Dr. Christopher Meyers is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Kegley Institute of Ethics at CSU Bakersfield. He is also a member of the medical staff at Kern Medical Center, where he provides ethics consulting and education, services he also provides for most the major hospitals in the Bakersfield area. Most of his research is in practical ethics, particularly bioethics and journalism ethics. His most recent books are Journalism Ethics: A Philosophical Approach (Oxford: 2010) and A Practical Guide for Clinical Ethics Consulting: Expertise, Ethos and Power (Rowman and Littlefield: 2007).
Dr. Steven Gamboa is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at California State University, Bakersfield. His research is focused on the intersection between thought, language, and reason. Areas of research interest include epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, inductive logic and confirmation theory, and naturalized ethics. Dr. Gamboa also does research in early modern philosophy, particularly David Hume.
Richard Chapman was appointed President & CEO of the Kern Economic Development Corporation (KEDC) in November 2006. Chapman’s previous positions included Executive Director of the Buckeye (Arizona) Valley Development, Inc., and Vice President for the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County. He has also held a research position with Prudential Securities. Chapman holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Georgetown University and a Masters of Business Administration in International Marketing from American University. Chapman hails from Pinehurst, North Carolina– “The Golf Capital of the World”.
Dr. Richard Gearhart joined CSUB in August of 2014, coming from Clemson University in South Carolina, where he earned both his Master’s degree and his Ph.D. in Economics. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Economics and is the Managing Editor of the Kern Economic Journal, a publication that tracks and analyzes local economic trends and data.
Richard is an expert on Health Economics, Labor Economics, Regional Economics, and Public Sector Economics, analyzing the efficiency and productivity of healthcare delivery systems at the individual, local, and regional levels. He has published peer-reviewed articles examining both county and state level healthcare efficiency, as well as focusing on limitations of looking across countries to model healthcare systems. Richard also has written articles on the impact of oil prices on employment in various sectors in Kern County, such as manufacturing, farming, and service-oriented, as well as the health impacts of rapidly fluctuating oil prices, with Dr. Nyakundi Michieka.
Nyakundi Michieka joined California State University, Bakersfield in September 2014 as an Assistant Professor of Economics. His primary research involves energy, environmental economics, regional economics and food security. Dr. Michieka’s research can be found in various working papers, book chapters, and peer reviewed publications appearing in The Energy Policy Journal, Applied Energy, The Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy and The Journal of Food Distribution and Research.
Nyakundi’s current work looks at the long- and short run effects of oil prices on Kern County’s economy. Other research areas focus on the energy-water nexus. He also reports on current economic trends in Kern County in CSUB’s Kern Economic Journal with Dr. Gearhart. Nyakundi grew up in Kenya where he earned his undergraduate degree in Mechatronic Engineering before coming to the United States. His Ph.D. is in Natural Resource and Environmental Economics from West Virginia University.
Eugene (Gene) Voiland is Chairman of Valley Public Bank, where he has served as a member of the Bank’s Board of Directors since 2008. Mr. Voiland is the retired President and CEO of Aera Energy LLC, where he served for more than 10 years. He has a long history in the energy industry, having worked over 28 years for Shell before his service at Aera Energy LLC. During his career with Shell, he worked as an engineer and manager throughout the US. He also held senior management positions with Shell, having been appointed General Manager of Engineering and General Manager of Corporate Planning. Mr. Voiland is on a number of for-profit and nonprofit boards, and is a management consultant. He is also a board member of Saltchuk Resources, a transportation, energy, and real estate investment and management company. He is active in state and community affairs, serving on four local non-profit boards, as well as a Leadership Council Member of California Forward. He is also a Board Member and Past Chairman of the California State Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Voiland is a 1969 graduate of Washington State University with a BS degree in Chemical Engineering. He is a member of the WSU Foundation Board of Governors and the WSU Foundation Investment Committee.
