Carrie L. Birkhofer
President and CEO, Bay Federal Credit Union
Carrie joined Bay Federal Credit Union in 1989 as the Chief Financial Officer and has been the President and CEO since 1995. Carrie’s passion is to expand economic opportunity in our region by providing access to locally funded financial products and services. Over the years, Bay Federal has grown to be the largest community owned financial institution serving over 60,000 people living in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. Since 2011, Bay Federal has been designated as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) by the U.S. Treasury, recognizing the credit union for fostering local economic opportunity through access to affordable transportation and housing financing.
Bay Federal has over 200 employees and is a recipient of the Best Place to Work in the Bay Area. Since 2005, 100% of Bay Federal employees have donated their time annually to support the local community through fundraising and volunteer events. The credit union’s volunteerism was recognized in 2010 by the former first lady Maria Shriver and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with a medal for the State of California’s Small Business Volunteer Program of the Year. Carrie believes that the credit union’s values based culture is a key success factor in today’s hyper competitive marketplace.
Carrie graduated with a BA, Business Economics from University of California, Santa Barbara and is a Certified Public Accountant. She is a member the Rotary Club of Scotts Valley, a graduate of Leadership Santa Cruz and has served on numerous boards including the Cabrillo College Foundation and the Fiserv/Open Solutions Client Association.
Carrie is the mother of three children who were born and raised in Santa Cruz. She loves walking her dog on West Cliff and she is an avid reader, traveler and beginning golfer.
George R. Blumenthal
UC Santa Cruz’s 10th Chancellor
George R. Blumenthal is UC Santa Cruz’s 10th Chancellor. He first joined the campus in 1972 as a faculty member in astronomy and astrophysics and was named Chancellor on September 19, 2007, after serving as Acting Chancellor for 14 months.
In Santa Cruz, Chancellor Blumenthal is widely credited with ushering in a new era of cooperation in town-gown relations with the signing in 2008 of a historic settlement agreement that resolved litigation over water, housing, traffic, and city services. Signed by the campus, the city and county of Santa Cruz, and neighborhood groups, the agreement has become a model for other universities and communities. Campus departments and municipal agencies now collaborate on a range of issues, including planning, water, and transportation, and the campus and city fire departments were consolidated in 2014.
Blumenthal’s appointment as chancellor followed many years as a distinguished professor, researcher, and campus leader. As a theoretical astrophysicist, Chancellor Blumenthal made pathbreaking contributions to our understanding of the origin of structure in the universe, including galaxies and clusters of galaxies, and to the role that dark matter plays in the formation and evolution of this structure. He is a co-author of two textbooks, 21st Century Astronomy and Understanding Our Universe.
Chancellor Blumenthal serves widely on many governing boards, including as vice chair of the California Association for Research in Astronomy, which oversees the W. M. Keck Observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. He is also a board member of Joint Venture Silicon Valley and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
He earned his bachelor of science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and his Ph.D. in physics at the University of California, San Diego. In 2011, he was awarded an honorary Ph.D. in astrophysics and leadership in higher education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Senior Advisor for International Affairs & Trade, State of California
Bud Colligan is the Founder and CEO of South Swell Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm focused on technology investments in the Monterey Bay region. Mr. Colligan founded Central Coast Angels in 2013 and is a founding board member of Santa Cruz Works. He is an investor in and advisor to NextSpace, PredPol, PayStand, EdSurge, Water City, InBoard, Wheelhouse and Tixr. Previously, Mr. Colligan was on the original Macintosh team at Apple, ran Apple’s Higher Education Marking Group, was Chairman & CEO of Macromedia, and Partner at Accel Partners, a leading venture capital firm. Mr. Colligan’s successful investments include lynda.com, CNET Networks, Days of Wonder, Yodlee and Brightmail. He became Senior Advisor for International Affairs & Trade for the State of California in April 2019.
Larry D. deGhetaldi, M.D.
President, Palo Alto Medical Foundation Santa Cruz
Larry deGhetaldi, M.D. is president of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Santa Cruz (PAMF Santa Cruz). PAMF Santa Cruz coordinates with Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center to provide integrated health care for 130,000 Santa Cruz County residents. Dr. deGhetaldi is a board-certified family medicine physician who has served in a number of leadership positions within the Santa Cruz Medical Clinic since he began practicing in 1984. He represented the clinic in its affiliation negotiations with Sutter Health and additionally chaired the Clinic Management Board. Dr. deGhetaldi has served on several boards of directors including the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, the California Medical Association, Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center, and the Central California Alliance for Health. He was recently appointed to the California Financial Solvency Standards Board (FSSB) whose task is to address the implications of federal health care reform and how it will affect the California health care landscape. He is also a member of the Integrated Healthcare Association’s (IHA) Pay for Performance governing committee. And he chairs the Sutter Medical Network’s Quality Committee which focuses on advancing the ambulatory quality of care for 3.2 million Sutter Health patients.
