SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the following appointments.
Alexis Podesta, 34, of Sacramento, has been appointed undersecretary at the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency. Podesta has served as director of external affairs and international affairs and chief of protocol in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. since 2011. She was a special assistant to the senior vice president of public affairs and senior advisor to the chairman and chief executive officer at Pacific Gas and Electric Company from 2009 to 2011 and was manager of government relations at the Walt Disney Company from 2007 to 2009. Podesta served as director of scheduling in the Office of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein from 2002 to 2007. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $141,024. Podesta is a Democrat.
Jamie Callahan, 29, of Sacramento, has been appointed director of external affairs in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., where she has been special advisor to the executive secretary since 2013 and has served in several positions since 2011. Callahan was a campaign aide for Jerry Brown for Governor in 2010. She was a legislative assistant at the Crane Group from 2007 to 2010 and a research assistant for the British Parliamentary Labour Party in 2006. Callahan is a member of the California K-12 High-Speed Network Advisory Board. She earned a Master of Public Policy degree from the George Mason University School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $97,608. Callahan is a Democrat.
Elizabeth Norvell Williamson, 26, of Davis, has been appointed deputy director of external affairs in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., where she has served as external affairs coordinator since 2013. Norvell served as a constituent affairs representative in the Office of the Governor from 2012 to 2013 and in 2010. She was an adjunct instructor of beginning microeconomics at California State University, Sacramento from 2009 to 2010. This position does not require senate confirmation and the compensation is $65,004. Norvell is a Democrat.
Jeff Le, 32, of Sacramento, has been appointed assistant cabinet secretary in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., where he has served as deputy director of external and international affairs since 2014. Le was a senior manager for development and communications at Global Rights from 2011 to 2014 and strategic communications and reports manager at International Relief and Development’s Community Outreach and Capacity Building Program in Kabul, Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011. He was a program officer for the Eurasia team at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs from 2007 to 2010 and a legislative correspondent and assistant in the Office of Congressman Joe Sestak and a research fellow at the Carter Center in 2007. Le was a research fellow at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly and a political fellow in the Office of the Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs at the United Nations Secretariat in 2006. He served in several positions at the U.S. Department of State from 2004 to 2005, including political officer and political and public diplomacy assistant. He was Rotary International’s ambassadorial scholar of goodwill to Hungary from 2006 to 2007 and earned a Master of Arts degree in political science from Central European University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $97,608. Le is a Democrat.
Jayanth Kumar, 61, of Clifton Park, NY, has been appointed state dental director in the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the California Department of Public Health. Kumar has been director of the Bureau of Dental Health at the New York State Department of Health since 2012, where he has served in several positions since 1980, including director of oral health surveillance and research and director of the New York State Dental Public Health Residency. He has been an associate professor at the University of Albany School of Public Health since 1990 and was a dentist in private practice from 1980 to 2008. Kumar is chair of the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors’ Perinatal Oral Health Committee and a member of the American Dental Association’s National Fluoridation Advisory Committee. Kumar earned a Doctor of Dentistry degree from Bangalore University and a Master of Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. This position does not require senate confirmation and the compensation is $150,000. Kumar is registered without party preference.
Andrew Bowden, 61, of Newport Beach, has been reappointed to the California Landscape Architects Technical Committee, where he has served since 2012. Bowden has been principal landscape architect at Land Concern LTD since 2000, where he has held several positions since 1976. He is a member of the Building Industry Association of Southern California’s 55+ Housing Council, California Landscape Architectural Student Scholarship Fund and the Southern California Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects Board of Trustees, where he was president in 2006. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Bowden is a Republican.
Patricia Trauth, 59, of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, has been appointed to the California Landscape Architects Technical Committee. Trauth has been principal landscape architect at AECOM Technology Corporation since 2008. She is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, San Diego Chapter, where she was president in 2014. Trauth earned a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Arizona College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Trauth is a Democrat.
Eric Holm, 50, of San Rafael, has been reappointed to the California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind, where he has served as president since 2010. Holm was vice president and chief steward at the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1616 from 1997 to 2005 and an adjudications officer at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Justice from 1995 to 2004. Holm is a stand-in member of the San Rafael City Council, vice chair of the San Rafael Park and Recreation Commission and a member of the San Rafael Americans with Disabilities Act and Accessibility Advisory Committee, National Federation of the Blind, Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors and the San Rafael Elks Lodge. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from San Francisco Law School. Holm graduated with his guide dog, “Ford,” in 2006 from Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Holm is a Democrat.
Mike Duran, 73, of Indio, has been reappointed to the California Structural Pest Control Board, where he has served since 2012. Duran has been president of Duran’s Termite and Pest Control Inc. since 1977. He is a member of the Valley Sanitary District Board of Directors and was a member of the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District Board of Trustees from 2004 to 2008. Duran founded the Palm Springs Chapter of the Pest Control Operators and was president from 2001 to 2004. He served as a reserve police officer at the Indio Police Department from 1964 to 1967. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Duran is a Democrat.
Madhu Chawla, 44, of Sherman Oaks, has been reappointed to the California State Board of Optometry, where she has served since 2012. Chawla has been an optometrist at the Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills Medical Center since 2008. She was a managing optometrist at Eyexam of California from 2005 to 2008 and an optometrist at the South Bay Eye Institute from 2004 to 2005. Chawla was an optometrist at the Office of Glenn P. Kimball, M.D. from 2000 to 2004, Pearle Vision Center from 2001 to 2004, Office of Lisa Traveis, O.D. from 1999 to 2000, Office of Frederic Rose, O.D. from 1999 to 2000 and at the Dimock Community Health Center Complex from 1997 to 1999. Chawla earned a Doctor of Optometry degree from the New England College of Optometry. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Chawla is an American Independent.
Rachel Michelin, 43, of El Dorado Hills, has been reappointed to the California State Board of Optometry, where she has served since 2014. Michelin has been chief executive officer and executive director at California Women Lead since 2002, where she was a program and policy director from 2001 to 2002. She was communications director for California State Assemblymember Anthony Pescetti from 1999 to 2001 and district director for California State Assemblymember Bill Campbell from 1996 to 1998. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Michelin is a Republican.