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Founding Partner

As founding partner of Pinnacle Advocacy, Rob Grossglauser specializes in representing clients before the California State Legislature and California’s various departments and agencies. Having been engaged in California politics for nearly two decades, his depth of lobbying and procurement experience is far reaching. He has a record of successfully representing clients ranging from not-for-profit associations to Fortune 500 companies.

Well known as personable and genuine, Rob’s authenticity combined with his tenacity to provide unwavering representation to his clients has translated to a winning track record. Either by means of highly visible advocacy efforts or behind the scenes lobbying, his clients have experienced significant policy achievements with Rob leading the strategy. The ability to navigate California’s politically diverse and complex systems makes him an asset to Pinnacle’s success. 

Rob has championed policy and procurement issues spanning from technology to aviation, and has sponsored successful advocacy efforts pertaining to gaming, public utilities, excavation safety, education, social justice, and local government issues. Additionally, with a deep understanding of California’s budget process, he has successfully secured state funding for various client initiatives.

Rob advises companies seeking to develop business relationships with the State of California and guides them to profitable partnerships with various departments and agencies.

Rob is a registered California lobbyist and an active member of the California State Bar. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Public Service from the University of California, Davis.

A native of the Sacramento region, Rob enjoys spending time with his family and coaching his son’s soccer and baseball teams. His commitment to the next generation of California leaders is exemplified by his membership of the Bob Moretti Memorial Scholarship Foundation; a Foundation dedicated to providing scholarships supporting higher education.

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Elaine Bush was appointed in 2009 by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, as the Chief Deputy Receiver for the California Prison Healthcare System.   As the Chief Deputy Receiver she was responsible for providing leadership and executive management over the California prison medical delivery system. Her responsibilities included the restructuring of the day-to-day operations and developing, implementing, and validating a new, sustainable system that will provide constitutionally adequate medical care to all inmates in the California correctional system.

In 2007, Ms. Bush was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger to serve as the Chief Deputy Director for the State Department of Mental Health.  She was responsible for the oversight of the public mental health budget of more than $6 billion and the employment of over 11,000 civil service employees.

From 2002-2007, Ms. Bush was the Chief Executive Officer for the California Earthquake Authority (CEA).  She was responsible for leading and managing the largest residential earthquake insurance company in the U.S.

In 2000, Ms. Bush was appointed by Governor Gray Davis to serve as the Chief Deputy Insurance Commissioner.  She was responsible for regulating an $87 billion insurance industry, over 300,000 licensed agents/brokers and 1,500 companies.  She also managed the Community Organized Investment Network and E-Government solutions for the department prior to the Chief Deputy appointment.

Between 1991-1999, Ms. Bush was appointed by Governor Pete Wilson as the Chief Deputy Director and then subsequently as the Department Director for the State Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.  She was responsible for the oversight and operation of a statewide county-based delivery system of services serving over 500,000 Californians each year. She served as a deputy director for the department between 1989-1991 and was responsible for the design and implementation of a statewide, multi-department alcohol and drug prevention and treatment master plan.

Prior to her executive leadership positions, Ms. Bush held several different positions within the technology divisions of the State Department of Developmental Services and the State Department of Social Services.  She was responsible for planning, designing and implementing statewide automated medical records, fiscal and client management systems.

Over the years, Ms. Bush has served on several boards and commissions. She currently serves on the California Prison Receivership Board. She has served on the State Mental Health Hospital Governing Boards (7), California Earthquake Authority Board, Blue Ribbon Commission on Out -of -State Placements of Juvenile Offenders, California Rural Health Policy Council, California State Board of Education-School Attendance Review on Truancy, Juvenile Crime & Juvenile Justice Response Council, the Interagency Council on Developmentally Disabled Children and the Governor’s Policy Council on Drug & Alcohol Abuse.

Ms. Bush has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Redlands.

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Prior to joining Pinnacle Advocacy, Will Bush was the Director of the Department of General Services (DGS); appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007.  As Director of DGS, Will oversaw California’s multibillion-dollar real estate assets, purchasing systems, service agreements, publishing activities, telecommunication services and transportation programs, school board allocations, claims adjudication, administrative hearings, insurance and risk management policies, in addition to building planning and design policy.

