Priya Jerome has over 23 years of combined private and public sector experience in managing and overseeing complex supply chain activities globally. Working in the private sector, Priya honed valuable skills in business process improvements to drive overall efficacies and cost savings across the entire supply chain. Over the past 12 years, she has managed the Procurement, Contracting, Central Services and Risk Management activities at two California community college districts, where she successfully implemented web based, fully integrated e-procurement systems and contracts management systems. These implementations were widely recognized for delivering cost, time, process, and productivity efficiencies. Priya joined the South Orange County Community College District (SOCCCD) team as the Executive Director of Procurement, Central Services, and Risk Management in 2018 where she continues to passionately focus her endeavors in providing the best possible educational experience to all students through the services her division provides. She leads a large, centralized division supporting two colleges and the District with a deep understanding of distinctive business needs in education, high currency in codes, statutes and regulations, and a unique private sector perspective for customer service and process improvements. In any given year she oversees an average of 1,500 contracts, 3,600 purchase orders, jointly valued over $210 million and over 25 large publicly procured bids and RFQ&Ps. Priya’s leadership and commitment to excellence has been recognized in the various personal and institutional awards/recognitions she has won. In 2019 she was recognized as the Administrator of the Year at SOCCCD and in 2020 she was recognized as the Southern California Procurement Professional of the Year. In 2021 her District won the much-coveted Orange County Turning Red Tape to Red Carpet Award for Incorporating Innovative Technology for converting SOCCCD into a Fully Online Bidding, Contracting and Public Procurement Organization an effort she spearheaded from start to successful completion. Priya is active in several state organizations in support of community college procurement and risk management initiatives. She is the Vice President of the board for the Protected Insurance Program for Schools and Community Colleges (PIPS), a joint powers authority which is responsible for workers’ compensation insurance claims. She is the Vice Chair of the Underwriting Committee for the Statewide Association of Community Colleges (SWACC), which is responsible for property and liability insurance. She is also a select member of the CollegeBuys program (Foundation for CA Community Colleges, an arm of the CA Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office) advisory group that contributes system-wide towards leveraging combined/streamlining purchasing powers, total cost of ownership, and shared best practices. Within the advisory group, she additionally contributes as a co-chair in the Legislative and Policy Workgroup. Priya holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Queensland Institute of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.
Rebekah Kalleen is a partner at Murdoch, Walrath & Holmes and a legislative advocate for education entities including the Coalition for Adequate School Housing, the Community College Facility Coalition, and the County School Facilities Consortium. She has over fifteen years of experience in the State advocacy sector, helping clients from small associations to large companies navigate the State budget, legislative, and regulatory processes. She previously served as a consultant to school districts participating in the State School Facility Program, assisting them with accessing state grant dollars for facility projects. Rebekah has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Since 2006, Ms. Diaz has made it a mission to work with every PB System™ client to ensure that all users are trained to get maximum usage of the system while complying with their internal purchasing guidelines. Working with everyone from small and local business advocate groups to assigned personnel at large agencies, Ms. Diaz is also responsible for on-site training, refresher training, webinars, and surveys to better serve all PlanetBids clients. Prior to joining PlanetBids, Ms. Diaz worked in the San Jose State University (SJSU) Purchasing Department. She has earned a long list of accolades, including the SARA Gold award from the Dept. of General Services for being the top Small Business and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (SB/DVBE) Advocate of the year, and 3 No Matter What Awards in Excellence and 6 You Make the Difference Awards from SJSU. In 2006, Ms. Diaz was the first recipient of the Most Outstanding BidsOnline™ user award at the 1st Annual PlanetBids Users Conference, proof of her 360° knowledge of the PB System™.
Rodney Taylor’s leadership journey spans 30 years in education beginning in 1991 as the Food Services Director for San Mateo Union High School District/ Compton Unified School District, while most recently retiring as Food and Nutrition Services Director, for the Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, the 10th largest school in the United States. Mr. Taylor takes a vision and makes it reality through sound strategy development. He inspires innovative ideas and concepts, and provides avenues to ensure change is managed effectively. He is an inspirational leader who tells stories that inspire action while at the same time ensures that stakeholders remain engaged in the process and are well-supported when change impacts their daily lives. He believes open and honest communication is essential to maintaining support for the strategy. As a seasoned consultant, Rodney has provided organizations in the public and private sectors with practical strategies that enable change management as an enterprise business capability. Respected as a credible voice in decision making, strategic thinking, innovation, and establishing governance boundaries. Rodney has served on numerous boards such as the California State Board of Food and Agriculture, the University of California (UC0 President’s Advisory Commission for Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Network for a Healthy California’s Executive Committee. Rodney holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills.
Sharon Suarez is a partner at the Gibbs Giden law firm in Los Angeles with over 30 years of experience in public and private construction law. Sharon focuses her practice on representing and counseling public schools and community college districts with respect to construction, facilities, real estate, purchasing, contracts and related matters. Her practice consists of providing advice, consultation and legal services concerning public works and procurement issues, including bidding procedures, alternative project delivery, award of contracts, preparation of construction, construction management, project management, design professional and other consultant agreements, contract administration and close-out and dispute resolution. In the course of representing schools and colleges, Ms. Suarez has worked on a wide range of issues, including site selection and development; documenting and handling real estate transactions including purchase and sale agreements, easements, entitlements, zoning and land use issues; drafting and implementing owner-controlled insurance programs; and managing bidding, contract and claims issues. Ms. Suarez is actively involved in public agency and construction related organizations. She routinely speaks before various construction and facilities related associations and presents workshops and seminars throughout the State of California on topics of interest to schools and community college districts.
Sherman is a principal of Public Agency Law Group. Sherman’s practice is devoted to representing public education institutions in construction, purchasing, facilities and general business matters. He has decades of experience assisting CCDs in navigating the confusing complexities of public procurement laws, rules and regulations. He is a member of the LA County Bar Association and is admitted to practice in all California state courts, all United States District Courts in California and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Theresa Robinson Harris currently serves as Director of Procurement Services at the University of San Diego (USD), where she is responsible for providing strategic direction for procurement operations while working in close collaboration with university constituents to lower costs, increase efficiency, improve compliance, reduce third party risks, and promote diversity, equity and inclusion within the supply chain. She has over 20 years’ experience leading diverse teams of procurement and contract management professionals. Prior to USD she held contracting and procurement positions in both the public and private sectors. She served as President to the National Contract Management Association, San Diego Chapter (NCMA), currently serves as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Chair with the National Association of Educational Procurement (NAEP), and as a Director with CAPPO. She holds a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University.
Tom Macias joined MiraCosta Community College District in March 2004 as the district’s Director of Facilities. His responsibilities include facilities managing the current Measure MM $455M facilities improvement bond program, non-bond capital planning and construction, maintenance and operations, grounds, custodial services, transportation, environmental compliance, hazardous waste management, safety compliance, industrial hygiene, recycling and fire prevention. Mr. Macias’ 30+ years of senior management experience also includes positions held at NCR, National Steel and Shipbuilding, Northern Telecom and Callaway Golf Company. Mr. Macias was born in Denver, Colorado. He graduated in 1982 from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO with a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science in Environmental and Occupational Health. Mr. Macias is also a State of California Registered Environmental Assessor 05262 (REA).