Archive | Our Team

John Walkup

walkupTrained as a professional technical writer, John Walkup has authored a wide range of successful grant proposals, focusing most of his efforts on school-related projects. Over the last four years, John has helped California public agencies retrieve over $18 million in grant funding.

John has taught physics at the high school level and mathematics, multimedia arts, and English at university level. His expertise spans such topics as STEM learning, English Learners, curriculum development, classroom observation, professional development, standards alignment, and curricular rigor.

In 2007, he co-developed the concept of cognitive rigor and the Cognitive Rigor Matrix (also called the Hess Matrix), now used nationally to gauge the quality of curricular content. In 2008, he led the two largest studies of curricular rigor ever performed in this country.

John earned his Doctor of Philosophy studying theoretical physics at the University of Oklahoma.

Amy Christianson, Senior Education Project Manager

amyAmy joined California Consulting, LLC in December 2011 as a Senior Consultant responsible for education grants. Amy brings with her 15+ years of grant writing experience as a professional grant writer. She has served as the grant writer for the Butte County Office of Education and the Chico Unified School District among other public entities.

Specializing in federal, state, and private foundation education grants Amy has written 10 Healthy Start applications and had 8 funded for a total of $2.4 million in awards. She also wrote a Healthy Outreach grant for $300k that was funded and a grant to fund a Dental van for $300k that was funded. As well, Amy has written 15 BASNLP/ASES applications and 13 were funded for a total of $12 million in awards during her career. She has experience with Carol M. White PEP grants, Community College Connections grants, Early Childhood Grant for Pre-schools, and others. She has served as a Grant Reviewer for the California Department of Education for the 21st Century grant and during her career has written six 21st Century applications 4 of which were funded totaling $6 million.

Amy’s expertise in the education arena adds to California Consulting’s depth and competency in the education grant writing area.


David Marquez, Senior Project Manager

DavidDavid Marquez is a consultant focused on developing capacity building and community development related services on behalf of non-profit agencies, local government, and the private sector to serve the diverse communities of Los Angeles. He has extensive experience and familiarity in the area of community and economic development, social and health services and planning and land use issues. He has combined his knowledge of varied issues with his experience in policy development, coalition building, grant management, fund development and local government to develop both strategies for issue-oriented advocacy and program sustainability for his clients.

Prior to joining California Consultanting, he served as the Executive Director of several non-profit agencies where he focused on building collaborations and cross-institutional partnerships, both formal and informal, between schools, the private sector and community-based organization to increase the social and economic capital of families in Los Angeles County. Previously, he served as Chief Deputy of Legislation and Policy for former Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Hernandez, where he managed the legislative and planning staff. He began his career as a community organizer, nearly twenty years ago in East Los Angeles. He considers his experience and education as a community organizer as the foundation of his present work.

He was born in East Los Angeles. He graduated from the University of La Verne with a Bachelor of Arts in History and International Studies. He has spent nearly his entire professional career working in the City of Los Angeles. He currently resides in Northeast Los Angeles with his wife Judith and 14-year-old son, Roan. He is also proud of his community involvement in the City of Los Angeles as a Commissioner for the City of Los Angeles East Area Planning Commission, Member of the Founders Board for the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, and as a board member for the 24th St Theatre, Arts Community Land Activism (ACLA), the California Hospital Medical Center, California Hospital Medical Center-Hope Street Family Center Community Advisory Board and Communications Committee.

Danielle Sotelo

Ms. Sotelo is a San Joaquin Valley native and brings over 10 years of experience in grant writing, grant administration and program development for public and private entities.

Danielle is California Consulting’s Senior Project Manager and a San Joaquin Valley native with over 12 years of experience in grant writing, grant administration and program development for public and private entities.
She has worked with California Consulting since 2008, and during this time she has helped to secure over $18M in funding for California Consulting clients. She has drafted and submitted many successful grant applications for different sectors, but she most enjoys writing in the areas of public safety, motorized and non-motorized transportation, urban greening, alternative fuels infrastructure, and education.
Ms. Sotelo prides herself in paying close attention to detail and has logged 100’s of hours in project management. She is committed to securing federal, state and local funding to spur environmentally and socially conscious community development both domestically and internationally.
Ms. Sotelo holds a BA in International Studies with an emphasis in Political Science and a certificate in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine University.

