Carol Whiteside


“...her skills, her ability and—I'll use a word I don't use lightly—her vision for both state and local government and the relationship between them prompted me to take advantage of her talents. She was ideally equipped by temperament and reputation. I think the state benefited. I know I did..." - Governor Pete Wilson

Few people, if any, have more knowledge of, and experience in, the Central Valley’s business, policy, planning and land use issues than Carol Whiteside. This expertise consistently proves valuable not just to California Strategies clients with interests in the Central Valley, but also those desiring expert assistance in all matters of governance.

Carol Whiteside brings to California Strategies’ clients public policy experience gained over nearly three decades serving in a number of elected and appointed positions. With a focus toward good governance, she utilizes her extensive knowledge in government relations, land use and community development to ensure win/win situations for clients and Californians.

Whiteside’s reputation as an influential policy expert for the Central Valley was recognized in her work as Founder and President of Great Valley Center in Modesto, where she and her staff worked to improve the quality of life for Central Californians. During her nearly 10 years at the helm of the Center, she successfully raised more than $40 million to promote good public policy and meet the growing challenges in the region, while leading efforts to improve transportation and internet connectivity. After successfully establishing the Center as a permanent part of the University of California at Merced, Whiteside came to California Strategies as the head of its new Central Valley office.

Whiteside was selected by Governor Pete Wilson to serve as the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, one of the most important policy positions in the state, as she was responsible for policy analysis for standing committees, task forces and work groups. Additionally, she initiated the Executive Forum to strengthen intergovernmental communications during difficult budget years, and authored the Rural Development Handbook, which provided insight to various stakeholders into rural development and resource conservation.

Her expertise in natural-resource and environmental issues grew out of her service as Governor Wilson’s appointee as Assistant Secretary of the California Resources Agency. In this role, she was responsible for representing the Resources Agency in numerous statewide issues of community development and resource management. She also focused heavily on the development and coordination of large-scale conservation projects, including habitat conservation for the Department for the Resources Agency and Salton Sea restoration.

Whiteside was elected Mayor of Modesto and served a four-year term from 1987 to 1991, following terms as a City Council member and Modesto City Schools Trustee President. As Mayor, she was intimately involved in the smart growth of the region. She realized the impact of growth in the Bay Area and its effect on growth in Modesto, and worked to increase the level of cooperation between the Bay Area and the Central Valley, frequently addressing Bay Area leaders in the Bay Vision 2020 forum.

Whiteside has served as an Executive Committee Chair for the Public Policy Institute of California and on the California Center for Regional Leadership and The Lincoln Institute for Land Policy in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Whiteside graduated from UC Davis with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. She lives in Modesto with her husband and has two grown sons.

Land Use Entitlement and Development Strategies
Business and Government Issues Management
Agricultural Land Policy and Regulation
Environmental Habitat Consulting
Collaborative Community Outreach


Federal State & Local Government
Food & Agriculture
Natural Resources
Public Private Partnerships
Real Estate & Land Use
Career Highlights
Founder and President, Great Valley Center
Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Governor's Cabinet, Governor Pete Wilson
Sierra Nevada Conservancy Board, Governor's Appointee
Public Policy Institute of California, Board Member
Mayor, City of Modesto

Contact Carol Whiteside

Central Valley


801 Tenth Street, 5th Floor
Modesto, CA


P: 209-572-1532
F: 209-572-1564