Select Page

Economic Summit | March 7, 2017 – Innovative Solutions an Economic and Community Update

Economic Summit | March 7, 2017 – Innovative Solutions an Economic and Community Update

PROGRAM UPDATED – RSVP TODAY ONLY A FEW SEATS LEFT a production of Hispanic Lifestyle along with the support of Wells Fargo Bank, City of Menifee and our location host sponsor Mt. San Jacinto College are pleased to present Innovation Solutions an Economic and Community Update.  Our program includes a National & Regional Economic Update, Panel Discussions on Innovative Solutions on Housing and Business.  We have invited community and business leaders for a post-event networking event.

WHAT: Innovative Solutions Economic and Community Update
WHEN: Wednesday, March 7, 2018
WHERE: Mt. San Jacinto College “Menifee Campus”
TIME: 3:00pm – Post Networking Event: 5:30pm
WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Business Owners and Professionals, Community Leaders, Elected Officials, and Community Advocates.
COST: Be Our Guest. You must RSVP at

Mayor, City of Menifee – Neil Winter
Superintendent/President of Mt. San Jacinto College – Roger W. Schultz
Gina Gonzalez, MA, – Economic Development Manager City of Menifee

3:00 pm – CHECK IN

Mark Vitner, Managing Director and Senior Economist at Wells Fargo. Presentation Topic –  “National Scope, Local & Regional Implications”

Scott Sirois – General Manager,  Soboba Band Luiseño Indians at Soboba Casino

Lisa Brandl – Chief Operating Officer, County of Riverside

4:30 pm 

Panel of Nonprofit Community Based Organizations and Storytelling on Innovative Programs: Housing, Small Business, and Workforce Development


Moderator – Aaron Russell, Assistant Vice President, Residential Lending Branch Manager for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

  • Post Networking Event featuring Community and Business Leaders


Mayor City of Menifee, NEIL WINTER - BIO

Born in Lynwood CA but grew up all over the country in places as far north as Minot North Dakota, diverse areas like Little Rock Arkansas, Oklahoma City, Raytown Missouri, Springfield Illinois, and Colorado Springs Colorado to name a few. We finally made it back to California for my high school and college years. Graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in Political Science but went into teaching and coaching before going into the corporate world with Pitney Bowes back in 1982. Did the corporate relocation game moving up and down the California Coast as well as Chicago where I made it back to California once again moving to Laguna Niguel where we lived for 10 years. In 2005 we saw the boom in Orange County housing costs and took advantage to “cash out” and move to Menifee. Finally after thirty two years with Pitney I retired and realized I may have pulled the trigger too soon. It took me 46 years to go back to my college roots and jumped into the world of politics bringing me to the Menifee Mayoral position.

Married for 38 years to my wife Debby with two grown children and two grandkids, we have made many friends and connections making Menifee our home and hometown!

Dr. ROGER W. SCHULTZ, Superintendent/President Mt. San Jacinto College - BIO

Roger W. Schultz is the Superintendent/President of Mt. San Jacinto College, a position he has held since 2008. He joined MSJC in 2001 to fill the position of Vice President of Student Services. He also served as interim Vice President of Instruction at the college, as well as the executive director of the MSJC Foundation. Mt San Jacinto College is the fastest growing community college in the state and currently serves more than 26,000 students throughout a 1700 square mile district with five instruction sites. The District has received numerous institutional awards including the Press-Enterprise Best of Inland Empire Readers’ Choice Best College or School for 8 consecutive years and has been recognized as one of the top 150 colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute.

Dr. Schultz received a bachelor of arts in broadcast journalism from the University of Southern California, a master’s degree in communication management from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication and a doctorate in Leadership for Higher Education from Capella University. Dr. Schultz serves on a number of community groups throughout the district including the Murrieta Temecula Group, the Monday Morning Group, the Hemet/San Jacinto Action Group, the Central County United Way, the Pass Economic Development Agency Board, the Capella University Community College Advisory Council and the Southwest County Economic Development Agency Board. He is the incoming chair of the inland empire region 9 CEO group and a member of the statewide community college CEO Board, and also serves on the Executive Council of the Inland Empire/Desert Regional Career Technical Education Consortium.