Barry Hibbard started his real estate career with Karpe Real Estate in 1989 as a licensed sales person in the commercial and industrial division. The diverse aspects of Karpe’s real estate practice; sales, property management, land development, new home construction and hard money lending provided a strong knowledge base in all areas a real estate. In 1998, Barry joined the Tejon Ranch Company as the Director of Marketing and was later promoted to the Vice President for Commercial and Industrial Development. While at Tejon, he led the team responsible for development, marketing, sales and leasing of the 1,450-acre Tejon Commerce Center. During his 12 years with Tejon Ranch, he sold, leased or developed over 300 acres with 3.2 million square feet of industrial properties, and 90,000 square feet of freeway commercial/retail properties. In 2010, Barry started his own development and consulting firm, Central Valley Investments. His focus was intersection of Supply Chain/Goods Movement trends and industrial development. In 2011, Barry joined Newmark Grubb, one the leading commercial real estate firms in Bakersfield. His primary project is the new Silver Wings Commerce Center, a 115 acre mixed use business park at the Kern County Airport. Barry graduated Michigan State University where he was a member of the swim team. He is still a passionate Spartan Fan and he has continued his swimming by competing in the annual Alcatraz Swim in the San Francisco Bay. He received his Master of Business Administration from CSUB. Barry is active in the community, supporting children’s charities through the Police Activities League and the West Bakersfield Rotary Club.
Scott Hurlbert joined the City of Shafter in 2005 as Information Technology Manager where he implemented city-wide technology improvements and spearheaded the Shafter Connect municipal fiber optic network project. He assumed the duties of Assistant City Manager in 2009 and was promoted to City Manager in 2014. Shafter is a town of 18,000, located in California’s oil and agriculture rich southern San Joaquin Valley. The city has become a distribution and industry hub for the region through strategic planning and visionary leadership. Scott began his career in a start-up Civil Engineering firm specializing in subdivision and land development. With the advent of the personal computer, he began taking computer science courses and then joined a start-up software consulting firm in 1984. In 1987 he co-founded another technology consulting firm focused on petroleum, agriculture and education industry automation which he operated until 2005. Scott and his wife, Beverlee reside in Shafter and have one daughter.
Robin Fleming has over 20 years of experience in the Oil and Gas industry working for small family-owned companies and large corporations. As Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications Manager for Fleet Card Fuels, Fleming helped market natural gas and bio-diesel fueling stations in Kern County. She also conducted training on customer service skills and advertising/marketing for independent petroleum companies. As Senior Manager, Business Development at Kern Economic Development Corporation Fleming was responsible for supporting the energy/natural resources and aerospace/defense industries in a variety of policy issues. She was instrumental in founding the Alliance of Women in Energy (AWE), a networking and mentoring group for women professionals in the energy and utility fields. She is currently Policy, Government and Public Relations Representative for Chevron, where she is responsible for local government and community outreach. Fleming holds a two-year certificate in Leadership Development from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Theology from Summit Bible College.
Sharlet M. Briggs, PhD has been interested in brain function and its impact communication and behaviors for over a quarter of a century. Emerging research from brain-imaging studies have opened a new window into organizational performance. She uses her expertise in community presentations, facilitating business groups, providing seminars and workshops, and counseling leaders. Having been affiliated with healthcare for most of her career, she understands the challenges, roadblocks, and opportunities faced by business leaders in the challenging arena of healthcare. Briggs has an earned Masters in Counseling and an earned doctorate in Christian Clinical Psychology. Dr. Briggs is Chief Operating Officer for San Joaquin Community Hospital, affiliated with the Adventist Health System. An infectious “this-can-be-done-it’s-not-as-hard-as-you-think” attitude and the ability to empower individuals to change their perception and as a result change their realities, has made her a sought-after speaker, mentor and author. Passionate about positive contribution that brain-function information can make when practically applied, Briggs speaks nationally and internationally. A published author of articles and books and guest appearance on TV and radio on subjects for health and the brain.
Melissa Poole is Director of Government Affairs/Counsel for Roll Global and its related entities, including Paramount Farming Company, Paramount Citrus, Paramount Farms, Fiji Water and POM Wonderful. These entities, collectively, are the largest growers, processors and shippers of almonds, pistachios, pomegranates, and citrus in the United States. Melissa manages policy and regulatory work at the local, state and federal level, with particular focus on issues impacting agriculture and environmental policy. Melissa received her B.A. in Political Science from California State University, Fresno and her J.D. from University of California Los Angeles School of Law. She is a former Maddy Institute intern for the California State Senate Agriculture and Water Resources Committee, and is currently a member of the Maddy Institute Board of Directors. Melissa also is an adjunct professor of environmental law at California State University, Bakersfield. is Director of Government Affairs/Counsel for Roll Global and its related entities, including Paramount Farming Company, Paramount Citrus, Paramount Farms, Fiji Water and POM Wonderful. These entities, collectively, are the largest growers, processors and shippers of almonds, pistachios, pomegranates, and citrus in the United States. Melissa manages policy and regulatory work at the local, state and federal level, with particular focus on issues impacting agriculture and environmental policy. Melissa received her B.A. in Political Science from California State University, Fresno and her J.D. from University of California Los Angeles School of Law. She is a former Maddy Institute intern for the California State Senate Agriculture and Water Resources Committee, and is currently a member of the Maddy Institute Board of Directors. Melissa also is an adjunct professor of environmental law at California State University, Bakersfield.
