EDD Executive Staff Biographies and Photographs
Pam Harris has more than 30 years of experience in California state government, spending a majority of that time with the Employment Development Department (EDD) where she currently serves as Director. From 2004 to 2011, as an Assistant to the Director and Chief Deputy Director, Harris oversaw operations of EDD’s Equal Opportunity Office, Information Security Office, Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Office, Information Technology Branch, and Unemployment Insurance Branch. Previously, she served as assistant secretary for research, evaluation, and information technology for the Labor and Workforce Development Agency and as deputy director of EDD’s Program Review Branch. Harris also served as senior manager of audits, evaluations, and information security for EDD from 1994 to 2001.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University, Sacramento, Harris began her career with the State of California in 1978 as an auditor with the Department of Finance.
Chief Deputy Director
Sharon Hilliard was appointed Chief Deputy Director of the Employment Development Department (EDD) in January 2013. Ms. Hilliard brings to her position over 30 years of experience in various capacities at the EDD. Ms. Hilliard began her career in 1983 as a Student Assistant with the EDD while obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Ms. Hilliard has been in a leadership role for much of her career including Deputy Director of the Tax Branch, Chief of the Field Audit and Compliance Division, Chief of the Tax Processing and Accounting Division, and Chief of Field Audit and Compliance Division – Central Operations and Underground Economy. In addition, she has held positions in the Tax Support Division, Integrity Accounting Division, and the Directorate’s Office.
Jack Budmark was appointed Deputy Director of the Administration Branch in October 2011. Prior to this appointment, Jack served as Deputy Director of Tax since July 2008. Jack brings 34 years of experience to his position, including extensive budget experience at the Department level, as well as management of major Tax Branch initiatives to analyze and streamline workload processes. Most recently he was instrumental in the oversight of the implementation of the ACES project which replaced the aging Tax Accounting System (TAS) with a state of the art integrated accounting, audit and collection system. Other major automation efforts Jack has been a part of include the Tax Engineering and Modernization (TEAM) Project and he was responsible for managing implementation of the Treasury Offset Program which provides an automated means for the Department to collect outstanding tax liabilities.
Public Affairs Branch
Loree Levy was appointed Deputy Director of the Public Affairs Branch in November 2002. The Public Affairs Branch includes the Communications Office, Marketing and Constituent Services, and the Web Content and Usability Group. Ms. Levy works closely with the Department, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, and the Governor’s Press Office to release information about EDD programs and policies to the news media.
Ms. Levy began her career at EDD in April 2001 when she was appointed Assistant Director of the Communications Office. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Levy spent 15 years in television news. In the Sacramento area, she was an on-air reporter for NBC-affiliate KCRA-TV Channel 3 and a news anchor for “Good Day Sacramento” at KPWB-TV Channel 31. Ms. Levy is a native Sacramentan and holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from California State University, Sacramento.
Information Technology Branch
Gail Overhouse was appointed Deputy Director/Chief Information Officer of EDD’s Information Technology Branch in August 2012. Ms. Overhouse’s career spans over 30 years in state information technology in various executive positions. Prior to joining EDD, Gail served as the Project Director of the California Child Support Automation System (CCSAS) for the Department of Child Support Services implementing a single statewide child support system.
Gail spent several years as Deputy Director of Statewide Telecommunications at the Office of Technology Services where she was responsible for implementing the state’s telecommunication strategy and vision. Gail also spent 13 years as Bureau Chief for the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Hawkins Data Center where she managed network services, system infrastructure and communication applications such as the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS) which provides tactical criminal justice information to all California Law Enforcement Agencies. At DOJ, she worked extensively with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to provide automated solutions to meet the critical needs of the criminal justice community.
Workforce Services Branch
Mr. Dennis Petrie was appointed Deputy Director of the Workforce Services Branch on April 1, 2003. Mr. Petrie’s career spans over 20 years in the Human Services industry where he gained a broad range of knowledge and experience relative to community-based programs and service delivery. Mr. Petrie also has administrative and grassroots experience in community services, juvenile justice, and workforce development.
Mr. Petrie began his executive level service to the State of California in January 1999. Previously, Mr. Petrie was the regional manager for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, where he coordinated and managed the delivery of the workforce development program. In this capacity, he developed private and public sector employment and training opportunities, supervised government contracts, and documented program outcomes. Mr. Petrie also served various community and public-based organizations managing fiscal, personnel, and program resources.
Mr. Petrie received a Bachelor of Arts, Human Services from California State University, Dominguez Hills and completed graduate work in Public Administration at California State University, Los Angeles.
Acting Deputy Director
Unemployment Insurance Branch
Gregory M. Riggs
Policy, Accountability and Compliance Branch
Gregory Riggs was appointed Deputy Director of the Policy, Accountability and Compliance Branch (formerly Program Review Branch) on July 31, 2008. The Policy, Accountability and Compliance Branch contributes to the Employment Development Department’s (EDD) programs by providing oversight, technical assistance, and other services that help improve both the effectiveness and efficiency of the program’s operations. Key services provided by this Branch include: overseeing legislative and intergovernmental affairs, conducting program and financial audits, administering customer service surveys, investigating allegations of fraud and tax evasion, monitoring federal Workforce Investment Act grant recipients, monitoring access to services for migrant and seasonal farm workers, conducting special studies and evaluations, and providing statistical analyses.
Mr. Riggs first began his career with EDD in the early 1990s working as an Employment Program Representative for the Unemployment Insurance and Job Services programs. Mr. Riggs has also held positions as Chief of the Unemployment Insurance Adjudication Services Division, Deputy Director of the Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Office, and Assistant Secretary of Policy and Program Development at the Labor and Workforce Development Agency.
Prior to State service, Mr. Riggs was employed by the San Joaquin and Sacramento County Municipal Courts, the Sacramento Alternative Sentencing Program, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Disability Insurance Branch
Elizabeth Wahnon joined the Employment Development Department (EDD) in 1980. The majority of her EDD career has been spent in the Disability Insurance Branch where she has extensive experience in field operations, as well as branch administration. Currently, she is serving as Deputy Director of the Disability Insurance Branch, overseeing administration of the Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave programs. Ms. Wahnon previously held the position of EDD Assistant Director, Policy and Programs, where she led EDD’s Strategic and Workforce Planning efforts.
Ms. Hughes was appointed General Counsel in January 2002. She has over 20 years of state service and has been the Senior Counsel at the Department of Health Services since 1993 where she advised the Department on Conflict of Interest Laws, the Public Records Act, and Confidentiality Laws, as well as serving as their Lead Attorney on the implementation of HIPAA privacy and security rules and their Internet and Technology projects.
Ms. Hughes has also served as a Deputy Attorney General with the Department of Justice where she represented the State in the criminal appeal process and as a Deputy Legislative Counsel with the Legislative Counsel Bureau where she drafted legislation and prepared legal opinions on proposed bills and attended and testified at legislative committee hearings. In addition, Ms. Hughes was also a trial attorney in private practice for more than seven years.
In 1979, Ms. Hughes received her J.D. law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in San Francisco.