Board of Directors

Eduardo Velasquez, Chair

Eduardo is the Research Manager at San Diego Regional EDC, responsible for analyzing the scale and depth of the impact that industry and development have on the region's economy. Additionally, he is EDC’s Cleantech industry lead, supporting companies that make up a $2 billion cluster and directly employ 6,000 people in the region. Prior to joining the EDC, he worked as an Economist at Wells Fargo Bank for nearly eight years. Eduardo relies on public transit for his commute from North Park to Downtown, serves on his neighborhood planning group, and sits on the Chamber of Commerce Infrastructure, Housing, and Land Use Committee. He holds an MA in Business Economics, as well as a Double BA in Business Economics and Law & Society from UC Santa Barbara.

Ginger Hitzke, Vice Chair

Ginger Hitzke, the President of Hitzke Development Corporation, is a first-generation real estate developer and has 22 years of experience in the field of affordable housing development. Ms. Hitzke has participated in the development of over 1,500 apartments and affordable homes totaling more than $430,000,000 in real estate activity throughout California.  

Ms. Hitzke began her career at Affirmed Housing Group in San Diego first as an Administrative Assistant then as a Project Coordinator, Project Manager, Senior Project Manager and Vice President of Development.  After serving as Vice President of Development for Affirmed Housing Group, she formed Hitzke Development. 

She specializes in the development of affordable rental housing (including permanent supportive housing) on infill, transit-oriented sites.  

Ginger is the past-President of San Diego Housing Federation, is past-President and current Treasurer of the non-profit Los Angeles-based organization Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN), is a member of the Capital Improvements Committee, Auction Committee and Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos, and is member of the Board of Directors of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce.  

As a youth, Ms. Hitzke grew up in a lower-income single parent household.  Growing up, housing affordability, among other domestic issues, was a problem.  Her family moved often and she attended many different schools.  She was labeled as a disruptive troublemaker quite early on and struggled with school throughout her entire childhood.  Fortunately, she was able to attend a continuation high school in Vista, California and was finally able to thrive in school although housing stability remained an issue for her until she was an adult.  Because of her personal experience, matters of housing and economic security for all, is of great importance to her.

Stephen Haase, Secretary

Mr. Haase recently retired from a 25+ year career in the public and private section planning profession. In his prior position as the Senior Vice President of Baldwin & Sons, Mr. Haase provided support for the company’s land development projects, beginning with the entitlement process and including infrastructure improvements and project revisions.  He oversaw a project team which included internal staff and professional consultants in the preparation of policy, environmental, planning, and engineering documentation to achieve project approval.  Stephen was actively involved in project design and community outreach to achieve the company’s goal of delivering the highest quality communities. 

Prior to joining Baldwin & Sons, Mr. Haase worked for Sudberry Properties, Inc. on retail and mixed-use projects, including the 230-acre Civita mixed-use development in Mission Valley and Watermark in Scripps Ranch.  His professional experience included 17 years in the public sector where he managed large, complex organizations responsible for all aspects of land use, planning and building safety.  In March 2002 Stephen was appointed as the director of the Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement for the City of San José.  His previous position was with the City of San Diego Development Services Department where he served as acting and assistant director.  He has also served as an expert witness in the land use, planning, and entitlement disciplines.

Stephen is an active member of the American Planning Association and was elected as the 2017-18 Commissions and Boards Representative for the California Chapter.  He served on the City of San Diego Planning Commission from 2011 to April 2019, most recently in the position of Chairperson.

Mr. Haase earned a Masters of Business Administration from San Diego State University (SDSU) in August 1989. His undergraduate degree is also from SDSU where he majored in Public Administration.  He received his certification in planning in 2001 from the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). 

Clarissa Falcon, Treasurer

With 25 years of experience, Clarissa Reyes Falcon has demonstrated expertise in the government, community, and non-profit arenas.

Clarissa started Falcon Strategies in November 2010, a firm that provides government and community relations consulting to a broad spectrum of public and private clients.  Clarissa began her career working as a community and policy advisor for former Assembly member Denise Moreno Ducheny, and thereafter worked for the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.  She then returned to the California Legislature as District Chief of Staff to State Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny.