PAMF Santa Cruz is the county’s largest multispecialty physician organization with more than 200 physicians and has received the Integrated Healthcare Association’s award for “Top Overall Performance” multiple times. The 30-bed Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center is a nationally-recognized and award-winning ambulatory care hospital and has received the Press Ganey Summit Award for top industry performance multiple times.
Dr. deGhetaldi received his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Santa Cruz and his medical degree at the University of Southern California. He completed his postgraduate medical training internship at Stanford University and completed the Stanford University Family Practice Residency Program at San Jose Hospital. He is a graduate (Cohort I) of the California Health Care Foundation’s Leadership Fellowship.
Dr. deGhetaldi and his wife have six children between them.
Marci Davis is the Regional Vice President for the Wells Fargo Central Coast Regional Commercial Banking Office. Based in Monterey, CA she oversees the office and manages a team of relationship managers, portfolio managers, and financial analysts. Marci has worked in the Central Coast RCBO since 2010, holding previous positions of Senior Relationship Manager, Portfolio Manager, and Loan Team Manager.
Prior to her current role, Marci held positions in Wells Fargo’s Business Banking and Wealth Management groups. Prior to joining Wells Fargo in 2005, she was with another large financial institution in the Central Valley of California, also in the commercial banking office. Marci has also worked as a bank examiner with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Marci graduated with a B.S. in Finance from California State University, Stanislaus. She lives in Carmel, California with her husband and two sons.
President and CEO, Goodwill Central Coast
Ed Durkee is the President and CEO of Goodwill Central Coast, a regional social enterprise serving Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties. With more than 600 employees and $30 million in revenue, Goodwill is one of the largest non-profit organizations on the Central Coast.
He is a lifelong advocate for social justice and economic inclusion. With extensive experience in workforce and community development, he views his work as a way to create economic opportunity for people who wouldn’t otherwise have it. Ed’s diverse background includes administering the Workforce Investment Act for the State of Indiana, creating affordable housing as the President of a community development corporation in Indianapolis, and creating Prosperity Centers in both Oregon and California. He has worked with four Goodwill affiliates over the last 16 years including Indianapolis, IN, Eugene, OR, and Sacramento, CA where he created innovative platforms that help families achieve financial stability.
Ed is a graduate of Leadership Santa Cruz County and is currently the chair of the California Council of Goodwill Industries and on the board of directors of New Way Homes in Santa Cruz. He is a member of the Santa Cruz Rotary Club and an active volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Cruz. He has a bachelors degree in philosophy and a masters degree in journalism from Indiana University. Ed lives in Santa Cruz with his wife Janas and their high school age son. He enjoys basketball, hiking around Santa Cruz and the Monterey Bay and backpacking deep into the mountains.
Rosa Vivian Fernández
President and CEO, San Benito Health Foundation
Rosa Vivian Fernandez is the President and Chief Executive Officer of San Benito Health Foundation (SBHF), a non-profit community health care organization serving the San Benito County for over 40 years. She has been the President and CEO for thirteen years. Under her direction, SBHF serves more than 10,000 individuals annually at the main clinic in Hollister and the new satellite mobile unit, providing preventative and comprehensive medical, dental, vision, mental health, and health education services. In addition, Ms. Fernandez oversees a WIC program serving 2,100 women and children.
Ms. Fernandez has extensive experience in executive management, strategic program planning, policy development, finance, and operational management in the public sector. Under her direction, SBHF was one of the first community health centers to implement electronic health records in San Benito County as well as connect the dental and medical patient chart.
Ms. Fernandez is well respected nationally for her commitment to excellence, as well as for her business acumen. She proactively addresses social health and education inequities through various organized efforts locally and statewide.
In addition to a Master’s degree in Public Health from University of California, Berkeley, Ms. Fernandez holds three certificates in health administration from John’s Hopkins University, University of Southern California Sierra Health Foundation, and UCLA Johnson & Johnson. She is fluent in Spanish.
David Heald is President & CEO of Santa Cruz County Bank. He began his banking career in San Francisco in the Finance and Planning Department of a Canadian bank with a branch network in the United States immediately after receiving a Finance Degree from San Diego State University. In his 45 year banking career, David has been responsible for oversight of all lending functions, branch administration and compliance. Due to his extensive expertise in banking and lending, he was recruited for the startup of two highly successful community banks in Santa Cruz where he has held executive level positions for the past 30+ years.
