Board of Directors

Jessica Nelson, Chair

Jessica contributes her expertise with electric cooperatives to CCCD's Board. She is the General Manager for Golden State Power Cooperative (GSPC), the statewide trade association which was established in 1999. GSPC supports member-owned electric cooperatives to ensure honest, efficient, affordable, and reliable electric and telecommunications service in rural California. Jessica works closely with Anza Electric Cooperative, Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative, and Surprise Valley Electrification Corporation to realize their goals. Jessica is the President of the Portola Preschool Cooperative and also serves on the board of the Clean Power Cooperative.

Leland H. “Lee” Ruth, Secretary

Lee is a founding board member of CCCD, President Emeritus of Agricultural Council of California, and has more than 30 years of experience working with cooperatives. In 2013, Lee was inducted into the Co-op Hall of Fame, the highest honor that the U.S. cooperative community bestows on individuals who have made genuinely heroic contributions in support of the cooperative form of enterprise. Lee is president of Lee Ruth Associates, a firm specializing in assisting agricultural associations and cooperatives with problems related to governmental relations, organization development, and public relations. He is a past board member of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) and Agricultural Cooperatives Development International/ Volunteers in Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA), and past chair of the National Conference of State Cooperative Councils. He has been active in promoting and forming cooperatives. Lee was the founder of the California Orchard Wood Co-op and the Principal Coordinator of a project which resulted in the formation of the California Electric Users Cooperative. Lee also served as a consultant in the development of Clean Power Cooperative and Golden State Power Cooperative.

Jerry Rioux, Treasurer

Jerry brings decades of affordable housing and manufactured housing experience to CCCD’s board. For the last two decades, he has directed a nonprofit loan fund that helped finance over $300 million in affordable housing. Over the previous two decades, he specialized in manufactured housing and mobile home parks. In the 1980s, Jerry developed and managed what is now California’s Mobilehome Park Rehabilitation and Resident Ownership Program (MPRROP). He then directly assisted park residents to purchase and finance their parks. Jerry has worked in housing and community development for well over 40 years. He has worked for both state and local governments and nonprofit corporations, plus as a private consultant. Jerry earned a master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Southern California. He was a licensed California real estate broker for 18 years and has taught college courses in both real estate and urban planning.

Shevar Goonewardena, Board Member

Shevar Goonewardena is a CPA specializing in cooperatives and agribusiness. He is a principal in CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP, and previously served as a senior manager at KPMG, in their audit and assurance practice. He has more than 13 years of experience in providing services to companies in the food and beverage and agricultural sectors, including cooperatives within the Northern and Southern California areas. He is the former President and current Vice President of the National Society for Accountants for Cooperatives, Western Chapter, and a member of the Agricultural Council of California.

Ricardo Samir Nuñez, Board Member

Ricardo’s experience in economic development, education, and worker cooperatives is an asset to CCCD’s board. As the Director of Economic Democracy at the Sustainable Communities Law Center (SELC), Ricardo coordinates SELC's legislative strategies, popular education, and legal research around worker-owned businesses. Among the legal services he supports is the Resilient Communities Legal Cafe, a program that provides direct legal support to individuals and groups creating new solutions for resilient economies in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, and beyond. Ricardo was formerly a member of the Los Angeles Worker Ownership Resources and Cooperative Services Committee (LAWORCS), an initiative to start a worker cooperative incubator for the greater L.A. area. Before that, Ricardo was a Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Case Manager working with low-income families to stop pending evictions and re-house homeless neighbors in southern LA County. Prior to his housing work, Ricardo was a Rural Education Development Specialist in Zambia with the U.S. Peace Corps, where he led efforts in capacity building with 15 rural, up-country schools, establishing two village-based women’s cooperatives, and training multiple farmers' cooperatives on sustainable farming practices.

Karen Tiedemann, Board Member

Karen has contributed her expertise in cooperative housing to CCCD’s board since 2008. As a partner with Goldfarb and Lipman Law firm, she practices in the areas of real estate transactions, affordable housing, nonprofit organization, and environmental law. Karen advises public agencies and nonprofit housing developers on affordable housing matters and represents numerous agencies and nonprofit corporations on the development, financing, and management of low- and moderate-income projects and programs. She has formed many limited equity cooperatives and represents numerous housing cooperatives providing advice on compliance with Davis-Stirling, limited equity cooperative law, HUD financing, Department of Real Estate regulations, and other laws and regulations impacting cooperatives. Her affordable housing work includes advising clients on compliance with fair housing laws. Karen is a frequent speaker on housing cooperatives, relocation, and fair housing issues. She is also co-author of Between the Lines: A Question Answer Guide on Legal Issues in Supportive Housing and A Legal Guide to California Redevelopment.

Thérèse C. Tuttle, Board Member

Thérèse is an attorney who contributes her work with consumer, agriculture, and worker cooperatives to the board. She specializes in the representation of California consumer cooperatives, agricultural cooperatives, and worker cooperatives, and also advises clients on business formation and estate planning matters. She serves on the non-profit committee of the California State Bar Association. In 2013, she drafted amendments to California’s cooperative law that enabled preferred-share financing and capitalization of cooperatives. She has been awarded USDA’s Great Cooperator Award. In 2000, she founded Tuttle & Van Knonynenburg, LLP, a firm focused on cooperative and agricultural law, with her law partner Frank Van Konynenburg. In 2001, the firm successfully defended the 400 members of Tri Valley Growers, a processing cooperative, from creditors' claims in the cooperative’s bankruptcy. Prior to founding the firm, she worked as the Director of Cooperative and Economic Development for National Farmers Union (NFU) managing cooperative project requests from 23 state-based member organizations.

Rodger Wasson, Board Member

Rodger Wasson is a food and agriculture consultant who hosts the Farm To Table Talk Podcast. He has been CEO of the Almond Board of California, American Sheep Industry Association and California Strawberry Commission, plus senior management responsibilities with several other commodities and agencies. Current advisory roles include the University of California President's Advisory Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. Raised on a livestock farm in Illinois, he is a graduate of Illinois State University and resides in East Sacramento, California.