A D V I S O R Y B O A R D
Ms. Cervantes is a California Assembly member representing the 60th Assembly District and is Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Veteran Employment and Education. Previously, she served as a Director for the Legislature and the California Voter Registration Project. Throughout her career, Sabrina Cervantes has demonstrated her commitment to enhancing the lives of residents throughout Riverside County. In her first year she secured a $2 million allocation for a Veterans Resource Center at Norco College. Cervantes has authored legislation to support and protect California’s veterans, seniors, students, and families.
('98 Political Science)
After more than a combined 25 years in the public and private sectors, Mr. Christensen launched his own full-service public affairs and communications consulting firm, Christensen Consulting in 2017. At the same time Mr. Christensen co-founded the non-profit, Responsible Battery Coalition where he currently serves as the Executive Director. Previously, he served as the Managing Director in U.S. Public Affairs and Crisis Practice at Burson-Marsteller in Washington DC, where his clients include some of the world’s largest agriculture, chemical and consumer products companies. Before joining the private sector, Steve served in several roles as a senior policy official at the United States Department of Agriculture, where he concentrated his efforts on supporting public health and production agriculture through the development and implementation of sound, science-based public policy.
Mr. Devereaux is former Chief Executive Officer of San Bernardino County and former City Manager of the City of Ontario. He has served in state and local government for 40 years, holding various administrative leadership positions in several California communities. He has been invested in bettering communities throughout his career and has helped to improve city finances, increase infrastructure maintenance, and restore community programs.
Mr. Figueroa is a resident of Riverside and currently the Director of External Affairs for AT&T. As a director, his responsibilities include government relations, community outreach and corporate philanthropy in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. He also sits on the Board of Directors for the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, Greater Coachella Valley Chambers of Commerce, Janet Goeske Foundation and the Fox Theatre Foundation.
('94 Political Science)
As Chief of Staff of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Ms. Finlayson directs OGE’s overall operations. Before coming to OGE in 2006, Ms. Finlayson developed expertise through positions with local, state, and federal governments, and in private legal practice. Her experience includes serving at the Congressional Budget Office, the Maryland General Assembly, the government of the District of Columbia, and the DLA Piper law firm. Ms. Finlayson earned a Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Center, a Masters degree in Public Policy from Rutgers University, and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UCR.
Dr. Tracy Gray is a managing director and a nationally recognized expert in the implementation of innovative educational and assistive technology programs that enhance teaching and learning. Dr. Gray leads the Pipeline Partnership Program which engages with graduate-level students and faculty at Georgia State University in Atlanta; Howard University in Washington, D.C.; and The University of Texas at San Antonio. In addition, Dr. Gray has also led the development of the 2017 National Educational Technology Plan, a blueprint to strengthen digital learning in schools throughout the U.S. She has served as the principal investigator for two U.S. Department of Education projects related to STEM education, with a focus on increasing the engagement of at-risk students. In addition, Dr. Gray led the AIR Fund, an AIR Board of Directors’ initiative that supported innovative research on issues related to the reduction of inequality for children and families.
Ken Gutierrez was Planning Director for the City of Riverside from 2003 to 2011, when he retired. During his almost 30 year tenure with the City of Riverside, Ken was responsible for a number of planning projects, including the award winning Magnolia/Market Corridor Study and the innovative Downtown Specific Plan.
He lead the preparation of a comprehensive update to the Riverside General Plan 2025, a visionary document built on Smart Growth principles, and recognized in 2008 by the Southern California Association of Governments with a Compass Blueprint Distinguished Leadership Award and by the California Chapter of the American Planning Association (CCAPA) with the Award of Merit for Comprehensive Planning. Under Ken’s guidance, the Planning Department was recognized in 2009 by the CCAPA with the Award of Merit for Distinguished Leadership by a Planning firm or agency.
Ken is a planning consultant, a member of AICP, a speaker at numerous workshops and conferences, and teaches as part of a University of California, Riverside Extension Certificate Program.
('78 Political Science)
Mr. Huerta completed his term as Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in January 2018. He was the longest tenured Administrator in the agency’s history. He currently serves a transportation industry consultant, including acting as a Senior Advisor to Macquarie Capital. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Delta Air Lines, Inc. He is an experienced transportation official who has held key positions across the country, including serving as Managing Director of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, as commissioner of New York City's Department of Ports and as the Executive Director of the Port of San Francisco.
Mr. Jones served as California’s Insurance Commissioner from 2011 to 2019. The California Dept. of Insurance (CDI) regulates the nation’s largest insurance market and an insurance industry which collects $257 billion in premiums annually from California. Prior to that, Jones served in the California State Assembly 2004-2010, where he chaired the Assembly Health Committee, the Assembly Judiciary Committee and the Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.
