Staff

OCEA’s professional staff emphasizes team work, cooperation, heart and determination to fight for working people.

Leadership

Charles Barfield

General Manager

Charles Barfield (aka CB) is the General Manager for the Orange County Employees Association and works directly with the union's 19-member board of directors to carry out the union's vision and policies. He leads County and Court negotiations and also oversees OCEA's operations including staff for OCEA, Velece and the OCEA Health & Welfare Trust. He loves the outdoors, particularly when he has a golf club in his hands. CB has been in the labor relations field since graduating from college in 1985 where his primary area of study was labor relations/collective bargaining. He leads OCEA's Leadership Team.

Tim Steed

Assistant General Manager

Tim oversees strategic organizing campaigns that focus on developing leaders from among OCEA’s ranks, increasing the strength and solidarity among OCEA members, and adding new members to the OCEA family. Tim joined OCEA in 2007 after working as a staff member in a number of political campaigns and working on several union organizing drives throughout California. He also serves on the Executive Board for the California Labor Federation, representing 2.1 million workers. Tim is a member of OCEA’s Leadership Team.

Tia Grasso

General Counsel

Tia Grasso is the General Counsel for the Orange County Employees Association. As General Counsel, she provides professional guidance to OCEA’s Board of Directors, General Manager and staff. Tia oversees all OCEA litigation and arbitration, acts as liaison and counsel to the trustees of the OCEA Health & Welfare Trust, and is a member of the OCEA Leadership Team. Tia’s previous employers include the OC Superior Court and OC Fire Authority, agencies with OCEA-represented workers.

Don Drozd

Senior Counsel

Don has been with OCEA since 1995. As Senior Counsel, he provides professional guidance to OCEA's General Counsel, the OCEA Board of Directors, General Manager and staff. He helps to oversee all OCEA litigation and arbitration, acts as liaison and counsel to the trustees of the OCEA Health & Welfare Trust, and is a member of the OCEA Leadership Team.

Jennifer Betancourt

Controller

Jennifer manages the union’s budget and ensures effective internal controls are implemented over OCEA’s accounting and financial procedures. She also manages the Velece Insurance Corporation, a full-service insurance agency that is a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of OCEA. Jennifer also oversees the finances of OCEA’s Health and Welfare Trust. She is a member of OCEA’s Leadership Team. Jennifer is a loving mother of three and likes to use her free time to give back to her community.

Veronica Rodarte

Operations Manager

Veronica began her career at OCEA in 2017. She oversees the OCEA Labor Relations team as Operations Manager. She is also a resource for member leaders, providing education, worksite support and organizing guidance for union members. Veronica received her BA in Political Science from UCSD and has a Master in Public Administration from CSULB. She enjoys volunteering in her community, traveling, trying new cuisines, and watching the Anaheim Angels.

Kevin Rush

Creative Director

Kevin began his career at OCEA in 2008 bringing expertise in graphics design, visual communication, and website development to his job. He produces an array of literature, including OCEA Employee magazine, brochures, flyers and mail flair. Kevin also shoots photos and manages large scale communications productions. And he can generally fix anything that’s broken.

Staff

Jared Anderson

Organizing Specialist

Jared Anderson joined OCEA’s Organizing Team in the Spring of 2023. Previously, he worked in the guitar industry, starting off as a polisher for guitar bodies before moving his way up to the stock room. He also worked for the City of Long Beach in the maintenance division, helping to upkeep facilities across the City. Jared’s duties at OCEA include running OCEA hot dog events, participating in organizing events and general maintenance at OCEA headquarters. In his free time, he is a bassist in a heavy metal band, and enjoys skateboarding, collecting vinyl and fixing old Dodge Mopars.

Mitchell Enright

Director of Information Technology

Mitch directs OCEA Information Technology operations providing the organization with critical data services. He also is the principal technology advisor to the organization and implements database security policies and procedures. Mitch also provides technology services to OCEA’s Health & Welfare Trust. In his free time, Mitch enjoys hiking, trail running and photography.

Carolyn Gasga

Labor Relations Specialist

Bio coming soon

Alisha Greene

Senior Organizer

Alisha is a part of OCEA’s Organizing Team and helps build union strength by building membership, recruiting workplace leaders, and moving members into action. Alisha has a Degree in Communications from Chapman University and uses her social media skills to get the word out to members. She helps OCEA build power in the political arena by running member-to-member phone banks that help involve all OCEA members in decisions that matter to them. As part of the Organizing Team, Alisha is there to make sure members are supported and involved in actions that impact them.