Prior to DGS, Will was the Undersecretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency (the predecessor to the current Governmental Operations Agency).  As the Agency Undersecretary he oversaw the activities of the Departments of Consumer Affairs; General Services and Fair Employment and Housing; Franchise Tax Board; Public Employees’ Retirement System; State Personnel Board; State Teachers’ Retirement System; California Science Center; Fair Employment and Housing Commission; Department of Technology Services; Building Standards Commission; California African American Museum; Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board; and the Office of the Insurance Advisor.

Prior to these appointments, Will served as Assistant Executive Officer and Interim Executive Officer of the California Franchise Tax Board.  At the Franchise Tax Board, Will was responsible for operations, enterprise technology, taxpayer information systems, taxpayer services, public affairs, collections and audit activities.

During over 30 years of public service, Will has helped spawn important innovations, such as the alternative/ best value procurement options for good and services.  He was also the driving force in bringing improvements in technology and service to California’s taxpayers.

Will has a B.A. in business administration/accounting from California State University, Sacramento. He is also a graduate of the State & Local Executive Institute, Graduate School of Public Policy, University of California – Berkeley.

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Senior Consultant Partner

Prior to joining Pinnacle Advocacy, Teri Bennett’s most recent executive assignment was leading business development for the State of California Practice at Accenture LLP, a Fortune Global 500 company.  Prior to that, she was the Business Development Director for its North America Public Pension practice, serving as an executive advisor to public pension agencies in the US and Canada on business transformation and modernization.

Prior to joining Accenture, Teri served as an independent business development advisor to several technology firms doing business in State of California. She, also, helped Accenture build its initial pension presence in Canada, and advised State executives on business and procurement strategy and shared lessons learned related to transformation, legacy modernization and change.

Teri’s success in the private sector is rooted in her 30+ years as a seasoned technology executive in CA State government. Over the course of her State career, she stood up new organizations, developed business and technology strategies, led major business transformations, and managed many large, complex government IT projects. As the CIO at CalPERS, Teri was responsible for IT and Data Center operations, policy development, IT strategy and budget planning. She provided advice and consultation to the CEO and Board of Administration and represented CalPERS before numerous State and local organizations and national pension associations on IT policy and technology initiatives.  Additionally, Teri led CalPERS legacy modernization and business transformation effort, consolidating 49+ legacy systems into a single, modern system.

Teri is motivated by challenge and has always been at the forefront of change and innovation for the purpose of driving greater value for her clients.

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Consultant Partner

Prior to joining Pinnacle Advocacy, George Akiyama’s most recent executive assignment was as the Chief Information Officer for the Caltrans, a position he held from December 2015 to December 2022.  Originally appointed by Governor Brown and subsequently appointed by Governor Newsom, George was responsible for the overall planning, organizing, and execution of all information technology (IT) functions with Caltrans. This included overseeing the acquisition, development and maintenance of hardware and software systems.  In addition to these technical responsibilities, he was also responsible for establishing relationships with various internal and external partners and for staying up to date with business and technology trends. 

George started his State career in 1995 and has had many accomplishments including: the development of department-wide and IT strategic plans, the development and implementation of enterprise-wide policies and procedures, and the development, implementation and promotion of new IT services.  Among the highlights of his career with the State is standing up a new IT organization while serving as the first Chief Information Officer of the $1 billion Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal) project.  Currently, George continues to be involved with the IT community, particularly in the area of leadership development. 

George holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento. 

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Associate Lobbyist

Larisa Mercado is fueled by her passion for politics and advocacy, at both the state and federal levels of government. Before interning with Pinnacle Advocacy, Larisa worked in various positions, crafting a diverse and valuable perspective. Larisa had the honor of serving Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in her Sacramento Senate office and during her time with The Press Shop, Larisa worked on behalf of California state agencies and Fortune 500 clients.  Additionally, Ms. Mercado worked on the 2018 election campaign of Dave Jones for Attorney General.

During her time at Pinnacle, Larisa has successfully secured policy provisions and critical budget funding for clients. Ms. Mercado is motivated by her eagerness to foster her pursuit of service and stewardship on behalf of Pinnacle Advocacy clients. 

