Deputy Secretary of Legislation
Senior External Affairs Manager
Melinda Grant was appointed Undersecretary at the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency in January 2019. Previously, she served as deputy legislative secretary in the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019 and in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. dating back to 2016. Before that, she was deputy director of legislation and policy review at the California Department of Consumer Affairs from 2014 to 2016 and an advocate at Platinum Advisors from 2006 to 2014. She was a legislative aide in the Office of California State Senator Kevin Murray from 2003 to 2006 and was a legislative analyst at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees from 2001 to 2003.
Grant is a member of the California State University Sacramento Governmental Alumni Association and Leadership California. She earned a Master of Arts degree in public administration from the University of San Francisco.
Tad Egawa was appointed General Counsel at the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency in January 2019. Previously, Egawa was chief counsel at the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration from 2017 to 2019. He was general counsel at the California Department of Housing and Community Development from 2015 to 2017, assistant commissioner of legal affairs at the California Bureau of Real Estate from 2013 to 2015, deputy attorney general at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General from 2009 to 2013 and a shareholder at McDonough, Holland and Allen PC in 2009, where he was of counsel in 2007 and 2008. Egawa was assistant general counsel at the Ryland Group Inc. from 2004 to 2007 and an associate at Jeffer, Mangels, Butler and Marmaro LLP from 1999 to 2004, at Tuttle and Taylor from 1998 to 1999 and at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter and Hampton LLP from 1996 to 1997.
He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Southern California School of Law.
Annie Carney was appointed Senior Advisor at the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency by Governor Gavin Newsom in October 2022. Prior to joining BCSH, she was the Deputy Director of Civic Engagement and Strategic Partnerships in the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom. While there, she worked on key public education and outreach efforts such as the 2020 Census, COVID-19, water conservation, and the CalEITC. Annie served as the Marketing and Outreach Director at the Health Professions Education Foundation in 2018 and was a Program Associate at The California Endowment from 2013 to 2018. She held several positions in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. from 2011 to 2013 and in the Office of First Lady Maria Shriver from 2007 to 2011. Annie earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Laurance Lee is an Assistant Deputy General Counsel for the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency. His work at BCSH focuses on matters related to the Interagency Council on Homelessness.
Prior to joining BCSH, Laurance was a community lawyer at Legal Services of Northern California. During his eight years there, he litigated civil rights cases on behalf of individuals experiencing homelessness, defended numerous tenants from eviction, and maintained healthcare and public benefits access for Sacramento residents. Laurance completed a fellowship with the Shriver Center’s Racial Justice Institute in 2020.
Jason Piccione was appointed in December 2020 as Agency Chief Information Officer. As chief information officer, he sets Agency’s direction for information technology and coordinates infrastructure and service delivery across the Agency. Prior to his appointment, Piccione served as DCA’s chief technology officer. He has held various positions at the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education and the Contractors State License Board. Piccione has worked more than 22 years in public service. He obtained a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California, Davis.
Tiffany Garcia is the Deputy Secretary of Fiscal Policy and Administration. Prior to joining BCSH, Tiffany worked at the Department of Finance since 2014, where she was a Principal Program Budget Analyst. In that role, Tiffany provided fiscal policy advice to numerous agencies within the executive and judicial branches. Before working at the Department of Finance she served as a budget analyst at the Department of Health Care Services, and as staff for the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act Task Force in the Office of the Governor. Tiffany graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from California State University, Sacramento.
Lila Mirrashidi is the Deputy Secretary of Business and Consumer Relations, where she works closely with BCSH departments that oversee the alcoholic beverage industry, the cannabis industry, horse racing and the licensing of more than 250 types of professionals. Before joining the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency, Lila served as the Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the Department of Business Oversight (DBO). She had previously been Deputy Commissioner of DBO’s Legal Division, and prior to that served as Deputy Commissioner of Business Regulations at the Department of Corporations. Lila earned a law degree from the University of California Hastings College of Law, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.
Myles White serves as the Agency’s Acting Deputy Secretary of Legislation. He has been with Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BCSH) since 2017.
Myles held a variety of legislative and regulatory management positions focused on state and federal policy. Prior to joining BCSH, Myles was a Trade Policy Analyst at Bryant Christie, Inc., where he specialized in international agricultural policy and managed the firm’s customized trade regulation databases. He has also worked as a Legislative Aide for the Law Offices of Tim Yaryan, as well as a Legislative and External Affairs intern in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
Myles graduated with honors from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.
Sasha (Wisotsky) Kergan was appointed Deputy Secretary of Housing and Consumer Relations at the Business Consumer Services and Housing Agency by Governor Gavin Newsom in October 2021. Kergan has held several roles at the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s Division of Housing Policy Development since 2017, including Housing Policy Specialist, Housing Policy Manager and Data and Research Unit Chief . While there, she integrated data and research into critical HCD priorities, led HCD’s role in shaping the Governor’s Executive Order on state-owned excess sites, and actively participated as one of the leaders in the development of Homekey, which led to more than 6,000 units of permanent and interim supportive housing across the state. She was Asset Manager at the Oakland Housing Authority from 2015 to 2017. Kergan was Asset Manager at Resources for Community Development from 2012 to 2015. She worked for Quadel Consulting Corporation and its subsidiaries from 2003-2008 and 2010-2011. Kergan earned a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban and Community Development from the University of California, Berkeley.