Keith Wolaridge, known for his inspiration and passion, is a well-respected leader in the Bakersfield community, and an expert amongst banking and financial services specialists in the region. As owner of Keith C. Wolaridge Farmers Insurance Agency and Wolaridge Consulting, Keith is a business credit and insurance expert working to help keep businesses running throughout Kern County. When he is not working in his business Keith loves to spend his time fulfilling commitments to his family, church, and neighbors. Keith serves on numerous boards and commissions over the years, volunteering his time with the Kern County Gleaners, Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, Kern County Workforce Investment Committee, Kern County Human Relations Commission, Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce, and the California State University, Bakersfield Athletic Scholarship Board of Directors. Currently, Keith is a Trustee for the Panama Buena Vista Union School District serving over 17,500 students. Personally, Keith has been married to his wife Joanne and they are the proud parents of four beautiful girls. Deeply committed to public education, enjoys speaking with young folks in classrooms across Kern County encouraging them to use their education to take them as far as they wish. Keith holds a degree in Accounting from Fresno State University, a graduate of the prestigious Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington Graduate School of Business, and a Master’s of Arts in Christian Leadership from Grand Canyon University.
Oliver A. Rosales is Professor of History and Faculty Coordinator of the Social Justice Institute at Bakersfield College. He earned his PhD in History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is currently Project Director for “Energizing the Humanities in California’s San Joaquin Valley,” a $99,989 professional development program for community college faculty funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), as well as “Digital Delano: Preserving an International Community’s History,” a $12,000 project also funded by NEH. He serves on the advisory board member to California Humanities and various governance committees for the Organization of American Historians. His manuscript, “Mississippi West: Race, Politics, and Civil Rights in Bakersfield, 1947-1984” is under review for publication by the University of Texas Press.
Mr. Romeo Agbalog is currently the Executive Director for Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government (KCSG), a local 501(c)(4) non-profit organization focused on promoting policies that support economic growth, efficient stewardship of taxpayer resources, and accountability at all levels of government. Prior to joining KCSG Romeo served as the Senior District Representative for Senate Minority Leader Emeritus Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) where he assisted Senator Fuller in serving constituents within the communities of the 16th Senate District on legislation, policy, and regulatory matters. Romeo previously held positions with the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce as Manager of Governmental Affairs, Community Resources Manager with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and Field Representative for former Kern County First District Supervisor Jon McQuiston. A lifelong resident of Delano and an alumnus of Bakersfield College, Mr. Agbalog has a wealth of board experience currently serving as a Civil Service Commissioner for the County of Kern, and previous board positions with the Delano Union School District, the foundation board for Bakersfield College’s Delano Campus, and the Bakersfield College Foundation Board representing the Delano Center.
Nancy Lawson is the Assistant County Administrative Officer for Budget and Finance, County of Kern. Ms. Lawson received a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from California State University, Bakersfield and is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). She began her career with the County in 1997 with the Auditor-Controller’s Office working in the areas of audit, financial management and property taxes. She was appointed the Assistant Auditor-Controller in 2009. In 2011, she promoted to the County Administrative Office as the Assistant County Administrative Officer for Budget and Finance with an expanded role of Compliance and Accountability. Her position is responsible for the development and presentation of the County’s $2.8 billion budget.
Elsa Martinez is the Chief Deputy for Budget and Finance under Ms. Lawson and is responsible for the County’s debt management and pension plan analysis. Ms. Martinez received a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from California State University, Bakersfield and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). She has been working for the County in various accounting management positions for over 17 years.