Dr. Schultz represents MSJC on the City of Murrieta Successor Agency Oversight Board and previously served as a member/officer of the Menifee Chamber and board member of the San Jacinto Valley Academy charter school.

Dr. Schultz’s experience in higher education dates back to 1988, when he worked at the University of Southern California for several years. He also served as Dean of Admissions, Records and International Education at Long Beach City College.

MARK VITNER, Managing Director and Senior Economist at Wells Fargo - BIO

Mark Vitner is a managing director and senior economist at Wells Fargo, responsible for tracking U.S. and regional economic trends. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, he also writes for the company’s Monthly Economic Outlook report and the Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary, and he provides regular updates on the housing markets, commercial real estate, regional economies, consumer spending, and issues impacting small business. Mark joined a Wells Fargo predecessor institution in 1993.

Before that, he spent nine years as an economist for Barnett Banks in Jacksonville, Florida. Mark’s commentary has been featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and many other publications. Originally from Atlanta, Mark earned a B.B.A. in economics from the University of Georgia and an M.B.A. from the University of North Florida. He has completed further graduate work in economics at the University of Florida. He also completed the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) Advanced Training in Economics program at Carnegie Mellon University. Mark is a member of NABE and is also a member of that group’s inaugural Certified Business Economist class.

Mark is a past president and co-founder of the NABE Charlotte chapter, The Charlotte Economics Club. He serves as a distinguished lecturer and practitioner at the University of Georgia. He is a member of the American Economic Association, the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, and the Western Economic Association. He also chaired the Economic Advisory Council for the California Chamber of Commerce for three years.

He currently serves as the chief economist for the North Carolina chapter of the CCIM Institute, which confers the Certified Commercial Investment Member designation. He is a member of the Blue Chip economic forecasting panel and the Western Blue Chip forecasts panel, and he serves on the Joint Advisory Board of Economists for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

LISA BRANDL, Chief Operating Officer, the County of Riverside - BIO

Lisa Brandl is the Chief Operating Officer for the County of Riverside. Lisa has over 27 years of experience in local government, working on key public policy issues throughout her career, such as Court Facility Transfers, implementation of the County’s Development Impact Fee and Capital Improvement Programs and the dissolution of Redevelopment. Lisa has worked in various departments in the county, such as Information Services, Auditor-Controller, Executive Office, Regional Park and Open-Space District, and the Economic Development Agency.

Prior to her appointment as Chief Operating Officer, Lisa was the Director of the Purchasing and Fleet Services Department, and functioned as the Board of Supervisor’s Agent. She served as Chair for the Riverside County Employee Campaign, and started the first charitable 5k walk/run to benefit the campaign in Indio. She is the current Chair for the Riverside County Oversight Board of the Successor Agency.

Lisa has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from California State University, San Bernardino, a Master of Public Administration from California Baptist University, and is a Certified Public Procurement Officer.

SCOTT SIROIS, General Manager, Soboba Band Luiseño Indians at Soboba Casino - BIO

Scott Sirois started in the gaming industry breaking in as a busboy in 1975 with Boomtown Casino & Hotel just outside Reno, NV. Spending 25 years there he worked in numerous departments and continued working while earning a Bachelor of Science from the University of Nevada, Reno majoring in gaming management and minoring in economics under the mentorship of the late esteemed gaming “guru” professor Bill Eadington.

Scott currently serves as General Manager for Soboba Band Luiseño Indians at Soboba Casino. Prior to that he served as CEO for Desert Diamond Casinos in Tucson, AZ and spent 6 years at Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino in northern California as their GM.

Married for over 30 years to wife Nola, they are the proud parents of three beautiful daughters. Scott is an enrolled member of the Fond du Lac Band of Minnesota Chippewa Indians. 

MELINDA OPPERMAN, Chief Relationship Officer, - BIO

Melinda Opperman is the Chief Relationship Officer at, an executive level position, directing the organization’s financial literacy education initiatives, public relations strategies, compliance and quality assurance programs, and its relationship with grant funders, lending institutions, policy makers, auditors, accreditation entities, and the Board of Directors. is a nationwide 501(c)(3) nonprofit, HUD-approved housing counseling intermediary, and  personal financial education and counseling organization. For over four decades, has delivered an array of Financial Literacy, Credit and Debt Management, and Housing Counseling Programs to individuals across the nation, helping 45,000+ people a year.