Louis “Louie” Gurrola

Labor Relations Representative

Louis was hired by OCEA in August 2022. He previously worked for the County of Orange, starting in 2018 as Extra Help doing Training Coordinator work at the Registrar of Voters. He became a permanent staff member at Orange County Probation in 2019, working as an Office Technician. In 2021 he transferred to Social Services Agency where he started as an Information Processing Technician before promoting to Office Supervisor the same year. He served as the Chair of the Labor Management Committee at the Probation Dept. and later helped start the LMC at Children and Family Services within SSA. In his role at OCEA, Louis assists the union’s Labor Relations Representatives with member intake calls, LMCs and forums, site visits and more.

Sunny Hermosillo

Records Management Technician

Sunny began her career with OCEA in 2000 assigned to Anaheim Municipal Employees Association. She transferred to OCEA Headquarters in 2007. Sunny has held many roles including Special Events, Admin Assistant and more. In her current role as Records Management Technician, Sunny completes classification and compensation studies for all OCEA negotiations; archives all of OCEA’s files dating back decades; maintains grievance logs; and internally organizes OCEA records.

Kristina Hernandez

Senior Staff Accountant

Kris joined the team in October 2019 and is responsible for keeping OCEA’s balance sheets and financial reporting accurate, as well as assisting in preparing monthly financial reports, bank deposits, and maintaining our general ledger. She graduated with a degree in accounting from CSUF. Kris is a United States Marine Corps veteran and stays connected within the military community through volunteering at the USO. She loves sports and attends Dodger games often and tries to get a few football and hockey games in throughout the season. Family time is important to her and she tries to spend as much time with them as possible.

Jona Lee

Office Specialist

Jona started at OCEA in September 2019 as an Office Specialist assigned to the Anaheim Municipal Employees Association. She works with AMEA’s Executive Board, takes care of union members and makes sure the office runs smoothly. Jona previously worked as an office administrator for more than 15-years and was recognized for that work by the City of Fullerton as a “Women and Minority-Owned” business. She has a degree in Food Science and enjoys crafting and testing brand new recipes She is also a licensed real estate agent. Jona is a proud mom of three kids and enjoys attending a Dodgers game or volunteering as a weekend softball/baseball mom.

Charles Leon

Labor Relations Representative

Charles “Chaz” Leon joined OCEA as a Labor Relations Representative in February 2021. His duties include representing OCEA members in grievances and disciplinary appeals. He also provides advice and guidance regarding Labor Relations matters and negotiations with a focus on his assigned agencies. Charles worked for over three years in Labor Relations in San Diego and earned his J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law. In his spare time, Charles enjoys playing music, martial arts, and exploring the great outdoors.

Sylvia Luna

Office Specialist

Sylvia joined OCEA in February, 2019 and helps to manage our Special Events ticket sales. She previously worked for the City of Placentia in the Community Services Dept. and grew up right here in Santa Ana. What she loves most about her job is helping working families take advantage of the discounts and promotions offered by OCEA to the region’s most popular attractions. Sylvia says it’s all about creating memories. She is a die-hard Lakers fan and makes sure to wear a lot of purple and gold during basketball season.

Linda Meyer

Labor Relations Representative

Linda joined OCEA in 2022. She provides guidance regarding labor relations matters and negotiations at her assigned agencies and represents OCEA members in grievances and disciplinary appeals. Linda previously represented union members in the fields of healthcare, education, municipal government, and corrections and mental health. She became involved in the Labor Movement while working as an editor and reporter at a newspaper in the Midwest. She was integral in organizing her newsroom and unionizing—in time giving her the desire to ensure working people have a voice, which set her on a new career path. She enjoys strategy board games, reading and science-fiction/fantasy movies.

Tracie Mills

Member Benefits Representative

Tracie is part of the OCEA Benefits Team. With almost three decades of experience at OCEA, she assists members with their benefits as they walk through the door as new hires all the way through to retirement. Tracie can assist any member through the details of the dental, vision, disability and life insurance benefit plans and do it with a smile. She is a life-long cinema fan with a head full of movie trivia.

Joanna Nachurski

Program Coordinator

Joanna manages OCEA’s Special Events programs including “Member Only” seminars and events aimed at improving the personal and professional lives of OCEA members. She coordinates monthly meetings for the OCEA Board of Directors and Stewards to name just two. Joanna also runs the discount tickets program, making theme parks and other attractions affordable for members. She is relentless in identifying discount deals that save OCEA members money. Joanna also coordinates OCEA’s annual Health Fair, the Veterans Day celebration and the Holistic Lifestyle Mini Fair.

