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Our Team

Mr. Curtis Vandermolen


Mr Vandermolen is an experienced policy consultant and legal professional.  His professional career spans more than twenty years in various capacities with public and private entities.  Mr. Vandermolen has worked with private contract lobbying, as a senior consultant to the California State Assembly, as Deputy Director at the Ca. Transportation Commission, as an associate attorney at a contract law firm, and as co-owner of this private consulting firm.


Mr. Vandermolen began his career in policy analysis and politics working at a contract lobbying firm. After learning the art of bill analysis, writing for trade journals, and working with coalitions, he left the firm to earn his B.A. in Government from CSU Sacramento in 2008.


Following graduation, Mr. Vandermolen was selected for the highly competitive Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellowship - named one of Vault's top 10 experiences in the nation. In the spirit of giving back, Mr. Vandermolen served for four years on the Board of Directors for the Capital Fellows Alumni Association which provides assistance to incoming Fellows and Fellow alumni.


From 2009 to 2017, Mr. Vandermolen worked as a policy and process consultant for the Assembly Education, Transportation, and Rules Committees. Concurrently, Mr. Vandermolen led briefings, communications efforts, vote recommendations, and special projects for members of the Assembly. Before leaving this position, Mr. Vandermolen imagined, designed, and led the development and implementation of a revolutionary method of delivering policy analyses to elected officials using cutting-edge technologies.


In 2017, Mr. Vandermolen was appointed by the Brown Administration to serve as Deputy Director for the California Transportation Commission. In this role, he was responsible for efforts to develop an alternative to the gas tax. Mr. Vandermolen brought together disruptive technologies in transportation including smart cities, ride-hailing, vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle communications, autonomous vehicles, and more to develop strong recommendations that place California as a leader in ecologically responsible transportation.


In addition to these primary responsibilities, Mr. Vandermolen initiated and led an effort to imagine, design, and develop a revolutionary method of tracking and making simplified information about transportation funding and infrastructure projects available to the public.


In October 2007, Mr. Vandermolen partnered with Dr. Blackthorne to establish FSU Consulting, a consulting firm dedicated to research and concept development in support of public and private organizations’ efforts to maintain relevance in the modern environment of frequent disruptions and fast-paced development.


Mr. Vandermolen graduated with his Juris Doctorate from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 2020.  His doctoral education focused on environmental law and indigenous rights.  He externed with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) located in Odanah, Wisconsin in 2019.  He is currently an associate attorney at Peebles Kidder Bergin & Robinson, LLC in Sacramento, California.  

Mr. Vandermolen's academic publications include "Challenging NEPA Documents With TEK:  Indigenous perspectives are vital to a reasoned choice among alternatives."

Dr. Emma Blackthorne


Dr. Blackthorne has had a long an distinguished career spanning the fields of anthropology, education, executive management, and criminal justice. She speaks, reads or writes more than 15 languages and has traveled to every region of the world.

Dr. Blackthorne earned her Masters Degree in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin and her Masters in Social Work from Rutgers University in New Jersey. Her doctoral work spanned both coasts of the United States and was earned through Capella University in Minnesota. An anthropologist by trade, Dr. Blackthorne has consulted for major cultural and forensic projects for public and private institutions. 


Dr. Blackthorne was Dean of the College of Criminal Justice at the University of Phoenix in Concord, CA and she continues to teach anthropology to students in the Yuba-Sutter community as an adjunct professor with the Yuba Community College District.

Dr. Blackthorne has been in executive management since 2007, has started two businesses, and has been involved with the leadership of numerous nonprofit organizations.  In 2016, Dr. Blackthorne accepted leadership of the Marysville Youth and Community Center, leading the transformation from a center losing programs and hemorrhaging money to its recent revitalization.

In 2009 she was named the Literacy Advocate of the year by Wisconsin Literacy, Inc. in honor of her work in bringing GED and basic literacy to Natives in Northern Wisconsin Correctional Facilities.  She thereafter served as the Director of the North Central Adult Education Consortium where she created and facilitated programs which provide life and business skills training across five counties in northern California. 

In 2018, Dr. Blackthorne accepted a position as Dean of Institutional Research and Effectiveness at the Yuba Community College District.  Her primary responsibility was conducting research on student success, including evaluating the institution's diversity, equity, and inclusion metrics.

Because of her excellent work, in January 2020 Dr. Blackthorne was offered a position of Senior Dean of Research at Contra Costa Community Colleges District (4CD).  Leading a team of researchers, she has been at the forefront of evaluating student success and institutional effectiveness through the COVID-19 pandemic which struck as she took the new role.  Leading a team of researchers and programmers, she is at the forefront of ensuring 4CD is responding to modern disruptions in a manner that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Dr. Blackthorne approaches problems from a humanistic perspective, applying more than a decade of anthropological experience to understand the motivations and efficiencies inherent in business and employment. She believes that when people are treated well, fairly, and with respect, they perform to the best of their ability. She brings exceptional cultural competency and unconventional thinking to every problem discussion.

Dr. Blackthorne's academic publications include "Phenomenology of Two-Spirit identity: Reservation to urban social landscapes," and "Venture Humanism: Beyond the Looking Glass."

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