In continuing her service to her community, Clarissa currently serves on the San Diego River Conservancy, and has served as a Commissioner on the San Diego County Commission on the Status of Women appointed by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.   She is past Chair of the South County Economic Development Council, and sits on the boards of the UCSD Chancellor’s Community Advisory Board, South Bay Family YMCA, Circulate San Diego and serves on the Energy and Water Committee at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.  Clarissa received her undergraduate degree from the UC San Diego. She resides in Bonita with her husband, Michael Falcon, and children, Benjamin and Ella.

Gabe Gutierrez, Immediate Past Chair

Gabe Gutierrez works for County of San Diego as a policy advisor. Previously, he worked for a local Fortune 500 company in corporate and employee philanthropy, public affairs support. Additionally, Gabe serves on the Chula Vista Planning Commission and previously served on the Chula Vista Safety Commission.

Gabe has over 10 years of experience working in Land Use and Public Safety Policy and supported the creation and implementation of an advanced incident command system for public safety that is now used by the state of California and governments throughout the world. Additionally, he authored the legislation for the implementation of the Pulse Point mobile app which helps citizen responders provide CPR during the early moment of an incident.

Gabe earned a Master of Public Administration from San Diego State University, School of Public Administration. Additionally, Gabe participated and graduated from the America’s Leaders of Change program an executive leadership program developed by the National Urban Fellows through the University of Kansas. Gabe resides in Chula Vista with his wife Janice and daughter Mila. 

Aaron Contorer

Aaron is the CEO of FP Complete, a software company based in the San Diego area. He is president of the Contorer Foundation, which focuses on environmental sustainability and wealth studies. Aaron is a partner and board member of San Diego Social Venture Partners, working to increase regional philanthropy, and is co-founder and chair of SDSVP's Environment Accelerator Fund. He is also a board member of Equinox Center. Aaron was awarded Channel 10’s first-ever Environmental Leadership Award in 2009.

Aaron is a former executive of Microsoft Corporation, where he helped to build products including Windows, MSN, Visual Studio, and in-house engineering tools. He served on the CEO's staff and founded the Microsoft Big Gift Club for new philanthropists. He was also an inventor, named in several patents in computer networking and security, and was an executive of three other small software companies.

Christopher Kahn

Dr. Christopher Kahn, MD, MPH, FAEMS began his medical career as an EMT-Basic for STAT Ambulance of San Diego County. After completing his formal education and spending two years as the Medical Fellow for the Office of Emergency Medical Services at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, he joined the faculty at UC Irvine, where he served as the base hospital physician director. In 2011, Dr. Kahn joined the UCSD faculty, and now serves as the fellowship director for Emergency Medical Services and chief of the Division of EMS and Disaster Medicine, as well as the Base Hospital Medical Director and medical co-director for the Emergency Management program. He continues to maintain research interests in mass casualty triage, ambulance safety, and application of information technology to emergency medical services. He is a member of DMAT CA-4, and serves as a reviewer for several journals in addition to being an EMS section co-editor for the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine and the section editor for “NHTSA Notes” in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Kahn is board-certified in Emergency Medical Services (as well as Emergency Medicine), and works diligently to advocate for EMS patients and agencies. In his limited free time, when not playing with his young kids, he also enjoys playing a wide variety of board games and reading, particularly mysteries and science-fiction.

Clint Daniels

Clint Daniels is a leader of the transit forecasting and transportation analytics group within WSP, an international transportation planning and engineering firm. Clint has worked at the intersection of transportation planning and software analytics for 15 years including roles in the planning departments of New York City and Los Angeles. Most recently before returning to the private sector, Clint led the transportation forecasting and analytics group at SANDAG. Clint’s current focus is helping cities and regional planning agencies understand the impacts of transportation investment and policy decisions. Clint spends most of his time working on transit projects across the United States.

