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Ari Ruiz, Vice Chair

 

 

Ari Ruiz was appointed to the Commission in July 2017 by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, he is an influential civic and political activist who has devoted his life to community and civic engagement, particularly in the areas of immigrant rights, LGBT equality, youth empowerment, and education.

In 2007, his community activism on behalf of youth in Los Angeles earned him an appointment to the Los Angeles City Youth Council from Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar to represent youth from Council District 14. As a Youth Councilmember, Ari advocated on behalf of CD 14 at City Hall and lead the effort to increase youth participation in government.

Recognizing Ari’s passion for public service, in 2009 Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa appointed Ari to the Commission for Children Youth & Their Families. He went on to serve as the second youngest Commissioner in the history of the City of Los Angeles. In that capacity, he served as an advisor to the Mayor and City Council about policy in regards to children, youth and their families including health insurance.

Ari served a two year term as the first Latino President of Stonewall Young Democrats, where he now serves as Political Vice-President. Prior to joining the Stonewall Young Democrats, Ari served as a Executive Board Member for the California Democratic Party’s LGBT Caucus. Professionally, Ari serves as a District Representative for California State Assemblymember Blanca E. Rubio. Prior to joining the Office of Assemblywoman Rubio, he worked for Assistant Speaker pro Tempore Autumn R. Burke, and as a Community Outreach Associate for The Laurel Foundation, a non-profit organization that empowers children, youth and families affected by HIV/AIDS.

 

 

 

 

Ernesto Diaz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric C. Bauman

 

 

Eric C. Bauman was appointed to the Commission by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas in 2012. He currently holds the position of Vice Chair of the Commission.

Mr. Bauman is the Vice Chair of the California Democratic Party and is serving his eighth term as Chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, the largest local Democratic Party organization in the nation. He is also the Chair of the California Democratic Party’s Organizational Development Committee.

Professionally, Bauman is the Senior Advisor to California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and the Director of the Speaker’s Office of Member Services – Los Angeles (SOMS-LA).

Previously, Eric held various senior-level positions in California Government, including serving as Senior Advisor to Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, Senior Advisor to Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, and Deputy Insurance Commissioner – overseeing the Community Relations Branch of the California Department of Insurance.

Prior to joining the Department of Insurance, Eric was Special Assistant to Governor Gray Davis and Director of the Governor’s Los Angeles Regional Office. He had a major role in the broad range of issues affecting southern California and health care policy.

Eric is a Registered Nurse with graduate education in Health Care Administration. He spent many years in intensive care and trauma nursing before moving into hospital administration. In 1991, Eric co-founded a health care management consulting firm, Consultants in Nursing Services Administration, specializing in the administrative, staffing and information system needs of hospital nurses.

Bauman is a member of the NARAL Pro-Choice Privacy PAC, the advisory board of the Medical Reserve Corps of Los Angeles and of the LA County Voting Systems Assessment Project Advisory Committee. Until recently, he was on the board of Glendale Memorial Hospital and the Latino Coalition against AIDS. He is a past board member of the American Cancer Society’s and the American Heart Association’s northwest regional boards.

Eric lives in North Hollywood with his husband of many years, Michael.

 

 

 

 

Bobby L. Blake

 

 

Bob L. Blake has been a resident of California since 1974 and was appointed to the Commission in 2006 by former Second District Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke. Bob has been self-employed for over 18 years in the Insurance & Financial Services businesses.

Bob Blake & Associates, Inc. specializes in Benefit Communication and Supplemental Insurance products for Public Sector and Private Non Profit businesses. Bob manages over sixty full-time independent agents and the vision of the firm is to be the best sole provider of employee benefits, providing customers with products and services which distinguish them in the marketplace. The firm prides themselves on being a diverse, customer focused organization.

Bob received his AA degree from Long Beach City College and USC Marshall School of Business with a certificate in Sales, Leadership and Branding.

