PSPRS Investment Team

The PSPRS, CORP, and EORP investment portfolio is managed by a team of professionals with diverse backgrounds in economics, finance, endowments, mathematics, and other fields of study. The award-winning team speaks a total of six languages and includes members from three continents which makes the members well-suited to manage a global investment portfolio.

For media inquiries regarding investment selections, please contact PSPRS Communications Director, Christian Palmer at

Mark Steed (MBA, MS) Chief Investment Officer

Telephone: (602) 296-2531

Mark has been with PSPRS since 2007. He began as an intern and from there took positions of increasing responsibility: investment analyst, portfolio manager, and chief of staff.  Mark was named CIO in 2018.  Prior to joining PSPRS, Mark worked in banking for JP Morgan Chase.  His outside activities include a four-year project as a forecaster for the Good Judgment Project, led by prominent behavioral economist Phil Tetlock.  Mark lives in Gilbert with his wife and three children, and is a member of the acclaimed musical group Cinematic Pop.

•  MS in Predictive Analytics (Northwestern University)
•  MBA (Thunderbird School of Global Management, Jost Henkel Scholar)
•  BA in Latin American Studies (Brigham Young University, honors from Sigma Iota Rho)

James Ko (CFA, CPA) – Deputy Chief Investment Officer
Telephone: (602) 296-2521 

James joined PSPRS in 2018.  He manages investments for the diversifying strategies asset class portfolio which includes investments in hedge fund strategies. James also manages the contractual income asset class portfolio which includes investments in private lending, royalty, leasing, and special situations strategies.   He was named Deputy CIO in 2021.  James has over a decade of experience in alternative investment management and portfolio construction.  Prior to joining PSPRS, James was a Senior Investment Analyst for MIG Diversified Fund at MIG Capital where he focused on building the investment program, allocating assets, selecting managers, and leading the due diligence process.  James also worked for Wedbush Securities, Roth Capital, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

•  BA in Business/Economics (University of California, Los Angeles)
•  Chartered Financial Analyst
•  Certified Public Accountant
•  Fluent in Mandarin

Vaida Maleckaite (PhD) Director of Investment Services
Telephone: (602) 296-2546

Vaida has been with PSPRS since 2012. She began as an Investment Operations Analyst and has served as Director of Investment Services since July 2016.  Her current responsibilities include overseeing financial and performance reporting for the PSPRS investment portfolio, management of day-to-day back office operations and custodial relationships, as well as portfolio risk analytics, trading, records retention and due diligence support functions.  Her previous professional experience includes quantitative research and teaching in public finance and public administration, as well as non-profit administrative and financial management work.

•  PhD in Public Administration and Management/Public Finance (University of North Texas)
•  Master of Public Policy Administration (University of Missouri, St. Louis)

Jennifer Carlino (JD) Chief Investment Counsel

Telephone: (602) 296-2533

Prior to joining PSPRS in 2014, Jennifer was a partner in the Corporate Law Group of Quarles & Brady LLP in Phoenix, Arizona.  Jennifer was selected as a finalist for the 2016 Arizona Corporate Counsel award presented by the AZ Business® magazine and was included among Southwest Super Lawyers® magazine’s 2012 Rising Stars.

•  JD (Columbia University School of Law, Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar)
•  BS in Business/Accounting (Marquette University with honors, summa cum laude)
•  Admitted to practice law in New York (1999)
•  Admitted to practice law in Arizona (2000)

Shan Chen (PhD, MBA) Lead Portfolio Manager

Telephone: (602) 296-2561

Shan has been with PSPRS since 2007.  He manages the capital appreciation asset class portfolio which includes investments in private equity, opportunistic real estate, and energy.  He also analyzes portfolio risk. Shan came to PSPRS with over 15 years of experience in academic research, business, finance, and banking, including senior level consulting experience in information technology.

•  PhD in Chemistry (University of Louisville)
•  MS in Computer Science (DePaul University)
•  MBA (University of Chicago)
•  BS in Chemistry (Peking University)
•  Fluent in Mandarin
•  Experience in Asia

Bill Thatcher (CFA, MBA) Portfolio Manager

Telephone: (602) 296-2542

Bill joined PSPRS in 2016. He manages the contractual income asset class portfolio which includes investments in private lending, royalty, leasing, and special situations strategies. Bill has over 20 years of experience in investments and banking, including working as an investment consultant to endowments and foundations at Mercer Investment Consulting and Commonfund. He also worked as a portfolio consultant at Charles Schwab and as a credit analyst at ABN AMRO Bank.

•  MBA (Yale School of Management)
•  MHSA (University of Michigan)
•  BA in French (Brigham Young University)
•  Chartered Financial Analyst
•  Member of the Phoenix Chartered Financial Analyst Society
•  Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst
•  Author of articles published in the Journal of Investing and The Journal of Index Investing

Jefferson Weston (MBA) – Portfolio Manager
Telephone: (602) 296-3735

Jeff has been with PSPRS since 2015, where he began as an intern and advanced his positions and responsibility to where he is currently the portfolio manager managing the Real Estate investments under the Capital Appreciation asset class. Prior to joining PSPRS, with working proficiency in the German language, Jeff lived in Germany teaching English at Leipzig University, gaining both stronger communication skills and experience in leading staff teams, mentoring, and managing relationships with diverse clients and colleagues.

