Five candidates hope for seat on board


Three of the five seats on the Canyon Lake POA’s Board of Directors will be up for election in May when the two-year terms of Mike Harris, Phil Hawgood and Tom Nathan end. Each of these members are eligible to run for another term.

Jeanne O’Dell, Tom Nathan, Chris Poland, Phil Hawgood and Mike Harris submitted Intent to Run forms and announced their candidacy for the 2019/2021 Board of Directors.

In the weeks leading up to the election, The Friday Flyer will feature a series of questions to the candidates. During this period, residents will have a chance to hear directly from the candidates and learn what they hope to accomplish if elected to serve a two-year term on the board of directors.

This week, The Friday Flyer features the candidates’ resumes, written in their own words. The candidates are listed in the order they will appear on the ballot.

Jeanne O’Dell

Jeanne O’Dell. Photo by MacKenzie Dore

My name is Jeanne O’Dell and I want to become your representative on the Canyon Lake Property Owners Board of Directors. I am a mom, grandma and humom to a dog and cat. I have been a full-time resident of Canyon Lake since August 2006 and a part-time resident starting in 1998.

I serve on the Canyon Lake Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and have been volunteering my time with them since 2010. 2010 was a busy year as I also started serving on the Facilities Review Committee and I am still an active member. I am a new member of the Canyon Lake Woman’s Club and the Canyon Lake Travel Club.

I have over 30 years experience related to facilities planning, space utilization, construction, maintenance and operations at California State University, Long Beach and Mt. San Jacinto Community College. I started as a car washer at Cal State Long Beach eventually rising through the ranks to become the director of facilities management.

After the birth of my son, I changed my career focus becoming the assistant director of physical planning/space management.

In 2006, I had the opportunity to leave CSULB and join the administrative team at Mt. San Jacinto Community College, once again in facilities planning/construction management.

In 2009, my husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness so I retired from MSJC to care for him. Upon his death in 2010, I inherited Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant as owner/operator until late 2017 when I was able to sell the business/property.

One of my goals as a director would be to foster a positive sense of fellowship and pride of ownership throughout the community. In order to do so, I would work with appropriate staff and other directors to continue to maintain and enhance all community facilities and amenities through thoughtful planning and expenditures. I would also support clubs and organizations operating within the community as a means to encourage member involvement and volunteerism.

Another goal is to make certain that all large projects and major equipment expenditures are completed/purchased at the best value for the community. I would work with the appropriate staff and other directors to ensure that accepted industry best practices are followed when planning/obtaining bids for projects and major equipment expenditures and that projects are planned and costs are thoroughly investigated before proceeding with construction.

My third goal would be to continue to encourage open and truthful communications with all members of the community. I would work with the appropriate staff to make certain that website/newsletters containing project information and upcoming events are current and widely distributed. I would encourage all members to sign-up for electronic notifications. I would work with staff to continue to explore other options for distributing the information in an efficient manner beneficial to all community members.

Tom Nathan

Tom Nathan. Photo by Donna Ritchie

I was elected POA Board Director in May 2017 and have been a full-time Canyon Lake resident since 2001. During my 18 years in Canyon Lake, I’ve been involved with the Men’s Golf Club, Little League, Co-Ed Softball Club, Men’s Softball Club, Ski Club and Tennis Club. I also previously served as a member of the Finance, Recreation and Rules and Regulations Committees.

As director, I’ve gained a much greater understanding of our POA organization and the complexities and challenges of operating our homeowner’s association with an overall annual budget approaching $22 million.

My educational background is in business administration. I have a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in financial management. My professional experience of over 30 years includes the healthcare, restaurant and marine industries, and most recently as international controller for a $1.5 billion global leader in direct marketing.

As your director, my goal is to continue protecting and preserving the exclusive use private community that Canyon Lake already is while helping to plan for an even better community in the years ahead.

My financial background provides the expertise needed to properly review current association expenditures as well as analyze those proposed for the future.

Since becoming POA treasurer in 2017, subsidies for the Lighthouse and Country Club restaurants were reduced $170,000 or 20 percent during my first year as director and are on track to reduce another $100,000 or 15 percent this year (achieving one of my stated goals in 2017) .

While this is great to see, I believe even more subsidy reductions are achievable from increased efficiencies resulting from higher member utilization.

As a gated community, security will always be a high priority for me. Although we have a new security contract provider, there are current issues that need improvement. Our members should feel that the security contractor is meeting or exceeding their expectations.

Chris Poland

Chris Poland. Photo provided by Chris Poland

Husband, father, grandfather, native Californian, CEO, structural engineer, earthquake engineering and community resilience specialist, builder, member of the National Academy of Engineering, retired to Canyon Lake for the long haul.

Barbara and I have been married for 48 years. We have three children, seven grandchildren and a golden retriever. We have owned property in Canyon Lake for over 12 years and lived here for the last four plus.

We returned to our Southern California roots for the weather and to enjoy the well-paced life. We were both raised in Big Bear Lake, married as high school sweethearts, lived in Redlands while I attended the University, moved to the Bay Area for my master’s degree from Stanford and then a 40-year career with Degenkolb Engineers in San Francisco.

Canyon Lake is a fascinating place we discovered when our son Matt and his wife Tanya lived here in the early 2000s. We were drawn to the spectacular views, the lake and golf course, the inclusion of families of all ages and the organized and delightfully unique ambiance. We saw this as a place where people lived and worked together to create a special place that all could enjoy – each with their own favorite part.