Shasta Bell


shastaShasta Bell is California Consulting’s Director of Communications. She is responsible for developing communication strategies. These strategies include writing publications, web marketing and website management, creating and managing social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, media outreach and coordinating conferences. Shasta also manages executive office administration.

Formerly the Executive Assistant to the President of Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Arts (SAG-AFTRA), she has highly valued union knowledge as she participated in all aspects of union life, including quality analysis, member satisfaction, and merger assistance. Prior to SAG-AFTRA Shasta assisted the President/ CEO of GameWorks where she received hands on knowledge of the Family Entertainment Center business.


Dana Leusch

danaDana Leusch, California Consulting Senior Statewide Project Manager, joined our team in 2012. Dana has more than 15 years of experience in grant writing for non-profit organizations and freelance writing and reporting for newspapers and magazines. As development coordinator for an organization in the Rocky Mountains serving at-risk youth, her successful grant writing and fundraising led to the creation of a home for at-risk and homeless adolescent girls, which has since housed hundreds of teens in need.

Dana is responsible for client retention and business development activities for the Northern California Region

Dana has written 58 competitive federal, state and private foundation applications

Dana earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master’s degree in women’s history from the University of Montana. She lives in Clovis with her husband and two children.

Tristan Shamp

TristanTristan has been with California Consulting since 2009 serving both as a project manager and as the firm’s Statewide Grants Manager.  In this position, he oversees the statewide operations of the company’s grant writing program including grant writer support, grant writing quality control, and grant research among other items, in addition to some client retention activities and business development.

Tristan comes from an extensive background in academics and project management.  He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2005, and a Master of Arts degree in History at California State University Fresno in 2009.  Tristan has taught credited courses at CSU Fresno, been a supplemental instructor at Fresno City College, and coordinated various academic programs with local education agencies while working for a Fresno-based private tutoring firm.

Tristan has written over 270 competitive grant applications since 2009.  He completed the Grant Writing & Management Program through CSU Fresno in October 2010 and holds a professional certification in grant writing and program management.

Steve Samuelian


Steve Samuelian, CEO, California Consulting, has held various leadership posts during a career spanning over 37 years. Steve was born and raised in the L.A. area and began his political and civic involvement in Los Angeles in 1982. In January 1995, Steve was appointed as Field Director for Congressional District 19. He was later promoted to District Director overseeing the 19th Congressional District Office staff and District operations for the Congressman, where he served in this capacity for 8 years. In 2002, Steve was elected to the California State Assembly representing the 29th Assembly District. He was appointed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee by the Speaker and served as the Vice-Chairman of the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee.

Currently, Steve is elected to the Board of Directors of the L.A. County Business Federation (BizFed) where he is an elected Executive Committee Member serving as an Officer for one of the largest business organizations in the U.S. Additionally, Steve has been the recipient of several different awards from the L.A County Business Federation (BizFed) including the “Ambassador of the Year” award in 2018. BizFed is one of the nation’s largest and most prominent business organizations with many Fortune 500 corporate members.

Steve serves as the Co-Chair of the USC Unruh Institute Ambassador Program In January 2020 Steve was appointed as Vice-Chairman of the Athenian Leadership Council, the primary fundraising organization for the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. January 2019, Steve served as the Host Committee‎ Chairman for the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy 90th Anniversary Gala at L.A. City Hall. The Price event was attended by hundreds of USC alumni, supporters, and several prominent elected officials. In 2017, Steve was asked to speak to Master’s Degree students at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and also moderated a panel sponsored by UCLA Luskin in 2016 dealing with the topic of Economic Development in L.A. County.

‎In 2018, Steve was the recipient of an “Outstanding Achievement” award presented to him by the Consulate of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles. A tireless worker for Armenian-American issues nationwide, Steve has traveled twice to Armenia. He traveled as an international election observer as part of the Office Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) delegation to observe the adoption of Armenia’s first Constitution and later as part of a U.S. Congressional Delegation. He received the Armenian National Committee (ANC) Western U.S. Award for Outstanding Leadership. Steve has served on the Board of Directors of a Chamber of Commerce, a County United Way, and a Crime Stoppers organization. He has also been quoted in national, state, and local print and electronic media outlets regarding a variety of public policy issues.

Steve Samuelian founded California Consulting in 2004. California Consulting quickly established a reputation for hard work and a commitment to success for its clients. California Consulting is the state’s largest grant writing company.

Steve is happily married with two children and resides in Southern California.