Bob’s mission is to protect working American families from catastrophic events that can ruin their future. His firm also strives to provide personal attention, attending to individual needs and small details while sustaining a professional and caring team representing the industry’s highest rated companies. The firm is located at 401 E. Ocean Blvd., Suite 204, Long Beach, CA 90802. Phone (562) 437-7723.

Mr. Blake’s experience in the insurance field has given him great insight in consumer needs, including that of insurance coverage for residents in Los Angeles County. Some of his organizational affiliations are: National Forum for Black Public Administrators Southern California Chapter; 100 Black Men; Los Angeles Health Underwriters; Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce; Long Beach African American Chamber of Commerce; National Conference of Minority Transit Officials; and currently is Vice President of the National Forum of Black Public Administrators.

Bob’s awards include: 2005 Business Entrepreneur of the Year, Greater Los Angeles Black Chamber of Commerce; 2004 Small Business of the Year Award, National Forum of Black Public Administrators, 2003 People Development Award, Colonial Supplemental Insurance; 2000 Recruiter of the Year Award, Colonial Supplemental Insurance; 2000 Office of the Year Award, Colonial Supplemental Insurance.

 

 

 

Scott J. Svonkin, Chair

 

 

Scott J. Svonkin is a native of Los Angeles, and has been a member of the Commission since his appointment by former Third District Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky in 1997, he was reappointed in 2015 by current Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and he is the current Chairman of the Commission. Chair Svonkin possesses an extensive insurance background, having spent six and a half years as a Director and National Project Manager for Prudential Health Care at its Western Headquarters in Woodland Hills. Chair Svonkin received the company’s Community Champions Rising Star Award for his commitment to helping others and the Hero Award for creating a voter registration and grassroots-lobbying program. Chair Svonkin is in his second year as president of the Board of Trustees, first chosen by his fellow trustees in July of 2014 and then again in July of 2015. He was first elected to the Board in May of 2011, then re-elected in March of 2015.

Chair Svonkin is also serving a three-year term as a member of President Obama’s College Promise National Advisory Board, part of the campaign to allow responsible students to attend two years at community college tuition free.

He enrolled at Pasadena City College, went on to get a B.A. at California State University, Northridge, and served on the San Gabriel Unified School District Board before being elected to his current position.

His career focus has been in public service, particularly on education and non-profits, and as a business-man and experienced community activist. Chair Svonkin served as Chief of Public Affairs and Government Relations for Los Angeles County Assessor Jeffrey Prang and is currently with the Los Angeles County Probation Department.

Previously, Chair Svonkin served as a member of Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley’s staff and worked as Senior Advisor to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Chair Svonkin has also served as Chief of Staff for State Assemblyman Paul Koretz and was a Deputy Councilman for West Hollywood. As a chief of staff, Chair Svonkin was involved in key legislative projects such as: an aggressive anti-crime program focused on getting guns off the streets, the protection of children from tobacco and its advertising arms, and support for public education and working families. As Deputy Councilman, Chair Svonkin worked on important legislation, community liaison activities, intergovernmental affairs, media relations, and constituent services for West Hollywood.

Chair Svonkin is committed to promoting educational opportunities for all through various organizations. He twice served as President of the Los Angeles County School Trustees Association and has served on the Los Angeles Valley College Foundation Board, the California State University, Northridge Legislative Advisory Council, the LA PROSPER Board of the Los Angeles Community College District, and the Center for Southern California Studies Advisory Board. He is a former Chairman of the Los Angeles Unified School District Advisory Council for District Four. As a health care executive, he arranged for his company to donate almost one thousand computers to public schools.

Concerned about public health, Scott served on the board of the Children’s Hospital L.A. Huckleberry Fund and on the California Respiratory Board where his fellow members elected him President shortly after his appointment. Chair Svonkin is a member of the Board of Directors of the California Credit Union—a billion-dollar financial institution, and is also Chairman of the Los Angeles County Insurance Commission.