In 2006, we decided to buy our lot for the future. In 2014 we joined in when we retired and moved here, built our retirement home on hole 14 and started participating in the clubs and committees. Maybe you visited our home on the 2016 Home Tour.

I began my career at Degenkolb as a designer in a small 15-person expert structural engineering firm and advanced to serve as the CEO the last 21 years of my time there. I facilitated its growth to a 180-person professional practice firm with six offices, over 30 partners, revenues in excess of $30 million a year and international recognition.

I also served in leadership roles on many boards and committees for professional organizations and advisory committees to local, state and federal departments and agencies. I was on the board of trustees for the University of Redlands and led their Campus Planning Committee. Finding middle ground and achieving collaboration while working with literally hundreds of people with different ideas and priorities is a skill I’ve acquired.

The POA owns nearly everything inside the gates except our houses and lots. We have millions of dollars of assets that need to be maintained to preserve and enhance all our favorite places – parks, landscaping and signage, recreation facilities including the lodge, all meeting rooms, the golf course and country club, the lake and of course all the roads, parking lots, infrastructure and administrative facilities. Working together for the benefit of everyone, to protect everyone’s piece of paradise and ability to use it is a challenge that should be the goal for all of us.

Partnering with the city to improve our security and take full advantage of having our voice heard in our county and state is an opportunity to be seized. Our committees serve as a conduit of information from the people to the board that provides a clear picture of what working together for the common good means.

As a member of the Facilities Review Committee, the Dredge Committee and the Men’s Golf Club board, I know the intensity of their work and the value it brings to decision making.

My Goals:

  • Honor the organizational structure of our community and work with our clubs and committees to maintain and enhance all our favorite places and their availability for use.
  • Collaborate with the city and develop joint power agreements that eliminate overlap of services, improve public safety, planning, code enforcement and reduce costs.
  • Develop and maintain annual budgets that efficiently meet our short-term needs, adequately provide for our long-term expenses and seek new sources of revenue through economic development.

Phil Hawgood

Phil Hawgood. Photo by Donna Ritchie

Goals and objectives: First and foremost, I am going to bring decades of real estate investment and construction experience to achieve goals faster and with less money expended. Since my first job during college where I doubled the speed that contractors performed their job to decades of identifying underpriced properties and personally developing beautiful custom homes, I have had to design and vet structural plans while also managing dozens of different contractors in unison to ensure that the job was done perfectly and on time. I routinely achieved these results under budget without redesign, which allowed me to rapidly grow my real estate development company from one owning a single property to one owning multiple high-value properties all over Southern California.

Second, we must bring a greater level of transparency to the board to ensure accountability and better utilize the skill of the outstanding members of our community. I will create an electronic forum open to all Canyon Lake residents, so that they can express their concerns or provide suggestions directly to me, so that I can discuss it to the board of directors.

Throughout my career, I have managed to achieve the best results for low prices because I both gained the trust of my employees and I encouraged them to provide new ideas in areas where they had better expertise than I did.

Experience: Hawgood Real Estate Development, La Canada-Flintridge, California, Real Estate Developer, September 1982 to present:

  • Located and identified suitable properties for residential construction.
  • Developed custom-home plans and managed them through complex regulatory approvals.
  • Constructed multiple multi-million-dollar homes from the ground up, managing all levels of construction, including finding and securing affordable bids from contractors, to ensure results that came in under budget.

La Canada Valley Realty, La Canada-Flintridge, California, Owner and Real Estate Agent, January 1974 to September 1982:

  • Managed 12 real estate agents and sold some of the most expensive homes in the community.
  • Designed a state of the art office layout that emphasized privacy, an experience that later became the standard in the real estate business in the area.

Education: San Diego State University, San Diego, California, Bachelor of Science in psychology and child development, May 1972.

Family: I have been married to my amazing wife, Sara Ellerbe Hawgood, for 37 years this August. She owned and managed a physical therapy company in Pasadena for over 30 years. I also have three boys, two of whom are lawyers. Arthur lives on the east coast, Alexander lives in Glendale, California, and Andrew is a civil engineer and construction manager living in Pasadena.

Mike Harris

Mike Harris. Photo by Donna Ritchie

In January of 2012, I purchased my home in Canyon Lake. Relocating to Canyon Lake from coastal San Pedro has been the ideal choice for my family and me. I was drawn to our community because of the many amenities offered. As a full-time Canyon Lake resident, I enjoy boating on the lake with my children and grandchildren.

Like most residents, my first purchase was a golf cart. The family certainly enjoys cruising around our community, visiting our many playgrounds, parks and beaches.

One of our many assets that we enjoy are the clubs that provide events for every age group. Without the spirit of volunteering, we as a community would not be able to afford to host every event.

Of greatest concern is security and communication. The word security has been misinterpreted to mean that community patrol will solve all issues. The City of Canyon Lake provides for personal security for individuals and their property through the contract with Riverside Sheriff’s Department. Community Patrol is contracted to enforce our Rules and Regulations and police the common areas.

Communication has been difficult. I venture to guess that 95 percent of our members have at least one email address, yet not all have registered with the POA to receive notifications. Members would have access to the website, weekly newsletters and alerts about road closures, whether storm or accident related.

My objective is to continue as your board member. We five members of the board (Dale, Phil, Tom, Jim and myself) have accomplished numerous items on the to-do list we created two years ago with many others to be accomplished.

I am looking forward to meeting and coordinating with the City of Canyon Lake with quarterly meetings, increasing member participation through email communication and listening to member suggestions to accomplish these goals. Every regular board meeting has time allocated for members to speak about their concerns.


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Donna Ritchie