Abbigail Brown, Owner & President
CREATING SPACE FOR EVERY VOICE
Abbigail knows that there are different ways to approach small business needs — that relationships can be built between large and small companies that extend past professional dynamics, and that you can be yourself and manage systemic processes that generate lasting change. She generates results with her ability to engage others through open dialogue — full of life and energy, she connects people. Her greatest strength, and what keeps companies coming back to contract with CPM, is her personality and commitment to creating a positive environment. She attends to each job personally and recruits those around her to do the same.
Abbigail works tirelessly with DBEs to promote increased education, awareness and project expectations for federally funded transportation projects. She has generated significant interest for the marginalized group at federal, state and local levels. Abbigail co-founded the Prime-DBE Cooperative (PDC) with Caltrans to address chronic prime contractor / Disadvantaged Business Enterprise communication and feedback issues — now contracts for PDC attendees are up by 47%.
The value of the work Abbigail manages totals over $500 million. She motivates and mentors diverse professional teams that function well and generate an atmosphere of camaraderie between the people contributing to the team that lasts well beyond the life of the project. The politically charged Presidio Project had gotten off to a rocky start, but Abbigail became one of the project’s most trusted consultants and was able to stem the tide of negativity and steer the project into the black for minority compliance. Her optimism and humor also addressed issues with grace and kindness rather than by negative reinforcement on the highly contentious California High Speed Rail Project.
Abbigail earned her Master’s in Public Administration, and undergraduate degree in Business Administration, from Post University. She is also affiliated with the International Partnering Institute (IPI), Construction Management Association of America (CMAA), Project Management Institute (PMI), Associated General Contractors (AGC), and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). She is on the East Bay Economic Development Alliance’s (EBEDA) Land Use & Infrastructure Committee and is the Chair for Associated General Contractors (AGC) of California’s Small Business Committee — AGC has sought out Abbigail’s expertise to help promote procurement opportunities with federal agencies for small businesses by bringing awareness and proposed solutions to challenges small business contractors face. Her enthusiasm and hard work inspires loyalty in any group to work toward successful contracts and sustainable working relationships. Abbigail believes every voice should be heard.
Claire Pittman, Director of Communication & Project Manager
CLEAR LINES OF COMMUNICATION
Claire is an essential part of the CPM team. Her depth of experience means that she can write a communications plan, respond to a bid package, keep websites and social media updated, design flyers and be involved with outreach. Working on so many different projects simultaneously, Claire adapts to quickly changing needs and minds — whether it’s a presentation that now must be a flyer, which now must be a postcard, she can write it, design it and get it to the right people.
Claire has over 10 years of strategic communications consulting and project management experience working on public projects. Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, she worked on two of the nation’s largest disaster recovery programs, leading communications and outreach efforts, advancing program and policy objectives focused on economic development, rehabilitation and equitable access to opportunity. For CPM she has found project success with the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, the California High Speed Rail Project, Presidio Parkway Phase II in San Francisco, and working every event for the PDC.
Claire studied Business Administration in Nottingham, England, and earned her Bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University in Mass Communications. She uses this base of education to support the overall communications plans of CPM projects, and CPM itself. Her skill set now also includes design and project management, strategic communications, public administration, community engagement, media and public relations, marketing, and technical writing.
Claire is a Jill-of-all-trades, and a strong resource for CPM, doing anything and everything that needs doing. With her background in mass communications, community outreach, and technical writing, Claire is an essential part of the team.
Jessica Obee, Project Manager
CONCENTRATED POSITIVE CONNECTIONS
Jessica Obee is a social scientist at heart who thrives under good leadership, and working with a creative team. As a CPM Project Manager, Jessica wears many hats, taking on responsibilities relating to operations, event management, networking, community outreach and team management. As the newest CPM staff member, she brings a fresh perspective from her experience in the non-profit sector.
Jessica’s experience within the 501(c)3 sector means that she is well-versed in watching every dollar. This includes monitoring staff efficiency, forming partnerships to provide pro-bono services and host locations, raising funds through donations, product sales, and sponsorships, setting tight budgets for outreach events, and using team knowledge to identify savings opportunities.
