Esperanza Vielma is a dedicated advocate for the equitable economic development of the San Joaquin Valley. In 2014, Ms. Vielma founded Cafe Coop, the first nonprofit cooperative for startup companies, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and artists in San Joaquin County. She is an active voice for the environmental justice community in the San Joaquin Valley and currently serves as the Environmental Justice Director for Restore the Delta, an advocacy group that works in the areas of public education and outreach for the conservation of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta. In addition, Ms. Vielma, serves as chair of the Environmental Justice Advisory Group for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and as Board Vice President for the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water. In 2016, Ms. Vielma was nominated and selected to be part of the Delta Leadership Program’s inaugural Class of 2016 by the State of California’s Delta Protection Commission. Esperanza also serves as the representative for San Joaquin County on the San Joaquin Valley Rail Committee and represents entrepreneurs on the board of the State-approved iHub San Joaquin. A graduate of the University of California, Ms. Vielma serves on the California Alumni Association Board of Directors and is Vice President of the UC Berkeley Chicano Latino Alumni Association and Scholarship Chair for the Cal Club of San Joaquin County.
On November 8, 2016, Tubbs was elected to serve as mayor of the City of Stockton. Upon taking his office in January 2017, Michael is Stockton’s youngest mayor and the city’s first African-American mayor. Michael Tubbs is also the youngest mayor in the nation representing a city with over 100,000 residents. Michael Tubbs has served as Stockton, California’s, District 6 City Councilmember since 2013. Elected at age 22, he became one of the youngest City Councilmembers in the nation. He overcame adversity to rise to this position, having been born to an incarcerated father and teenage mother in Stockton, once designated one of America’s most dangerous cities. As a youth, Michael excelled in school and obtained a full scholarship to Stanford University, where he graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree with honors. He is also a Fellow at the Stanford Institute of Design. As a Councilmember and Mayor, Michael has focused on poverty reduction, community engagement and organizing. Through collective impact strategies he is working to deepen his impact as mayor.
Mr. Valle serves as Kings County Supervisor for District 2, which includes the towns of Kettleman City, Avenal and Corcoran. The overall poverty rate in his district is over 30%. Mr. Valle is a long-time resident of Kings County, born in Corcoran and graduating from Corcoran High School in 1988. In 1990, Mr. Valle enrolled in the United States Marine Corps, serving proudly for 6 years. After being honorably discharged, he returned to Corcoran and became an audit inspector at Santa Rosa Rancheria. Returning to school, he completed his degree in Human Resource Management and in 2003 was hired and served as a Field Representative for Assemblywoman Nicole Parra. His passion for public service led him to pursue a seat on the Kings County Board of Supervisors. In November 2008, the citizens of his county honored him by electing him as Supervisor for District 2. In 2012, due to his hard work and effectiveness in representing his constituents, he was overwhelmingly re-elected to the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Kahn currently serves as Secretary/Treasury of the California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation. CCVEDC’s mission is job creation within an 8-county region that makes up California’s Central Valley – a region whose unemployment rates range from 1.44 – 1.65 times the State’s average. Mr. Kahn also serves as the Executive Director of the Madera County Economic Development Commission (MCEDC), a joint powers agency comprised of the County of Madera, the City of Madera and the City of Chowchilla that serves to improve the economic conditions and lives of the people within Madera County. The efforts of MCEDC are greatly needed. In February 2017, the unemployment rate in Madera County was 10.0% compared to a national average of 4.7%. The poverty rate for individuals is 21%. Over 30% of children within the County live below the poverty line. In his capacity as Executive Director, the MCEDC develops the comprehensive economic development and jobs growth plan and strategies for the County of Madera and its Cities. Mr. Kahn has also served as: Chairman, Central California Valley Economic Development Corp., Founding Member, Madera Compact; Member, Past Board Member, Madera Private Industry Council; Past President, Madera Chamber of Commerce; Past Chairman, Madera City Planning Commission; Past President, Madera Community Hospital Foundation.