Santa Cruz County Bank is a state chartered bank locally owned and operated in Santa Cruz, California which commenced operations on February 3, 2004. Under David’s leadership, the Bank has grown to 5 banking locations, over $625 million in assets and a market capitalization of over $127 million in 14 years and has received local, statewide and national recognitions for its service and financial performance as follows:
- Santa Cruz County Bank is the top SBA lender in Santa Cruz County, ranked 6th in Silicon Valley, and ranked 37th statewide among 222 lenders for the 2017 SBA fiscal year.
- As of June 30, 2017, the Bank ranked 5th largest in overall market share with 8.69% of deposits held by FDIC insured institutions in Santa Cruz County.
- The Bank is a 5-Star “Superior” rated bank by Bauer Financial Inc. for its quarterly financial performance.
- Santa Cruz County Bank ranked 24th in the Top 200 Performing Community Banks and Thrifts in the U.S. by American Banker based upon 3-year return on equity.
- The Bank ranked 1st in overall financial performance for 2018 among 159 California banks by Financial Management Consulting Group and 1st (lowest) in nonperforming assets and asset quality. The Bank has ranked in FMC’s top ten banks in California for the past 3 years.
- Independent Community Bankers of America ranked Santa Cruz County Bank in its Top 25 Best Performing Community Banks with the highest return on average assets and highest return on average equity ratios.
David has an extensive career in community banking and previously served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Banking Officer of Coast Commercial Bank for 21 years.
He is an active community advocate and leader who currently serves on the following Boards: Santa Cruz County Bank, Santa Cruz County Business Council, and Cabrillo College Foundation where he serves on the Board as past President as well as the Audit, Executive and Finance Committees. In addition to serving on these boards, David is a member of Santa Cruz Rotary and numerous community and independent banking associations.
Matt HuffakerMatt Huffaker, City Manager, City of Watsonville and Vice Chair, MBEPMatt Huffaker is an experienced local government professional, currently serving as the City Manager for the City of Watsonville, and previously as the Deputy City Manager for the City of Walnut Creek. He is an action oriented leader, with a passion for building community partnerships and championing positive system change. Matt has extensive experience in economic development, strategic planning, labor relations, organizational development and building community partnerships.Matt has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, a Master’s in Public Administration from CSU East Bay, and is a graduate of UC Berkeley’s Executive Seminar leadership development program. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Watsonville and has served on numerous boards, including Second Harvest Food Bank and Monterey Bay Community Power.Matt is the father to three young children and enjoys spending weekend’s exploring all the great parks and outdoor recreation activities throughout Santa Cruz County.
Mary Ann Leffel
Founding Director, Monterey County Business Council
Mary Ann Leffel retired from a 45 year career in the banking industry, working for large and small banks, all over the world. In 2008/09, she served as Director of Business and Industry Relations for the California Homeland Security Consortium. She currently serves as Chair or President of the board for the Monterey County Business Council, Chartwell School, Monterey County Regional Taxi Authority and Monterey County Special Districts. She is Vice President of Monterey County’s Workforce Investment Board and serves on the board of First Night Monterey, the coordinating council of the Central Coast Broadband Council, and as the regional representative for Team California, the state’s business attraction and retention organization.
Leffel also serves as an elected official, serving for the past six years on the Monterey Peninsula Airport District board. She co-founded the county Competitive Cluster initiative and the regional economic development group, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP).
She has membership in various other community and economic development groups and stays involved in local, regional, state and national efforts that contribute to workforce, jobs and a healthy economy. She served as Chair of Natividad Hospital Board of Trustees, Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Volunteer Center and Leadership Monterey Peninsula.
In 2001, she was awarded the Small Business Advocate of the Year by the California Chamber of Commerce and Monterey Peninsula Citizen of the Year in 2014 by the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.
René L. Mendez
City Manager, City of Gonzales
René has over twenty years of state and local government experience. Right after graduate school, he spent five years with the California Legislative Analyst Office, and then spent five years with Solano County Administrator’s Office. Before coming to Gonzales in 2005, he spent the prior eight years as the County Administrator for the County of Inyo. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from California State University, Stanislaus and a Master of Arts Degree from Duke University.
