Board Candidates​

2019 Board Candidates

*First Election for Three-Year Term

Charles D. Ahlem
Hilmar Cheese Company (global processor and supplier)
B.S. in dairy science, California State University Fresno. U.S. Army Reserve, 1968–1974, honorable discharge with rank of staff sergeant. Owner/operator of family farm, Charles Ahlem Ranch, since 1975. Founding co-owner Hilmar Cheese and business division, Hilmar Ingredients, in 1984. Active in dairy industry leadership groups. Former undersecretary, state Department of Food and Agriculture. CalChamber director since January 2017.

Charles S. Birenbaum
Chair, Northern California
Greenberg Traurig (law firm)
B.A. with honors in government, Oberlin College; J.D., Georgetown University Law Center. Labor and employment attorney with experience litigating in state and federal courts, as well as administrative agencies, concentrating on traditional labor law, class actions, counseling and training, unfair competition. Author and lecturer on labor and employment issues. CalChamber director since January 2017.

Daniel W. Boyd

Boyd Consulting Services, Boulder (engineering consulting)
B.S. in civil engineering, California State Polytechnic University. Held positions of increasing responsibility with Boyle Engineering Corporation starting in 1973 through resignation from president/chief executive officer post in 2004. Headed own consulting company and served as west region senior vice president with Camp Dresser & McKee, Inc. before taking current position. CalChamber director since January 1999.

* Maryam S. Brown
Southern California Gas Company
Los Angeles (energy utility)
B.S., mechanical engineering, and J.D. (Order of the Coif), Louisiana State University. Named president of Southern California Gas at the start of 2019. Joined Sempra Energy in 2016 as vice president of federal government affairs. Previously served as senior energy and environment counsel for the Office of the Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives, and energy chief counsel for the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Began career in 1996 as maintenance engineer for Amoco Oil Company, then served as a corporate attorney in San Francisco office of international law firm Pillsbury Winthrop; manager of public policy/strategic planning for ConocoPhillips; and policy counsel to the U.S. Senate Republic Policy Committee. CalChamber director since March 2019.

Michael Cahill
President, Rolling Stock

Siemens Mobility, Inc. (transportation/trucking/railroad)
Nearly three decades with Siemens began as a commissioning engineer working in Germany, United States, Italy and South Korea. Before being named to current position in March 2011, held director positions in project management in transportation systems, integrated services, mobility division and rolling stock. CalChamber director since November 2011.

Grace Evans Cherashore
Executive Chairwoman

Evans Hotels (hospitality)
Graduate, University of Colorado; M.B.A., Amos Tuck School, Dartmouth College. Began career in real estate industries group at Wells Fargo Bank before joining Evans Hotels in 1984 as chief financial officer. Named president and chief executive officer in March 2012. Now serves as executive chairwoman. 2019 CalChamber chair and member of Executive Committee. CalChamber director since March 2012.

* Richard Cohen
Managing Director
Rio Tinto Borates
(industrial mineral supply and science)
Bachelor’s in commerce and engineering with 1st Class Honors, University of Western Australia. Leads global team across six sites in USA and Europe. Since joining Rio Tinto in 1994, has held managing roles in Rio Tinto iron ore business in Australia, as well as managed and executed a variety of critical projects. Before current post, was managing director over Rio Tinto Project Services for Growth and Innovation. CalChamber director since July 2018.

Thomas Conley
Senior Vice President

State Farm Insurance Companies (insurance)
Graduate, Loyola Marymount University. Joined State Farm as an agent in Arcadia, California, in 1987, holding positions of increasing responsibility in California. Stints at corporate headquarters in Bloomington, Illinois, and Orlando, Florida, preceded return to California in 2005 in current role. CalChamber director since February 2011.

Susan Corrales-Diaz

Systems Integrated (systems automation services)
B.A. in business communications, California State University, Long Beach. More than 35 years with Systems Integrated. 2017 CalChamber chair and member of Executive Committee. CalChamber director since January 1995.

Dorene C. Dominguez
Chief Executive Officer and Chairman

Vanir Group of Companies, Inc. (real estate developer/construction)
Bachelor’s in business finance, University of Notre Dame. Took over Vanir in 2004; now oversees 17 offices throughout country. Launched green initiative in 2008, specializing in solar energy. Ownership interest in Sacramento Kings basketball team and investor in Sacramento Republic soccer team. CalChamber director since January 2017.

Dan Gordon
Chief Executive Officer

Gordon Biersch Brewing Company (restaurant/brewery)
Bachelor’s in resource economics, University of California, Berkeley. First American in more than 40 years to graduate from five-year brewing engineering program at Technical University of Munich. Interned at Spaten Brewery, Munich. Technical translator at Lowenbrau Consulting. Opened first Gordon Biersch brewery restaurant in Palo Alto in 1988. CalChamber director since March 2005.

