People in the News

January 15, 2015 9:01pm

•  Law firm expands in Sacramento

•  More changes in state management ranks

•  And more….

• Ryan Wood has joined the Sacramento office as business law firm Stoel Rives LLP as of counsel in the firm’s construction practice. Mr. Wood will advise primarily construction industry clients on business transactional, compliance and litigation matters.

In addition to his litigation practice, he functions as outside general counsel for both construction and commercial entities, advising them on a wide range of matters involving day-to-day business operations. Wood also has experience in environmental litigation, appellate and writs, corporate law, and intellectual property and licensing.

Prior to joining Stoel Rives, Mr. Wood practiced at Downy Brand LLP in Sacramento for nearly 10 years. He is an adjunct law professor for his alma mater, McGeorge School of Law.


• Michael Harper has been hired by William Jessup University in Rocklin to the newly formed position of associate athletic director of development.

Mr. Harper received his Bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing from the University of Southern California, where he played tailback for the USC Trojan football team from 1979-84 and was a teammate of Heisman Trophy winners Charles White and Marcus Allen.

He was drafted by the NFL in 1984 as a wide receiver by the Los Angeles Rams. He also played four years with the New York Jets beginning in 1986, retiring in 1990.

Most recently, Mr. Harper was development director with Acres of Hope, a long-term housing program for homeless women with children located in Auburn.

His background also includes work in the IT business sales and marketing arena as well as regional and channel sales for Sun Microsystems and Hitachi Data Systems.


• Shawn Henry has been named chief of the city of Merced Fire Department.

He succeeds Mike McLaughlin who took a job as the deputy chief with the Cosumnes Community Services District Fire Department.

Mr. Henry led the development and implementation of Merced’s smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm program, started a geographic information systems (GIS) partnership that lead to a program that identified the exact location of fire hydrants, and brought the department’s safety clothing into compliance and standardized personal protective equipment.

He has been with the Merced Fire Department since 1991 and was a battalion chief before his appointment as chief.


• Andrew Cantu has been named the new chief financial officer at Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield, effective. Feb. 9.

Mr. Cantu, who is currently Mercy Hospitals' chief financial officer, brings 20 years of hospital accounting experience, all but two of them for Mercy Hospitals and Dignity Health, to KMC.

At KMC, he replaces former KMC finance chief Sandra Martin, whose contract ended last August. Arebi Garsa has served as interim CFO at the hospital since then.

He is credited with being instrumental in helping to bring Mercy back to profitability under the helm of then-CEO Russell Judd, who is CEO at KMC.


• Mark Smith has been appointed as director of breeding and genetics for S&W Seed Company (NASDAQ: SANW) of Five Points.

He will have primary responsibility for the continued research and development of the company's dormant germplasm pipeline recently acquired from DuPont Pioneer which includes more than 60 developmental varieties.

Following 28 years in the alfalfa seed industry with DuPont Pioneer where he managed its germplasm and varietal development alfalfa project, Mr. Smith joins S&W Seed Company in connection with its recent acquisition of Pioneer. In 1987 he was hired as an alfalfa breeder by Pioneer Hi-Bred International developing numerous varieties for the Western U.S. for resistance to alfalfa stem nematode as well as non-dormant product development for the world. He went on to oversee and manage the research and development of alfalfa seed varieties across the entire U.S.


• Steve Weinstein, who has been general manager of KERO-TV in Bakersfield since 2012, has been promoted within the E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP) to vice president and general manager of WEWS, the ABC affiliate in Cleveland, Ohio.

While at KERO, he is credited with adding newscasts including the city’s only weekend morning news.


• Jodi Remke, 49, has been reappointed as chairman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. She is credited with changes at the commission including using technology to increase transparency, establishing electronic filing of public officials’ economic disclosure forms, and streamlining and simplifying the law and procedures.

Prior to her original appointment to the FPPC last year, Ms. Remke had been presiding judge for the California State Bar Court since November 2006.


• Collin Wong-Martinusen, 44, will serve as chief of staff to California Treasurer John Chiang. Most recently, he served as Mr. Chiang’s chief of staff at the state Controller’s Office. During his tenure, the office set productivity records in nearly all major lines of business, including optimizing the use of its auditing authority to root-out $9.5 billion in government waste and inefficiency.

Previously, he ran the Attorney General’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse, where he improved the agency’s health care fraud prosecutions by 116 percent and elder abuse prosecutions by 797 percent.

• Tim Schaefer, 67, will serve as deputy treasurer for public finance. Mr. Schaefer previously served as senior financial advisor to the state Controller. He also founded and operated an Orange County-based public finance advisory firm after serving as president at a similar firm in Southern California and a regional vice president with a national financial advisory practice.

• Vince Brown, 62, will serve as deputy treasurer for administration and fiscal policy. Mr. Brown has nearly 40 years of experience in public finance and budgeting and currently serves as chief executive officer of the Alameda County Employees' Retirement Association Board of Retirement, which holds an investment portfolio of more than $6.9 billion. His appointment becomes effective on March 16.

