Not every client has the same needs. Our talented team combines experience and innovation to deliver results.

Who We Are

Tripepi Smith is a provider of marketing, technology and public affairs consulting services. Combining our years of experience in local government, technology and the marketing fields, Tripepi Smith offers a unique blend of skills to help our clients execute on their goals. The Tripepi Smith team stands ready to help you with your outreach campaigns, video production, content writing, messaging, graphic work, technology infrastructure and websites.

We are here to help.

See Our Services

Our Team

Alexandra Applegate
Junior Business Analyst

Alexandra Applegate is a talented technical and creative writer and copy editor, with experience writing news stories, social media posts, blogs, press releases and features. With a Bachelor of Arts in public relations, she is also practiced in creating and implementing campaigns for businesses and local government entities and confident in social media strategy and management. Passionate about multi-dimensional storytelling, Alex also has some experience with video, photo, design and other mediums. Her work at Tripepi Smith includes writing for the Civic Business Journal and as well as working for the City of Huntington Beach, City of American Canyon, Renne Public Law Group and City of Lancaster.

Ryder Todd Smith

Ryder has over 20 years of experience in government relations, technology and marketing. As president, he leads Tripepi Smith and is the ultimate project owner of its clients, which span over 90 public, private and non-profit agencies. Ryder is also the creator of the City Internet Strategies Study, publisher of the Civic Business Journal and a frequent speaker on the local government circuit. Additionally, his insights have been published by industry-leading publications, such as Western City Magazine and Public Management Magazine, and local government professional organizations, such as the California City Management Foundation and Municipal Management Association of Northern California have recognized and awarded his support as a longtime partner.

Before Tripepi Smith, Ryder served as a senior vice president of operations and chief information officer for a software-as-a-service startup in the financial services sector. Prior to that, he was the technology manager for a regional staffing firm.

Ryder graduated from Claremont McKenna College (CMC) with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, politics, economics and a dual degree in economics and served as President of the 10,000 member Alumni Association from 2008 – 2010. He now volunteers his time as vice chair of the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at CMC and is a former planning commissioner for the City of Tustin, where he resides with his wife and daughter.

Fun fact: Ryder is the son of a commercial fisherman and spent several summers in Alaska working on the boat with his father. Thousands of halibut gave their lives to pay for a collection of Legos, Ryder’s first car and his college education.

Kevin Bostwick
Art Director

Kevin Bostwick is an experienced Art Director and creative manager. He delivers powerful ideas visually, distilling unexpected stories from challenging content and designing media for understanding and absorption. He directs and executes for digital, interactive and print mediums…delivering across a blend of channels, particularly for learning, data-display and presentation. His work for major clients has included digital tools, logos, presentation, interactive learning, advertising and print design. He navigates the whole ecosystem, working with high-powered stakeholders to shape concepts, UX, branding, strategy, writing, asset management, information architecture, and infographics. Kevin’s client work includes City of Aliso Viejo, City of Cupertino, Pivot Charter Schools, California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and Renne Public Law Group.

Patrick Atwater
Senior Business Analyst

Patrick is an analytical, collaborative and innovative project manager with over a decade of California public affairs experience. He brings a unique skill set bridging the worlds of data science and municipal government. Patrick is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College – where he majored in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and Mathematics. His client work includes: Culver City, City of Lancaster, El Toro Water District, Palmdale Water District and Inland Empire Utilities Agency.

Patrick is a certified Hootsuite Social Marketing professional.

Nicole D. Smith, CPA
Chief Financial Officer

Nicole has over two decades of experience in public accounting, human resources and marketing. In 2002, she co-founded Tripepi Smith and has helped build it into a statewide public affairs firm with over fifty public agencies, and private and non-profit clients.

Prior to launching Tripepi Smith, Nicole worked in PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ Business Assurance group, where she focused primarily on the real estate market. She later served as the Assistant Corporate Controller and Financial Analyst for a publicly-traded homebuilder located in Orange County, and then worked for multiple clients in the real estate and services industries as an independent accountant. She now serves as the CFO and HR Manager of Tripepi Smith.

