Executive Profiles


Cal Johnston

Cal Johnston founded The Johnston Group in 1959. His first Southern California development was in 1957. In the early 1960's, he formed Property Research Corporation, which charted the routes of the new freeways, studied population growth and conducted research on demographics and future trends. This work resulted in the acquisition of thousands of acres in the path of growth for his clients. His company oversaw master planning, rezoning and engineering, often reselling all or portions of planned communities to builders and developers.

In 1967 PRC organized and registered numerous inter-state security offerings including Six Flags Over Georgia in 1968 ($27 Million) and Six Flags Over Texas ($36 million), which he and his partners sold in the late 90's to Time Warner for approximately $275 million and $325 million, respectively.

By the early 1970´s, Johnston had formed an apartment development company, which went on to build projects in the Western United States totaling approximately 3,000 units and six mobile home parks.

In the 70's, he also co-founded Builders Resources Corporation, a nationwide single-family joint venture firm. When sold, the company had 40 projects under development with 22 builders in ten states involving over 5,000 homes. Cal served as CEO and Chairman of the Board. Other shareholders included American Standard, Whirlpool, National Gypsum, Stanley Works, CNA Financial and DLJ.

Other projects Johnston planned and financed included San Ramon Village (a 3,000 acre mixed-use development in Northern California which won an award as a well-planned community) and Coto de Caza (a 5,000 acre housing and recreational development in Orange County, California). In 1985, Johnston founded the Technology Corridor Association to promote the controlled growth of clean business and industry along the 26-mile corridor from Woodland Hills to Thousand Oaks in Southern California.

From 1986 to 1990, Johnston and his organization focused on the construction and leasing of the 320,000 square foot Malibu Canyon Business Park and Corporate Center in Calabasas. In 1993, Cal re-capitalized the project by partnering with Rockefeller & Associates to complete the development and leasing of the final phases. In 1996, Johnston's organization bought out the Rockefeller interest once the project met their investment objectives.

Cal Johnston is a graduate of the University of Southern California and was or is a member of: Young Presidents Organization (Chairman of Los Angeles Chapter); Chief Executives' Organization (International Director); Urban Land Institute; USC Associates (Director); Masonic Lodge; North Ranch Country Club Estates (Director); Pauma Valley Country Club and Museum of Science & Industry (Director).

Cal is also a National Trustee for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and founding Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley. Under his leadership, the local organization has opened nine Clubs on elementary and middle school campuses in the Conejo Valley and Calabasas.

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Jeff Johnston 

Jeffrey A. Johnston, President of The Johnston Group, has been involved in real estate since high school. A graduate of the University of California Berkeley with a BA in Economics, and the University of Southern California with an MBA, Jeff has been President of The Johnston Group since 1995. With The Johnston Group, he has overseen the development, leasing, construction and property management of over one million square feet of office space. The Johnston Group has been a prominent company in the community for over fifty years.

Jeff Johnston has served as President of The Johnston Group since 1997. During that time, The Johnston Group has developed, renovated, repositioned and leased over half a million square feet of real estate in Southern California, including Thousand Oaks Corporate Plaza, Malibu Canyon Plaza, Westlake Spectrum, Malibu Hills Executive Center, Promenade Office Park, Westlake Corporate Centre, Canwood Business Park, 1000 Town Center, Malibu Hills Executive Center,  The Point @ Via Colinas, Oak Crest, Tustin Business Center, Royal Medical Plaza, and 699 Hampshire Road.

Jeff is a former member of The Young Presidents Organization and has served on the board for both the YMCA and Boy Scouts of America.  He has also served as Board Chair for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley.

Phone: 818.879.9990 ext 232

Email: jeff@johnston-group.com


Stephen Morse

Executive Vice President, The Johnston Group
President, Johnston Realty Funding

Steve began his career in mortgage banking, spending 15 years in Connecticut, New York, and Philadelphia. He moved to California in 1985 and established the finance divisions for both Schneider Commercial Real Estate and Knight Frank Faulkner. In the years following, Steve oversaw the mortgage finance divisions of Grubb & Ellis and The Koll Company, as well as the Western Regional Capital Markets Group at Landauer Associates.

Steve is currently the head of the investment sales and capital markets division at The Johnston Group. Formed in 1999, it is responsible for the financing, acquisition, and disposition activities of the company. Steve has over 40 years of experience in arranging debt and equity financing on various types of commercial properties throughout the country. He has placed over $2 billion of construction and permanent loans, joint ventures, participating debt, and straight equity with commercial banks, thrifts, life insurance companies, conduits, REIT's, credit companies and pension funds.

Phone: 818.879.9990 ext 235

Email: smorse@johnston-group.com


Marilyn Bencar
Vice President of Operations

Marilyn has held several positions with The Johnston Group, currently holding the title of Vice President-Operations. She has been in corporate work most of her career, having been with the corporate offices of Litton Industries and Occidental Petroleum prior to joining The Johnston Group. As Vice President and Corporate Secretary, Marilyn is responsible for office administration, corporate reporting, escrows, liaison with lenders and title companies, and special projects. Marilyn also serves as Secretary of the Board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley.

Phone: 818.879.9990 ext 227
Email: mbencar@johnston-group.com


Michael Clark
Director of Leasing 

Mike has been in real estate for over 30 years. He began his career at Told Real Estate Corp., and eventually moved to Cushman & Wakefield which provided the opportunity to work with a larger, nationally recognized firm. His business focus is on industrial/R&D properties, development, and investments.  He was the recipient of the Manager’s Award for top producers for seven consecutive years.  In July of 2010, he joined The Johnston Group as Director of Leasing.

Phone: 818.879.9990 ext 242
Email: mclark@johnston-group.com


Katherine DeFevere
Property Manager

Katherine has been in the property management field in excess of 25 years during which time she managed several and varied properties from small retail strip centers to high rise office buildings in major markets. 

She started her career with The Schurgin Companies where she was introduced to retail strip centers and moved onto JMB Realty in Century City, Cushman & Wakefield in the financial district of downtown Los Angeles and Douglas Emmett in the Encino/Sherman Oaks submarkets. 

Katherine oversees the needs of the Tenants, property management, maintenance and tenant improvement construction.  

Phone : 818.879.9990 ext 239
Email: katherine@johnston-group.com