UCLA IS Associates 2018 Distinguished Executive Leadership Awards

Farmers® CEO Jeff Dailey provided a tour of the Innovation Lab to UCLA IS Associates’ Don Olender. Farmers created the lab to help bring together customer-centric thinking and next-generation technology such as Machine Learning and software bots to help accelerate claims processing. (Photo by Thomas Phelps IV, Laserfiche CIO and UCLA Executive Board Member.)


LOS ANGELES - UCLA IS Associates announced three award winners for its annual Executive Leadership Awards in the Corporate Enterprise, Startup, and Public Sector categories. Awardees include Jeffrey Dailey, CEO of Farmers Insurance; Travis VanderZanden, Founder and CEO of Bird; and John Wicker, Director of Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.

“Founded in 1978, the UCLA Information Systems Associates Program has brought together the academic and business communities around the topic of information technology,” said Dr. Ephraim McLean, former Associate Professor of UCLA Anderson School of Management and co-founder of IS Associates with co-founder Dr. Lew Leeburg, a former executive at IBM and three-time alumnus of UCLA.

“The IS Associates Executive Leadership Award is a particularly distinctive element of the IS Associates. It is an award and evening not only about technology but a recognition of how technology really affects people and how we live and interact on this planet,” said Jim Davis, Vice Provost of Information Technology and Chief Academic Technology Officer at UCLA. “We are all experiencing the acceleration of digitalization. The fact that the leadership award is now recognizing digital change and digitalization achievements in a business, government and start up is reflection of this acceleration. This year’s event is particularly special in that we will be celebrating the legacy of Lew Lewburg who passed away this year but whose presence threads through so much of what the IS Associates is and does.”

In honor of the Lew Leeburg and 40th anniversary of UCLA IS Associates, the Executive Leadership Awards celebration includes an exclusive fireside chat with Dr. Ephraim McLean and Jim Davis, on the history and impact of organization in the Southern California technology community.  “I look forward to revisiting the reasons that led to the Associates being started and the achievements that have been realized over its 40-year history,” McLean said.

“Our focus from the beginning has been about sharing and celebrating the important ways technology empowers successful businesses.  This year’s recipients of the Executive Leadership Award join a long and illustrious list of previous honorees, who also share that same insight – that the innovative use of technology in their businesses will always provide real opportunities, drive immense value and influence positive outcomes.  This year we celebrate their success and honor their commitment to this,” said Don Olender, Executive Director of IS Associates. 

          Jeff Dailey will receive the Corporate Enterprise Award.

Dailey is the CEO of Farmers Group, Inc. (Farmers Insurance), one of the country's largest insurers of automobiles, homes and small businesses and provide a wide range of other insurance and financial services products.

Dailey joined Farmers in 2007 as President of Personal Lines when Farmers acquired Bristol West. He had been the Bristol West CEO since 2006. In January 2011, he was promoted to the position of President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Farmers Group, Inc. Dailey was named to his current role of CEO of Farmers Group, Inc. effective January 1, 2012. After spending time at Progressive Insurance in various roles, he went on to form Reliant Insurance Company, an auto insurance start-up. Reliant was sold to Bristol West Holdings Inc. in 2001. From 2001 until 2004, Mr. Dailey was COO of Bristol West. In 2004, he was named President of Bristol West in connection with a public offering on the New York Stock Exchange and assumed the CEO role in 2006.


            Travis VanderZanden will receive the Start-Up/Entrepreneurial Award.

VanderZanden is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bird, a reliable last mile electric scooter rental service.

VanderZanden has long been inspired to work on last-mile transportation solutions in large part because of his lifelong admiration for his mother, who drove a public bus for more than 30 years in his home state of Wisconsin.

Throughout his career, Travis has been at the forefront of innovative transportation solutions, most recently as a pioneer in the ride-sharing industry serving as Chief Operating Officer of Lyft and as a Vice President at Uber. Travis also founded the on-demand car washing company, Cherry, which was acquired by Lyft, and was Chief Revenue Officer and the first hire at Yammer, the business software company, acquired by Microsoft. Travis has an MBA from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire.


            John Wicker will receive the Public Sector Award.

As the Director of the Los Angeles County, Department of Parks and Recreation, Wicker is responsible for the operation, management and maintenance of more than 70,000 acres of park land and 183 parks. These include 10 regional parks, 13 recreational lakes, 14 wildflower and wildlife sanctuaries, 10 nature centers, four arboreta and botanic gardens, and 20 golf courses that comprise the largest municipal public golf system in the country.

In addition, Wicker oversees a Department that operates 40 swimming pools, 18 splash pads, more than 200 miles of multi-use trails, the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, and the
world-famous Hollywood Bowl. Mr. Wicker administers the Department’s annual operating budget of more than $243 million, a capital improvement program totaling more than $60 million annually, and 1,700 full-time equivalent positions serving more than 23 million park visitors each year.

As part of his responsibilities, Mr. Wicker also administers the Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District, which has issued more than $1.5 billion in grants to parks and recreation agencies serving Los Angeles County.

John Wicker began his dedicated career with Los Angeles County as a Lake Lifeguard in 1978. He has worked in a variety of positions with the Department of Parks and Recreation, including serving as Chief Deputy Director for over 10 years before being appointed as Director on March 29, 2016. He completed his studies at San Diego State University in May 1980, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Arts and Sciences degree in Recreation Administration.


IS Associates’ 2018 Executive Leadership Awards Dinner will be on November 8, 2018 at UCLA’s Carnesale Commons. For more information on the event, click here.


Thank you to our sponsors


Platinum Sponsor: Nth Generation

With a legacy of over 26 years, Nth Generation provides cutting edge, consultative IT services, encompassing a suite of IT solutions. Whether your focus is hybrid IT, security, compliance, intelligent edge analytics, transformative solutions or an array of technologies, Nth is a trusted industry and security advisor.

Nth Generation empowers clients to achieve optimal results through boosting agility, profitability and mitigating risk. We offer the distinction of tenured experts, including account managers and project managers, solution architects and certified solution engineers. The Nth team – partnered with an expanding array of innovative, renowned manufacturers – collaborates with your IT team, to ensure you achieve the most appropriate, proven, innovative methodology and IT infrastructure.

In a perpetually changing, competitive landscape, Nth Generation is here to help you achieve your unique business goals both now and in the future. To learn more, visit www.nth.com.

Platinum Sponsor: Druva

Druva is the global leader in Cloud Data Protection and Management, delivering the industry’s first data management-as-a-service solution that aggregates data from endpoints, servers and cloud applications and leverages the public cloud to offer a single pane of glass to enable data protection, governance and intelligence–dramatically increasing the availability and visibility of business critical information, while reducing the risk, cost and complexity of managing and protecting it.

Druva’s award-winning solutions intelligently collect data, and unify backup, disaster recovery, archival and governance capabilities onto a single, optimized data set. As the industry’s fastest growing data protection provider, Druva is trusted by over 4,500 global organizations, and protects over 50 PB of data. To learn more, visit www.druva.com.

Networking Sponsor: AppDynamics

AppDynamics is a Cisco company and the leader in application intelligence. With AppDynamics, enterprises have real-time insights into application performance, user performance and business performance so they can move faster in an increasingly sophisticated, software-driven world. AppDynamics’ integrated suite of applications is built on its innovative, enterprise-grade App iQ Platform that enables its customers to make faster decisions that enhance customer engagement and improve operational and business performance. To learn more, visit www.appdynamics.com.