Mariela Ortiz

Labor Relations Specialist

Bio coming soon

Niyaz Pirani

Communications Director

Niyaz worked for OCEA from 2010 to 2015—first as Communications Specialist and then as Communications Organizer—before leaving to start his own public relations business. He returned to OCEA in early 2022 as Communications Director, overseeing OCEA’s social media presence, internal and external communications, media relations, photography, videography and more. An organizer at heart, Niyaz uses digital and real-world communications tools to strengthen the union and inform members in entertaining and educational ways. He is a former OC Register and OC Weekly reporter, and his work has also been published in the NY Times, LA Times, and more.

Adam Ribota

Office Specialist

Adam configures meeting space and equipment for a demanding schedule of meetings and community activities. He is also an OCEA ambassador as chief grill man on OCEA’s famous hot dog wagon. Adam is a member of OCEA’s “street team,” making him one of the staff’s most visible members. Adam loves music and performs frequently with various bands as a singer and bass player.

Carlos Rosales

Lead Organizer

Carlos leads OCEA’s Organizing Team in making sure the union remains a strong, member-driven organization. He does this by staying visible in the workplace, listening to member concern and inspiring confidence from the Stewards and workplace leaders the Organizing Team works with every day. Carlos and his team work hard to keep the members informed, involved and engaged in OCEA’s many organizing activities. He’s also a die-hard Raiders fan.

Michelle Rubio

Senior Labor Relations Representative

Michelle began her career at OCEA in 2018, but her introduction to the union came in 2013 as an intern on the Communications Team. Michelle assists members regarding OCEA programs and represents them in grievances and disciplinary appeals. She also provides advice and guidance regarding labor relations matters with a focus on her assigned agencies. Michelle received her BA in Sociology with a minor in Labor Studies from UCSB. When she’s not writing poetry, you can find her curled up with a book in the corner of a hipster coffee shop.

Jessica Salazar

Labor Relations Specialist

Jessica began with OCEA helping members at the Anaheim Municipal Employees Association fight for fair wages and benefits. She previously worked for the Building & Construction Trades Council. Jessica is part of the Employee Relations Team and assists with member questions and concerns, providing guidance and resources to members regrading labor relations matters, grievances, and negotiations. She enjoys concerts and going to the beach with her dogs.

Kerensa Schupmann

Labor Relations Representative

Kerensa worked for 10 years at Orange County Social Services Agency, most recently as a Senior Social Services Supervisor. She was on union leave from April to July 2022 working to organize OCEA members as part of OCEA’s campaign to improve workplace conditions for Senior Social Workers. She was subsequently hired in her position as a Labor Relations Representative in November 2022. Kerensa provides guidance regarding labor relations matters at her assigned agencies and represents OCEA members in grievances and disciplinary appeals. Kerensa received her BA in Communication Studies from Iowa State University and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Cal State Fullerton. She has always been a fierce advocate for others and is excited to continue that mission at OCEA. In her free time, she enjoys camping with her family.

Heather Sutherland

Executive Assistant to the General Manager

Heather provides technical and specialized executive-level support and oversight on various projects for the General Manager, Leadership Team and the Board of Directors. She has 30-years of administrative experience in the legal, higher education and labor relations fields. Heather also works with the employee relations representatives to maintain file accuracy and integrity.

Amy Trinh

Member Benefits Representative

Amy assists members in matters relating to OCEA-administered benefits, including Health and Welfare benefits and supplemental benefits. She also assists others who are entitled to OCEA-administered benefits. Amy has a keen interest in interior design and loves to attend the opening of new home developments with her husband.

Barbara Wilcox

Member Benefits Representative

Barbara assists members in matters relating to OCEA-administered benefits, including Health and Welfare benefits and supplemental benefits. She also assists others who are entitled to OCEA-administered benefits. Barbara is one of OCEA’s longest serving workers having dedicated her career to the working families of OCEA. She enjoys spending time with her family and watching her granddaughter play soccer.

Velece Insurance

Doug Dittrich

Velece Insurance Agent

Doug is a licensed Insurance Agent for Velece Insurance Corporation, serving OCEA members, county and court employees, and the general public. Velece insurance provides for all home, auto, and commercial insurance needs.

Sonja Lindquist

Velece Insurance Agent

Sonja is a licensed Insurance Agent for Velece Insurance Corporation, serving OCEA members, county and court employees, and the general public. Velece insurance provides for all home, auto, and commercial insurance needs.