Board of Directors

Lydia Chaney


Local business owner. Full time resident since 2013. Love of family, friends, my country and community. Proud to call Tehachapi my home.

South Street Digital, Owner (661) 823-4908 Email Director


Claudia Henson

President Elect

Claudia White has been in the printing and publishing industry since 1992, when she founded Hilltop Publishers. Her vision – becoming Tehachapi’s main source for local events and happenings – became a reality in 2001, when Claudia – along with her daughter, Alysia Bailey – established Hilltop Publishers’ Home of The Loop Newspaper (previously Hilltop Shopper from 2001 through 2006).

The Loop has grown quite a bit since its inception and now boasts a distribution to over 200 locations throughout East Kern County. “People stop me on the street all the time just to tell me how much they love The Loop and how it’s their favorite hometown newspaper,” said Claudia, “We didn't realize what was required to pull this paper together every other week when we started, but our team is ambitious and dedicated. 

Business Owner - Loop Newspaper 661-822-8188 Email Director


Bruce Hamlin


Bruce Hamlin has been a GTEDC Board Member since 1999.  He was born in Long Beach, CA and raised in Porterville, CA.  He attended Porterville Jr. College, San Diego State and Fresno State Univ., where he earned his B.S. degree in Business Administration.

He began his banking career in 1977.  During the development of his career, he has spent time in many different communities throughout the southern San Joaquin Valley and Mojave Desert areas.  In 1998, he became the branch manager at Sanwa Bank in Tehachapi, CA.  In 2000, he acquired the opportunity to become the Area Manager for Bank of the Sierra, which had two branches in Tehachapi and one branch in California City.  He now holds the position of Market President for that same region.

Market President, Bank of the Sierra (661) 822-6801 Email Director


Michelle Vance


Michelle Vance is the Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Tehachapi. Mrs. Vance joined the City of Tehachapi in April 2013. In her capacity as Economic Development Coordinator, she is responsible for implementing principles and practices of economic development, business recruitment, and retention and expansion policies. 

Mrs. Vance serves as the primary liaison to community groups and organizations with which the City shares partnerships with.

City of Tehachapi, Economic Development Coordinator (661) 822-2200 ext 121 Email Director


Mary Beth Garrison


Mary Beth Garrison has been a GTEDC Board Member for nearly a decade. Mary Beth brings continued commitment and perspective to the group. Her professional roles with KBAK-TV 29, the County of Kern, the Stallion Springs Community Services District and the nonprofit organization: Community Clean Sweep has given her the opportunity to serve residents within the greater Tehachapi community, and throughout Kern County. 

 As a founding member, in 1991, of the nonprofit organization Community Clean Sweep, she currently serves as that agency’s Executive Director. Mary Beth is proud to have been a catalyst for the GTEDC – helping it morph from a “Breakfast Club” into a vital, contributing body with the purpose of developing greater Tehachapi into a place people want to live, work and play.

Community Clean Sweep (661) 703-2624 Email Director


David Eastman


A pacific northwest native, David Eastman currently is the Interim President for Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley and has become a rabid promoter of Tehachapi. Working in the health care field for over 30 years, his career started in Portland, Oregon in Information Technology. Over his career, he has managed staff at half of the 20 hospitals in Adventist Health, including a decade as the Northwest Regional Chief Information Officer. He holds an MBA from Benedictine University with a concentration in health care administration.

His wife and daughter also work for Adventist Health and his son is a university professor in South Korea. Growing up with horses and paying his way through college on the farm, his hobbies include snow and water skiing, Harley riding, and wood working, while never finding himself able to leave his first career of residential remodeling completely behind.

Interim President, Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley 661-823-1622 Email Director


Ed Grimes


I have been a resident of Tehachapi since 1950…..I went to school here and raised my family here.  I am currently retired after 33 years, from the California Dept. of Corrections at the rank of State Parole Agent III.  I was an elected School Board Member for 20 years.  I have also served on the Tehachapi Parks and Recreation Board for 2 years.  I was involved in the Tehachapi Little League for 20 years and was President for 10 of those years.  I was also a coach with the Tehachapi Youth Football League for 4 years.  I am currently the Sports Announcer for all the Tehachapi High School Warriors home football games, and I am known as the Voice of the Warriors. 

I have been on the City Council for 12 years, and I have served as Mayor of the City of Tehachapi for 4 years.  I am President of the Association of California Cities Allied with Public Safety, (ACCAPS).  I currently serve as Chairman of the Eastern Kern County Air Pollution Control District.  I also serve on the Kern County Solid Waste Committee, and I am the Past Chairman of League of Cities Public Safety Policy Committee.

