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Commissioners from L to R: Dan Ayala, Stephan Betz, Aaron Crutison, Liz Niedziela,
Linda Seifert, Jay Speck, Marisela Barbosa, Elise Crane, Dana Dean.
Dan (Daniel) Ayala
(Term: June 14, 2011 - June 14, 2015)
Dan Ayala is a longtime Solano County resident who recently retired with 37 years of service from Travis Air Force Base as a Quality Control Inspector and Air Force Reserve Technical Sergeant. He has served for 8 years on the Dixon Planning Planning Commission and before that, for 7 years on the Dixon Parks and Recreation Commission. He has a long standing interest in children and family services, having served for 15 years as a soccer coach (and 6 years as the soccer board president) in Dixon. Dan was also recently named Dixon Citizen of the Year. Dan and his wife Kathy have 3 children. His 4 grandchildren ages 8, 2, 6 months and 1 month all reside in Dixon.
(Term: June 4, 2013 - June 3, 2017)
Growing up, Marisela visited the beaches nearby her small hometown in Mexico. On her drives to and from the ocean over the years, Marisela noticed environmental changes like the mountainsides going from green to brown and fewer seas shells on the beaches. Marisela felt both guilt about what she saw happening to the environment and also a personal responsibility to do something about it.
Early in her life, Marisela developed a deep connection to the environment and a life-long commitment to protecting it. She believes that transforming the way business is typically done and ensuring that organizations achieve triple bottom line results is the key to ensuring that future generations have natural resources to use and protect.
Marisela’s professional background is focused on business development and operations management with an emphasis on streamlining operations and sustainability of for profit and not for profit organizations. She provides her expertise to large multinational corporations including Franklin Templeton and to private ventures like Monarch Engineers where she is currently Vice President. She fosters entrepreneurship and furthers business development by teaching business planning to low income women at Women’s Initiatives and by providing a range of business consulting services to clients including wineries, construction companies, and restaurants. She is particularly successful in training businesses to obtain the certifications necessary to compete for government contracts and is a masterful relationship-builder. Marisela has a successful track record of empowering organizations to turn their inefficiencies into opportunities and achieve sustainable growth.
Marisela holds a BS in Business Administration from San Francisco State University and is pursuing an MBA in Sustainable Enterprise from the school of Business and Leadership at Dominican University of California. Marisela is also bilingual (English/Spanish). Marisela is uniquely qualified to use sustainable business principles and practices to ensure that organizations meet economic, environmental and social objectives.
Marisela lives in Vallejo with her husband and two daughters ages 13 and 3 years old.
(Term: June 4, 2013 - June 3, 2017)
Elise Crane is lead on an $11 million workforce development portfolio at the Office of Early Care and Education. For 12 years she managed the compensation programs Wage Augmentation Guarantees for Entry Level Staff Plus (WAGES+) program, licensed centers and family child care home, and was lead on the redesign of the new compensation program Compensation and Wage Augmentation Grants for Economic Support (C-WAGES) program which broadens the funding to include increased wages based on job title and education, and enhanced access to medical insurance and retirement benefits for the early care and education workforce in San Francisco. The compensation programs total $9.7 million of City and State (AB212) funding to support 78 licensed centers and over 200 Family Child Care providers serving low income children in the City/County of San Francisco. She also manages contracts that support educational pathways and provide stipends for completed coursework at higher education institutions. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding and later City and CalWORKs funding was identified and used to develop the Learning with Income, Foundations to Teach (LIFT) program through Elise’s leadership, which created classroom jobs for low income individuals, primarily women, linked to formal education and professional development in the ECE and School Age sector. Ms. Crane is an active participant in a number of early care and education policy and planning groups, and attends regional and state level workgroups on ECE policy. Ms. Crane has been active in the planning, development and implementation of the CA ECE Workforce Registry and a Board Member and Co-Chair of the Public Policy and Advocacy Committee of The National Registry Alliance. Elise graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Education and Social Policy and Fiscal Management. She lives in Vacaville with her husband and three children.
Aaron Crutison, Co-Chair
(Term: October 2, 2012 - October 2, 2016)
Aaron Crutison is the Deputy Director, Solano County Health and Social Services (H&SS) /Children and Adult Resource Services (CARES). His 26 years of public service in three California counties spans 4 decades and includes previous appointments in Solano as Manager, Administrator and interim Deputy Director in the Employment and Eligibility and Child Welfare Services (CWS) Divisions. His accomplishments include assisting in a major restructuring and strengthening of the CWS Division, fully implementing the merger of two H&SS Divisions, and leading the successful development and implementation of three state-mandated CWS System Improvement Plans. As a result, CWS monthly contacts compliance exceeds the state average and more children have been safely reunified with their parents or adopted in a timely manner.
Mr. Crutison earned his BA in Social Science/Health Administration from UC Berkeley and his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco. A graduate of the Solano County Future Leaders program, his community service includes Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity (Past General President/Western Region Vice-President, Berkeley Alumni Chapter President), UCB Black Alumni Association (Past President), AME Zion Church/Vallejo (Local Minister) and the Fatherhood Collaborative of San Mateo County (Member).
(Term: June 23, 2013 - June 22, 2017)
Since opening her law firm in Benicia, California in 2003, Dana Dean has practiced real estate and land use law, focusing on litigation and land use development. With matters in Contra Costa, Napa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Stanislaus, and Yolo counties, Ms. Dean has concluded dozens of cases involving disputed developments and related land use entitlements, as well as transactional, boundary, easement, and other traditional real estate claims.
