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.

Don Drozd

General Counsel

Don has been with OCEA since 1995. As General Counsel, he provides professional guidance to the OCEA Board of Directors, General Manager and staff. He also 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.

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.

Cathy Yatch

Administrative Manager

Cathy ensures all aspects of OCEA’s building and property are in order, and makes sure the union runs smoothly each day. She oversees OCEA Special Events and Discounts programs and the administrative support team. She is also a member of OCEA's Leadership Team. Cathy also produces two of OCEA’s biggest annual events: The Health Fair and the Veterans + Labor: Partners in Service celebration on Veterans Day. Cathy loves the ocean and enjoys being on a boat on the water.

Bridgette Washington

Operations Manager

Bridgette began her career at OCEA in 2016 coming to us from the Teamsters where she represented public employees in San Bernardino County, Cities and Special Districts. Having worked in Human Resources in both public and private sector for over twelve (12) years along with over ten (10) years in Labor, she prides herself on her understanding both sides of the table. She obtained her degree in Legal Studies and Human Relations. Bridgette assists members regarding OCEA programs, represents them in grievances and disciplinary appeals and negotiate contracts. She also provides advice and guidance regarding labor relations matters with a focus on her assigned agencies. And she is a resource for member leaders, providing education, worksite support and organizing guidance to OCEA members. Bridgette enjoys camping, spending time with family and friends, and performing spoken word at local venues.

Staff

Saliem Aregaye

Labor Relations Representative

Saliem began her career at OCEA in 2017 and comes to us with organizing and representation experience working for SEIU members in the fields of education and healthcare. She assists members regarding OCEA programs, represents them in grievances and disciplinary appeals and negotiates contracts. Saliem also provides advice and guidance regarding labor relations matters with a focus on her assigned agencies. And she is a resource for workplace leaders providing education, worksite support and organizing guidance to OCEA members. Saliem earned her BA from CSU Long Beach. She enjoys spending time with her family, music, and traveling.

Gaston "Gus" Castellanos

Communications

Gaston “Gus” Castellanos ensures OCEA is communicating effectively and efficiently with members, the media and the community. Gus also manages OCEA’s social media program and is responsible for implementing strategic communications programs. Gus previously worked for the U.S. Congress, where he served as an Orange County representative as a District Director. He loves photography and likes nothing more than shooting a workplace action or protest.

Danielle Chau

Labor Relations Specialist

Danielle joined OCEA in 2018 as an Organizer helping to lead our new member application drive. She transitioned to labor relations the following February. Danielle learned advocacy by taking on a public-school bureaucracy to secure the right education program for one of her kids. Danielle grew up in New Jersey but is now a confirmed Californian after moving here in 1998. She studied math at CSUF before entering the corporate world as a customer service supervisor. Danielle believes everyone needs to have a voice on the job and considers it a privilege to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves.

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.

Raul Franco

Office Specialist

Raul Franco officially joined OCEA’s Organizing Team this summer but he’s been a part of the union family since 2012. Former General Manager Nick Berardino hired him to start a wellness program for OCEA staff – something Raul was qualified to do as a former boxer with 31 professional bouts under his belt. Along the way, the Long Beach, CA won two titles. Raul began his new career at OCEA going out on member site visits and helping to run OCEA’s famous hot dog wagon. He loves to spend his spare time with his family including a new baby girl.

Belle Franco

Office Specialist

Belle brings her administrative skills to a variety of organizational support functions at OCEA including data entry, file documentation and integrity, and making sure OCEA’s archive is up to date. She assists members at the OCEA reception desk, and works throughout all OCEA departments to keep the organization running smoothly. Belle is very active with the kids in her church’s youth ministry and loves to prepare healthy lifestyle recipes.

Alisha Greene

Administrative Assistant

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.

Sunny Hermosillo

Administrative Assistant

Sunny began her career with OCEA in 2000 assigned to Anaheim Municipal Employees Association. She transferred to OCEA headquarters in 2007. Sunny answers phones, distributes mail and faxes, mails out welcome letters to new members, and creates, maintains, and closes files for labor relations staff. She is a multi-skilled multi-tasker and it’s a good thing because she is the kind of parent/volunteer school principals dream about.

Kristina Hernandez

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 is currently completing her bachelor’s degree in accounting at 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.

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.

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.

Aaron Peardon

Senior Labor Relations Representative

Aaron began his career at OCEA in 2005 after working as an Orange County Superior Court Processing Specialist. He assists members regarding OCEA programs, represents them in grievances and disciplinary appeals and negotiates contracts. Aaron also provides advice and guidance regarding labor relations matters with a focus on his assigned agencies. Aaron studied history in college with a BA from Pepperdine and a MA from UNLV. He is a resource for member leaders, providing education, worksite support and organizing guidance to OCEA members. He is a die-hard sports fan and especially loves the Green Bay Packers, as well as any Little League team where his two sons are on the roster.

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.

Veronica Rodarte

Labor Relations Representative

Veronica began her career at OCEA in 2017 after working for the City of Placentia’s Community Services Dept. She assists members regarding OCEA programs and represents them in grievances and disciplinary appeals. Veronica also provides advice and guidance regarding labor relations matters with a focus on her assigned agencies. She is a resource for member leaders, providing education, worksite support and organizing guidance to OCEA 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 play.

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

Labor Relations Specialist

Michelle began her career at OCEA in 2018, but her introduction to the union came in 2013 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.

Kevin Rush

Communications Manager

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.

Jessica Salazar

Office Specialist

For the last six years, OCEA’s Jessica Salazar has been helping members at the Anaheim Municipal Employees Association fight for fair wages and benefits. Before that, she worked for the L.A. Building Trades Council. This year, she transitioned to OCEA headquarters as a full time Administrative Assistant. Jessica believes deeply that working people should be valued and deserve fairness for delivering excellent public services. Labor has been Jessica’s career focus. At home, she loves spending time with her two dogs - a dachshund mix and a German Shepard mix. Welcome to OCEA’s famous Center Hall, Jessica.

Heather Sutherland

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.

Kate Wolf

Labor Relations Representative

Kate began her career at OCEA in 2016 after serving as a Congressional campaign Field Director. She also has private sector experience which includes preparing bid proposals for a major civil engineering firm. Kate 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. Kate has a BA in Cultural/Political Anthropology from UC Santa Cruz. She’s an almond croissant connoisseur and an all-around foodie.

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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.