Our Team


John Payne, CFA

President & Chief Investment Officer

Mr. Payne founded Sterling Investment Management in 1995. Before the firm’s founding, Mr. Payne was a Senior Portfolio Manager at Bank of America. In that role, he led the Investment Advisory Group which was responsible for managing the investments for foundations, non-profit organizations, and high-net-worth clients. He is Chair of the University of Arizona Foundation’s Investment Committee, is President of the Pima County Industrial Development Authority, serves on the board of the Community Investment Corporation, and the Advisory Boards for Steele Children’s Research Center and Angel Charity for Children. Mr. Payne received his B.A. degree from Indiana University and also holds a Master’s degree in Finance with an Investment Research concentration from the University of Wyoming. Mr. Payne is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder.

James Good

Portfolio Manager

Prior to joining Sterling Investment Management, Mr. Good was a senior investment professional at Cascade Investment, LLC—the private investment vehicle of the Bill Gates family. At Cascade, Mr. Good managed the corporate credit investment portfolio. During his time at Cascade, he also served on the board of directors of The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Before joining Cascade Investment, Mr. Good was a Vice President and Investment Analyst at Wellington Management Company. Mr. Good graduated cum laude from Brigham Young University with a B.S. degree in Business Management with an International Finance emphasis. He received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Alec Berens

Director of Research

Prior to joining Sterling Investment Management, Mr. Berens worked for the San Francisco based middle-market investment bank, JMP Securities, in Equity Research. Prior to joining JMP Securities, Mr. Berens was sponsored by Bridgestone as a professional golfer. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the El Rio Community Health Center. Mr. Berens earned an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Economics from Emory University.

Mayta Martinez

Research Analyst

Prior to joining Sterling Investment Management in 2011, Ms. Martinez worked at BBVA Compass. Before pursuing a career in finance, she served in the Unites States Air Force. Ms. Martinez graduated cum laude from the University of Central Florida receiving a B.S. in Business Administration and attained her master’s in Investment Management and Financial Analysis from Creighton University.

David Kornberg

Research Analyst

Prior to joining Sterling Investment Management, Mr. Kornberg worked in New York City for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in their Assurance and Consulting practices. He is a Certified Public Accountant and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona. Mr. Kornberg graduated summa cum laude with a double major in Finance and Accounting.

Crystal Kelly

Director of Client Services

Mrs. Kelly joined Sterling Investment Management in 2009. Prior to joining Sterling, Mrs. Kelly worked at Wells Fargo Private Client Services. She began her career in finance in 1998. Mrs. Kelly holds a B.S. in accounting.

Michael Ford

Client Services Associate

Prior to joining Sterling Investment Management in 2017, Mr. Ford worked for Wells Fargo Wealth Management and Wells Fargo Advisors. He earned his undergraduate degree in Finance from Portland State University.