Meet The Team

Golden State is committed to employee development and success. We encourage learning, creativity, and risk taking by our staff and consultants. 

Nick Caston, Golden State Government Relations
Nick Caston, President and Chief Strategic Officer

In this role, Nick provides clients a full spectrum of regulatory and legislative services, including: state and federal legislative efforts; land-use planning; state and local government relations; compliance; and regulatory affairs.

Nick has worked in public policy for over fifteen years, including serving in the office of former Assemblywoman and State Senator Noreen Evans. During his tenure in the public sector, Nick developed an expertise in California environmental and land-use policy. He has worked on sustainability campaigns focusing on land-use, transportation, and working families from the State Capitol and throughout California. In addition, Nick has had extensive experience in California’s political sphere, garnering awards for his political consulting efforts. Each week, Nick Co-Hosts the “CannaBiz” radio segment on The Drive with Steve Jackson, streaming at Mondays at 4:20pm. Nick is a Co-Chair of the California Democratic Party’s Resolution Committee.

Previously, Nick served as the Vice-Chair of the City of Santa Rosa, CA Planning Commission, Vice-Chair of the California Democratic Party Environmental Caucus and was a member of the California Community College Trustees Board of Directors.

Eliza Hodgson, Director of Operations

Eliza Hodgson is a public policy professional with experience in strategy, policy development  and issue advocacy. Before joining GSGR, Eliza spent five years doing both communications and legislative work, providing strategic policy advice to federal decision makers. She served as a Senior Adviser to a Shadow Cabinet Minister in the Australian Parliament, where she led the development of a range of social policy reforms to advance Indigenous and elder rights. Prior to this, she worked in land rights, legal and health policy. A passionate problem solver, Eliza has worked with federal, state and local governments as well as industry and community groups.

After a successful career in Australia, she now calls California home. Eliza holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and History from the University of Newcastle.

Alyssa Grimes, Business Manager

Alyssa graduated from the Santa Rosa Junior College with two Associates degrees, one in Business Administration and the other in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her previous work experience includes upward development at Safeway, where she became the Assistant Store Manager, followed by work experience at a Title company, where she facilitated escrow transactions and internal administration.

With Golden State, Alyssa oversees AR and AP, provides HR support, and manages daily administrative operations. She is excited to grow alongside the rest of the Golden State team, and provide back-end support. 

Dr. Jennifer Price, D.C., State Compliance Specialist

Dr. Jennifer Price, D.C. is the Director of State Compliance, and one of the founding officers of Golden State GR. She has a professional background as a practicing chiropractor and published researcher. Dr. Price began working in government relations in 2016 and has become a regulatory and compliance expert in age-restricted markets.

Dr. Price holds a B.A. in Psychology from U.C. Santa Barbara and a B.S. in Human Biology from Cleveland Chiropractic College Los Angeles, in addition to her Doctor of Chiropractic degree. With over 10 years of private practice as a chiropractor in Scotland and California under her belt, she has also worked in research, managing a clinical trial and publishing multiple papers in peer-reviewed research journals. Jennifer has also appeared as a guest speaker on the "CannaBiz" radio segment on The Drive with Steve Jackson on KSRO. She now applies her research, writing, and communication skills to influencing the regulatory landscape of California’s age-restricted markets and bringing businesses into compliance with state requirements for operation.

Shaun Ross, Project Coordinator

Prior to joining GSGR, Shaun spent over twenty years as an active duty member in the U.S. Coast Guard. His duties during his career ranged from search and rescue and law enforcement to hazardous materials response. His final assignment was as a response supervisor for the Pacific Strike Team, a specialized HAZMAT unit responsible for emergency response. Shaun assisted in multiple responses, most notably was the Refugio oil spill where he acted as Assistant Operations Officer helping to ensure proper response techniques were executed and acted as a government liaison between federal,state, local and tribal representatives.     

In 2017 Shaun retired from the Coast Guard and began his career in the wine industry. Working at Sbragia Family Vineyards he quickly rose from Tasting Room Associate to Tasting Room Operations Manager and was in charge of the daily operations of two tasting rooms. 

As a Project Coordinator Shaun helps to provide our clients with a project that is on time, within budget and of the highest quality of standards.                 

Lauren Funaro, Marketing and Event Associate   

Lauren graduated from Sonoma State University with an English degree and minors in Philosophy and Psychology. Since then, her experiences have taken her across Sonoma County. She is currently on the Executive Board for the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber's Young Professionals Network, where she serves on the Communications Committee, creating content and producing media for members and the community, and a member of the North Bay Vistage Emerging Leaders program. Lauren is also an acting stand-in cohost for the radio segment CannaBiz on the Drive with Steve Jaxon, airing on KSRO. 

With GSGR, Lauren works alongside an incredible cast of dedicated workers and innovative thinkers. Her position as the Marketing and Event Associate bridges the gap between business and consumer, creating content that is inventive, educational, and accessible.

Savannah Johnson, Junior Specialist

Savannah graduated with an associates degree in Global Studies with a focus on language. Further, she has completed courses on administration at Santa Rosa Junior College. Savannah accrued a strong background in both customer service and operations, where she developed organizational, attention to detail, and communication skills. She born and raised in Northern California

As the Administrative Assistant at Golden State Government Relations, Savannah oversees the daily operations and tasks necessary to maintain a well-organized and functional office space. She is just beginning her professional career and is excited to develop with a company that has such strong values and varied experiences that contribute to an amazing work environment.