Melinda Brown has been Director of Business Development at Kern Economic Development Corporation, Bakersfield, California since October 2004. Her primary focus is the development and promotion of Healthcare Services and Business Services, Advanced Manufacturing and Value Added Agriculture, industries. In her capacity as Director of Business Development she has attracted numerous companies, including several Fortune 1000 organizations, to locate or expand their operations in Kern County, Successful clients have generated approximately $250 million in capital investment and nearly 5,000 family-wage jobs. Melinda has also been a leader in the business retention and expansion program within the organization. Last year alone, the team visited over 200 businesses to offer services to assist in business enhancement needs with a focus on workforce placement. Melinda is actively involved with the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, (CSCMP), Bakersfield West Rotary Club, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR), and the California Central Valley Economic Development. Prior to joining Kern EDC, Melinda spent 14 years as an executive with the Kaiser Permanente.
Councilmember Baines joined the Fresno City Council as the District Three representative in January 2011 and is currently serving his second term on Council. Prior to his election, he was an officer with the Fresno Police Department for 11 years. He was named Officer of the Year for the Southwest Policing District in 2008 and has been awarded two medals for saving lives. As a Councilmember, Mr. Baines has transitioned into a volunteer role as Reserved Fresno Police Officer. As part of his community policing philosophy, Mr. Baines helped to integrate parolees back into society by working with organizations such as the “Gentleman’s Club,” and by mentoring youth. Mr. Baines founded and serves as chair of “Bringing Broken Neighborhoods Back to Life“, an organization that helps residents of crime-ridden neighborhoods to organize themselves and to clear their streets of gangs and violence. The main outreach method is a community block party that can draw up to 1,000 people. Currently, the group hosts more than 20 such block parties each year between April and October. Mr. Oliver also organizes “Santa’s Village” that hosts more than 3,000 families annually from all over Fresno Count and provides children the opportunity to be photographed with Santa, a gingerbread house, food, clothing, and gifts. Mr. Baines currently serves on the Fresno Workforce Investment Board, the Fresno Works (Fresno County High Speed Rail), the Fresno County Zoo Authority, the San Joaquin Valley Air Board District, and also chairs the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Fresno.
Ricardo Arredondo is serving his second term on the Madera Unified School District. A resident of a LIC, he was first elected in 2009 and is the Board’s current president. Mr. Arredondo serves the District’s Area 6, which comprises areas in the central, east and southeast parts of the district, which are all extremely economically distressed neighborhoods. Mr. Arredondo is the Board liaison to Chavez Elementary, Martin Luther King Middle School, Millview Elementary and Madera South High career school (School of Business and Human Services). In his capacity as a Board Trustee, Mr. Arredondo also serves on the following committees: Alternative Governance Board, Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, Construction Review Advisory Committee, District English Language Learner Advisory Committee, School to Career Advisory Committee, Site Selection Committee, California Association of Suburban School Districts, County Coalition Executive Committee, and Inter-Agency Committee. Mr. Arredondo also serves on the Oversight Board for the Successor Agency to the former Madera Redevelopment Agency. In this capacity, Mr. Arredondo provides guidance and direction to the local agencies that would benefit from property tax distributions and investments from the Successor Agency to former redevelopment project areas.
Since 2006, Mr. Cox has been an active participant in the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC), Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, and Historic Tax Credit programs. Under his direction, CVNF is deploying $65 million dollars of federal NMTC allocation within low-income communities throughout the Central Valley of California. Formerly, Mr. Cox held a variety of project and construction management titles with both domestic and international engineering & construction firms.
Mr. Cox holds an engineering degree from the University of Nevada and an MBA from Southern Methodist University. He is a registered professional engineer and a licensed general and public works contractor. As president of CVNF, he has led projects that include the financing of a one-of-kind women and children’s homeless campus, federally qualified health centers, facilities for community college districts, and a new headquarters and community services center for First Five Fresno County. Recent development projects include an affordable, seniors memory care community and nearly 100,000 sq ft of commercial buildings all in severely economically distressed census tracts. Mr. Cox also served as project manager for Habitat-for-Humanity Fresno’s 84-home Crossroads subdivision project and led an international team of volunteers to Armenia to build homes as part of Habitat’s global outreach program.
In addition to his work with CVNF, Mr. Cox serves on the board of LINC Housing, one of California’s leading non-profit affordable housing developers. A serial entrepreneur, he has started or been involved in the creation of over two dozen companies.