Hon. Lloyd Levine (ret.) is President of Filament Strategies LLC, a Sacramento-based consulting firm with extensive experience in politics, public policy, public affairs and communications. He served as member of the California State Legislature from 2002-2008. While in the Assembly he wrote landmark legislation that helped transition California from a severe energy crisis to an era of stable and reliable electricity supplies. He also authored bills and built consensus around diversifying California's electricity generation portfolio.
('74 Latin American Studies/'84 History)
Mr. Medina is a California Assemblyman representing the 61st Assembly District and is Chair to the Assembly Committee on Higher Education. During his first term in the Assembly, Medina led the effort to ensure the UCR School of Medicine receive $15 million of full and continuous funding through the state budget, to train students for crucial jobs in the health-care industry. He also passed legislation which assisted small businesses, helped protect seniors, and improved the movement of goods throughout the state.
('17 Master of Public Policy)
Jesse Melgar is Senior Advisor for Strategy & Public Affairs at the University of California Possibility Lab after serving as Senior Advisor on a futures policy initiative. For nearly a decade, Melgar worked at the highest levels of state government, serving as communications director and press secretary for Governor Gavin Newsom, Deputy Secretary of State for then-Secretary of State Alex Padilla, and head of communications for the California Latino Legislative Caucus and then-State Senator Ricardo Lara. Prior to entering state service, Melgar was communications director at Equality California, account executive at Cerrell Associates, Inc. and communications manager at the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce.
('73 Political Science)
Mr. Stepanicich graduated from UCR in 1973 with an A.B. degree in Political Science with Highest Honors. He went on to get his law degree from UC Hastings where he served as an Articles Editor on the Hastings Law Journal. Stepanicich’s career interest was serving government and he joined the law firm of Richard Watson Gershon in Los Angeles in 1977. For the past 40 years, he has specialized in representing cities and other local government agencies. He opened up the firm’s San Francisco office in 1998 and continues to be its managing shareholder. He has represented a wide variety of local government agencies throughout California and has served as City Attorney for Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Fairfield, Mill Valley and Seal Beach.
('73 Political Science)
Dr. Sullivan is a Senior Vice President of Nexant, Inc., a global supplier of engineering and economic consulting services and software to the energy industry. Consulting to utilities and government for over 30 years, Dr. Sullivan is a recognized expert in utility business planning. His clients include all of the investor-owned utilities in California, as well as many of the largest investor owned utilities in the US, including the US Department of Energy and the Electric Power Research Institute.
Linda Wah was appointed to the Pasadena Area Community College District Board of Trustees 2010 and elected in 2011-2022. She was the first Asian American trustee elected to the Pasadena Board. She was also elected by her peers to serve on the 21-person Community College Trustees Board, representing the system on statewide issues, and served as that Board’s President 2019-20. Linda was appointed by the State Chancellor’s office to the Strong Workforce Task Force Committee– articulating education to workforce needs. She was also appointed to the Chancellor’s Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative – focusing on the policies to ensure goals of the Student Success Center are met.
Prior to becoming involved in educational politics, Linda worked in the City of Los Angeles as an Information Technology professional. She was responsible for project development and implementation of major systems in the City, worked with the City Attorney’s Office to develop IT Contract boilerplate. She was responsible for implementing the City’s extensive mapping systems on the internet for public use.
Mr. Wilkinson was a partner at Best, Best & Krieger for more than 20 years, where he specialized in water and endangered species law. As a natural resources lawyer with BB&K, Mr. Wilkinson tried numerous cases relating to the distribution of California's water and argued before the California and U.S. Supreme Courts. Before joining BB&K, he served as the Chief of Water and Agrarian Law for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy. He remains active with food issues, serving on the Board of Feeding America, Riverside/San Bernardino Counties.
F O R M E R A D V I S O R Y B O A R D M E M B E R S
('62 Political Science)
The late Mr. Cunningham was president of Dave Cunningham & Associates, a public affairs and governmental relations consulting firm with local, state and national clients. He served on the Los Angeles City Council (1973-1987) representing the 10th District and has been on the boards of numerous civic organizations and charities. He served on the UCR Athletics Association Board, was a past-president of the UCR Alumni Association Board and was a former UCR Foundation Trustee.
('00 Ph.D. Political Science)
Mr. Rendon is a California Assemblyman representing the 63 District and is the Assembly Speaker. He has introduced legislation to reduce exposure to poisonous lead in the environment, investigate financial fraud in local government, and improve early child care and education. Most significantly, he is the author of a statewide water bond that will provide $8 billion in funds to preserve rivers, wetlands, and watersheds while building and repairing the state’s outdated water infrastructure.