Councilman (661) 428-5050 Email Director


Eugene Suksi


Eugene Suksi is a multiple Master's Degree prepared healthcare executive with over 25 years senior management experience in a wide variety of patient care settings. A Chicago native, his work assignments have allowed him to live and travel across the country, but he and his family have spent most of the past 15 years living and working in Rural Communities in Washington and California by both preference and design.

His professional experience includes an extensive background in healthcare operations, strategic planning and negotiation as well as a diverse project management background including mergers, acquisitions and complete facility replacement. An action and outcome oriented leader, adept at directing complex operations in an ever changing environment, Eugene is driven to help key stakeholders develop a strong understanding of the why, what and how of change.

Married to his wife, Nancy, for over 20 years, their shared, personal interests include travel, music, sports and literature. Their community interests include advocacy for the humane treatment of animals and supporting healthy recreational opportunities for children and families.

Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District, CEO 661) 823-1244 Email Director


Jay Thompson


Jay is an experienced business advisor with over 30 years experience in small business and real estate.  Jay focuses on empowering his clients to achieve their dreams personally and professionally. 

CA Small Business Development Center (661) 510-7440 Email Director


Jim Arnold


Owner, Triassic Vineyard Email Director


Kaleb Judy


Kaleb L. Judy was raised in Tehachapi and graduated from Tehachapi High School.  He attended California State University Bakersfield and Pepperdine University School of Law.  He also holds a certificate in dispute resolution from Pepperdine’s Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution.

Kaleb has practiced law in Kern County since 2009.  With the firm of Belden Blaine Raytis, LLP, he helps businesses navigate California’s ever-changing regulatory landscape, focusing on employment compliance, energy, and contractual disputes.

Kaleb serves as a director on the Tehachapi Parks Foundation board and as a director on the Kern County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section board.  He provides free legal representation to the Kern County Wounded Heroes Fund.  He previously served as a volunteer coach with the Kern County Superintendent of Schools’ Mock Trial Program and on the board of the CSUB Young Alumni Program. 

He lives in Tehachapi with his wife and four children.  

Belden Blaine Raytis, LLP, Attorney Email Director


Nikki Cummings


Nikki Cummings is serving in her 5th year on the Board of Directors for the GTEDC and currently fulfilling her 3rd term as Board President. She served on the Tehachapi Tourism Commission for 2 years and was a founding member of the Tehachapi Rotaract Club, she is also a founding member of the Tehachapi Trails Partnership. Currently, she serves on the Tehachapi Parks Foundation. Nikki also supports other community organizations including the Family Life Pregnancy Center, Heritage Oak School, local fundraising events and more. 

In her professional career, Nikki is Co-Owner and President of World Wind & Solar, LLC. WWS is a wind and solar industry specialized service and construction provider and was nominated as Kern County Small Energy Business of the year for 2014-15. She also published Tehachapi Lifestyle Magazine, a celebratory ode to the community for 3 years.

In her time as President of the GTEDC, it has grown to the largest level of investment and participation the organization has experienced. The organization has had the opportunity to take on a more relevant role in the community through promoting tourism and economic development, via many new avenues. The board continues to experience positive momentum and to establish new goals on a yearly basis to ensure our mission statement is achieved: To enhance the quality of life in the Greater Tehachapi Area by attracting, retaining and supporting business.

President, World Wind Services (619) 540-9675 Email Director


Pat Young


Paulette Rush


Paulette Rush was born in San Diego and raised in the Antelope Valley. She attended Antelope Valley High School. Paulette earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Management and lives in Tehachapi with her husband Bobby a Lieutenant on the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Paulette and Bobby have four children Ryan 25, Chris 23, Erik 21 and Ashley 18. They have a grandson from their son Ryan and his wife Kayla.  

Most recently Paulette is the Community Relations Specialist for BHE Renewables, LLC. Before coming to BHE Renewables, Paulette was with the Kern Economic Development Corporation working as a Business Development Associate. While at the KEDC activities included recruitment, retention and expansion efforts for businesses in Kern County, the Kern Energy watch program and conducting regional economic research. Paulette has a strong background in community and public relations. She currently serves on the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council, the Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Parks District, Tehachapi Parks Foundation and the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance board of directors.

Community Relations Specialist - BHE Renewables 661-221-2676 Email Director


Ron Depew


Currently Sales Manager for Dignified Home Loans with office located in Tehachapi. Began my career in banking and finance in 1972 and entered the mortgage industry in 1982. Became a resident and home owner in Tehachapi in 1989 and opened a mortgage loan office in Tehachapi in 1996.

Past board member and Chairman of Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce, past member Golden Hills Community Service District board of directors and current Affiliate member of the Tehachapi Area Association of Realtors.

Organized and co-chaired the first and second annual American Cancer Society 2004/2005 Relay for Life raising a two year total of $283,840.

I have been a long time board member of the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council and would like to remain on the board.

Dignified Home Loans, Sales Manager (661) 333-0650 Email Director


Susan Wiggins