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California Veterans Board Biographies

Hugh E. Crooks Jr., Chair

Member since 2014

Hugh E. Crooks Jr.Hugh E. Crooks Jr. currently serves as the California Veterans Board's Vice-Chair. Mr. Crooks served in combat as a rifleman and squad leader in the U.S. Army from 1967 to 1969 in Vietnam. He held multiple positions in numerous departments within Los Angeles County from 1964 until 2005. Those include: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department from 1069 to 1971 as a Booking Clerk; the County Safety Police Department, Protective Services Division, from 1971 to 1996 where he attained the position of Chief; the Natural History Museum from 1996 to 2000 as the Head of Administrative and Facilities Manager, and finally at the Register-Recorder/County Clerk as Operations Manager of Human Resources from 2000 to 2005. Mr. Crooks is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and was State Commander of the American Legion from 2011 to 2012.


John W. Busterud, Vice-Chair

Member since 2017

John W. BusterudJohn Busterud, of Belvedere, has recently been appointed to the California Veterans Board. Busterud was managing counsel and senior director for environment and real estate at Pacific Gas and Electric Company from 1985 to 2016. At PG&E, he was also a founding director and counsel to the company’s Veterans Employee Resource Group, an organization with over 1,000 members. He currently serves as Chair of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East.  Busterud is a retired U.S. Army Colonel with multiple Combined, Joint and Interagency assignments, including deployments in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Combined Forces Command on the Korean Peninsula. His decorations include: the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and Parachutist’s Badge. Busterud received his Juris Doctor from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Busterud is a member of the American Legion. 

Todd Trotter

Member since 2015

Todd TrotterTodd Trotter, of Sacramento, was appointed to the California Veterans Board Chair in 2015. He has been an Executive Director at Kaiser Permanente since 2013, where he has held several positions since 2002, including human resources leader, Northern California director of labor relations and human resource business partner. Trotter served as a letter carrier and labor relations representative at the U.S. Postal Service from 1992 to 2002 and served in the U.S. Army from 1983 to 1991. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. He is a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.


Charlene Taylor, RN, MSN

Member since 2012

Charlene TaylorCharlene is a Diploma Nurse graduate from the Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing.  She continued her education receiving her Bachelors of Science in Nursing, graduating from the University of New York, Albany.  She furthered her education with a Masters Degree in Nursing Administration from the University of California, San Francisco.

Charlene was commissioned as a Captain in the United States Air Force (Reserve Command) in October 1993, earning her flight nurse wings in 1994 and subsequently was selected to be a flight nurse instructor, followed by a promotion to evaluator status. Her last squadron assignment was that of Chief Nurse.

In addition to years of experience conducting aeromedical evacuation missions throughout the world, Charlene was activated in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from March 2003 - March 2004. In January 2005, Charlene was selected to be the Chief Nurse of the 379th Expeditionary Aeromedical Squadron in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Due to the demands of her civilian position, Charlene transferred to inactive status in the Air Force Reserve Command in 2008.  She is a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

Charlene Taylor retired in 2017 from Kaiser Permanente with 22 years of service holding various administrative positions including Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Operating Officer.

Robin Umberg

Member since 2019

Robin UmbergRobin Umberg enlisted in the Army at the age of 18 and served for 36 years. She held numerous positions to include Commanding the 6253rd and 4211th Army Hospitals and had 2 overseas assignments. She received her BS in Nursing from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Nursing and her Masters in Business Administration from the University of Northern Colorado. President Clinton appointed her to serve on the West Point Board of Visitors in 2000. She was promoted to Brigadier General in 2005. Her last assignment was Chief, Professional Services, 3rd Medical Command at Ft Gillem, Georgia focusing on battlefield readiness for more than 27,000 Army medical personnel. She was inducted into the Order of Military Medical Merit in 2006 and retired in 2010.

In 2011, Governor Brown appointed her Deputy Secretary for Veteran Homes and elevated her position to Undersecretary, California Department of Veteran Affairs the same year. She resigned from that position in 2013 to fight a battle with cancer. She won. BG Umberg (ret) is a current member of the board of the Public Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan and a board member of VALOR-Veteran’s Alliance of Orange County. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her service to Veterans in 2014. She has 3 children and resides in Orange County with her husband, COL (ret) Tom Umberg.

Ed Campbell

Member since 2019

Ed CampbellEd W. Campbell, AIA Emeritus, is a retired architect establishing his firm in 1974 in Connecticut and closing the firm of USA Architects and Engineers in Ventura, California in 2015. His projects can be seen in many states and includes both planning, construction and development. He was born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA. Ed joined the Naval Reserve at 17 and enlisted in the Air Force at 19. He served at various stations, including Travis AFB, Lajas AFB, Azores, Portugal, and Edwards AF Flight Test Center. He was always assigned to some type of drafting or logistics position. Ed was one of the Founding Directors of Westport, CT Home for Girls, Focus of the Masters and Ventura Music Festival in Ventura, CA. He was President, Member and a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary Clubs throughout his career until retirement. Ed has been President of the American Institute of Architects, Hawaii Island Section and involved in its National Committees, as well as President of the Allied Council, California Veterans Home in Ventura for two years, where he resides. He has received several awards including the Presidential Citation for Action in the collapse of the high rise buildings in Bridgeport, CT. Ed has been licensed in 17 states and for over 25 years in California. He was appointed to the California Veterans Board in 2019. 

Zoe Dunning

Member since 2019

Zoe DunningZoe Dunning, 56, of San Francisco, has been appointed to the California Veterans Board. Dunning has been a change management consultant with a variety of consulting firms since 2005. From 1999 to 2004, she served in operations leadership roles at Webvan and Chestnut Company. Prior to that, Dunning was a manager at the consulting firms Deloitte Consulting and A.T. Kearney from 1993 to 1998. A retired Commander in the United States Navy Supply Corps, she served on active duty from 1985 - 1991, and in the reserves 1991 - 2007. Dunning is a Commissioner on the United States World War 1 Centennial Commission, on the San Francisco Library Commission and also serves as an Advisory Board member for the nonprofit Vets in Tech. She earned a Master of Business Administration degree in strategy and operations from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Dunning is a Democrat.

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California Veterans Board Biographies