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Governor Newsom Announces Appointments 10.19.22

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the following appointments:Suzanne Changus, 45, of Sacramento, has been appointed State Chief Technology Officer at the California Department of Technology. Changus has been Chief Information Officer at the California Prison Industry Authority since 2018. She was a Senior Salesforce Business Analyst and Administrator at Western Advantage from 2016 to 2018. Changus was a Senior Salesforce Business Consultant at Zennify from 2016 to 2017, a Service Account Manager at Point of Sale Portal from 2013 to 2016 and an Education Consultant and Project Manager at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers from 2012 to 2013. She was a Founding Partner and Director of Operations at Firefly IT Services Inc. from 2005 to 2009. Changus earned a Master of Business Administration degree from California State University, Sacramento. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $188,196. Changus is a Democrat. Jonathan Porat, 33, of Seattle, WA, has been appointed State Chief Technology Innovation Officer at California Department of Technology. Porat has been an Information Technology Client Engagement Manager for the City of Seattle since 2018. He was a Regulatory Economist at the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy from 2013 to 2018. He was a Policy Analyst for the Center for Information Technology Management in the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of E-Government and Technology from 2011 to 2013. Porat earned a Master of Public Policy degree from George Washington University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $188,196. Porat is a Democrat.Edmond W-H Cheung, 36, of Sacramento, has been appointed Deputy Director of Legislation at the California Department of Technology. Cheung was Chief of Staff in the Office of Assemblymember Tom Daly from 2021 to 2022. He was Chief Consultant at the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee from 2016 to 2021. Cheung was Principal Consultant at the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee from 2015 to 2016. He was a Legislative Aide in the Office of Assemblymember Mike Eng from 2011 to 2012 and a Senior Legislative Aide in the Office of Assemblymember Ed Chau from 2012 to 2015. Cheung earned a Master of Arts degree 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 appointed Deputy Director of Special Projects at the California Department of Technology, where she has been Deputy Director in the Office of Professional Development since 2019. Bridges Cruz was Deputy Chief Information Officer at Covered California from 2017 to 2019. She held several positions at CalPERS from 2011 to 2017, including Assistant Division Chief of IT Enterprise Solutions and Development Division and Chief of Enterprise Quality Assurance Services. Bridges Cruz was a Test Manager for the ACES Project at the Employment Development Department from 2007 to 2011. She was a Software Consultant at Network Design Associate from 2002 to 2006 and at Software AG from 1998 to 2001. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $159,168. Bridges Cruz is registered without party preference. Jennifer Benavidez, 49, of Roseville, has been appointed Warden at the California Medical Facility, where she has served as Acting Warden since 2021 and served as Chief Deputy Warden from 2020 to 2021. Benavidez was Acting Chief Deputy Administrator at the California Health Care Facility in 2020. She held several roles at Folsom State Prison between 2016 and 2020, including Associate Warden and Correctional Captain. Benavidez was a Correctional Captain at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Headquarters from 2013 to 2016, where she also served as a Correctional Counselor from 2008 to 2013 and Correctional Lieutenant from 2007 to 2008. Benavidez served as a Correctional Sergeant and Correctional Officer at California State Prison Solano from 2003 to 2007 and was a Correctional Officer at the Northern California Women’s Facility from 1997 to 2003. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $175,332. Benavidez is a Republican. Landon Bird, 53, of Copperopolis, has been appointed Warden at Valley State Prison, where he has served as Acting Warden since 2021. Bird served at Deuel Vocational Institution between 2020 and 2021 as both Acting Warden and Chief Deputy Warden. He held several positions at Sierra Conservation Center between 1999 and 2020, including Associate Warden, Correctional Captain, Classification and Parole Representative, Correctional Counselor II Supervisor, Correctional Counselor I and Correctional Officer. Bird was a Correctional Officer at the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran from 1998 to 1999 and at High Desert State Prison in 1997. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $175,332. Bird is registered without party preference. Paul Medina, 36, of Monterey Park, has been appointed to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. Medina has been President of the Associated Student Government at Compton Community College since 2022 and a Business Development Associate at Security National Mortgage Company since 2021. Medina was Student Trustee on the Compton Community College District Board of Trustees in 2022 and Regional Affairs Director at the Student Senate for California Community Colleges from 2021 to 2022. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Medina is a Democrat. Christopher Cabaldon, 56, of Yolo, has been appointed to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Cabaldon has been Partner at Capitol Impact LLC since 2009. He has been Mayor in Residence at the Institute for the Future since 2021. Cabaldon was Hazel Cramer Endowed Chair and Professor of Public Policy & Administration at California State University, Sacramento from 2019 to 2021. He was a Councilmember for the City of West Sacramento from 1996 to 1998 and Mayor of the City of West Sacramento from 1998 to 2020. Cabaldon was President and CEO at EDVoice from 2003 to 2008. He was Vice Chancellor for Policy, Planning & Governmental Affairs at California Community Colleges from 1997 to 2003. Cabaldon was 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 was Legislative Director at 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 Master of Public Policy 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 Senior Fellow and Director of Higher Education Excellence at the Century Foundation since 2015. He was Executive Director at California Competes: Higher Education for a Strong Economy from 2010 to 2015. Shireman was Deputy Undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education from 2009 to 2010. He was president of The Institute for College Access and Success from 2004 to 2009. Shireman was Senior Fellow at the Program on Education and Society, 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 at the National Economic Council from 1996 to 1998 and Education Advisor and Legislative Director for U.S. Senator Paul Simon from 1989 to 1996. Shireman was a Policy Analyst at the West Coast Regional Office for the Consumers Union of the U.S. Inc. from 1986 to 1988. He earned a Master of Education degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of San Francisco. Shireman is a member of the boards of the Opportunity Institute and uAspire and the U.S. 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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