Our Team

  • Ryder Todd Smith
    Ryder Todd Smith
    President
  • Nicole D. Smith, CPA
    Nicole D. Smith, CPA
    Chief Financial Officer
  • Katherine Griffiths
    Katherine Griffiths
    Director of Operations
  • Jon Barilone
    Jon Barilone
    Senior Business Analyst
  • Trent Sunahara, MPA
    Trent Sunahara, MPA
    Senior Business Analyst
  • Sara Scarbo
    Sara Scarbo
    Junior Business Analyst
  • Kjerstin Nichter
    Kjerstin Nichter
    Graphic Designer
  • Melanie James
    Melanie James
    Business Analyst
  • Caroline Lee
    Caroline Lee
    Junior Business Analyst
  • Karen Villaseñor
    Karen Villaseñor
    Junior Business Analyst
  • Saara Lampwalla
    Saara Lampwalla
    Junior Business Analyst
  • Eric Hood
    Eric Hood
    Photographer
  • Dan Fenstermaker
    Dan Fenstermaker
    Videographer
Ryder Todd Smith
President

Ryder has over 20 years of experience in the information technology, marketing and public affairs fields. He has helped build Tripepi Smith into a statewide public affairs firm with over thirty public agencies and dozens of private sector and nonprofits as clients.

His industry experience includes: local government, defense, mortgage, insurance and e-commerce. Ryder’s partnership with local government professionals has been recognized and awarded by the California City Management Foundation and the Municipal Management Association of Northern California.

Ryder graduated from Claremont McKenna College and served as President of the 10,000 member Alumni Association from 2008 – 2010. He now serves as the Vice Chair of the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College and is an appointed Planning Commissioner in the City of Tustin where he resides with his wife and daughter.

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

Nicole D. Smith, CPA
Chief Financial Officer

Nicole worked for over four years with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, in their Business Assurance group, focused primarily on the real estate market before “going private.” Her industry experience includes serving as the Assistant Corporate Controller and Financial Analyst for a publicly traded homebuilder located in Orange County, California. Nicole graduated cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a degree in Economics-Accounting.

Nicole is a QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor.

Nicole is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional.

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.

Jon Barilone
Senior Business Analyst

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.

Trent Sunahara, MPA
Senior Business Analyst

In his 10 years as a public affairs professional, Trent has worked as a grassroots manager on two national consumer product accounts, a field representative for Congresswoman Doris Matsui, and as the district director for Assemblyman Ken Cooley. In 2013, he earned his Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Southern California.

Trent was born and raised in Sacramento, California. After graduating high school, Trent joined the U.S. Army, and served as an infantryman with various active-duty and National Guard units until his honorable discharge in 2004. Following his service, Trent attended Chico State University, and earned his Bachelor’s in Journalism.

Trent is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional.

Trent is certified in Google Analytics.

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.

Kjerstin Nichter
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. Kjerstin began working as a freelance graphic designer in 2012 and joined the Tripepi Smith staff in 2015.

Melanie James
Business Analyst

Melanie is a 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 has experience with website design, graphic design and WordPress CMS. Melanie began working as a freelance graphic designer in 2015 and joined the Tripepi Smith staff in 2016.

Melanie is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional.

Caroline Lee
Junior Business Analyst

Caroline is a Junior Business Analyst. After studying Comparative Literature at University of California, Irvine and earning her Bachelor’s Degree with two minors in French and Classical Civilization, her background in writing was honed through experience as the primary editor for a previous company. Familiar with both technical writing and creative prose, she helps our clients tell their stories, developing their ideas into comprehensive and captivating narratives. Caroline utilizes her skills to support the Tripepi Smith team and its various clientele throughout the state.

Caroline is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional.

Karen Villaseñor
Junior Business Analyst

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 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.

Karen received her Bachelor of Science in Communication, with an emphasis in Public Relations, from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Karen is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional.

Karen is certified in Google Analytics.

Saara Lampwalla
Junior Business Analyst

Saara 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 has garnered an array of skills and knowledge that have expanded her scope of thinking so she can provide optimum support for Tripepi Smith and its clients.

Saara is Hootsuite University and Constant Contact certified.

Eric Hood
Photographer

Eric is expert at capturing moments that tell a story. He combines his skills and training in both motion and still to produce compelling imagery that helps client tell their story in pictures. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including the OC Weekly. He is fluent in the entire Adobe Creative Suite. Eric graduated from California State University-Long Beach with a degree in Film Production.

Dan Fenstermaker
Videographer

Dan has extensive experience with video production for city governments, private corporations and sports programs. His love affair with storytelling started in his early years and continues through to today. Dan also has a strong background in council meeting production work, supporting both the City of Placentia and City of Villa Park. Dan’s expertise takes him from directing through editing, giving him a holistic and efficient viewpoint on project execution for clients.