The following are biographies of the speakers who presented at MBEICForum: The Impact of AB 53 for Insurance Companies and Diverse Suppliers, which took place Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Long Beach, California, hosted by SCMSDC- Southern California Minority Supplier Development Council.
Dave Jones– California Insurance Commissioner
Jones was elected on November 2, 2010 with 4.7 million votes. Jones leads the California Department of Insurance (CDI), the largest consumer protection agency in the state, which regulates the $125 billion insurance industry.
Jones served in the California State Assembly from 2004 through 2010, where he chaired the Assembly Health Committee, the Assembly Judiciary Committee and the Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.
Named “Consumer Champion” by the California Consumer Federation in 2008, Jones was also awarded the “Leadership Award” by the Western Center on Law and Poverty. Planned Parenthood, Environment California, the Urban League, Preschool California and CalPIRG have all honored his work. Capitol Weekly named Jones California’s “most effective legislator” other than the Assembly Speaker and the Senate President Pro Tempore. Jones began his career as a legal aid attorney, providing free legal assistance to the poor with Legal Services of Northern California from 1988 to 1995. In 1995, Jones was one of only 13 Americans awarded the prestigious White House Fellowship. He served in the Clinton Administration for three years as a Special Assistant and Counsel to the U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno. Jones served on the Sacramento City Council from 1999 to 2004. Jones graduated with honors from DePauw University, Harvard Law School and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He and his wife, Kim Flores, have two children, Isabelle and William, and live in Sacramento.
- Jose Solorio–Former California Assembly member– who introduced and authored AB 53- currently Candidate for State Senate 2014
- Michael Gunning
Vice President– Personal Insurance Federation of California (PIFC)
- Melanie V. Ramil
Chief, External Affairs– Office of California State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, California Department of Insurance (CDI)
Ms. Ramil currently serves as Chief of External Affairs for the Office of California State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones at the California Department of Insurance. In this new role at the Department she heads the Department’s Consumer Education and Outreach Bureau, Office of the Ombudsman, California’s Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program, and Commissioner Jones’ priority initiative, the Insurance Diversity Program. She will lead California’s efforts around diversity issues in the insurance industry, including its Insurance Diversity Task Force and implementation of Assembly Bill 53 (the first ever mandated report of insurers on their supplier diversity efforts). Ms. Ramil has served Commissioner Jones for seven years, including the last two as Special Assistant and, prior to that, five years as a Field Representative in his State Assembly District Office. She is passionate about economic and social justice work in the communities of color and thus finds the trends in supplier diversity exciting and promising. In the State Assembly, she worked closely with Sacramento Asian Pacific Islander community and has served in board leadership positions for a number of civic and nonprofit boards committed to advocacy work, youth mentorship, voter registration and civil rights issues.
The son of migrant farm workers, Trustee Solorio has gone from laboring as a teenager in the fields alongside his parents, to earning a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University, to now representing central Orange County on the Board of Trustees for the Rancho Santiago Community College District, a new LBA International Business Resource Partner. Trustee Solorio focuses his efforts on education, job creation, public safety and infrastructure improvements. To protect those opportunities for others in central Orange County, as Trustee, he plans on working to keep Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College affordable and accessible, strengthening relationships with local employers to maximize job placements for students, partnereing with the faculties to ensure they have the support and academic tools necessary to provide quality and cutting-edge instruction to students, and modernizing facilities and classrooms so our students have the best technology and skills to compete in today’s economy and improve their chances to transfer to four year universities. Trustee Solorio has 10 years of public affairs, marketing, public relations, research and communications experience. He uses those skills in his Public Affairs and Marketing consulting business to help organizations and businesses, large and small, tackle tough issues and communicate their messages effectively.
Aside from serving as the Vice President for the Personal Insurance Federation of California (PIFC), Gunning represents PIFC member companies before the California State Legislature and California Department of insurance (CDI) on personal lines insurance issues including: auto, homeowners, community investment and finance. Mr. Gunning is a 20-year veteran of finance, investments, public policy and community development in California, serving as Managing Director for the Nehemiah Community Reinvestment Fund (NCRF) before joining PIFC. While at the CDI, Mr. Gunning was Director of the California Organized Investment Network (COIN). He was also a policy consultant for the California Legislature, Assembly Republican Office of Policy in the Insurance and Banking committeess. Formerly Vice President, California Public Finance Office of George K. Baum & Company, Mr. Gunning was Executive Assistant to the Treasurer of the State of Missouri from 1985 to 1989, while active in the Missouri Housing and Development Commission.
Mr. Gunning holds a BA in Political Science and History from Claremont McKenna College and an MA from Claremont Graduate School in Public Policy. He is a Coro Fellow, a published author and holds the 1999 Achievement Award from the Black Insurance Professional Association. Mr. Gunning lives in Elk Grove with his wife, Kelly, and their daughters, Elon and Emma.
Ruben A. Smith– Managing Shareholder of AlvaradoSmith, a Professional Corporation
Mr. Smith is the Managing Shareholder of the Firm AlvaradoSmith, a Professional Corporation- an LBA Member Company. He represents clients in a wide range of commercial, financial and real estate transactional matters in both the United States and internationally. Mr. Smith has extensive experience representing public and private entities and financial institutions in an array of real estate, land use, environmental, redevelopment, affordable housing, transportation, general corporate and regulatory matters in both the United Staes and internationally. Mr. Smith has represented various universities, community colleges, school districts and charter schools and served as the General Counsel for one of the largest school districts in California. Mr. Smith previously served in the White House as Staff Assistant to the Special Assistant to the President for Hispanic Affairs and has worked for various clients drafting legislation for municipalities and the State of California.