Governor Brown Announces Appointments


Tyson Eckerle, 34, of Sacramento, has been appointed zero emission vehicle infrastructure project manager at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Eckerle has been executive director at Energy Independence Now since 2011, where he was associate director from 2009 to 2011. He served multiple positions at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District from 2002 to 2007, including regulatory project manager, biologist, recruitment coordinator and environmental planner. Eckerle earned a Master of Science degree in environmental science and management from the University of California, Santa Barbara. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $90,000. Eckerle is a Democrat.

Joy Higa, 46, of Manhattan Beach, has been appointed to the California State Teachers’ Retirement Board. Higa has held multiple positions at the UnitedHealth Group since 2006, including vice president of regulatory affairs and health care reform, vice president of government affairs and vice president of regulatory and external affairs. She served in multiple positions at the California State Controller’s Office from 2004 to 2006, including deputy chief of staff for policy and policy director. Higa was chief deputy secretary for cabinet affairs at the Office of Governor Gray Davis in 2003 and was deputy director for plan and provider relations at the California Department of Managed Health Care from 2000 to 2003. She was director of health sciences governmental relations at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1998 to 2000 and manager of government relations at PacifiCare Health Systems from 1996 to 1998. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Higa is a Democrat.

Linda Thor, 63, of Sunnyvale, has been appointed to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Thor has been chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District since 2010. She was president at Rio Salado College from 1990 to 2010 and at West Los Angeles College from 1986 to 1990. Thor held multiple positions at the Los Angeles Community College District from to 1974 to 1986, including senior director of occupational and technical education, director of high technology centers and services, director of communications services and public information officer. She was western states manager at LeMot Educational Services and director of public information and the school of continuing education at Pepperdine University from 1971 to 1972. Thor earned a Doctor of Education degree in community college administration from Pepperdine University and a Master of Public Administration degree from California State University, Los Angeles. This position requires Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Thor is a Democrat.