A native of Los Angeles County, Scott attended public schools and served two terms as the Student Member of the Pasadena City College Board of Trustees before going on to Cal State Northridge.

Chair Svonkin and his wife Jennifer have a daughter, Rose, and a son, Sam.

 

 

 

 

Jeana Trost, Esq.

 

 

Jeana Trost was appointed to the Commission in 2016 by Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl; she is an experienced transactional attorney, entrepreneur and real estate investor.

Jeana started her legal career at the international law firm of White & Case LLP as a transactional attorney focusing on a variety of commercial matters involving real estate, finance, and general commercial and corporate matters.

She then served as Vice President – Legal to HCP, Inc. (NYSE: HCP), an S&P500 company and one of the largest real estate investors in the health care sector, with over $21 billion in assets under management. There, she worked closely with the company’s executives in all aspects of the company’s transactions – structuring, documenting, negotiating, reviewing, closing – as well as counseling on various internal matters such as corporate policies, budgets, content management, in-house training, and entity maintenance.

Jeana also served as the Associate General Counsel of DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE: DIN), where she headed the legal transactions group and oversaw the company’s business contracts, with particular emphasis on technology initiatives.

Jeana was raised in Los Angeles, and a product of California’s public schools. She received a BA in English at the University of California, Berkeley, and a JD from UCLA School of Law. She has a love of science fiction, astronomy and photography.

She runs a commercial transactional legal practice at Trost Legal PC and resides in Los Angeles with her husband Glenn, and their two children.

 

 

 

Felix B. Lopez

 

 

Felix B. Lopez was appointed to the Commission by Supervisor Janice Hahn in 2017. In 1978, he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, graduated Magna Cum Laude and a Master of Business Administration at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. Holder of the Life Underwriters Training Council, Fellow (LUTCF) from the American College and a Registered Financial Consultant (RFC).

Commissioner Lopez has been in the insurance industry since 1977, sixteen of which were in the corporate employee environment. He has held various managerial and senior management positions, notably as General Manager of the Asian Reinsurance Pool based in Manila, Philippines and Executive Vice President and COO of Bergen Isle Insurance Company.

In 1993, Commissioner Lopez opened his own insurance brokerage/ agency, (Pinoy General Insurance Services) marking his entrance in the entrepreneurial side of the industry. In addition, he is also the Institute Director and Chief Instructor of the American Institute of Insurance, an accredited educational provider with the California Department of Insurance.

Commissioner Lopez has been a Council Member of the United Coast Guard Leadership, Excellence and Diversity Advisory Council (LEAD Council) representing the Auxiliary from 2008-2012. President of the Rotary Club of Cerritos and Artesia in 2010-2011, where he received a Rotary International Citation as Outstanding Club President. Founding President of the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce-South East Corridor (FACC-SEC) and Chairman of the Coalition of Associations at the South East Corridor (CASEC).

He was awarded the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Diversity Award in 2008. Honorary Commodore by the Philippine Coast Guard/Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary in 2014. One of Ten Outstanding Entrepreneurs by the Pangasinan Brotherhood USA in 2010. Lion of the Year by the Los Angeles Bayanihan Lions Club in 1998.

He is licensed Property and Casualty Broker Agent; Life , Health and Accident Agent, and Reinsurance Intermediary Broker with the California Department of Insurance, Accredited School Director and Instructor with a Certificate of Authorization for Service by the Bureau for Private Post-Secondary and Vocational Education and Author of Introduction to Reinsurance.

Commissioner Lopez and his wife Sally have two sons, Felix Reginald and Richard Felix.

 

 

 

 

Deepak B. Jhaveri

 

 

Deepak “DJ” Jhaveri has resided in Los Angeles County for over 27 years and was appointed to the Commission by Fourth District Supervisor Janice Hahn in March 2017. In 1997 DJ became the founder and president of an insurance agency that specializes in Fire, Earthquake, Flood, Individual and Group Health insurance, as well as Life and Long Term Care insurance. He also held Free Seminars from time to time to educate people on subjects of public interest like the Affordable Care Act, (when it was first introduced) Long Term Care, etc. DJ is licensed in several states across the country.

