A big welcome to the seventh class of the Oxnard Leadership Program! The Class of 2023's first session on January 27 was focused on government and set the stage for many of the topics they will explore over the remaining nine months. This year's class includes 15 participants who represent an array of businesses, agencies and nonprofits in the county (scroll down for the class roster).
The morning was spent with some of the newer faces leading the County of Ventura. CEO Dr. Sevet Johnson, who was appointed in August 2022, highlighted the County's innovative recruiting outreach to fill its job openings and also shared the county's key priorities (among them, equitable and inclusive economic vitality, and housing and homelessness).
District 5 Supervisor Vianey Lopez, who was appointed by Governor Newson after the sudden passing of Supervisor Carmen Ramirez, shared the top issues and concerns in her district. She encouraged the group to learn more about the revitalization efforts at Fisherman's Wharf and the Department of Airport's Part 150 noise compatibility study, and to get involved in next year's homeless Point in Time count. Prior to this role, Lopez represented Oxnard City Council District 6.
County Clerk-Recorder Michelle Ascension, who was elected in November 2022 and was previously Oxnard City Clerk, reviewed her department's responsibilities (including vital records and fictitious business names statements). its role in elections throughout the county, and measures taken to prevent voter fraud.
Leadership participants spent the afternoon at City of Oxnard Council Chambers meeting with Councilmember Gabe Teran, City Manager Alex Nguyen, and Mayor John Zaragoza.
Teran, who was re-elected in November 2022 to represent Oxnard's District 2, encouraged the group to seek leadership opportunities in their Neighborhood Councils or one of the city's Citizen Advisory Groups (CAGs), just as he did. The third-generation Oxnard resident shared his family's history and his path from concerned citizen to active citizenship.
Nguyen, now in his fifth year as City Manager, shared his vision for the City of Oxnard and why Oxnard College holds the key to the city's future. Mayor Zaragoza, who was elected in 2020, reviewed progress on the city's five-year priorities.
While visiting Oxnard City Hall, the Leadership group got to stretch their legs a bit with a brief visit to the city's Traffic Control Center. It was fascinating to see real-time videos from traffic signals throughout the city and hear from the engineers tasked with keeping those hundreds of lights operating.
In February, Oxnard Leadership '23 will learn even more about traffic, transit, and development projects during their session on Land Use and Transportation.
Oxnard Leadership Class of 2023, generously supported by the Gene Haas Foundation
Alphabetically by first name: Alexis Minie, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme; Anne Amon, DRAGG; Cecelia Perez, City of Oxnard; Dolores Lopez, Ventura County Transportation Commission; Heather D'Anna Nichols, City of Oxnard; Jazmin Charlesworth, City of Oxnard; John Garcia, Community Action of Ventura County; Jordan Cruz, Bayer Crop Sciences; Nancy Mendez, Nancy Mendez Law; Ryan DeLapp, WVCBA; Ryan Underlin, Safeport; Samantha Gonzales, Integration Works, Inc.; Samantha Stumpf, Oxnard Performing Arts Center; Timea Szavo, Silicon Resourcing Solutions; and Vanessa Valerio, Women's Economic Venture