California JPIAThe California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (California JPIA) congratulates Senior Risk Manager Melaina Francis, who celebrated her tenth anniversary with the Authority in February.

Melaina joined the California JPIA as a risk manager in February 2013. During her time with the Authority, she has diligently and thoughtfully served members from the Palos Verdes Peninsula & Harbor and Central and South Los Angeles County regions, notes Deputy Executive Officer Alex Smith. Before joining the California JPIA, Melaina gained a wide array of experiences that prepared her for her role with the Authority as a senior risk manager.

At the start of her career, Melaina served as a heavy equipment operator in the United States Army. Following her time in the Army, she obtained a certification in hazardous materials management from the University of Riverside while working as a contract clerk for the U.S. Navy.

“My passion for helping members stems from a place of service,” said Melaina. “Serving in the Army built my foundation of commitment, integrity, and service.”

After her time in the Army and as a civilian with the Navy, Melaina became an environmental safety and health administrator with Continental Airlines at its World Way West facilities in the Los Angeles International Airport, making her one of five in her role for the entire operation in the United States. This experience would springboard her career with Long Beach Transit for 13 years, during which she would obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in public administration from the University of Phoenix. She then accepted the position as risk manager with the Riverside Transit Agency.

“Serving as the risk manager for the Riverside Transit Agency and as a safety officer for Long Beach Transit provided a multitude of hands-on opportunities for me to mitigate health, safety, and environmental risk exposures,” said Melaina.

While collaborating alongside engineers in her roles at Long Beach Transit and Riverside Transit Agency, Melaina notes that she learned the ins and outs of environmental, health, and safety compliance for multiple public facilities. She provided risk and safety management expertise, environmental oversight of operations, injury prevention programs, and contractual risk transfer reviews of all agency contracts, all of which have contributed to Melaina becoming a successful leader in her role as a senior risk manager with the Authority.

At Long Beach Transit, Melaina recalls she “wore many hats” as safety committee chair and emergency response manager. She also maintained agency emergency plans, acquired resources, conducted and coordinated Cal/OSHA and emergency response training for the agencies. Francis notes she could share many more examples of her experiences in the risk and safety management field that provide invaluable knowledge to her now.

“I employ my knowledge, skills, and abilities that I gained through my many experiences to effectively assist members in my region,” said Melaina. “After 28 years, I know a thing or two about public agencies.”

Melaina also notes that a key to her successful partnerships with members—and one of the best parts of her role as a senior risk manager—is forging and developing consistent relationships with members’ staff.

“What I have enjoyed most about working with the California JPIA for the past ten years is providing meaningful assistance to our members and knowing that I am backed by supportive executive staff, highly knowledgeable coworkers, and subject matter experts,” said Melaina.

“Melaina’s industry knowledge and expertise are truly remarkable,” said Smith. “The Authority is incredibly lucky to have a senior risk manager who deeply understands the issues facing our members.”

Providing innovative risk management solutions for its public agency partners for more than 40 years, the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (California JPIA) is one of the largest municipal self-insurance pools in the state, with more than 120 member cities and other governmental agencies. Members actively participate in shaping the organization to provide important coverage for their operations. The California JPIA provides innovative risk management solutions through a comprehensive portfolio of programs and services, including liability, workers’ compensation, pollution, property, and earthquake coverage, as well as extensive training and loss control services. For more information, please visit the California JPIA’s website at