Nicole’s alma mater is Claremont McKenna College, where she graduated cum laude with a degree in Economics-Accounting.

Currently, Nicole is on the board of the Vista Irvine chapter of National Charity League and serves as the Vice President of Ways and Means. She is a resident of the City of Tustin, where she lives with her husband and daughter. She enjoys running and cooking.

Nicole is a QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor.

Nicole is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional.

Fun Fact: Nicole grew up in local government, as her father is a former California city manager.

Katherine Griffiths
Director of Operations

With more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit advancement, Katherine’s proficiencies include both written and verbal communication. As the former Director of Creative Services at Claremont McKenna College, she brings an innovative approach to communications and professional dedication. Her background includes consulting for higher education clients including Pomona College and the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. She is an alumna of Denison University in Granville, Ohio.

Katherine also serves as Council Trustee: Communications for Delta Gamma Fraternity and as Communications Chair for the Claremont Educational Foundation.

Katherine is certified as a Hootsuite Social Marketing professional.

Jon Barilone

Jon has a wide-ranging knowledge and skill set from years of Internet marketing and marketing communications work in a variety of industry verticals. Jon’s professional background includes search engine optimization and advertising, website content management, content writing and editing, product marketing management, and significant experience with social media marketing and community management. Jon graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature.

Jon is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional, Twitter Flight School certified, Google Academy for Ads: YouTube certified and Google Academy for Ads: Google My Business certified.

Michael Egan

Michael Egan is an accomplished local government executive with nearly 30 years of experience capped with 20 years of City Manager responsibilities in the cities of Bellflower and Norwalk. During his tenure as City Manager, he was active in regional governance and local government-affiliated groups. He is a Past President of the Gateway City Manager’s Group and former Chairman of the Gateway Cities Council of Governments City Manager’s Committee. He also served 18 years on the California Contract Cities Association’s Liability Trust Fund Oversight Committee and Claims Boards.

Michael’s many accomplishments include balanced budget management; multiple successful bond issues and improved agency bond ratings; implementing and expanding community policing programs, including the opening of a local Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Station; expanding recreation facilities by developing new parks, bicycle and walking trails, and public aquatics center; upgrading water and sewer infrastructure; successfully implementing local revenue measures; and executing on multiple economic development projects. Michael is passionate about local government and effective, ethical leadership.

He is an alumnus of Cal Poly Pomona, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Behavioral Science and was a founding member of the Cal Poly Chapter of Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology.

He lives in La Habra with his wife of 34 years, Teresa, a public schools administrator. He has a daughter, Jennifer, a local government professional; son-in-law, Nick, a Structural Engineer; and a granddaughter, Ellie, a curious and busy toddler.

Meet Mike Egan, Director from Tripepi Smith on Vimeo.

Cameron Grimm
Senior Business Analyst

After a passion for storytelling compelled her to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in English at Scripps College, Cameron went on to study video editing and production at the Los Angeles Film School. This education led her to acquire 10 years of experience in video production and she later expanded her career into other areas of marketing communications. Her most recent role as Director of Creative Services at Claremont McKenna College allowed her to manage print communication pieces and social media in addition to video work. Cameron’s background includes experience in a variety of industries including higher education, entertainment and the nonprofit sector. Her client work includes: City of Indian Wells, City of La Cañada Flintridge and Valley Water Company.

Cameron is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional, Constant Contact Certified Solutions Provider and holds YouTube Certifications in Content Ownership, Channel Growth and Creative Essentials.