• Grant Boyken, 45, will serve as deputy treasurer for retirement security and healthcare. Mr. Boyken previously served as the Treasurer’s pension and benefits officer. In that capacity, he was the Treasurer’s lead representative on the CalPERS and CalSTRS governing boards.

• Alan Gordon, 59, will serve as deputy treasurer for legislation and infrastructure financing. He previously served as deputy state Controller for environmental policy. Mr. Gordon has spent a significant portion of his career in the Capitol in the roles of principle consultant to the Senate Committee on Delta Conveyance and Conservation, counsel to the Senate Environmental Quality and Insurance committees, and a senior staffer to two Senators.

• Jan Ross, 56, will serve as the Treasurer’s Office’s chief of information technology. Previously, she worked as the chief information officer at the state Controller’s Office, where she oversaw the successful implementation of more than 24 independent IT initiatives, including the government transparency websites,, and


• Nicholas Louizos has been promoted to vice president of legislative affairs with the California Association of Health Plans. He had been the organization’s director of legislative affairs.

• Athena Chapman has been named CAHP’s new director of state programs, moving from her role as director of legal and regulatory affairs.

Mr. Louizos led CAHP’s legislative advocacy work on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in California and leads legislative outreach on all Medi-Cal issues, including the state budget. Prior to joining CAHP, he gained nearly 10 years of experience working for the state Legislature, including serving as senior consultant for the chairman of the Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services and as consultant to the Assembly Labor Committee.

Louizos has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from California State University, Los Angeles.

Ms. Chapman has spent the majority of her career working on the Medicaid program. Prior to joining CAHP, she held a position in the Medi-Cal Managed Care Division at the Department of Health Care Services, where she focused on managed care quality, policy, oversight, and contracting. Chapman also spent six years at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


• Larry Booth, 61, of Sacramento, has been reappointed to the California Building Standards Commission, where he has served since 2014. Mr. Booth has been president at Frank M. Booth Inc. since 2000, where he has held several positions since 1976, including manager, project engineer and estimator.

This position requires Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Mr. Booth is a Democrat.


• James Greene, 63, of Sacramento, has been appointed deputy director of the Center for Health Statistics and Informatics at the California Department of Public Health. Mr. Greene has served as visiting clinical faculty and instructor of record at the University of California, Davis, Health Informatics Graduate program since 2012. He was medical director of informational technology partnerships at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center from 2012 to 2013 and chief medical director at TriHealth Physicians Practices from 2007 to 2010.

This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $170,004. Mr. Greene is registered without party preference.


Donald Cavier, 44, of Rocklin, has been appointed chief deputy director of the California Housing Finance Agency. Mr. Cavier has been director of finance at the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency since 2007, where he was finance manager from 1999 to 2007 and a financial analyst and supervising auditor from 1989 to 1999.

Earlier, he was a senior internal auditor at the Money Store from 1997 to 1998, where he was an underwriter from 1995 to 1997.

This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $172,260.


• Debra Cornez, 58, of Sacramento, has been reappointed director of the Office of Administrative Law at the California Government Operations Agency, where she has been director since 2012 and has served in several positions since 1986, including acting director, assistant chief counsel and staff counsel.

Ms. Cornez served as staff counsel at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law Institute for Administrative Justice from 1983 to 1986.

This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $147,969. Ms. Cornez is a Democrat.


• Zackery Morazzini, 41, of West Sacramento, has been appointed director of the Office of Administrative Hearings at the California Department of General Services. Mr. Morazzini has served as general counsel at the California Fair Political Practices Commission since 2011 and held several positions at the California Department of Justice from 2001 to 2011, including supervising deputy attorney general.

This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $152,904. Mr. Morazzini is a Republican.


• Justin Paddock, 34, of Elk Grove, has been appointed chief of the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation at the California Department of Consumer Affairs, where he has been assistant deputy director of legislative and policy review since 2013 and served as a legislative analyst from 2010 to 2013.

This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $83,216. Mr. Paddock is a Democrat.


• Steve Dolim, 59, of Granite Bay, has been reappointed to the California Commission on Disability Access, where he has served since 2013. Mr. Dolim has been president of Stephen J. Dolim, Architect Inc. since 2005. He was vice president of shopping center management at Cordano Company Inc. from 2005 to 2008 and from 1991 to 1997 and was vice president and director of development at Catlin Properties Inc. from 1997 to 2008.

This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Mr. Dolim is a Republican.


• Jason Bush, 44, of Fresno, has been reappointed to the Carcinogen Identification Committee, where he has served since 2012. Mr. Bush has served as associate professor of cancer biology at California State University, Fresno since 2012, where he was assistant professor of cancer biology from 2006 to 2012.

This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Mr. Bush is not registered to vote.

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