René was born to Miguel and Aurora Mendez in 1965 and grew up and worked on a farm in Stanislaus County until the age of 21, when he went away to Graduate School. He is the oldest of five brothers and considers his parents the two greatest influences in his life. He is most proud of the fact that all his brothers hold Masters Degrees from universities throughout the United States (Sacramento State University, Ohio State University, George Washington University and University of Michigan) and believes that with hard work, a strong family unit, and believing in oneself–anything is possible. He is the proud father of two boys Alexandro (14) and Gabriel (11) and considers himself very lucky to have married Martha Amaya Mendez who has been vice-chair of the Inyo County Children and Families Commission (First 5) and director of a children’s ballet folklorico dance group in Inyo County and in Gonzales.
Over the past decade working with the City Council, René has been able to steer the City of Gonzales through the toughest recession in decades and has implemented many long term initiatives, including Economic Development, Youth Engagement, and Sustainability (Gonzales Grows Green – G3).
Nanette Mickiewicz, M.D.
President, Dominican Hospital
Nanette Mickiewicz, M.D., was named President of Dominican Hospital in November 2006. She has been a member of the medical staff at the hospital for 21 years, with specialties in infectious diseases and internal medicine. Nan also served as Chief Medical Officer, and has been a member of the executive leadership team for the past 14 years, while maintaining a medical practice in infectious diseases.
Dr. Mickiewicz earned her undergraduate degree in biology from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California, and went on to study medicine at Chicago Medical School. She fulfilled her residency at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where she also served as Chief Resident, and completed a fellowship in infectious diseases prior to beginning her practice in Santa Cruz. Among her many interests and responsibilities, Nan also sits on a number of committees including the Executive Committee of the Health Improvement Partnership Council, whose purpose is to identify and resolve important health care issues in Santa Cruz County and to promote and improve health care for the uninsured, underinsured, and publicly insured. Dr. Mickiewicz is also a Board member of the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California, a member of the Santa Cruz Business Council, Women in Philanthropy, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. In 2011, Dr. Mickiewicz accepted the role of co-chair of the United Way of Santa Cruz County campaign. In 2012, Becker’s Hospital Review named Dr. Mickiewicz among the 100 Physician Leaders of Hospitals and Health Systems.
Nan is married to Michael Ellison, MD, a specialist in pulmonary medicine and critical care at Dominican Hospital. They are the parents of two boys and twin girls, ranging in age from 18 to 26. The family lives in Santa Cruz.
Eduardo M. Ochoa
President, California State University, Monterey Bay and Chair, MBEP
Eduardo M. Ochoa began his appointment as President of California State University, Monterey Bay in July 2012. Ochoa returned to the CSU after serving in the Obama Administration since 2010 as the U.S. assistant secretary for postsecondary education—the secretary of education’s chief advisor on higher education issues. Prior to that role, Ochoa served for seven years as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Sonoma State University.
Ochoa taught at Fresno State as well as at California State University, Los Angeles, where he was a full professor and chair of the economics and statistics department. He also led the university’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, and served as acting dean of its School of Business and Economics. In 1997, Ochoa was hired as the dean of Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Business Administration, where he served for six years.
A native of Buenos Aires, Ochoa attended bilingual schools in the Argentinian capital until his sophomore year in high school before immigrating with his family to Portland, Oregon. Ochoa earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Reed College, a master’s degree in nuclear science and engineering from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in economics from the New School for Social Research.
George Ow, Jr.
Chairman and CEO, Ow Family Properties
George is a Monterey Bay native and has lived most his life in Santa Cruz or Monterey. He is a graduate of Monterey Union High School (1960), Monterey Peninsula College (AA 1963), San Francisco State (BA 1965) and UCLA (MBA 1966). George spent three years in the U.S. Army (1967-1969) and had a rank of captain, serving in Vietnam from August 1968 to August 1969.
George is very interested in the region and has published some of the best books about the region: Sandy Lydon’s Chinese Gold and Japanese of the Monterey Bay Region; Geoffrey Dunn’s Santa Cruz Is In The Heart I and II; Donna Mekis and Kathy Mekis Miller’s Blossoms Into Gold: The Croatians In The Pajaro Valley, and an anthology edited by Geoffrey Dunn, Chinatown Dreams. George was executive producer of local documentary films by Geoffrey Dunn and Mark Schwartz, including Mi Vida, Maria Gutierrez’ path from being an illegal transient farm worker to college at UCSC, and ultimately getting her MA and PHD at Stanford and becoming a college professor, and Dollar A Day, 10 Cents A Dance, the saga of Freddy Alnas coming from the Philippines to become a farm worker for over 50 years–and how he survived and lived his life in our region. We are very interested in education and have given over 1,000 Ow Family American Dream Scholarships to Cabrillo College students over the past 30 years.
