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  • Profile image for Craig Benedetto – California Strategies

    Craig Benedetto

    Treasurer

    For more than two decades, Craig Benedetto has worked in communications and government, focusing on public policy and economic growth. He applies this experience to help California Strategies' clients effectively position themselves with key stakeholders. His strength lies in his deep relationships in the community and experience with all levels of government.

    Benedetto joined California Strategies in 2008 as a Principal and manages the firm's San Diego office with Ben Haddad. In his work at California Strategies, he has represented a diverse array of clients including, health care providers, technology and wireless companies, home builders and land owners, utilities, engineering and land use firms, business and homeowners associations, local government agencies among many others.

    Benedetto is active in civic affairs in San Diego and sits on the Board of Directors and executive leadership team for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown San Diego Partnership and the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. Benedetto also participates in the local chapter of the Building Industry Association, serving on their City/County Legislative Committee, the Public Policy Committee of the SD Regional EDC and is an elected member of Lambda Alpha, a land use fraternity.

    A native San Diegan, Benedetto attended San Diego State University studying political science. Benedetto was honored in 2001 as one of San Diego's "40 Under 40" by San Diego Metropolitan Magazine. The Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce honored Benedetto with its President's Award and Volunteer Advocate of the Year Award in 2004 for his efforts on behalf of the business community to win the campaign to extend the local transportation sales tax, known as TRANSNET.

  • Profile image for Sarah Buchanan – MFRG-ICON Construction

    Sarah Buchanan

    MFRG-ICON Construction

    Sarah Buchanan has over 15 years of experience navigating deadlines, orchestrating complex event schedules, and developing strong and lasting relationships with colleagues, donors, and elected officials. In her work as Director of Philanthropy and Marketing for MFRG-ICON Construction, she is able to showcase her knowledge of service, fund management, and social impact.

    Awarded San Diego Metro’s Woman of Influence and 40 Under 40 in 2020, she exemplifies what it means to go above and beyond in her work and life. Known for her dedication and how hard she works to achieve goals, Sarah tackles challenges with positive energy and solutions. She is an active member of the event industry and believes in giving back to the community and industry through volunteering, sponsorship and creating standards of excellence and raising the bar of professionalism.

    An avid volunteer, she dedicates her free time to the LGBTQ+ community, youth music instruction, assisting with special events for nonprofit organizations.

    Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Native American Studies from the University of Oklahoma. She is passionate about all things creative and loves supporting others in their creative endeavors.

  • Profile image for Melanie Cohn – Associate Director of Local Government & Regulatory Affairs

    Melanie Cohn

    At Large Boardmember

    Coming Soon...

  • Profile image for Clint Daniels – Manager of Regional Models

    Clint Daniels

    Vice Chair

    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.

  • Profile image for Jennifer Davies – At Large Boardmember

    Jennifer Davies

    At Large Boardmember

    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.

  • Profile image for David deKozan – Cubic Transportation Systems

    David deKozan

    At Large Boardmemeber

    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.

  • Profile image for Clarissa Falcon – Principal Consultant

    Clarissa Falcon

    Secretary

    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.

  • Profile image for Dave Gatzke – HG Fenton

    Dave Gatzke

    Board Chair

    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.

  • Profile image for Mike Hansen – At Large Boardmember

    Mike Hansen

    At Large Boardmember

    Michael Hansen has 15 years of experience in planning, land use, and public policy in the San Diego region. He has represented both the public and private sectors in the development and implementation of complex planning initiatives and real estate projects.

    He previously served as Planning Director at the City of San Diego, where he managed major planning policies and projects that helped shape the future growth of the city. Prior to that, he served as Director of Land Use and Environmental Policy and Chief of Policy in the Mayor’s Office. He previously practiced land use and environmental law at an international law firm. 

    Michael is an urbanist at heart, enjoys traveling and exploring new cities, and is dedicated to improving mobility choices and affordable housing opportunities in San Diego. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, holds a Juris Doctor from Northwestern University School of Law, and received a BA in Political Science from UCLA.

  • Profile image for Ginger Hitzke – Hitzke Development Corp.

    Ginger Hitzke

    Immediate Past 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.

  • Profile image for Ana Melgoza – Director of Community Relations

    Ana Melgoza

    At Large Boardmember

    Ana R. Melgoza, MPA, is Vice President of External Affairs for San Ysidro Health (SYHealth).  Ms. Melgoza  is committed to SYHealth’s mission of improving the health and well-being of the communities  served with access for all. Throughout her 17 year tenure, SYHealth has grown exponentially and today has 109,000 lives in their care.   As part of the Executive Team, Ms. Melgoza oversees government relations/advocacy, public/private/non-profit partnerships, private fund development, outreach, social media, media relations and corporate communications.

    She is a graduate of the National Urban Fellows Program, earning her Masters Degree in Public Administration from the Baruch School of Public Affairs in New York City.  Ms. Melgoza is an alumna of the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality Leadership Institute and a graduate of LEAD San Diego. 

    Ms. Melgoza serves as Commissioner for the Healthy Chula Vista Advisory Commission where she was the inaugural chair.  She was recently appointed in 2021 to represent District 1 in the San Diego County Health Services Advisory Board.  Some of her honors include the San Diego County Health Equity SHEro award for her advocacy and exemplary representation of service to all especially underserved families by County Vice Chair Nora Vargas.

  • Profile image for Pedro Orso – Founder & Principal

    Pedro Orso

    At Large Boardmember

    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.