Ms. Dean has successfully represented neighborhood groups, and project developers alike, at the city and county levels during all stages of CEQA process, and before various state agencies considering applications related to other entitlements. Ms. Dean has also successfully represented plaintiffs, defendants, buyers, sellers, agents and brokers, in real estate litigation matters related breach of contract, fraud, non- disclosure, and the like.
In 2007, having completed training through the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University, Ms. Dean began taking mediation assignments from the Solano County Superior Court, with a focus on mediating real estate and other contract disputes. Since then, Ms. Dean has obtained advanced training in Local Government and community group ADR. Thus, given her substantial experience in representing all types of parties in real estate and land use disputes, Ms. Dean is now in a unique position to resolve real estate and community disputes empathetically and efficiently.
Ms. Dean also has a long history of community involvement with particular focus on health issues and a current focus on children’s health and well-being. Among other responsibilities, Ms. Dean now serves on the Benicia Unified School District Board of Trustees having previously served on the Joe Henderson School PTG as liaison to the site council. Ms. Dean served for several years on the Affordable Housing Affiliation Board and has been a Benicia Rotarian for the past 5 years.
(Term: June 3, 2013 - June 2, 2017)
Liz Niedziela has served as the Transit Program Manager for Solano Transportation Authority for the last six years, providing support to the Executive Director and assisting in the management and implementation of transit programs, projects and studies. She also serves as Chair, SolTrans Technical Advisory Committee, staffs the Paratransit Coordinating Council and Solano Seniors and People with Disabilities Transportation Advisory Committee, and is a member of the SolanoExpress Intercity Transit Consortium. Born in San Francisco, Ms. Niedziela has resided in Solano County for over 30 years and raised her two sons in Dixon. Matt is serving in the United States Air Force and Jason is a student at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Ms. Niedziela earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology - Law & Society from University of California, Davis in 1985. She is an avid amateur photographer who loves taking pictures and creating picture books. She also enjoys hiking, reading and creating memories with family and friends.
(Term: January 1, 2014- December 31, 2015)
Erin is a life-long resident of Solano County. She was raised in Fairfield where her passion for volunteer work was fostered. As newlyweds, Erin and her husband Randall made Vallejo their home and soon became an active member of the community, joining the Vallejo Architectural Heritage Neighborhood Association and fundraising for the St. Basil School Parents Club while her children Connor and Hannah attended the school. As a mother, Erin understands the importance of the health and well-being of families. She is seeking solutions to ensure those in need in our community are connected to essential services.
As a businesswoman, Erin understands the value of having good paying jobs in her community, and she is focused on growing the opportunities of local employment for residents. In 2004, Erin facilitated relocating the call center of a national insurance company and 220 jobs to the Vallejo Waterfront. She has served on the Vallejo Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Board. Through her involvement in the Vallejo Education and Business Alliance, Erin is focused on improving the graduation rates from Vallejo’s high schools. As a County Supervisor, Erin is continuing her work to retain our existing employers, attract new businesses and industry, and connect employers with job seekers who have the right skills for a vibrant economy.
Erin’s public service career began when she served on the Vallejo Community Development Commission, distributing Community Development Block Grant funds to neighborhoods and organizations in Vallejo. In 2007, Erin was elected to the Vallejo City Council and led Vallejo through extremely tough economic times. She supported a balanced approach to the budget deficit, striving to provide necessary services. She was influential in creating a citywide communication strategy, which gave the employees and the community transparency on the important information facing Vallejo’s leaders. Erin also worked to develop SolTrans, the consolidated bus system for Vallejo and Benicia, which has been a reliable and convenient mode of transportation since its inception.
Jay Speck, Chair
(Term: March 2, 2011- March 1, 2015)
Jay Speck, Solano County Superintendent of Schools, has been a resident and an educator in Solano County for over 34 years giving him particular insight into the communities he serves. Jay’s career with the Solano County Office of Education (SCOE) began as a special education teacher at the elementary and secondary levels. As his career with SCOE progressed, he held positions as a program manager, principal, director of special education, and assistant superintendent of human resources before being sworn in as County Superintendent on January 3, 2011.
Jay received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Davis. He earned his teaching credentials from California State University (CSU), Los Angeles, and CSU Sacramento. He holds an administrative credential and a Masters degree in Educational Administration from CSU Sacramento.
Jay represents Solano County public education as a member of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA), the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), the Workforce Investment Board (WIB) of Solano, and the Solano Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
During his career, Jay has received extensive training and experience in interest-based problem solving and collective bargaining solidifying his reputation as a trusted leader, highly-skilled problemsolver, and ardent collaborator. Coworkers describe him as extremely fair-minded, and he is well known for his strong beliefs in the potential of every student to learn and develop academically.
Jay raised his family in Solano County, and his children attended local public schools. He currently lives in Vacaville with his wife, Suzanne. They have four grown children and two grandchildren. During his Oath of Office speech, Jay shared his motivation for seeking the county superintendency and issued a call to action for the duration of his four-year term. “I believe in the deepest parts of my heart and intellect that our democracy and our economic well-being depends on a strong public school system. If we care about our future, if we care about California, we will invest in public education.”