OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (Nov. 20, 2018) – Governor-elect Kevin Stitt today announced the expansion of nine additional members to Oklahoma’s Turnaround, the transition team for the Stitt administration, and the chairs for each policy advisory committee.
“We are excited for the talented Oklahomans who continue to join Oklahoma’s Turnaround,” said Governor-elect Kevin Stitt. “We are ending politics as usual because of the Oklahomans who are willing to step forward and give their valuable time to assist with recruitment and with developing bold policy directives for the 2019 Legislative session.”
The nine new executive team members are as follows:
Gen. Rita Aragon served as the Oklahoma Secretary of Veterans Affairs from 2010 to 2014. She then served as the Special Assistant to the Governor on Military and Veterans Affairs from 2014 to 2016. Gen. Aragon is a retired United States Air National Guard two-star general. Her final active military post was as the Air National Guard assistant to the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff Manpower and Personnel.
Blayne Arthur is the Executive Director for the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation. She previously served the state as Deputy Commissioner for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry from 2011 to 2016.
Jill Castilla led the fastest bank turnaround in the nation without adding capital and now leads Citizens Bank of Edmond as President and CEO. Castilla serves on the Boards of Directors of American Bankers Association, Peppers Ranch foster care community, Metafund, Edmond and Oklahoma City Chambers of Commerce and the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City. Castilla served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard and is an Army wife and Army mom.
Michelle Choquette currently serves as the Chief Human Resources Officer at Gateway Mortgage Group, leading recruitment, compensation, benefits, employee relations, learning and development and internal communications. With 27 years of experience, Choquette previously served as Vice President of HR at one of the top car rental companies in the country and led HR for seven years at Community Action Project Tulsa (CAP), a non-profit agency focused on breaking the cycle of poverty.
Dr. Amy Emerson is a Tulsa-based pediatrician and the area medical champion for Reach Out and Read’s Oklahoma chapter. Reach Out and Read is an early literacy intervention program embedded in medical practices. In the Tulsa area, the program has served as an important component of the Talking is Teaching community-wide initiative sponsored by the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF). Emerson is active in areas of foster and adoption care support, as well as serving as medical consultant for high quality early learning centers such as Educare.
Brian Hill is the founder and CEO of Works24 and The Cedar Gate.
Fred Mendoza is an Oklahoma City based business and civic leader and a pioneer in creating Hispanic Private Sector community initiatives. Formerly based in Nashville and Dallas, he currently owns an artist talent management, production and marketing company where he has worked with numerous country and rock and roll legends.
Gene McKown is co-owner and president of development for Ideal Homes and longtime Norman philanthropist.
Monte Tucker is a fourth-generation farmer and rancher from Sweetwater. Tucker serves as President of the Roger Mills County Farm Bureau, a member of the state board of directors of Oklahoma Farm Bureau, and a volunteer fireman in Sweetwater. Tucker is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a degree in Animal Science.
The seven chairs for each policy advisory committee are as follows:
Economic Growth Committee Chair: Lieutenant Governor-elect Matt Pinnell, who also serves on Oklahoma’s Turnaround executive team.
Education Committee Chair: Michael Rogers served in the House of Representatives from 2014-2018 representing Broken Arrow and District 98. Rogers served as the Chair of the Common Education Committee, carried the teacher pay-raise bill last session, and played a leadership role in the passage of HB1010xx to fund the teacher pay increase. He has also served on numerous national boards and commissions including the Southern Regional Education Board as well as the Education Commission of the States.
Government Efficiency Committee Chair: Mike Mazzei, who also serves on Oklahoma’s Turnaround executive team.
Health Committee Chair: Marshall Snipes is a past chair and current member of the Board of Directors of Integris Health System, Inc. He is the Chair of the Board of Directors of Quality Alliance Assurance Company, a medical malpractice insurance company and a Board Member of Sterling Dental North America, a regional prepaid dental plan. He is a former partner of KPMG (formerly Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co.), an international CPA firm and he was recently named a Regional Trustee Liaison to the American Hospital Association’s Regional Policy Board.
Infrastructure Committee Chair: Robert L. Cummins, Jr., has spent the past 27 years in the highway construction industry. Twenty of those years (1994-2014) he served as president of The Cummins Construction Company, in Enid, Oklahoma. During that time, he also served two terms as the Chairman of the Oklahoma Asphalt Paving Association and one term as the president of the Oklahoma Association of General Contractors. Cummins has a bachelor’s degree in Construction Management Technology from Oklahoma State University. Prior to 1991, he worked in the building construction industry.
Native American Committee Chair: Neal McCaleb serves as Ambassador for the Chickasaw Nation and as Chairman of the Board for both Chickasaw Nation Industries and Bank2 (wholly owned Chickasaw Enterprise). He is a former Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs”.
Public Safety Committee Chair: Steven Taylor of McAlester is a retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, retiring in 2017 after 33 years of judicial service on the District Court and the Supreme Court. He served four years active duty as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and is a former Mayor of McAlester. In 2004, Taylor presided over the state trial of the Oklahoma City Bombing case.
Oklahoma’s Turnaround Team will develop policy proposals for the upcoming legislative session, prepare the governor-elect’s budget proposal, and ensure an orderly transition to the new administration. Each advisory committee chair will lead a team of Oklahomans in developing proposals for the first Legislative session in a Stitt administration.
For those interested in applying for Oklahoma’s Turnaround or to serve in a Stitt administration, Oklahomans are encouraged to visit www.OklahomaTurnaround.com.