Dr. Bryon Schaefer is currently in his 31st year of service in the Kern High School District. Dr. Schaefer began his career with the KHSD in 1985 as a math teacher at East Bakersfield High School. In 1991, Schaefer moved to Stockdale High to teach the same subject. A year later Schaefer was appointed to his first administrative position, Dean of Students at North High. Thereafter, Schaefer was named North High’s Assistant Principal in 1993. Dr. Schaefer was promoted to Principal of North High in 1998, the position he held until being named Assistant Superintendent of Business in 2010. In 2011, he became the Assistant Superintendent of Personnel serving in that capacity until becoming the 21st Kern High School Superintendent on August 4, 2014. Dr. Schaefer earned his doctorate in Organizational Leadership from the University of Laverne in 2009. He earned his Masters’ Degree in Educational Administration from California State University Bakersfield in 1989 and his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics education from the University of South Dakota in 1985. The Schaefer family consists of Bryon’s wife of 31 years, Beth, two daughters, Shannon, 26, and Haley, 22. Beth is the Patriot Elementary School librarian. Both daughters are North High School graduates. Shannon graduated currently works as an analyst for Bolthouse Farms. Haley graduated from Bakersfield College and is currently an esthetician.
Heidi Carter-Escudero is an award winning Television Producer and Consumer Reporter who spent 15 years working in Television, Radio, and Print journalism. She came to Bakersfield in 2001 after accepting a job with local ABC television affiliate KERO 23 News. Heidi came to be a Consumer and Safety Issues Reporter, but her first day on the air in Bakersfield would be a day no one would forget – September 11, 2001. That infamous day, her first live report was from in front of St. Francis Church; she ended the day at Houchin Blood Bank. This day introduced her to the heart of Bakersfield, and the weeks that followed verified to her that she had moved to a city filled with caring, concerned, and connected citizens.
After working for KERO for four years, she accepted a position with the Kern County Department of Human Services as the Outreach & Communications Marketing & Promotions Supervisor. In her current position, she works on a variety of community issues, including Child Abuse Prevention, KernStopMethNow Coalition, Safely Surrender Baby Coalition, and the Water Safety Coalition just to name a few. She is the proud mother of twins, and an active member of the Junior League of Bakersfield. She has also volunteered her time as a Mentor to former foster youth, working to support Veterans services in Kern County, and developing leaders through the Kern Chapter of California Women Lead. Carter-Escudero was a Candidate for Kern County Supervisor in 2012, and is currently running for the Ward 3 Bakersfield City Council Seat. She is a proud Graduate of the Kern Leaders Academy class of 2011.
Karen Goh is President/CEO of Garden Pathways, a community-based nonprofit that mentors and educates children, youth, and adults to build productive lives. Karen leads a broad spectrum of community initiatives to assist at-risk families move toward educational advancement, employment, family stability, self-sufficiency, healthy living, and improved quality of life.
From December 2010 to January 2013, Karen served as Fifth District County Supervisor, having been appointed by the governor. She represented Downtown, East and Southeast Bakersfield, Lamont, Arvin, and Weedpatch. Karen previously volunteered as executive director of Garden Pathways from 2005-2010. Karen relocated to Bakersfield in 2005 from New York City where she worked at The McGraw-Hill Companies in the elementary school publishing division. She held a number of executive posts, including Vice President of Publishing Operations, Vice President of Administration, Vice President of Editorial Administration, and Managing Editor. Previously as Editorial Director, Karen led the development of two best-selling music textbook series. Karen is a University of Southern California undergraduate and graduate school alumna.
Michael Turnipseed is the Executive Director of the Kern County Taxpayers Association. For 30 years, he was a self-employed businessman, actively participating in numerous business, political, and civic projects. Since 2005, he has led KernTax, which is a member-supported, non-partisan, non-profit corporation, whose purpose is to bring about, through cooperative effort and communication, greater economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in government, basing its recommendations upon the analysis of facts obtained through research. The organization is widely viewed as the most respected citizen advocacy group in Kern County. Michael received his Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of California, Davis; graduated from the California Agricultural Leadership Program and Leadership Bakersfield; and successfully completed the Executive Program in Management from the Anderson Graduate School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles. Michael and his wife, Nancy, have been married 38 years and they have grown daughters, Amy and Alissa.
Marlene B. Heise is owner of Heise Media Group, a marketing, advertising, design and public relations firm. Heise Media Group is responsible for creating marketing campaigns to build clients’ brand equity in the market, plan comprehensive multi-media advertising and craft award-winning public relations campaigns. Prior to founding Heise Media Group, Ms. Heise was employed in the broadcasting industry for over 20 years and was a 100+ market board member for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). She serves on numerous non-profit boards and is currently a member of the Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary, Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, California State University, Bakersfield Presidents’ Associates, and Mayor Harvey L. Hall’s HIRE Committee. Ms. Heise, a native of Wisconsin, has lived in Bakersfield for over 20 years and has one son, Nicholas, who graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from UC Riverside and is employed by Halliburton.