Melinda has worked in the nonprofit sector for over twenty years, advocating and developing financial literacy programs that truly move the needle, especially among the most disenfranchised in our communities, from cyclical financial instability and crisis management to financial strength and resilience.  Under Melinda’s leadership the organization has received more than a dozen awards in the financial literacy field, including four National Educator of the Year awards (2008, 2012, 2013, and 2014), and being twice honored by the United Way with their Community Initiative Partner Award.  An industry expert, Melinda has been interviewed and quoted over 200 times as an expert source by various print, on-line, radio, and television outlets.

She has been a featured financial expert for the nation’s top media outlets and consumer publications, including: CNNMoney, NPR (National Public Radio), Wall Street Journal, Woman’s Day Magazine, The Economist, Money Magazine, Military Times, and   Melinda developed and launched Mobile Outreach Valuable Education (MOVE) financial education program, serving over 19,000 low- to moderate- income (LMI), minority and historically marginalized individuals, in the first two years of the program. The program typically reach families who are just one paycheck away from losing their apartment, car or home. Melinda was the principal driver of the nationally recognized Financial Instructional Training (FIT) Academy program, a highly accessible, client-friendly distance education learning center (on-line) reaching low-to-moderate income consumers and underserved communities across the United States.

Melinda championed the founding of “Inland Empire Saves” (, after serving as a panelist at the Inland Empire Community Development Forum sponsored by the Community Affairs Offices of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and Office of the Comptroller of Currency. Inland Empire Saves is a research-based social marketing campaign to motivate, support, and encourage families to save money and build wealth. She championed the co-founding of “Los Angeles Saves” with the FDIC.

Melinda is committed to advancing public policies and programs that provide first-time and repeat homebuyers with the education and tools necessary to attain and maintain homeownership. Homeownership is a foundational step in growing financial independence, leading to lifelong benefits for individuals and family members of all ages.   Melinda currently provides vision and leadership at the Homeownership Training Office in National City, the second-oldest city in San Diego County. The population in National City is over 60 percent Latino and the median household income is $39,398. The Homeownership Training Office empowers the families in National City to achieve homeownership by providing financial training, personal credit building, budgeting for home acquisition and ownership, and support in accessing programs which assist families to achieve homeownership. When homeownership is a good option, the Homeownership Training Office helps the family understand different mortgage products and their eligibility for down payment assistance so they may choose the product(s) that best fit their needs.

Melinda is the Managing Editor for’s popular “Consumer Guide to Good Credit.” You can read her blog at: Melinda earned her Bachelor of Science in Consumer Economics, graduating with honors from California State University, Northridge. Melinda’s philosophy is: Financial knowledge is power when it comes to your money! Risk occurs when you don’t know what you are doing with your money. 

HEIDI MARSHALL, Managing Director Riverside County Economic Development Agency (EDA) - BIO

Heidi Marshall works for the County of Riverside as Managing Director for the Economic Development Agency (EDA). Since 2000, when her career with the county began, she has served as the Executive Director of the Housing Authority as well as the Workforce Development Board. As the new Managing Director, Ms. Marshall is responsible for the overall management of EDA, which is approximately 22 divisions including:  Communications and Marketing Division, the Office of Film and Television, the Office of Foreign Trade, Facilities Management, Aviation, etc.

Ms. Marshall is a seasoned public administrator who has over twenty years of experience in non-profit and public sector management.

Ms. Marshall holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master of Science in Public Administration. 

CLEMENTE A. MOJICA, President and CEO, Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services (NPHS) - BIO

Clemente A. Mojica is a social entrepreneur and a community economic development executive with over seventeen years of experience in housing policy, community revitalization, affordable housing development, and has a knack for all things technology. He has leveraged this unique mix of skills to build and manage public and private strategic partnerships that promote the development of sustainable communities and create asset-building opportunities for underserved families and individuals.

