CalHFA Fills Three Key Leadership Positions

The California Housing Finance Agency welcomes a new Director of Business Development & Stakeholder Relations, a new Director of Financing and a new Risk Manager

August 26, 2021

SACRAMENTO —The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) is pleased to welcome Ellen E. Martin, Erwin J. Tam and Pratixa A. Desai, who have been appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to leadership positions at CalHFA.

"We're very excited about the variety of skills and experience that Ellen, Erwin and Pratixa will bring to CalHFA," said Executive Director Tiena Johnson Hall, who also recently joined CalHFA. "All three of these positions are important to set the Agency up for continued success in this challenging housing environment, and I’m looking forward to working with them to help us make great strides in the coming months."

Ellen E. Martin will serve as the Director of Business Development and Stakeholder Relations. Martin has been a Principal at Economic and Planning Systems, Inc. since 2019.  From 2005 to 2019, she held multiple positions at EPS.  She was Policy Analyst and Legislative Coordinator at United Domestic Workers of America from 2004 to 2005. Martin earned her master’s in Public Policy and Administration from California State University, Sacramento. She is a member of the Urban Land Institute and the California Association for Local Economic Development.

CalHFA's new Director of Financing is Erwin J. Tam.  Tam has been Senior Vice President for Backstrom McCarley Berry & Co., LLC since 2020. He was Vice President at KNN Public Finance from 2014 to 2020. Tam was Vice President and Senior Vice President at Backstrom McCarley Berry & Co., LLC. from 2009 to 2014. He was an Associate at RBC Capital Markets in 2008. Tam was an Associate at Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. from 2005 to 2007. He was Consultant and Senior Managing Consultant at Public Financial Management from 2001 to 2005, and received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Pratixa A. Desai has been appointed Risk Manager. Desai has been Vice-President and Tax Credit Investment Manager at East West Bank since 2020. She was Assistant Vice President and Underwriter for Specialty Tax Credit Solutions at PNC Bank from 2014 to 2020.  Desai was Senior Officer at IL and FS Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. From 2008 to 2012. She earned her master’s in Infrastructure Planning from CEPT University, School of Planning and Public Policy in Ahmedabad, India. Desai earned her master’s in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

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The California Housing Finance Agency was created in 1975 with the goal of helping more Californians find a place to call home. CalHFA has helped more than 201,000 low- and moderate-income homebuyers with $32.6 billion in first mortgages and used $6.1 billion in financing for the construction and preservation of more than 70,000 affordable rental housing units throughout the state. CalHFA is a self-supported state agency that doesn't rely on taxpayer dollars for its operational costs. For more information on CalHFA programs, and how we are creating progressive financing solutions for affordable housing in California, visit or call toll free at 877.9.CalHFA (877.922.5432).


Contact: Eric Johnson
Phone: 916.326.8601

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