Lloyd Greif
President and Chief Executive Officer

Greif & Co. (investment banking)
B.A. in economics, University of California, Los Angeles; M.B.A., University of Southern California; J.D., Loyola Law School. Member of California Bar. Management consultant with Touche Ross & Co. (now Deloitte Consulting LLP) and head of investment banking for Sutro & Co. Incorporated before 1992 founding of Greif & Co., purveyor of merger/acquisition and corporate finance advisory services. CalChamber director since May 2011.

*Michael Guyette
President and Chief Executive Officer

VSP Global (eye care services)
Bachelor’s in finance, University of North Texas; M.B.A., Villanova University. More than 20 years of experience in leading large health care organizations, most recently as president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. Also held senior positions at Aetna, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and Independence Blue Cross. New Candidate.

Robert E. Hertzka, M.D.

Anesthesia Service Medical Group (medical services)
A.B., biology, University of California, Los Angeles. M.D., University of California, San Diego. Attending anesthesiologist posts and educational positions in field since 1985. Former California Medical Association president. Also active with regional and national medical associations. CalChamber director since September 2003.

*Christopher D. Howard
President and Chief Executive Officer
Sharp HealthCare (health care services)
B.A., M.A., University of Oklahoma, Norman; M.S., health care administration, University of Oklahoma College of Public Health. More than 30 years working with integrated delivery systems, hospitals, medical groups and health plans. Before joining Sharp HealthCare served as chief operations officer for SSM Health, preceded by stints as president of SSM Health’s St. Louis and Oklahoma markets. New Candidate.

*Rhonda Johnson
AT&T California (telecommunications)
Degree in finance, with high honors, University of Illinois. Responsible for AT&T government affairs, public policy, philanthropic and social engagement issues in California. Career with AT&T since 1984 included serving as AT&T vice president of regulatory affairs in California from 2007 and nationally from 2013 until named to current position effective December 1, 2018. CalChamber director since January 2019.

Kevin P. Kelly
President and Chief Executive Officer

West Valley Construction Company Inc. (underground utility contractor)
B.S., business management, California State University, Chico. More than 30 years in underground construction industry. Joined West Valley in 1978, serving as project manager, division manager, vice president of operations and senior vice president before becoming president and CEO. CalChamber director since May 2015.

John W. Koeberer
Co-Owner and Chief Executive Officer

Basecamp Hospitality (recreation)
More than four decades in travel and recreational enterprises. Driving force behind Basecamp predecessor California Parks Companies since its inception in 1975, overseeing operations in 23 locations throughout Northern California. Company name changing to Basecamp Hospitality on December 1, 2019 to reflect expansion of operations to Oregon, Arizona, Utah and Wyoming. CalChamber chair in 2004. CalChamber director since January 1994.

Michael Lizárraga
President and Chief Executive Officer

TELACU (community development)
B.S. in business administration, University of Southern California. Joined TELACU in January 1990, managing the company’s commercial and residential real estate portfolio. Appointed president of TELACU Industries in 1995 and named president of parent company TELACU in 2007. Also serves as president of TELACU Education Foundation. CalChamber director since July 2013.

Jonathan O. Mayes
Senior Vice President

Albertsons Companies (grocer)
Bachelor of science, Warner Pacific College. J.D., Willamette University College of Law. Began legal career at Donahue, Gallagher, Thomas & Woods, moving on to serve as senior counsel at Lucky Stores, then senior counsel at Safeway Inc. Assumed current position in 2010, leading external relations, corporate social responsibility, supplier diversity, government relations and philanthropic departments. CalChamber director since January 2016.

Gregory H. McWilliams
Chief Policy Officer

Five Point Communities (designer/developer of master-planned communities).
Has led community planning development projects since the 1980s throughout the state, including serving as president of Five Point Communities, president of Newhall Land and Farming Company, president of Lennar Communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, and division president of KB Home. Also has served in the public sector as executive officer of the San Mateo County Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO), executive officer of the California Association of LAFCOs, and city manager of Palmdale. CalChamber director 2006–2009 and July 2013–present.

*Derrick Miller
General Manager

Pom Wondeful at The Wonderful Company (growers/distributors/real estate)
B.S., organizational leadership, Purdue University (Fort Wayne). M.B.A., University of Southern California. Joined The Wonderful Company in August 2016 as director of strategy; named to current position in September 2018. Over 18 preceding years at Nestle USA – Nestle Dreyer’s Ice Cream, held positions of increasing responsibility starting as forklift driver and ice cream maker, then moving on to supervisor, manager and leader posts, and finally to division champion for strategic planning and business optimization. CalChamber director since March 2019.