The Ow Family has been involved in many community profit and nonprofit projects throughout the years and will continue to be for generations. The family business is commercial property development, ownership and management. Ow Family Properties has done well taking empty buildings and filling them with business tenants. They worked with the City of Watsonville and the Watsonville community to bring over 1,000 jobs to empty spaces over a three year period, and took the 386,000 square foot mostly empty former Wrigley chewing gum factory and made it into an incubator space filled it with a vibrant mix of businesses. George and his siblings are the second generation of a large immigrant business family and they are in the process of handing off the reins of the business to a very capable third generation.
Carlos J. PalaciosCounty Administrative Officer, Santa Cruz CountyCarlos J. Palacios has over 30 years of experience in the public sector, including more than two decades at the executive level. At all levels, he has worked to improve services through strategic planning, collaboration and continuous process improvement. From 1996 to 2015, he served as city manager of Watsonville, improving economic and educational opportunities for residents. In 2017, he was named County Administrative Officer for Santa Cruz County, overseeing the County’s second-largest workforce and working to improve service delivery for residents while strengthening County partnerships.Carlos serves on joint powers authority boards for Monterey Bay Community Power, the Santa Cruz Regional 9-1-1 and the Santa Cruz Public Libraries. He is also a member of the Santa Cruz County Community Foundation Board of Directors. He previously served in various capacities with the Cabrillo College Foundation Board of Directors, League of California Cities, Action Pajaro Valley and the United Way Community Assessment Project Steering Committee.He was also named Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year in 2006, received a Civic Entrepreneur Award from the Irvine Foundation in 2005, an Exceptional Leadership Award from the League of California Cities in 2002, and the Latino Chamber of Commerce President’s Award in 1999.Mr. Palacios is a resident of Watsonville, where he lives with his wife. He has one child.
Rick Russo leads Mann Packing Company in sales, marketing, product portfolio management, new product development, strategic planning, and raw product sourcing. Since 2009 he has been instrumental in reshaping Mann’s core competencies and improving its strategic positioning within the marketplace, utilizing product innovation as a principal driver. Rick manages a team of six senior level managers, ultimately impacting a total network of over twelve hundred employees, either directly employed by Mann, or with affiliated firms. Following the 2018 acquisition of Mann Packing Company by Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., Rick serves as a primary liaison between the two organizations, guiding Mann’s transition from a private, family owned enterprise, to a wholly owned subsidiary of a publicly held corporation. One of Rick’s goals throughout this process is to maintain Mann’s long standing company culture, and its well established connection to the community.
Prior to joining Mann Rick served a continuous tenure within the fresh produce industry dating back to 1988, working with companies such as Tanimura & Antle, NewStar Fresh Foods, and Church Brothers. Originally entering the industry as a buyer, Rick has held director level positions in sales and product management, vice president level positions in both sales and production, and recently served as executive vice president at Mann prior to change of ownership.
Rick graduated with a B.S. in Finance from California State University, Fresno. He is a lifelong resident of Salinas, CA where he lives with his wife, Lori. They are the parents of twin sons, age 28, and a daughter, age 22.
Senior Vice President of the Enterprise Business Group, Plantronics
Shantanu Sarkar leads the development of Plantronics products, including software, hardware, mechanical design, program management and quality, and has been instrumental in helping transition the company’s headset technology from standalone devices to intelligent, context-aware wearable technology.
Previous to Plantronics, Shantanu led the Advanced Technology, Strategy and Corporate Development team at Polycom. Prior to Polycom he spent 14 years at Cisco and was part of the original internal startup that ultimately became the $2B+ Voice Technology Group. During his tenure he led engineering teams, strategy, worldwide UC standards engagement, M&A, advanced technology for Collaboration, and product development.
Shantanu has a M.S. in Computer Science from the Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. Additionally, he holds 100+ U.S. patents (granted and filed), plus others internationally.
Chairman and CEO, Taylor Farms
Bruce is the third generation of a Salinas Valley produce family. After growing up in Salinas, he graduated from UC Berkeley and Harvard Business School. Bruce has had two jobs in his career. The first with Fresh Express for thirteen years where he led the rapid growth and the development of the retail bagged salad category. Then, twenty years ago, he started Taylor Farms with support from financial and business partners. Taylor Farms is a producer of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables with the goal of becoming “America’s Favorite Salad Maker.” Taylor Farms currently ranks as the world’s largest producer of fresh-cut vegetables. With products that range from bagged salads to freshly prepared meals, Taylor Farms supplies many of the largest supermarket chains and foodservice restaurants in the United States. Taylor Farms’ headquarters are located in Salinas, California with regional processing plants in twelve U.S. locations and one in Mexico. Bruce and his wife Linda have four sons and one daughter-in-law.