Governor reappoints three members of Mount San Jacinto Winter Park Authority

PALM SPRINGS — Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced three reappointments to the Mount San Jacinto Winter Park Authority (MSJWPA), the governing board of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

Winter Park Authority Board Members Named

Sandra Magana-Cuellar

Sandra Magaña-Cuellar, of Corona, has been reappointed to the MSJWPA, where she has served since 2018 and is currently Secretary. Cuellar has been Director of Government Affairs at Charter Communications since 2000. She was Project Director at Hispanas Organized for Political Equality from 1997 to 2000; Project Coordinator at the Contreras-Sweet Company in 1997; and an Intern at Consensus Planning Group from 1996 to 1997. Cuellar was an Assistant Account Executive at Oralia Michel Public Relations from 1995 to 1996 and Assistant Tour Publicist at Levine-Schneider Public Relations from 1994 to 1995. She is a member of the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality Board of Directors, Coachella Valley Economic Partnership Board of Directors and Inland Action Board of Directors. Cuellar earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Arts degree in Communication Management from the University of Southern California.

Winter Park Authority Board Members Named

Brian Conley

Brian Conley, of Big Bear Lake, was originally appointed to the MSJWPA in 2018 and is currently the Chair. He has been President and Chief Executive Officer at Community College Connections since 2012 and was a professor at Golden West College from 1975 to 2012. He was an elected member of the Governing Board of the Rancho Santiago Community College District from 1988 to 2012, serving four terms as Board President. The district, the seventh largest in California, served 60,000 students and employed 3,000. In 1999, Governor Gray Davis appointed Conley to the Board of Governors of California Community Colleges where he represented the colleges in Washington, D.C. In 2010, Conley was appointed to the California Student Aid Commission by Assembly Speaker John Perez and served for five years, awarding California students $2.2 billion dollars in student aid during that time. Conley earned a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education and Humanities from California State University, Fresno and has completed advanced studies at UCLA, Pepperdine University (Doctoral Program in Education) and Geneva School of Art & Design in Switzerland.

Winter Park Authority Board Members Named

Jeff Ohlfs

Jeff Ohlfs, of Twentynine Palms, was originally appointed to the MSJWPA in 2018 and is currently the Vice Chair. Ohlfs has been a Division Supervisor (Reservist) for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Operations Division Response Directorate since 2017. He held several positions at Joshua Tree National Park from 1990 to 2016, including Chief Park Ranger, District Park Ranger and Park Ranger. He was a park ranger at Hot Springs National Park from 1987 to 1990 and at C&O Canal National Historical Park from 1985 to 1987. Ohlfs earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resource Planning (Law) from Cal Poly Humboldt.

“I am delighted with the reappointments of our three Governor appointees” Tramway General Manager Nancy Nichols said in a statement. “They, along with our other Authority Members, contributed to the success of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway through the challenging years of the pandemic. We all look forward to celebrating the Tramway’s 60th Anniversary later this year.”

The other Authority Members are Jerry Ogburn and Nancy Stuart, appointed by the Palm Springs City Council, and Bary Freet and Brian Nestande, appointed by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.


Image Sources

  • Sandra-Magana-Cuellar: Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
  • Brian-Conley: Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
  • Jeff Ohlfs: Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
  • Tramcar: Palm Springs Aerial Tramway