Clint also serves on his local community planning group, Uptown Planners. He was elected in 2019, and he currently serves as the chair of the Public Facilities Committee. Clint is focused on expanding housing opportunities and improving biking and pedestrian safety in his community. Clint has a Bachelor’s of Urban Planning from the University of Illinois, Masters of City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University, and an MBA from the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego. Clint is an avid beer geek and baseball fan. You’ll most likely find him at a local brewery, Petco Park, or south of the border watching the Tijuana Toros.

David Alvarez

David started Causa Consulting after 15 years of successful government service including eight years as San Diego City Councilmember. He served on the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, San Diego Association of Governments, and the Metropolitan Transit System. He also served on the Board of the League of Cities’ Latino Caucus and on the national Board of Local Progress.

Among David’s proudest achievements are the building of major projects like Cesar Solis Park, a new library branch in San Ysidro, and updating of community plans in Southeast San Diego, Otay Mesa, and
San Ysidro and the revitalization of Barrio Logan.

David has been an advocate in Sacramento, Washington DC and in Mexico to move forward projects such as the San Ysidro Port of Entry Modernization, the Cross Border Xpress and other binational initiatives.


David was born and raised in Barrio Logan. He and his wife Xochitl, a successful educator, are raising their children in the community they grew up in hoping they learn the value of hard work, community and strong moral character. David volunteers on the Board of Kim Center, the San Diego Coffee Training Institute, and PTA.

David Dekozan

David DeKozan VP, Business Development Cubic Transportation Systems David is Vice President, Business Development at Cubic Transportation Systems, Inc. David leads business development and account management activities across the western United States and Canada.

Over more than 25 years, David has held a range of management positions at Cubic having at various times, led marketing, proposal development, research and development, and strategic planning. He has been at the forefront of the company’s contactless mobile initiatives representing Cubic on various industry standardization and trade groups including the Smart Card Alliance Transportation Council and APTA’s Universal Transit Farecard Standards task force.

David holds a degree in Economics from the University of California, San Diego and an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School.

Dave Gatzke

David manages the successful execution of new or redeveloped commercial, residential and mixed-use developments for H.G. Fenton Company. He guides new development projects from concept through construction completion, leading the approval process with jurisdictions and support from community members and key stakeholders. David has over 20 years of real estate development experience, nearly half of which was with Community HousingWorks, a California nonprofit focused on affordable housing. David enjoys problem solving to advance projects as well as the opportunity to shape the creative vision for what a new building can offer its neighbors, future residents or business tenants. Best of all is seeing that vision become a successful reality.

David has a bachelor of arts from UCLA and a Master of Urban Planning from the University of Washington. Having visited 49 of the 50 states, the proud father of two loves exploring cities in America and across the world when he’s not spending time engaging with his colleagues and community stakeholders.

Deanna Spehn

Deanna has a long track record of public service serving as staff to elected officials.  She currently serves as Special Assistant to Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins.  She was previously Policy Director for California Senator Christine Kehoe, and Committee Consultant for the City of San Diego’s council committee, Rules, Budget & Intergovernmental Relations, as well as a Senior Policy Analyst for former San Diego Mayor Susan Golding.

 

 

Jennifer Davies

Jennifer Davies, a recognized leader in public affairs and communications, currently serves as the director of cultural tourism for Balboa Park at the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA). Davies has a long record of leading communications, marketing strategy and program development for a variety of prominent San Diego organizations.

Prior to joining the SDTA, Davies served as the assistant dean of external affairs for UC San Diego Extension and as vice president of external affairs for the Downtown San Diego Partnership. She also served as director of communications for former City Council President Sherri Lightner. Davies spent much of her career as a journalist serving as a staff writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune. She received a bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA and has master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.

Jim Waring

Jim has been actively involved in San Diego as an attorney, non-profit board member and real estate investor. From February 2006 thru August 2007, he served under Mayor Jerry Sanders as Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Land Use and Economic Development.

In 2007, Jim co-founded the non-profit Cleantech San Diego, formed as an economic development organization, to prove that building a sustainable economy can be based in business economics.