Jen Nentwig
Senior Business Analyst

Jen Nentwig is a talented, well-rounded communications professional and project manager with more than 12 years of experience serving government organizations. She has built and implemented programs in strategic communications, media relations, internal communication, community relations and social media. Her skills include website and social media management, development of content including articles, speeches, talking points and FAQs, as well as event planning and implementation. Jennifer achieved and maintains Accreditation in Public Relations through the Public Relations Society of America. Jennifer’s client work includes City of Lomita, City of Vallejo and the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority.

Jen is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional.

Bria Balliet
Business Analyst

Bria Balliet is a Business Analyst with Tripepi Smith. She is an alumna of UC San Diego, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication and honed her writing skills as an editor for several on-campus publications. Following earning her B.A., she was hired by a publishing company in Orange County that specialized in creating custom magazines for cities, private communities, and the hospitality industry. In her most recent role with a university, Bria created content to span multiple channels including feature stories for the web and print, social media posts, and newsletters. She also assisted with graphic design needs as well as portrait and event photography.

Bria Balliet is a triple-threat of creative talent: a writer, graphic artist and photographer. Her skills enable her to be a complete storyteller in words and visuals. Her client work includes: City of Santa Ana, City of Indian Wells, City of Hawaiian Gardens, City of Rolling Hills Estates and City of Lake Forest.

Bria is certified in Constant Contact and a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional.

Kjerstin Wingert
Graphic Designer

Kjerstin is a Graphic Designer with Tripepi Smith. After studying Business Administration at both the Ecole Supérieure Libre Des Sciences Commerciales Appliquéesis in Paris and Concordia University in Irvine, Kjerstin went on to receive her Advanced Production Certificate in Graphic Design from Golden West College in Huntington Beach. She began working as a freelance graphic designer in 2012 and joined the Tripepi Smith staff in 2015.

Kjerstin has advanced knowledge of various creative platforms including Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign. Kjerstin has experience leading an array of creative projects including layout, graphic design, illustration and creative concept development. Her client work includes: City of La Cañada Flintridge, Inland Empire Utilities Agency, City of Culver City, City of Walnut, City of Cupertino, City of Saratoga, City of Livermore and City of Daly City.

Kjerstin is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional.

Melanie James
Senior Business Analyst

Melanie James is a Senior Business Analyst and Graphic Designer with Tripepi Smith. After studying Anthropology at California State University, Long Beach, Melanie went on to receive her Digital Arts Degree from Golden West College in Huntington Beach. She began working as a freelance graphic designer in 2015 and joined the Tripepi Smith staff in 2016.

Melanie is a talented graphic artist, expert on the WordPress platform and a skilled project manager. She has quickly developed a full suite of creativity skills rooted in her formal graphic arts education. Her skills cover the full Adobe Creative Suite and into HTML, CSS and JavaScript. In addition, she has managed an array of projects ranging from robust digital advertising campaigns to comprehensive video production. Her client work includes: City of Bellflower, City of Huntington Beach, City of Tracy, Rowland Water District, Public Water Agencies Group, Santa Clara County Fire Department, South Orange County Wastewater Authority and Inland Empire Utilities Agency.

Melanie is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional and Constant Contact Certified Solutions Provider.

Karen Villaseñor
Business Analyst

Karen Villaseñor is a Business Analyst with Tripepi Smith. She received her Bachelor of Science in Communication, with an emphasis in Public Relations, from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Karen brings unique local government experience and insight to the Tripepi Smith team. Having delivered both in-depth research and hands-on work for various public agencies and organizations over the past few years, she assists clients in leveraging their social media and online platforms to connect with their communities. Additionally, backed by first-hand experience in working with city managers and city staff, she is passionate about shaping positive and transparent relationships between local government agencies and the residents they serve. Her client work includes: City of La Puente, City of La Cañada Flintridge, City of Tracy, City of Hawaiian Gardens and California Choice Energy Authority.

Karen is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional and Facebook Blueprint certified Planning Professional. She is also certified in Google Analytics and Google Ads.