Victoria L. Gonzalez-Gerlach
Victoria L. Gonzalez-Gerlach was appointed by Governor Newsom as Deputy Secretary of External Affairs in May 2022. She served as Acting Deputy Secretary for External Affairs since December 2021 and as Senior Advisor at the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency since 2020. She previously served as the Director of Policy and Senior Policy Advisor for San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg from 2017-2020, where she worked on policy initiatives and community engagement efforts focused on affordable housing, homelessness, comprehensive planning and equitable development. Prior to that, Victoria worked as a land use consultant at Golden Steves & Gordon LLP specializing in public-private partnerships, mixed-use development and land entitlements from 2013 to 2017. Victoria earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Urban Studies with a concentration in Public Issues & Policy from Trinity University.
Russ Heimerich was appointed by Governor Brown as Deputy Secretary of Communications for the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency in September 2015. Mr. Heimerich serves as the advisor to the Secretary on external affairs, communications and media issues pertaining to the Agency’s departments, boards, bureaus and commissions.
Prior to his appointment, Mr. Heimerich served as the Deputy Director for Communications at the Department of Consumer Affairs. He has also worked as a spokesperson at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and as the local Morning Edition host/producer at Capital Public Radio.
Mr. Heimerich earned his bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and his master’s degree in Journalism at the Ohio State University. He resides in Sacramento with his wife and rescue cats.
Dhakshike Wickrema was appointed Deputy Secretary of Homelessness at the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency by Governor Gavin Newsom in March, 2022. Dhakshike has more than 15 years of experience in addressing homelessness in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Most recently she served in the Office of Los Angeles City Council District 10, where she was Senior Deputy for Homelessness and Housing. She has also served as Senior Deputy for Homelessness and Mental Health in Los Angeles County, where she supported efforts in 2017 to pass Measure H, which funds housing and services to prevent and end homelessness in Los Angeles. She has also worked at Shelter Partnership, a nonprofit focused on public policy and advocacy related to homelessness and affordable housing, and for the World Bank’s Poverty Alleviation, Health Services and Social Development sectors. Dhakshike earned a Master of City Planning degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Yiwen (Eva) Erickson
Yiwen (Eva) Erickson is a Fiscal Analyst directly supporting the Deputy Secretary of Fiscal Policy and Administration. Prior to joining BCSH, she worked for the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) formerly the Board of Equalization. She worked in multiple departments in various capacities, including her last assignment with the Settlement Section of the Legal Department, where she provided assistance to legal staff in evaluating settlement proposals. Ms. Erickson has a degree in Civil Engineering.
Chelsy Alfaro is an Executive Capital Fellow at BCSH for the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento. Previously, she was a fellow for the Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG) at the City of Menifee Public Works Department, where she reviewed and updated internal policies and investigated external grant opportunities for urban beautification and electric vehicle infrastructure development. Alfaro has served as a medical assistant for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte and as an assistant researcher for a COVID-19 vaccine uptake study of Latinx and African American Kaiser Permanente members. She was selected as a Blum Service-Learning Fellow and worked for Movida Maya, a nonprofit in Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico, where she developed a logic model for the organization and led health and environmental sustainability workshops for indigenous youth.
She earned her Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Riverside and wrote her thesis on increasing housing capacity in the Inland Empire using Senate Bill 10 (2021). Alfaro earned two bachelor’s degrees in Biopsychology and Chicano/a Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Brian Skewis is the Budget Manager at the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BCSH). Before joining BCSH, he served in various roles within the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) from 2009 to 2020, including Budget Manager. In this role he developed and implemented a series of budget reporting tools designed to achieve user serviceable reporting from the Fi$Cal system by DCA’s various boards and bureaus. Brian graduated from the California State University, Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business.
Erica Gonzalez was appointed Deputy Secretary of Equity and Strategic Initiatives at the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency by Governor Gavin Newsom in September 2021. Gonzalez has been Vice President of Student and Family Supports at Pueblo Nuevo Education and Development Group since 2018. She was Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2015 to 2017. She was Director of Public Policy and Community Partnerships at Green Dot Public Schools from 2008 to 2013 and Associate Director at Barrio Action Youth and Family Center from 2006 to 2008. She was Intergovernmental Relations Analyst at the Los Angeles Community Development Commission from 2004 to 2006 and Project Manager and Grants Coordinator at Barrio Action Youth and Family Center from 2002 to 2004. Gonzalez earned a Master of Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Jill Lukins is the Deputy General Counsel for the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency. Prior to joining BCSH, Jill served as Senior Lead Counsel for the Department of Social Services, overseeing legal services provided to the Housing and Homelessness Division and Child Care Development Division on complex state and federal grant programs. Jill previously served as Assistant Chief Counsel for the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), supervising a team of attorneys and providing legal counsel to CalSTRS as the Director of the Legal Services Division. She began her public service career at CalSTRS, initially serving as Ethics and Compliance Counsel and providing direct legal support to the Board Governance Committee of the Teachers’ Retirement Board. Jill also spent ten years in private practice with Jacobson Markham L.L.P., working as a litigation paralegal and then associate attorney on litigation matters involving business, construction, and agriculture.
Jill earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, in 2009, graduating with magna cum laude honors. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science and Criminal Justice from California State University, Sacramento.