Clemente is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer for Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services (NPHS); a multifaceted Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) located in Rancho Cucamonga, California. NPHS focuses its work in five impact areas: Affordable Housing, Neighborhood Revitalization, Community Wealth-Building, Job Creation and Preservation, and Environmental Sustainability. Clemente has worked for three NeighborWorks® America organizations in Southern California throughout his seventeen years of service as a community development professional. From this experience, he has developed a deeper understanding of the needs and priorities for economic growth and affordable housing development, particularly in the Southern California communities of the Inland Empire and Los Angeles and Orange County.

Clemente graduated from the California State University of San Bernardino with a bachelor’s degree (B.A.) in Political Science with a focus on Public Policy. Clemente has resided in the Inland Empire for nearly 30 years and currently lives in the City of Rancho Cucamonga, California.

GINA GONZALEZ, MA, Economic Development Manager City of Menifee - BIO

Gina Gonzalez, MA, Economic Development Manager City of Menifee, Oversee the Operations of the Economic Development Dept and Animal Control, and serve as City Public Information Officer, all under the direction of the City Manager. Responsible for an array of top level city projects and programs including, but not limited to, land acquisitions and conveyances, fire station construction management, police storefront construction management, facility needs assessments, overseeing all city press, marketing, Menifee Matters news guide development and publication, city e-newsletter, economic development e-newsletter, town halls, re-branding efforts, website and citywide community outreach for projects and programs.

Oversee City incentive programs, business expansion and attraction and retention efforts for the City, and anything assigned by the Assistant City Manager or City Manager.

MICHELLE SKILJAN, Executive Director Inland Empire Women's Business Center - BIO

The Inland Empire and Coachella Valley Women’s Business Centers are programs of the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Business and Public Administration at California State University San Bernardino. Ms. Skiljan has an extensive business background which includes nearly 20 years working closely with a small business owner, 3 years experience at the University of California Riverside as Assistant Director – Center for Entrepreneurial Management and Assistant Director – Executive Education overseeing grant funded entrepreneurial programs and 3 years of delivering consulting and training services to small businesses as a Consultant at the Inland Empire SBDC.

During her time at the SBDC, she consulted with over 500 businesses (more than 165 women owned businesses), helping her clients to secure approximately $4 million in loans, venture capital, government contracts, exports, and increases in sales and profitability. Michelle is also a certified NxLevel Instructor, and has taught both short and long term training courses throughout San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. The variety of course subjects cover most of the spectrum of business topics at levels ranging from the beginner to the advanced courses.

AARON RUSSELL, Assistant Vice President, Residential Lending Branch Manager Wells Fargo Home Mortgage - BIO

Aaron Russell serves as an Assistant Vice President, Residential Lending Branch Manager for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in the Southern California Inland Empire Market. Aaron has over 14 years’ experience in the financial services and mortgage banking industry.

He has been with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Since 2010 and has held the positions of Home Mortgage Consultant, Sales Manager, and Branch Manager. Aaron and his team strive to increase homeownership and homebuyer education through various community and in-house activities. These include homebuyer education seminars, community outreach activities, holding various partnerships with housing advocacy groups such as IVAR & EVAR, and maintaining professional education of the abundant home financing options that are available for our customers and communities. His Mortgage Branch and Team embrace customer service at a very high standard and help satisfy customers home ownership needs and also help them succeed financially.

Growing up in the Inland Empire, Aaron attended College at Cal State University San Bernardino and holds two bachelors’ degrees in both Accounting and Finance. He currently resides in the City of Riverside, California. In addition to Aaron helping customers with the dream of homeownership, his hobbies include Snowboarding, Golfing, Fishing, Camping, and other outdoor activities.

KAREN SUAREZ, Community Development Officer Inland Empire Wells Fargo & Company - BIO

Karen Suarez serves as Well Fargo’s Inland Empire Community Relations Consultant focused on Community Development in the areas of Affordable Housing, Small Business Development, Workforce Development and Financial Education. She brings energy and experience in government relations, community development, philanthropy, and nonprofit management to her role.

Karen Suarez is a first generation college graduate with a dual bachelors degree in Psychology and Human Development from California State University, San Bernardino, and a Masters of Science in Higher Education Administration from Florida State University.