Early in his career, he served on the LA County Assessor's Citizen Advisory Committee under the then Assessor Rick Auerbach and the Audit Committee of the ABC Unified School District.

Since 2015, Jhaveri also serves on the Planning Commission of the City of Cerritos, where he is a resident.

 

 

 

Wilbert Smith, Ph.D.

 

 

Wilbert Smith was appointed to the Commission by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich in 2015. He was raised in Los Angeles and attended local public schools. Later, in 1973, he received a bachelor’s degree in Economics from California State University Dominguez Hills, followed by a master’s degree in Business Management from International College in 1977. In 1984, Commissioner Smith received a master’s degree in Special Education For The Learning Handicapped from the University of San Francisco before, in 1987, completing a Doctor of Philosophy degree from International College in Business Management.

Commissioner Smith is not only a businessman, but also an author, and award winning filmmaker. His most recent work includes a nonfiction book entitled, Hole in the Head: A Life Revealed, and an award-winning documentary of the same title. Through his work as managing partner of Smith Leonard Productions, Wilbert endeavors to stimulate his audience by demonstrating the essence, and power of the human spirit. He inspires others through his message of hope, and commitment to education, and hard work.

Before forming Uplift Productions, Wilbert enjoyed a successful business career. Bank of America employed him for 26 years, beginning in the mailroom at age 17. Wilbert over time was elevated to Vice President and Director of National Accounts for its Business Services division. A consistent high achiever, he was the recipient of numerous awards including the CEO's "Eagle Award," the highest award granted by Bank of America.

Wilbert is active in his community and served as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff for over 20 years. His assignments included the drug abuse detail where he provided intervention for both juveniles, and adults through schools, and other community-based programs. He has taught in the School of Business at Pasadena Community College and served on the Board of Directors for its foundation. Wilbert was also appointed by then Governor Pete Wilson to sit as a prestigious member of the Community Colleges Board of Governors, where he established policy and procedure for then 107 of California's community colleges. Today, Wilbert serves as a Senior Fellow in Education Policy for the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy.

In 1989, Wilbert was elected to a four-year term on the School Board of the Pasadena Unified School District. In 1994, he finished a close 3rd place among a crowded field of 14 candidates, each seeking to become California's State Superintendent for Public Instruction. Following that election, Wilbert was asked to join the governor’s staff as Director of then-Governor Pete Wilson's Office of Community Relations. He joined Allstate Insurance Company’s agency force as an exclusive agent in 1998. Alongside family members, Wilbert continues to own and operate one of Allstate Insurance Company’s premier insurance agencies.

Wilbert has been a contributing newspaper columnist, and has hosted community programming for both cablevision, and radio. An outgoing, and fluent personality, he is a frequent speaker before various church, and civic organizations. He is an author, lecturer and consultant in the areas of business, education, law enforcement, film, and government.

 

 

 

 

Luther W. Nash

 

 

Luther W. Nash was appointed to the Commission by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich in 2009.

Mr. Nash has been in the insurance business 55 years, 25 years of experience were with an insurance consulting firm where he held positions in management in Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, New York and California. He resigned as a Regional Vice President of the firm in 1979 to go into business for himself where for the past 30 years he has owned and operated an insurance agency in Montrose, California. His experience includes being a legislative advocate at the Federal and State level, for his company and the insurance industry. Lobbying for legislation that would enable the industry to quickly respond to the usual claims that fit into their estimates for a maximum probable loss and also disaster claims which could present an unusual demand on capital reserves.

Mr. Nash was appointed by three California Insurance Commissioners to serve on an advisory board to the California Department of Insurance and participated on a research committee for the development of the California Earthquake Authority.