Governor Newsom announces appointments 10.19.22

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SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the following appointments:

Suzanne Changus, 45, of Sacramento, has been named State Chief Technology Officer at the California Department of Technology. Changus has served as Chief Information Officer at the California Prison Industry Authority since 2018. She was Senior Business Analyst and Salesforce Administrator at Western Advantage from 2016-2018. Changus was Senior Salesforce Business Consultant at Zennify from 2016-2017, Account Manager service provider at the point of sale portal from 2013 to 2016 and an educational consultant and project manager at New Horizons IT Learning Centers from 2012 to 2013. She was a founding partner and chief operating officer at Firefly IT Services Inc. from 2005 in 2009. Changus earned a Masters in Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento. This position requires Senate confirmation and the salary is $188,196. Changus is a Democrat.

Jonathan Porat, 33, of Seattle, WA, has been appointed State Chief Technology Innovation Officer at the California Department of Technology. Porat has been the Information Technology Client Engagement Manager for the City of Seattle since 2018. He served as a Regulatory Economist in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy from 2013 to 2018. He served as a policy analyst for the Center for Information Technology Management in the Office of E-Government and Technology in the Office of Management and Budget from 2011 to 2013. Porat earned a master’s degree in public policy from George Washington University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $188,196. Porat is a democrat.

Edmond WH Cheung, 36, of Sacramento, has been named assistant director of legislation at the California Department of Technology. Cheung served as chief of staff in the office of Assemblyman Tom Daly from 2021 to 2022. He served as chief consultant to the Assembly’s Communications and Transportation Committee from 2016 to 2021. Cheung served as senior consultant to the committee of Utilities and Assembly Commerce from 2015 to 2016. He served as Legislative Assistant in the office of Assemblyman Mike Eng from 2011 to 2012 and Senior Legislative Assistant in the office of Assemblyman Ed Chau from 2012 in 2015. Cheung earned a Master of Arts in International Affairs from California State University, Sacramento. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $144,588. Cheung is a Democrat.

Brenda Bridges-Cruz, 51, of Folsom, has been named deputy director of special projects at the California Department of Technology, where she has served as deputy director of the Office of Professional Development since 2019. Bridges-Cruz was deputy director of information at Covered California from 2017 to 2019. She held several positions at CalPERS from 2011 to 2017, including Deputy Division Manager of the Business Solutions and IT Development Division and Head of Enterprise Quality Assurance Services. Bridges-Cruz was a test lead for Project ACES in the Employment Development Department from 2007 to 2011. She was a software consultant at Network Design Associate from 2002 to 2006 and Software AG from 1998 to 2001. This position does not require Senate confirmation. and the compensation is $159,168. Bridges-Cruz is recorded without part preference.

Jennifer Benavidez, 49, of Roseville, has been appointed director of the California Medical Facility, where she has served as acting director since 2021 and served as deputy chief director from 2020 to 2021. Benavidez served as deputy chief administrator through California Health Care Facility interim. in 2020. She held several positions at Folsom State Prison between 2016 and 2020, including Associate Warden and Corrections Captain. Benavidez served as Corrections Captain at California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Headquarters from 2013 to 2016, where she also served as Corrections Counselor from 2008 to 2013 and Corrections Lieutenant from 2007 to 2008. Benavidez served as Corrections Sergeant and Corrections Officer at California State Solano Prison from 2003 to 2007 and served as a correctional officer at the Northern California Women’s Facility from 1997 to 2003. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the salary is $175,332. Benavidez is a Republican.

Landon Bird, 53, of Copperopolis, was appointed warden of Valley State Prison, where he has served as acting warden since 2021. Bird served at the Deuel Vocational Institution between 2020 and 2021 as acting warden and Deputy Chief Director. He held several positions at the Sierra Conservation Center between 1999 and 2020, including Associate Director, Correctional Captain, Classification and Parole Representative, Supervisor of Correctional Counselor II, Correctional Counselor I, and Correctional Officer. Bird served as a corrections officer at Corcoran Drug Treatment Center and State Prison from 1998 to 1999 and at High Desert State Prison in 1997. This position does not require Senate confirmation and compensation is $175,332. Bird is recorded without party preference.

Paul Medina, 36, of Monterey Park, has been named to the California Community College Board of Governors. Medina has been Associate Student Government Chair at Compton Community College since 2022 and Business Development Associate at Security National Mortgage Company since 2021. Medina served as Student Administrator on the Compton Community College District Board of Trustees in 2022 and Director of Regional Affairs to the Student Senate for California Community Colleges from 2021 to 2022. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the remuneration is $100 per day. Medina is a democrat.

Christopher Cabaldon, 56, of Yolo, has been appointed to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Cabaldon has been a partner of Capitol Impact LLC since 2009. He has been Mayor-in-Residence at the Institute for the Future since 2021. Cabaldon served as Hazel Cramer Endowed Chair and Professor of Public Policy and Administration at California State University, Sacramento from 2019 to 2021. He was a member of the West Sacramento City Council from 1996 to 1998 and mayor of the City of West Sacramento from 1998 to 2020. Cabaldon served as President and CEO of EDVoice from 2003 to 2008. He served as Vice Chancellor for Policy, Planning and Government Affairs. at California Community Colleges from 1997 to 2003. Cabaldon served as Chief Consultant for the State Assembly Committee on Higher Education and Chief of Staff for the State Assembly Appropriations Committee from 1989 to 1997. He served as Legislative Director of the University of California Student Association from 1987 to 1989. He served as a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education from 2011 to 2021. Cabaldon earned a Masters in Degree in public policy and administration from California State University, Sacramento. This position requires Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Cabaldon is a Democrat.

Robert Shireman, 61, of Berkeley, has been appointed to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Shireman has been a Senior Fellow and Director of Excellence in Higher Education at the Century Foundation since 2015. He served as Executive Director of California Competes: Higher Education for a Strong Economy from 2010 to 2015. Shireman served as Deputy Undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education from 2009 to 2010. He served as President of the Institute for College Access and Success from 2004 to 2009. Shireman served as a Senior Fellow in the Education and Society Program at the Aspen Institute from 2003 to 2004. He was Program Director for Higher Education at the James Irvine Foundation from 1998 to 2002, Senior Policy Advisor to the National Economic Council from 1996 to 1998, and Education Advisor and Legislative Director to U.S. Senator Paul Simon from 1989 to 1996. Shireman was a policy analyst in the West Coast regional office for the Consumers Union of America. Inc. from 1986 to 1988. He received a master’s degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of San Francisco. Shireman serves on the boards of the Opportunity Institute and uAspire and the US Department of Education’s National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity. This position requires Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Shireman is a Democrat.

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