Speakers

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Sharon Suarez

Sharon Suarez

Partner, Gibbs Giden law firm in Los Angeles

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.

Shawn Jones

Shawn Jones

Director of Business Services, Citrus CCD

Shawn Jones has over 20 years of experience in community college administration. He is currently serving as the Director of Business Services at Citrus Community College District, where he is responsible for purchasing, contract management, risk management, transportation and warehouse services. In previous roles, he served as the Interim Director of Fiscal Services at Palomar Community College District and the Accounting Manager at Cerritos Community College District. Shawn’s experience in these previous roles has given him a breadth of knowledge in the areas of district fiscal operations. Shawn participates in the Statewide Association of Community Colleges (SWACC) and is currently serving on the Human Resources Committee. He graduated from California State University East Bay with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and then went on to Texas A&M University-Commerce where he received a Master of Business Administration.

Sherman Wong

Sherman Wong

Principal, Public Agency Law Group

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.

Sherman Wong

Sherman Wong

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.

Stephanie O’Brien

Stephanie O’Brien

Managing Partner/CEO at Collegium

Evolving from the still thriving practice she launched in 2003, Stephanie
founded Collegium Strategies, LLC as a platform to extend her
knowledge and insight and to empower other specialists in the facility
planning-related field.
She founded her first company, Dovetail Decision Consultants, Inc.
following a 20-year career in Facilities, Furniture Planning and Sales
Management, specifically to assist publicly funded entities with crucial
aspects of FF&E planning, procurement and implementation as a client
representative.
Stephanie’s career journey began at Bechtel in Los Angeles where she
helped to shepherd a 500,000 square foot new headquarters building for
the LA Power Division. She went on to lead the systems planning team
for a Herman Miller dealership, and manage the interiors team of another.
She then focused on sales and sales leadership with furniture
manufacturers, culminating that portion of her career as a District
Manager for one of the industry’s largest manufacturers of educational
furniture.
She is formally educated in Interior Design (Foothill College and CSU Long Beach), Project Leadership (UC
Berkeley Extension) and a wide range of business-related leadership programs (Academy Leadership, Major
Account Management, etc.).
Stephanie is the proud parent of a recent community college and university graduate, and is a passionate
supporter of public education. She has spent 22 years serving her community institutions as an elected
official.

Susan Langston

Susan Langston

Director of Account Management, Kennan

Susan Langston, Director of Account Management, joined the Keenan family in 1999 and has expertise in both Loss Control and Account Management. Susan manages several JPAs and is responsible for leading program renewals, providing direct client support, reviewing policies and tackling various client coverage inquiries related to contracts. In addition to client support, Susan supervises a team of Account Coordinators and Account Managers in Keenan’s Corporate office and is involved in statewide department projects, training, guidance, and team consistency with a focus on certificates of insurance and public entity risk sharing pool administration.

She is a graduate of UC Santa Cruz with a bachelor’s degree in Literature and Psychology. Susan also obtained an Associate in Risk Management–Public Entities (ARM-P) designation, is a Certified School Risk Manager (CSRM), and is a licensed Fire & Casualty Agent/Broker.