From her start at AmeriCorps VISTA working with homeless youth and fund development, Jessica has since directed a workforce of 800 volunteers across urban and rural Montana for the Girl Scouts of Montana & Wyoming; managed outreach and recruitment in Alameda County for Girl Scouts of Northern California; and fund development, partnership and strategy as Director of Development for the International Partnering Institute. She has the skills, resilience, and history of accomplishing business goals.
For CPM she helped manage the first-annual Transportation Small Business Summit, attended by hundreds of small businesses and vendors. She provides guidance for process and efficiency within the company, researches and writes investigative project reports, and helps with business development, including responses to RFPs.
Jessica’s passion has served her well throughout her varied career – she pushes herself to learn about people, and loves making connections that bring win-win scenarios. This background makes her an invaluable part of the CPM team. Coupling that with her experience with project management and strategy, Jessica brings her natural positivity and drive, helping the team move forward smoothly.
With a double-major in Anthropology and English, Jessica has built on this unique background, and found an effective way to apply it to the transportation sector. By helping bring these small business communities into the mix with her cheerful smile and enthusiasm, Jessica has already added to small business capacity in the California Bay Area.
Melissa Chaparro, Compliance Manager & Project Coordinator
FOCUSED ATTENTION TO DETAIL
Melissa earned her degree in Applied Mathematics from George Mason University in Virginia and has made herself indispensable to the CPM team, providing the reporting and analysis required on CPM’s complicated projects.
With her five years of administrative and compliance management experience, she worked for CPM as the Subcontract Compliance Manager on the Presidio Parkway project in San Francisco and received high praise from Flatiron-Kiewit, JV for her performance at the site. Melissa’s responsibilities include monitoring project minority compliance progress; maintaining compliance records and reporting payment information for all UDBE and SBE vendors; implementing program requirements that support compliance with all city, state, and federal laws. She compiles the information from each subcontractor into an easily readable format and distributes those updates and facts to the team on the project. This document control is crucial to the success of every project, and Melissa keeps everyone informed and up to date with her careful reporting.
Outside of CPM projects, Melissa promotes diversity by communicating with vendors to increase utilization of certified minority companies. To encourage an increase in the utilization of the number of SBE/DBE companies working on transportation projects, Melissa strategically identifies and contacts organizations to promote the advantages of utilizing these small businesses. Her understanding of logical reasoning and problem solving allows her to be efficient and accurate when she does community outreach. Melissa also attends networking sessions to represent CPM, and assists with every PDC event. She is a decisive key to the success of the PDC because she follows up with each attendee — via email and phone, she sends out the final contact list, ensuring that everyone is included and continues to participate.
Melissa is furthering her education by attending a coding program to learn web and app development. With her attention to detail and her background in mathematics, this will make her an even stronger team partner who will help propel CPM to the next level.
Ya’ara Persing, Project Manager
FIXING PROBLEMS TOGETHER
Ya’ara Persing knows that work is done better together — she is committed to community, inclusivity and communication. In her work with Caltrans on the PDC and her experience with the Jewish Community Center (JCC), she creates and manages events using conventional and unconventional methods to engage interested stakeholders. She manages day-to-day operations and was the face of the JCC for over 60 Oakland families. As a Fellow for the Urban Adamah Farm, Ya’ara used her time to educate consumers about responsible farming practices and food justice, and making connections with local residents. She continues to work with local farming and food education communities to promote economic development in the Bay area.
Building on her work and passion, Ya’ara’s degree in Community Development and Planning from Clark University further inspires advocacy and ideas for addressing regional and local problems. She focuses on establishing lasting relationships through attentive listening and observation, and consistent follow up and feedback solicitation, encouraging participation and the empowerment found when working in a group. It is because of Ya’ara that CPM’s attendance at PDC workshops continues to thrive.
Ya’ara’s drive is to better the situation of others by creating an environment of inclusion and a united work ethic. She is a natural communicator that engages contractors by her ability to intelligently assess their needs and respond to them accordingly. Whether her focus is sustainable farming practices, progressive taxation campaigns, social justice, food justice or recycling programs, Ya’ara sees a need and actively pursues solutions and group involvement. Her passion dovetails perfectly with what CPM seeks to attain: outreach, problem-solving and connections. She aims to fix problems together.