*Eloy Ortiz Oakley

California Community Colleges (higher education)
B.A., environmental analysis and design, Golden West College; M.B.A., University of California, Irvine. U.S. Army veteran. Named chancellor starting December 2016. Previously served as superintendent-president, Long Beach Community College District, where he started as assistant superintendent/executive vice president, administrative services. Previous administrative posts at Oxnard College and Coast Community College District. Former adjunct faculty member in Environmental Technology Certificate Program at Golden West College. CalChamber director since February 2017.

*Julian Parra
Senior Vice President
Bank of America Merrill Lynch (financial services)
B.B.A., Loyola University of Chicago; M.B.A., University of Chicago-Booth School of Business. Serves as business banking executive for company’s Pacific Southwest Region. Since joining Bank of America in 1989 has held positions in finance, marketing, product management and product development; and management positions in global banking and markets. Previously headed commercial banking for Southern California, leading team providing full Bank of America Merrill Lynch capabilities to middle market companies. New Candidate.

*Sima Patel
Chief Executive Officer
Ridgemont Hospitality (hotel and lodging)
Moved to United States from India in 1979. Current owner and operator of several branded and boutique hotels in San Francisco Bay Area with husband, Pravin. The two developed first lodging property in 1985. Award recipient for activities in lodging/tourism associations and Indian American community. Former chair of Visit California Board of Directors. CalChamber director since January 2019.

*William T. Quicksilver
Senior Partner
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP (law firm)
A.B., magna cum laude, Princeton University; J.D., University of Chicago. Served as chief executive officer and managing partner of the firm from January 1, 2007 through June 30, 2019. Practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, capital market activities, corporate government, and strategic advisory services in financial services and a range of unregulated industries. New Candidate.

*Anthony (Tony) P. Sciarrino
Managing Director, California Segment Head
JPMorgan Chase (financial services)
B.B.A., finance, University of San Diego. Named to current position in October 2018 to lead commercial banking team. More than 26 years of experience in financial services, most recently with Bank of America Merrill Lynch as global client acquisition executive across the United States and Canada for the Global Commercial Bank. CalChamber director since January 2019.

*Eric W. Thornburg
President and Chief Executive Officer
SJW Group and San Jose Water (investor-owned water and wastewater utility)
B.A., Cornell University. M.B.A., Indiana Wesleyan University. Before taking current position in November 2017, served as president and CEO of Connecticut Water Service (since 2006) and chairman of the board of the water service (since 2007). Also previously served as president of Missouri-American Water, a subsidiary of American Water Works Corporation, and Central Region vice president-external affairs for American Water Works Corporation. CalChamber director since April 2018.

*Thomas M. Troy
President and Chief Executive Officer

CSAA Insurance Group (personal property and casualty insurance)
Bachelor’s, University of Washington; M.B.A., Seattle University. More than 30 years of insurance experience before joining CSAA in 2019, including executive vice president at Allstate Business Insurance and Allstate Brand Operations; executive vice president and chief operating officer with Liberty Mutual; and senior leadership positions with Safeco Corporation. Also was commercial underwriter with Kemper National Insurance Companies. New Candidate.

Stan O. Van Vleck

Van Vleck Ranch (cattle ranching, resource operations)
B.S., Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo; J.D., University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. Family business founded in 1856 includes holdings in Sacramento, Amador, El Dorado counties. Also chairman of Downey Brand, LLP regional law firm; owner of Cal Connected, governmental relations adviser. Previously served for a California Governor and a U.S. Senator. CalChamber director since January 2015.

*Kenneth (Ken) Weixel
Managing Partner
Deloitte & Touche LLP (audit, consulting, advisory and tax services)
B.S., accounting, Capital University. CPA. Graduate, Columbia University Graduate School of Business Leadership Development Program and Wharton School of Executive Leadership Program. Began career with Deloitte 35 years ago. Has served as managing partner of the health care and life sciences industry practices in Columbus, Ohio, Los Angeles and now San Diego. CalChamber director since February 2018.

Stuart P. Woolf
President and Chief Executive Officer

Woolf Farming & Processing (agricultural production/processing)
Bachelor’s in liberal arts, University of California, Berkeley; M.B.A., Boston College. Also managing partner for two related entities of family-owned operation—Harris Woolf California Almonds and Los Gatos Tomato Products. Former chairman of California League of Food Processors and the Almond Board of California. CalChamber director since January 2017.

*Jessica Word.
Word & Brown General Agency (developer/distributor of health benefit/insurance plans)
B.B.A., California State University, Fullerton; Registered Health Underwriter (RHU). Before taking current position in April 2013, was executive vice president of operations for General Agency. Began career as a renewal specialist with CaliforniaChoice, then worked in sales and claims and benefits administration, then broker services, earning several promotions before moving to the company’s operations and management unit. New Candidate.