Meet Our Leadership Team

About the Leadership Team at Big Valley Mortgage

The leadership team at Big Valley Mortgage were all carefully selected based on their alignment with our core values and culture, their knowledge and expertise in their field, and the proper forward thinking mindset to steer the company in the right direction in this everchanging industry. Scroll down to get to know more about the members of our leadership team.


Professional headshot of Senior Vice President of Big Valley Mortgage, Buzz Howard. Head of the leadership team.

Buzz Howard

Senior Vice President

Buzz Howard emulates leadership consistently everyday…and with a smile on his face! As Senior Vice President, Buzz is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations as well as managing the strategic direction of BVM. He brings his passion for leadership, industry knowledge, customer service, and production systems to Big Valley Mortgage daily with his coaching, mentoring, and training! He is quick to explain the word that most closely describes his leadership philosophy: “servitude”. He truly believes that attitude is the secret to success.

With more than 30 years in the mortgage industry, he has worked in all phases of the business, from top producing loan officer, to trainer, to senior corporate management.
Buzz worked as an Owner/Partner and the Director of Training for Mortgage Training Services, one of the nation’s largest and oldest training organizations dedicated to the mortgage industry. He then went on to found Buzz Howard Seminars and provide consulting and training for leading companies such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase, and Countrywide. He provided the training for tens of thousands of loan officers, processors, and underwriters in almost all of the 50 states! Much of his work involved HUD/FHA and many other government agencies.

Buzz was awarded the American Red Cross Award of Merit by President Ronald Reagan, the highest honor given by the Red Cross. Born and raised in Texas, Buzz received his finance degree from the Texas A&M system.

If Buzz isn’t working, he can be found somewhere boating.


Professional headshot of the Human Resources Manager at Big Valley Mortgage, Renee Bautista.

Renee Bautista

Human Resources Manager

Renee joined Big Valley Mortgage in 2009 as part of the operations team. She moved into a leadership role as the human resource manager in addition to overseeing facilities and payroll departments.

Renee began her career in the mortgage industry in 1997. She brings over 17 years in the field of mortgage banking operations as well as eight years of human resources experience. Her expertise includes employee relations management, hiring, policies, and organizational development. She is passionate about our culture which makes Big Valley Mortgage so unique.

Renee resides in Sacramento, California, and enjoys spending time with her family. While pursuing her hobbies in baking and reading historical novels, she is an avid Disney fan.


Big Valley Mortgage Michele Witte Avatar 2022

Michele Witte

Operations Manager

Michele joined Big Valley Mortgage in 2011 as part of the payroll operations team for the Roseville office. She now oversees Operations for all the BVM Branches.

Michele began her career in the Mortgage industry on the sales side with over 20 years of experience as a Top Producing Wholesale Account Executive in the Central Valley and Sacramento Area. The sales and operations background is the successful formula Michele brings that allows Big Valley Mortgage to continue breaking our closing records.

Born in New York and raised in Roseville, Michele resides in Rocklin with her teenage son Zach, and her two dogs named Goose and Mavrik.


Professional headshot of the Director of Strategic Partnerships at Big Valley Mortgage, Melissa Rawluk.

Melissa Rawluk

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Learn More About Partnering with Big Valley Mortgage and Contact Melissa

Melissa is so excited to join the BVM team doing what she loves most, building and fostering strong relationships. Melissa has been working in the real estate industry since 2016 as a marketing director and has been very successful in building and maintaining strong, healthy, and mutually beneficial relationships.

Melissa has an infinite love for people and making connections. She looks forward to utilizing this skill to grow and strengthen our strategic partnerships and bring value to our partners and loan officers alike.

Melissa is a social butterfly and a total kid at heart, she loves to have fun and has found that to be especially true when it comes to her job. In her free time you can find her with her two kids doing anything and everything adventurous and active. Backpacking, paddle boarding, camping, racing, traveling, playing games, reading, and stopping by a local fair are some of her favorite activities. Melissa looks forward to meeting you and discovering what she can do to make your experience with BVM the most memorable.


Professional headshot of the Marketing Director at Big Valley Mortgage, Brent Ross.

Brent Ross

Marketing Director

With his combined experience of visual design and marketing, Brent brings a strong set of analytical and creative skills to Big Valley Mortgage. His experience includes video production, graphic design, advertising, strategic planning, social media marketing, email marketing, and much more. At BVM, Brent is responsible for the development and implementation of both internal and external marketing initiatives.

Before joining Big Valley Mortgage, Brent was the Digital Marketing Manager for two jointly owned businesses; one here in California, and the other in the state of Washington. This was a unique role in that he was the first and only shared manager between the two companies.

When he has free time, Brent enjoys occasional travel, trying new fun restaurants, keeping as active as he can at the gym, and reading or listening to the occasional good book. Some favorite books of his ever-growing collection that Brent has read include The Ideal Team Player, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Who Moved My Cheese, and Epic Content Marketing.

Brent can be reached by phone at 916-246-0669 or by email at brent.ross@apmortgage.com


Professional headshot of the Coach/Trainer and Senior Loan Officer at Big Valley Mortgage, Steve Mahr.

Steve Mahr

Coach/Trainer | Senior Loan Officer

I started my career in the mortgage industry in 1995 because the idea of being able to help somebody purchase a home was a remarkable concept to me. As I dove into my career as a Loan Officer, I found I had a natural knack for optimizing the loan process. Companies caught on to my talents, leading to my quick move into management roles. In about 2012, I took a bit of a step back to focus on my children and other life changes, diving back in more heavily into the field at the end of 2013.

I am enthusiastic about educating and coaching others to succeed. As part of my calling to teach and coach, I’ve taught infants to as aged as 64 years old to swim, coached the first-time swimmer and collegiate athlete, and consulted with Olympians.

My passion for educating, coaching, and helping people achieve the dream of homeownership is why I was thrilled to accept the dual role of coach/trainer and Sr. Loan Officer at Big Valley Mortgage. I am a forensic thinker and am always diving deep into topics to educate and guide those I work with.

I am fortunate enough to have received a second chance at love and have married my high school sweetheart. We love to travel and have been to several states such as Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, Washington, Oregon, and Arizona to visit family. We also love vacationing in places like Maui and Costa Rica. I keep my fingers in the water with swimming and am personally working toward some longer, open water swims in the future.


Professional headshot of the Recruiting Manager at Big Valley Mortgage, Albert Gonzales.

Albert Gonzales

Recruiting Manager

Albert Gonzales joined Big Valley Mortgage as a recruiter who specials in discovering mortgage industry rock stars for our Central Valley Division. Prior to coming to BVM, Albert successfully worked for a staffing firm where he passionately focused on recruiting operational staff for his mortgage clients.

Born and raised in Fresno, Albert attended McLane High School and then went on to Fresno State, finishing his degree at the University of Phoenix. Upon graduation, he became a Fire Fighter for Cal Fire station 89 in Fresno and enjoyed a fulfilling career for five years. After a knee injury, Albert discovered his passion for sales and his talent for connecting people – his recruiting career soon took off!

Albert has four amazing sons who keep him very busy with school and sports, but he wouldn’t have it any other way! Albert’s passions include the gym, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, golf and spending time with family and friends. Albert is big on quotes and tries to find at least two new quotes every morning to incorporate into his life.  His favorite quote and life motto is always evolve, always improve and never quit.

Albert can be reached by phone at 559-259-6204 or by email at albert.gonzales@apmortgage.com