personnel excel. The Ellis team is built on years of experience in the industry and is comprised of customer service-oriented and dedicated individuals whose desire is to exceed your expectations at every turn.

Executive Team


Joanna Ellis
Chief Executive Officer

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


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
VP 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.

Management Team

Robert Asher
Video Shopping Manager

Mr. Asher has served as Manager of the Video Shopping Department since 2006. He is actively involved in all aspects of the program, and during his tenure the annual volume of recorded shops has more than doubled. Mr. Asher is an experienced mystery shopper and has personally completed over 500 shops since he began shopping in 1975.He has a lengthy background in the audio/video field, including producing a video segment aired on Good Morning America and winning an international award for the best audio visual program produced by a local government.

Mr. Asher has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Radio-TV-Film from Texas Christian University. Prior to joining Ellis, he was the district manager for a national photography company. He lives in Fort Worth with his wife and his two cats.

Lisa Ford
Director of Customer Experience

Ms. Ford began her career with Ellis as an Editor in 2003, and has served in many capacities throughout her tenure, including leadership roles in our Editing, Shop Resolution, Shopping, and Follow-up Departments. She has been responsible for custom shopping report form development since 2008. Ms. Ford manages our social media outreach and assists in our digital and print marketing efforts. In August 2014, she assumed her current role of Director of Customer Experience and is responsible for ensuring we provide the best customer experience 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 Grand Prairie, TX.

Melissa Gonzalez
Recorded Onsite Audio Shopping Manager

Ms. Gonzalez began her career with Ellis in March 2008 in an office administration position. Since her hire she has served in several departments including Check-in and Follow-up, until her move in 2012 to the Recorded Audio and Video shopping department. In 2013, Ms. Gonzalez assumed the role of Recorded Onsite Audio Shopping Manager.

Ms. Gonzalez has over 12 years experience in customer service, with a background in property management. Before signing on with Ellis, she was Property Manager for a 260 unit property. Ms. Gonzalez resides in Irving, TX with her three children.

Tassy Grimes
Director of Scheduling and Check-in
Editing Team Leader

Mrs. Grimes began her career with Ellis as an Editor in November 2007. Her hard work and commitment to excellence quickly earned her a position of leadership within the department. Since May 2008, Mrs. Grimes has been a Team Leader in our Editing Department, where she oversees a group of Editors and is responsible for conducting ongoing training of, selecting qualified new candidates for, and providing direction to her team. In 2013, she was promoted to Director of the Scheduling and Check-in departments, working with a team of employees to help ensure shops are assigned to independent contract shoppers and completed in a timely manner.

Prior to joining Ellis, Mrs. Grimes served as Human Resources Manager for a correctional facility. Her experience and people skills have made her a welcome addition to the Ellis team. Mrs. Grimes currently resides in Venus, TX with her family.

Tanya Kittelson
Customer Relations Manager

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 Customer Relations Manager 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.

Department Team Leaders

Alison Comeaux
Editing Team Leader

Mrs. Comeaux began working with Ellis as an editor in 2004. In 2006, she moved to Houston where she continued to work for the company in a shopper’s role. She quickly rejoined the team as an online editor. Early in 2013, she took on a Team Leader position in the editing department. In this role, she works to train candidates, oversee quality and provide guidance for her editing team members.

Mrs. Comeaux continues to live in Houston, TX with her husband of 13 years and 4 children.

Dallas Cooper
Check-In Team Leader

Mrs. Cooper began her career with Ellis as an editor in 2012. She was promoted to Check-In Team Leader in 2014. Mrs. Cooper manages the team that ensures documentation and content are properly supplied for all shopping reports. She graduated from the University of Texas-Arlington and went on to become an elementary school teacher. Prior to joining Ellis, she was a stay-at-home mother of three.

Mrs. Cooper currently resides in Fort Worth where she enjoys spending time with her family.

Niki Petersen
Order Entry Team Leader

Ms. Petersen began with Ellis in 2006 as a Typist/Editor. She transitioned to the Order Entry department in 2010, and is currently the department lead. Ms. Petersen’s experience prior to and within Ellis has helped her to relate to each aspect of the mystery shopping experience as she interacts with clients, inter-departmentally, and with mystery shoppers.

Ms. Petersen holds a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science from Texas A&M University – College Station and also maintains her Registered Dental Assistant certification within Texas. Prior to joining Ellis, she served as a Data Processing Coordinator within the Healthcare industry and then as a lead dental assistant within a local office. Ms. Petersen resides in North Texas with her husband, two children, and two dogs.

Renter’s Voice – An Ellis Strategic Partner

Misty Sanford
Social Insight Thought Leader
Renter’s Voice

Ms. Sanford has extensive history in the multifamily industry, having served as the National Director of Marketing for a major management company. Her experience lends itself to a greater understanding of the needs and goals of Renter’s Voice customers and best practices to achieving desired results. Ms. Sanford has an intensive career history marked by successful campaign launches, innovative branding strategies, and collaborative partnerships. Ms. Sanford is founder of North of Creative, a marketing and social media strategy firm.

Ms. Sanford is a graduate of the University of Denver. In her personal time, she is the ultimate savvy shopper with an obsession for all things mid-century modern, art, and becoming the next Julia Childs.

Naomi Bailey
Director of Client Solutions
Renter’s Voice

Ms. Bailey has been working in the multifamily industry for over 20 years specializing in sales and training. She was a successful Account Executive with For Rent magazine for over five years in the San Diego market. She later taught the Dale Carnegie Sales Program. This experience evolved into her consulting and training business “Naomi Bailey Performance Training” where the focus is providing an excellent customer experience. With a degree in Business/ Marketing, Ms. Bailey’s background brings a combination of sales, customer service and training to Renters Voice to assist and support our valued clients.

Ms. Bailey presents relevant leasing topics on a regular basis for apartment associations throughout Southern California. She resides with her family in San Clemente, CA.

Partners in Innovation

Nathan Dyck
Director of Technological Services

Mr. Dyck has worked with EPMS since 2000, taking a commanding role in our website and product development. He contributes strongly to our efforts of continually improving our internal processes and ensuring ease of access to information for our customers, shoppers, and employees alike. Mr. Dyck provides extensive and ongoing software engineering and is the primary go-to person for technology concerns and ideas, leading a number of web-based projects through the years. He earned an accolade from PC Magazine for his contribution to the development of bizTravel’s bizMiles web application.

Mr. Dyck graduated from LeTourneau University in Longview, TX in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering Technology. He brings years of experiences as a Senior Software Engineer to the Ellis team.