Swearengin's Transition Team

November 17, 2008 7:32:26 PM PST
Two weeks after being elected Fresno's next Mayor, Ashley Swearengin announced her transition team. She said, "To me this is the dream team." Each person in this diverse group has expertise on an issue that's near and dear to her heart. They'll be right by her side for the next 6 to 8 weeks as the new Mayor makes some important decisions. She said, "It was really just their skills that brought them to the table."The Mayor-Elect chose 9 people from different sectors of the community to guide her in her first 6 to 8 weeks in office. David Schecter, a political science professor at Fresno State who served as Swearengin's campaign advisor, is co-chair of the transition team. He said, "Our goals are pretty simple. A couple of the team members will be responsible for giving Ashley the best lay of the land that they can give her on day one."

Schecter took a 4 month paid sabbatical from Fresno State to run Swearengin's campaign on a volunteer basis. He says his students will benefit when he returns to the classroom in January. "Not just how campaigns operate but the goings on at city hall and how transitions work and help students really understand what goes on behind the scenes." Tim Rios is a Senior Vice-President for Wells Fargo and manages its community and economic development programs across the country. He said, "We help people get into their first homes start their first small business, those are things that interest Ashley a whole lot too."

Swearengin put a bull's eye on her immediate goals. "Of course our priorities are jobs and the economy and making sure streets are safe that city hall is serving the people of Fresno well and that we're making progress on air quality, water and transportation and infrastructure."

The Mayor-Elect is surrounding herself with experienced and influential people like James Aldredge, a former Fresno City Manager and Ray Steele, who recently retired as publisher of the Fresno Bee. The other transition team members include Kristine Walter, Allysunn Williams, Dr. Tou Herr, Lee Ayers, Tracewell Hanrahan.

Swearengin is also working on a community advisory panel made up of about 30 people from Fresno. She wants this group to give their input and perspective on some of her ideas before rolling them out. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Transition Team
James E. Aldredge, PhD, is Professor Emeritus, California State University, Fresno. He served as City Manager for the City of Fresno from 1985-1989 and was Acting City Manager in four prior administrations. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Fresno Pacific University (since 2001), Kings View Behavioral Health (since 2005), and the CEN-CAL Business Finance Group (since 2004). Dr. Aldredge is a partner in HAW Development Group and has served as Chair of the Fresno Unified School District Safety Commission (2007) and has been a past board member at St. Agnes Hospital.

Lee Ayres is the owner of Sequoia Investments, Inc. He is a previous City Manager of Titusville, FL, Overland Park, KS, and Sunnyvale, CA. He holds an MPA and BA from the University of Kansas and was an Intelligence Staff Officer in the US Army with the 95th Civil Affairs Group. Lee is a full, active member of the International City Management Association. His recent community service ventures include Chairman of the SJV Urban Forest Council; Project Coordinator for TreeTOPS: a regional urban forest initiative; and the Fresno Business Council Executive Committee. He teaches the Social Entrepreneurship course at the Lyles Entrepreneurship Center, Craig School of Business, California State University Fresno.

Tracewell B. Hanrahan is the Executive Officer for School Leadership at Fresno Unified School District. She leads initiatives in the areas of career technical education, workforce development and business community engagement. Prior to joining Fresno Unified, she served as the Regional Director for the Central Valley operations of Pacific Community Ventures (PCV). PCV is a hybrid private equity fund and non-profit organization that provides resources and capital to small businesses generating economic gains in California's underserved communities. She is an active member of the Regional Jobs Initiative (RJI) Implementation Task Force and Leadership Council and participates on several subcommittees of the Governor's California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley. Tracewell is also a Board Member of the Fresno West Coalition for Economic Development Community Development Corporation. She earned an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University with a B.A. in English Literature.

Tou N. Herr is a former refugee and graduate of Stanford University. Tou has spent the last 20 years building relationships with all segments of our community. In 1988, Supervisor Doug Vagim appointed Tou to the Department of Social Service's Targeted Panel. Besides directing two successful student services programs at California State University, Fresno, Tou also served as consultant to the largest Hmong New Year celebration in the United States. In 2006, Fresno County Superintendent Larry Powell appointed Tou to lead the Parent Services Center, where he continues to provide leadership training to parents, teachers, administrators, community leaders, and district personnel throughout Fresno County. Tou sits on Fresno Center for New American's board and is an active member of The Rotary Club of Fresno.

Tim Rios is a Senior Vice President for Wells Fargo and manages the company's community and economic development programs in Northern, Central and Southern California, including the Border Region. He also serves as national spokesperson for Wells Fargo's $5 Billion Latino Business Services program. Tim joined Wells Fargo in 1997 and during the course of his career he has held positions in retail, wholesale and business banking. In 2007, he was re-appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger to serve on the California Economic Strategy Panel. In 2005, Tim received national recognition from the U.S. Small Business Administration when he was presented with the "Financial Services Champion Award". He attended California State University, Fresno, where he graduated with a degree in Finance. In the past 12 years, Tim has pursued coursework at the Monterey Institute for International Studies and Universidad Internacional in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Recently, he completed a three-year executive banking program at the University of Virginia.

David Schecter, PhD, is Associate Professor of Political Science at California State University ? Fresno. He holds a Bachelor's degree and Master's degree in Political Science from Florida State University. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Florida in 2000. In the mid 1990s David served for four years as a City Councilman in his hometown of Ormond Beach, Florida. He has previously taught at the University of Nevada - Las Vegas and his main research interests include American politics, political behavior and State and Local politics. David previously served as Director of the Master's Program in Public Administration, on the College of Social Science Budget Committee, the University's Research Subcommittee and he currently serves on the Extension Programs Advisory Council in the Division of Continuing and Global Education. He has been a volunteer for KVPT ? Fresno's PBS Affiliate and as coordinator of site visits for the United Way of Fresno. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Community Food Bank.

Ray Steele Jr. retired as publisher of The Fresno Bee in October. He spent 41 years with The McClatchy Company, including positions as a reporter and metro editor in Fresno. He is a native of Fowler and a graduate of California State University, Fresno, where he has been honored as the an outstanding alumnus of the College of Arts and Humanities and the first inductee into the Mass Communication and Journalism Department's Hall of Fame, He is active in community organizations, including the Economic Development Corporation serving Fresno County, the Fresno Regional Foundation and the Fresno State Foundation. He and his wife, Mary Lou, have two children and five grandchildren who live in the Fresno area.

Kristine Walter is actively involved in community stewardship. She is formerly a telecommunications executive and served as Executive Director of the literacy project, ReadFresno. Currently, she is a consultant to the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship; a member of the Women's Initiative; the president of the La Feliz Guild for Children's Hospital Central California; and has been raising money for non-profit and political events. She was president of Leadership Fresno Class 21 and is incoming chair of their steering committee. In 2007, she was honored as Woman of the Year by the California State Legislature for her work in the community. She is also the television host of Comcast Newsmakers which can be seen daily on Comcast channels 21 and 14. She is a Valley native and a graduate of U.C. San Diego.

Allysunn Williams, MPH, MBA, serves as Associate Executive Director of Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission, the second largest community action agency in the country. An advocate for social and economic justice, she brings 20 years of strategic planning and management experience from the public and private sectors. A graduate of Harvard, UCLA and CSU Fresno where she is currently a lecturer in the Craig School of business, she serves on numerous non-profit boards and local initiatives focused on community redevelopment and transformation. Previously, Allysunn served as Associate Director of CSU Fresno's Office of Community and Economic Development and provided management support to the Governor's Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley.

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