Our Team

  • Ryder Todd Smith
    Ryder Todd Smith
    President
Ryder Todd Smith
President

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.

  • Nicole D. Smith, CPA
    Nicole D. Smith, CPA
    Chief Financial Officer
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 certified Hootsuite Social Marketing Professional.

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

  • Katherine Griffiths
    Katherine Griffiths
    Director of Operations
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 a certified Hootsuite Social Marketing Professional and has completed the University of Southern California’s Executive Education Forum for Local Leaders.

  • Jon Barilone
    Jon Barilone
    Director
Jon Barilone
Director

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 certified in Hootsuite Social Marketing, Twitter’s Flight School and Flight School Video as well as Google’s Ads Video, YouTube and Google My Business.

  • Michael Egan
    Michael Egan
    Director
Michael Egan
Director

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.

  • Kevin Bostwick
    Kevin Bostwick
    Art Director
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.

  • Cameron Grimm
    Cameron Grimm
    Senior Business Analyst
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 certified Hootsuite Social Marketing Professional and Constant Contact Certified Solutions Provider and has YouTube certifications in Content Ownership, Channel Growth and Creative Essentials.

  • Jen Nentwig
    Jen Nentwig
    Senior Business Analyst
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 certified Hootsuite Social Marketing Professional.

  • Melanie James
    Melanie James
    Senior Business Analyst
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 certified Hootsuite Social Marketing Professional and Constant Contact Certified Solutions Provider and has completed the University of Southern California Executive Education Forum for Local Leaders and the University of California, Irvine Public Policy Making Academy II.

  • Bria Balliet
    Bria Balliet
    Senior Business Analyst
Bria Balliet
Senior Business Analyst

Bria Balliet is a Senior 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 a certified Hootsuite Social Marketing Professional and Constant Contact Certified Solutions Provider. She has also completed the University of Southern California Executive Education Forum for Local Leaders and the University of California, Irvine Public Policy Making Academy II.

  • Emily Mason
    Emily Mason
    Senior Business Analyst
Emily Mason
Senior Business Analyst

Emily Mason is a dynamic communications professional, skilled in facilitating meaningful engagement between organizations and their stakeholders through integrated campaigns that leverage public relations, marketing, digital and event strategies. She thrives on collaborating with cross-functional teams to explore innovative and creative storytelling opportunities to navigate complex challenges and increase organizational reputation. This includes a wide variety of content creation, from crafting press releases and print collateral, to developing videos and implementing social media and influencer campaigns. She especially loves the seemingly limitless possibilities of digital communications, having had the opportunity to incorporate the use of gamification and user-generated content in past campaigns.

Emily achieved and maintains Accreditation in Public Relations through the Public Relations Society of America. Additionally, she is certified in Hootsuite Social Marketing.

Her client work at Tripepi Smith includes the City of Santa Paula, City of Grover Beach, City of Lancaster and City of Paramount.

  • Kjerstin Wingert
    Kjerstin Wingert
    Senior Graphic Designer
Kjerstin Wingert
Senior Graphic Designer

Kjerstin is a Senior 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 certified Hootsuite Social Marketing Professional. She also completed the University of Southern California Executive Education Forum for Local Leaders and the University of California, Irvine Public Policy Making Academy.

  • Karen Villaseñor
    Karen Villaseñor
    Business Analyst
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 certified Hootsuite Social Marketing Professional, Facebook Blueprint Planning Professional and Constant Contact Solutions Provider. She also holds certifications in Google Analytics and Google Ads Search and has completed LinkedIn’s former advertising course, Advertising on LinkedIn, as well as the University of Southern California’s Executive Education Forum for Local Leaders.

  • Saara Lampwalla
    Saara Lampwalla
    Business Analyst
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.

Saara is the marketing manager for Tripepi Smith, creating content and managing the firm’s marketing strategy as well as providing creative direction on brand voice, print collateral, advertising, and video. Her skills include writing press releases and articles, social media strategy development and analysis, website management, email marketing, inbound marketing, event planning, video production and sponsorship management.

Her clients include Climatec, City of Culver City, Institute for Local Government, League of California Cities, Orange County City Managers Association, San Gabriel Valley City Managers Association and University of Southern California City/County Management Fellowship. She is also account manager for PublicCEO and helps maintain Civic Business Journal.

Saara is a certified Constant Contact Solutions Provider, Hootsuite Social Marketing Professional and Hubspot Inbound Marketing Professional. She also holds a certification in Google Analytics and a drone pilot license from the Federal Aviation Administration and has completed the University of California, Irvine Public Policy Making Academy II.

  • Skylar Hunter
    Skylar Hunter
    Business Analyst
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 a certified Hootsuite Social Marketing Professional and Constant Contact Solution Provider . He also has his FAA-issued drone pilot license, which he puts to use for Tripepi Smith’s MuniAerial, and earned a certification in Twitter Flight School for Video.

  • Sara Madsen
    Sara Madsen
    Junior Business Analyst
Sara Madsen
Junior Business Analyst

Sara Madsen is a talented graphic designer with a background 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 advanced her strategic approach to graphic design. As a continuation of her interest in non-profits, NGOs, and the public sector, Sara tackles graphic design, digital marketing and web development projects for clients and Tripepi Smith.

Her clients include City of Indian Wells, City of Paramount, City of Hawaiian Gardens, City of Vallejo, City of Lomita, City of Culver City, City of Palm Desert, City of Palmdale, California Choice Energy Authority, Santa Clarita Valley Water, California Joint Powers Insurance Authority, Renne Public Law Group and Civiltec Engineering.

Sara is certified as a Constant Contact Certified Solutions Provider and Hootsuite Social Marketing Professional. She has also completed the Public Policy Making Academy II at the University of California, Irvine and the Executive Education Forum for Local Leaders at the University of Southern California.

  • Bryn Miller
    Bryn Miller
    Junior Business Analyst
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 certified Constant Contact Solution Provider and Hootsuite Social Marketing Professional.

  • Blair Welch
    Blair Welch
    Junior Business Analyst
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 certified Constant Contact Solution Provider and Hootsuite Advanced Social Advertising Professional.

  • Alexandra Applegate
    Alexandra Applegate
    Junior Business Analyst
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 PublicCEO.com as well as working for the City of Huntington Beach, City of American Canyon, Renne Public Law Group and City of Lancaster.

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

  • Molly Lockwood
    Molly Lockwood
    Junior Business Analyst
Molly Lockwood
Junior Business Analyst

Molly Lockwood is a creative and technical writer with a diverse background in strategic communications. She recently completed her B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics with a Legal Studies sequence at the Claremont Colleges. Before joining Tripepi Smith, Molly gained public agency experience as an Intern Investigator at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. She also edited and published a surf magazine during her undergraduate career, which allowed her to develop leadership experience in content curation, social media management, website building, and the print medium. Molly is eager to leverage and grow her skill set to serve Tripepi Smith’s clients on a daily basis.

Molly’s client work supports the California City Management Foundation, Civiltec Engineering, Inc., Climatec, the City of Grover Beach, the City of Manhattan Beach, and the City of Santa Paula.

  • Sara Scarbo
    Sara Scarbo
    Junior Business Analyst
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.