Saara Lampwalla
Business Analyst

Saara is a Business Analyst with Tripepi Smith. She is an alumna of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication, with an emphasis in Public Relations as well as minors in Marketing Management, Journalism, and Philosophy. After honing her writing skills as a staff writer for Cal Poly Pomona’s newspaper, she went on to act as a brand ambassador for a university organization, communications intern for one of California’s largest utility companies, and marketing communications coordinator for a private school. Saara utilizes a broad set of skills to provide communications support to Tripepi Smith clients. She drafts press releases and articles, provides social media management support, executes email campaigns, assists with video production and provides strategic, creative direction. Her client work includes: City of Culver City, City of Duarte, Town of Windsor, California Contract Cities Association, Institute for Local Government, League of California Cities, Orange County City Managers Association, San Gabriel Valley City Managers Association, University of Southern California City/County Management Fellowship and California Joint Powers Insurance Authority.

Saara is certified as a Constant Contact Certified Solutions Provider, Hootsuite Social Marketing professional, Hubspot Inbound Marketing professional and holds an FAA-issued drone operator license.

Skylar Hunter
Business Analyst

Skylar holds a Bachelor of Arts in Film from CSU Long Beach as well as a Master of Arts in Film from Chapman University and a Master of Arts in Public Relations from Full Sail University. Following the completion of his educational pursuits, Skylar joined the City of Lake Forest as a Public Relations specialist where he specialized in film production, graphic design, writing, and social media advertising. During his tenure at the City, Skylar served as the in-house videographer producing the City’s Mayor’s Minute weekly video series and the Meet the Mayor/State of the City short film. Skylar was responsible for redesigning and generating content for the City eNewsletter redesigning the City’s website and developing content for the City’s bi-monthly physical publication. A natural innovator, he took the lead on engineering and producing the livestream of City Council meetings via Facebook Live, making Lake Forest the first city to allow public comment through Facebook live chat.

He is committed to effective communications and passionate about bridging the gap between clients and their audiences through compelling and creative media. Skylar’s client work includes City of Huntington Beach, California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and Renne Public Law Group.

Skylar is certified as a Hootsuite Social Marketing professional.


Sara Madsen
Junior Business Analyst

Sara’s background is in marketing and environmental sustainability, in which she earned her degree from San Diego State University. Her formal education in Visual Communications and passion for the environment led her to complete a Creative Design internship with ECOLIFE Conservation. During her time with the non-profit, she continued to fine tune her strategic approach to graphic design. As a continuation of her interest in non-profits, NGOs, and the public sector, Sara tackles graphic design projects for clients and Tripepi Smith. Additionally, she continues to expand her comprehension in local government vernacular and policy as she writes stories for Tripepi Smith news and insights articles. Her client work includes: City of Indian Wells, City of Paramount, City of Hawaiian Gardens, League of California Cities, Orange County City Managers Association and San Gabriel Valley City Managers Association.

Sara is certified as a Constant Contact Certified Solutions Provider and Hootsuite Social Marketing professional.

Bryn Miller
Junior Business Analyst

Bryn Miller brings writing experience and a deep interest in local government to Tripepi Smith. During her time at Claremont McKenna College, Bryn gained professional skills interning for the State Department and for her hometown’s senator, Elizabeth Warren. Her work at Claremont McKenna’s Rose Institute of State and Local Government complemented her exposure to the federal system, helping her realize that her interests lie at the local level. She is looking forward to leveraging her technical writing skills to help Tripepi Smith’s clients communicate effectively with their audiences. Bryn’s client work supports the Renne Public Law Group, the City of Vallejo, the Industry Business Council, and the California JPIA.

Bryn is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional.

Blair Welch
Junior Business Analyst

Blair Welch has a strong background in writing, editing, WordPress, and all major platforms of social media. Her skills include Adobe Premiere, Adobe Lightroom, and Adobe Photoshop, as well as basic HTML coding. Blair is a recent graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, where she achieved a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Her work at Tripepi Smith includes editorial direction and writing for the Civic Business Journal (CBJ) and social media management and monitoring for Tripepi Smith client cities such La Cañada Flintridge, Culver City and City of Lomita.

