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 fifty public agencies, private and non-profits 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 a former 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Cameron is a Hootsuite certified Social Marketing Professional and Constant Contact Certified Solutions Provider.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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’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 Hootsuite Social Marketing professional.
Maheen Surani is a talented public policy enthusiast. While completing her undergraduate studies at University of Southern California, she interned for the City of Rolling Hills Estates where she created news releases, public services announcements, brochures, newsletters, special presentations, and more. During her internship, she further developed her passion and interest for public affairs and local government. She enrolled in an intensive program leading her to earn her BS in Public Policy as well as her Master’s in Public Administration in just 5 years. Additionally, Maheen holds a graduate certificate in City & County Management. Maheen continues to expand her passion for local government as a Junior Business Analyst at Tripepi Smith where she drafts press releases and news articles for clients. Her client work includes: City of Hawaiian Gardens, City of Culver City, Industry Business Council, City of La Cañada Flintridge, Pivot Charter Schools.
Maheen is a certified Hootsuite Social Marketing professional.
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.