•  MBA (IE Business School, Madrid)
•  BS in Finance and Economics (Grand Canyon University)

Rose Crutcher (ACP, CLA) Investments Paralegal
Telephone: (602) 296-3733

Rose joined PSPRS in 2015.  She is responsible for contract administration, document management, and legal support. Rose has more than 40 years of experience as a paralegal in the areas of public administration, contracts, litigation, and medical malpractice.  She lives in Phoenix with her husband of 35 years, is the mother of three children, and is a proud Blue Star Mom to a U.S. Army combat veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq.  She wears a red shirt each Friday to remember U.S. troops in harm’s way (Remember Everyone Deployed).

•  Advanced Certified Paralegal, Contracts Management/Contracts Administration
•  Certified Legal Assistant, National Association of Legal Assistants
•  Tempe Elementary School Board (2000 to 2008)
•  Master of Boardsmanship, Arizona School Board Association
•  Paralegal Certificate (University of Phoenix)

Owen Zhao (MS) Senior Quantitative Investment & Risk Analyst
Telephone: (602) 296-3734

Owen has been with PSPRS since 2015.  He is responsible for the portfolio’s risk analysis, a duty that includes assessing market environments, forecasting volatility and value at risk, identifying and evaluating drivers of asset class risk, and performing stress tests.  Owen also conducts business and investment transactions, calculates financial and performance data, and supports investment selection procedures.  Prior to joining PSPRS, Owen worked in banking, wealth management, and corporate finance.  He is married and has a son.  He counts fitness and fixing electronics among his hobbies.

•  MS in Global Finance (Thunderbird School of Global Management)
•  MS in Data Analytics (Harrisburg University of Science and Technology)
•  BS in Finance and Management with a certificate in Small Business and Entrepreneurship (Arizona State University)
•  Recipient, Roy and Pam Herberger Jr. Scholarship
•  Former member, National Society of Collegiate Scholars
•  Fluent in Mandarin
•  Experience in Asia

Kevin Chen (MS) Investment Analyst
Telephone: (602) 296-2533

Kevin has been with PSPRS since 2017.  He is responsible for managing accounting records which includes analyzing complex financial information to evaluate performance, creating reports, reconciling investment accounts, processing investment-related transactions, assisting with monthly close activities, maintaining internal accounting records, and building quantitative models.  Prior to joining PSPRS, Kevin worked in public accounting and consulting.

•  MS in Accountancy (Washington University, St. Louis – Olin Business School)
•  BS in Business (Johns Hopkins University)

Laura Long (PhD) Senior Investment Analyst

Laura joined PSPRS in 2019.  She performs general sector research, works on special projects for the investment team, and supports due diligence and monitoring activities for the diversifying strategies portfolio.  In addition, Laura researches best and industry practices in institutional investing and uses them to improve the investment team’s internal control environment.  Prior to joining PSPRS, she led performance audits of state agencies for the Arizona Office of the Auditor General.

•  PhD in Philosophy (Temple University)
•  BA in Philosophy, Minor in German (Arizona State University)

Katherine A. Boligitz  Portfolio Analyst

Telephone: (602) 296-2555

Originally from the east coast, Katie Boligitz joined PSPRS as a portfolio analyst in January 2020.  At PSPRS, she conducts due diligence and monitoring activities for the contractual income asset class category.  Katie most recently worked as a performance auditor for the Arizona Auditor General’s Office where she was employed for three years.  There, she made state government more efficient and effective by completing program evaluations across agencies such as the Arizona Medical Board, the Department of Child Safety, the Department of Water Resources and the Department of Agriculture. Not a typical desk job, she was able to tour an earthen dam, shadow egg inspectors, conduct phishing calls for an IT audit, and measure well water depths.  At the end of each audit, Katie and her team wrote quality reports with value-added recommendations for the agency to implement and the Legislature to focus resources accordingly. 

•  Master of Economics (University of Arizona, Eller College of Management)
•  Undergraduate Mathematics (La Salle University)
•  Undergraduate Economics (La Salle University)

Brian C. Dunham Investment Accountant
Telephone: (602) 296-2549

Previously with Arizona State Retirement System for five years as an accountant, Brian joined PSPRS in 2006 in the Finance Department as a senior accountant.  Brian moved to the Investment Operations team at PSPRS in July 2020.  In his role as investment accountant, Brian is responsible for investment transaction reconciliations, capital commitment reconciliations, and investment fee and expense validation and analysis.  Brian also previously worked as a developer and has a strong background in Excel and Access.  His main hobby is serving as the commissioner for numerous fantasy sports leagues.

•  BA Economics/Mathematics (State University of New York, Cortland)
•  Letterman for 1983 & 1985 CIF Southern Section 2-A Boys Tennis Champions (Indio High School)


PSPRS contracts with investment consultants to provide industry knowledge across asset classes, research and assistance in identifying and vetting investment opportunities, and portfolio allocation guidance. Consultants serve PSPRS in an advisory capacity only and are selected based on recognized expertise and reputation.

Albourne Partners Limited

•  Consultant – Spencer Edge
•  Advises on hedge funds and private equity

StepStone Global

•  Consultant – Ian Aaker
•  Advises on private equity

ORG Real Property

•  Consultant – Ed Schwartz
•  Advises on real estate

New England Pension Consultants

•  Consultant – Allan Martin
•  Total fund advisor to Board