Larisa is a proud member of the California Latino Capitol Association (CLCAF) and currently serves as the Interim Executive Director of a non-profit, Black Indigenous Women of Color (BIWOC) on K, an organization created to uplift female minorities in the third house. Larisa has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Chicano Studies from the University of  California, Davis.

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Manager, Government Relations & Business Development

Luz’s expertise in navigating the complexities of government policies, building strategic partnerships, and advocating for clients' interests is matched only by her proven track record in fostering growth and driving business success.

Prior to joining Pinnacle Advocacy, Luz managed one of the state’s most complex database environments for CalPERS.  She joined CalPERS in 2014, her accomplishments include the development of IT policies, the adoption of a new database platform, and resolved multifaceted technical issues to drive positive business outcomes.

During her college years, she served for California State Assembly under Rudy Bermudez. Subsequently, she worked at a local lobbying firm and then for the Office of Legislative Counsel, Integrated Waste Management Board and Department of Corporations.

Beyond her professional accomplishments, Luz is a passionate advocate for women pursuing careers in STEM fields. She actively contributes to the Latinas in Tech, Sacramento Chapter and dedicates her spare time to coaching elementary school students in robotics within her community.

Luz holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from California State University, Sacramento.

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Strategic Advisor

Prior to joining Pinnacle Advocacy, Vince Brown was appointed as the Deputy Treasurer for the California State Treasurer’s Office. Vince oversaw the Administration Division, the Treasurer’s budget, chaired the California Health Facilities Financing Authority, California School Financing Authority, California Education Financing Authority, and the Scholarshare Investment Board for the Treasurer.  Vince also led the Treasurer’s responsibility as the Executive Partner for the $1 billion Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal) project.

Prior to the Treasurer’s Office, Vince was the Chief Executive Officer for the Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association (ACERA).  As CEO, he was responsible for leadership and management of all ACERA operations of the $7 billion pension fund.  Vince also served as the first CEO of Santa Barbara County Employees’ Retirement System (SBCERS) where he managed the $1.9 billion pension fund.  Prior to joining SBCERS, he established the Grant Thornton LLP office in Sacramento where he was a Director in the Global Public Sector practice, providing consulting services to state and local governments.

During his almost 40 years of public service, Vince served in numerous California executive level positions including: Chief Deputy Director of the California Department of Finance; Chief Operating Officer for the California State Controller;  Deputy Executive Officer, Operations, as well as the Assistant Executive Officer, Financial and Administrative Services at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS).  In addition, as Deputy State Controller, he represented the Controller on the CalSTRS Board and other state financing boards, committees, and authorities.

Vince also worked for the California Legislature as a Senior Analyst for the Legislative Analyst Office and was the Senior Consultant for the Joint Legislative Committee on Public Pension Fund Investments.  He also worked in the State of New York as Assistant Budget Director for the New York State Division of Budget, as well as Budget Analyst for the New York State Assembly Ways and Means Committee.

Vince has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the State University of New York at Albany and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York.

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Strategic Advisor

Jose Aguirre was appointed as Chief Counsel and Deputy Director of Department of General Services (DGS) in June 2008, providing contract related advice to state agencies, as well as general advice to the offices within DGS.  Prior to joining DGS Jose Aguirre worked for the Department of Transportation (Caltrans) as Assistant Chief Counsel for contract Law since 2002 and deputy attorney from 2000 to 2002, where he provided legal advice on all aspects of contracting and represented Caltrans in contract and construction litigation.

Upon graduation in 1971, Jose was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Armor Corps.  In 1975, he was competitively selected for The Judge Advocate General’s Corps Funded Legal Education Program and attended law school.  In 1978, he was transferred to the U.S, Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps.  Jose retired from active duty in 1991

Jose was an Army Lieutenant Colonel and Professor/Chief, of the Contract Law Division at The Judge Advocate General’s School in Charlottesville, VA.  During his tenure at the school, he taught all areas of government contract and fiscal law, including sealed bidding, competitive negotiations, bid protests, procurement fraud and ethics in government contracting.

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