Jim has served as Board chairman of River Network, the San Diego Natural history Museum, and Francis Parker School. He also served on the City of San Diego Housing Commission. Jim is currently vice-chair of the San Diego Economic Development Corporation Inclusive Growth Initiative, and board chair of San Diego Theaters.

Jud Shepley

Jud Shepley is a Principal Consultant at Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA). ERA is multinational consulting company with over 700 specialists around the world who focus on helping clients with various improvements in working capital and process by reducing indirect costs. Jud leads business development and project management team activities across the western United States.

Over past 18 years, Jud has held a range of positions at major companies like American Express and Enterprise Holdings all focused on helping mid-sized companies. Additionally, he has volunteered his time with several nonprofit organizations that focus on various aspects of community improvement over the years by participating on boards or teaching seminar classes.

Jud holds a degree in Industrial Organization Psychology from Sonoma State University, and a San Diego Native. He is the proud father of two, and loves traveling with the entire extended family to new places.

Keely Halsey

Keely Halsey is an environmental and land use attorney, and the former director of legislative affairs for the City of San Diego. Keely's background includes experience in environmental policy and resource management, sustainability and climate change initiatives, as well as elections, ethics, and intergovernmental affairs. She is a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of San Diego School of Law, and is a member of the State Bar of California.

Keely's interest in transit planning stems from her involvement in long-range land use planning and smart growth initiatives. She promotes the development of safe and convenient transit in order to improve the quality of neighborhoods and help the region meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. 

Madeleine Baudoin

Madeleine Baudoin is the Government and Public Affairs Manager at American Medical Response (AMR), overseeing all government, community and public affairs for the company’s EMS Operations in San Diego County, including the City of San Diego, South Bay, North County and East County. She also manages AMR’s integrated marketing contract with the San Diego Padres.

Over the course of her career, Ms. Baudoin has managed numerous local, state and federal initiatives for the public safety, behavioral health, and biotechnology sectors in the areas of advocacy, community relations, and public affairs.

Madeleine previously worked as a Vice President with Mental Health Systems, and as Associate Director of Federal Affairs for BIOCOM, whose mission is to ensure the life sciences ecosystem thrives in San Diego. While at BIOCOM, Baudoin helped develop the federal public policy advocacy efforts of the San Diego life science industry and provided regular communication to elected officials on Capitol Hill. Prior to BIOCOM, Baudoin served as a Policy Analyst and City Council Representative for the City of San Diego.

She is a graduate of Emerson College and holds a B.S.sp in Communications, Advertising & Public Relations.

Pedro Orso-Delgado

Mr. Orso-Delgado is currently the principal of his consulting firm “Under Construction” he created the company in a quest to assist bridging a gap between engineering firms, construction firms and developers with Public Agencies (Caltrans, Sandag and Local Agencies). He also consults with Public Agencies to seek performance improvements within these agencies.

He served in the capacity of City Manager for Santee from 5/2014 till 7/2015, were he was responsible for all the activities associated with the functioning of the City Services and implementing the Mayor and Council policies.

He was named the City of Santee’s Deputy City Manager/Director of Development Services in August 2009. Were he provided executive management support to the City Manager in overseeing City departments and operations. As Director of the Department of Development Services, he oversaw the functions of Planning, Engineering, Land Development, Capital Projects, Building and Information Technology.

Mr. Orso-Delgado had a 25 year career at Cal-trans. There he was District 11 Director from 2001-2009, overseeing a budget in excess of $150 million and a capital budget of over $3 billion, and helping the District through a decade of major construction projects on nine regional freeway systems, while contending with the challenges of transportation funding cuts. Served as the chair of the Border Governors Infrastructure working table for 3 years, lead the team from Caltrans that applied and within a record time obtained the presidential permit for the new border crossing at Otay Mesa II

Mr. Orso-Delgado is a San Diego native, attended schools in both San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. He graduated from San Diego State University in 1983 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering and began his career with Caltrans in 1984.

Mr. Orso-Delgado enjoys Yoga, travelling, photography and skiing and mostly doing these activities with his two daughters.

Stephanie Cheng

Stephanie Cheng is an associate at the planning firm Fehr & Peers.


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