Blair is a Hootsuite certified Advanced Social Advertising Professional.

Sara Scarbo
Junior Business Analyst

Sara provides day-to-day operational support for the entire Tripepi Smith team. She provides primary support for WordPress website content management and executes project support roles across various initiatives including video production, publishing, marketing logistics and event planning. Additionally, Sara serves as the lead writer for Civic Business Journal, a website focused on telling the success stories of private companies partnering with government agencies to deliver efficient and effective solutions for communities. Sara graduated from Chapman University where she earned her Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) in Finance and Financial Management Services and a Minor in Law & Public Policy.

Our Ethics

Corporate ethics don’t just happen. They require a commitment from top to bottom in the organization. They evolve from a firm belief that work must be done openly, honestly and with the best of intentions for all parties involved.

Reputations take years to build. Trust is not bought; it is earned. In the areas that our firm operates, there is no room to equivocate or hide on matters of ethics.



We do work we would be proud to see appear on the front page of a major newspaper.


We identify our client list to prospective clients early in the process to ensure there are no conflicts of interest. We also review potential new clients with existing clients when even the slightest appearance of a conflict exists.

Not Political

We are not politically engaged. While we don’t discourage our team from supporting people they like/know/trust, there is never a link between a political action or donation and the work we do for our clients.

Own It

If we make a mistake or fall short of client expectations (we are human – it does happen), we own it. We learn from it. We try to make it right.

On Camera, Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

Tripepi Smith President, Ryder Todd Smith, discusses the importance of ethics at the firm.

Seeking Talent

What are we looking for?

Tripepi Smith is seeking to revolutionize communications and marketing in the local government world. With our diverse array of services and mission to put thoughtful, holistic thinkers in front of clients, we seek people who can strategize and deliver on the communication needs of our clients.

Signs that you might be a good fit at Tripepi Smith:

  • New technologies interest you
  • Social media use comes naturally to you
  • Writing is fun and you know how to tell a good story
  • Public policy is interesting to you and you like to understand the role of local government in our daily lives
  • Doing something different each day sounds exciting
  • Attending local government meetings seems engaging
  • Operating independently with no micromanagement is ideal for your personality

Backgrounds that are good indicators of your ability to add value at Tripepi Smith:

  • Management Analyst with a local government agency
  • Associate at a public affairs firm
  • Reporter at a newspaper or magazine covering current events or a local government beat
  • BA in politics, communications, public relations, English, graphic design or an MPA
  • Field staff or legislative aid for an elected official
  • Recently completed a graphic design degree from college
  • Experience working for an industry or local government association

Key Benefits of Working at Tripepi Smith

  • You get paid (depending on your level, we pay from $35K – $100K plus spot bonuses).
  • You usually get to work from home
    (though we reserve the right to get an office someday).
  • Your schedule is relatively flexible.
  • You will learn a lot.
  • We invest in ongoing education.
  • We send you to conferences and other high-profile events.
  • We provide you with nice computer hardware.
  • We provide you with a smartphone (iPhone or Android).
  • We offer an employer match 401(k).
  • We offer healthcare benefits.
  • Work with a team of nice people.
  • Surround yourself with quality professionals.
  • We take ethics seriously.

We are currently recruiting

Email Us

Our Clients

  • ClimatecClimatec
  • MuniServicesMuniServices
  • PivotPivot
  • LivermoreLivermore
  • IrvineIrvine
  • BellflowerBellflower
  • Cal VetCal Vet
  • ClaremontClaremont
  • Erickson-HallErickson-Hall
  • MuniTechMuniTech
  • Mesa WaterMesa Water
  • OxnardOxnard
  • ParamountParamount
  • purified poolpurified pool
  • Rod GouldRod Gould
  • Srfecc, spotlightSrfecc, spotlight