PR: Governor Brewer Appointments


Brewer Announces Additional Appointments

Names Deputy General Counsel, Director of Children’s Division of
Governor’s Office of Children, Youth and Families and
Director and Deputy Director of Governor’s Office of Highway Safety

PHOENIX – Arizona Governor Jan Brewer today announced several appointments, naming Vanessa Hickman as her Deputy General Counsel, Patricia Cordova as Director of the Children’s Division of the Governor’s Office of Children, Youth and Families, Alberto Gutier as Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and Matthew Derr as his Deputy Director.

“I am honored that these talented and experienced individuals have agreed to serve in my administration and serve the citizens of Arizona,” stated Brewer. “Ms. Hickman’s impressive legal background will be vital to me during these trying times. Ms. Cordova’s numerous years in public service and her focused experience with juvenile issues make her the perfect fit for the Office of Children. Mr. Gutier’s extensive experience in government service will be invaluable to the Office of Highway Safety, and Mr. Derr’s combination of years in the public and private arenas will be the perfect compliment to Mr. Gutier.”

Vanessa Hickman has an extensive and broad legal background. She has practiced law with several firms, most recently with Withey Morris, PLC. While at Withey Morris, she focused on the areas of infrastructure and real estate development, land use planning, zoning, entitlements and development agreements. She also practiced law with the firms Wilenchik & Barness, P.C. and Wilcox & Wilcox, P.C. focusing on real estate litigation, family law, employment law and general civil litigation.

Ms. Hickman received her Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from Arizona State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. She went on to earn her Juris Doctor Degree from the Arizona State University College of Law. She has been a member of the State Bar of Arizona since 2004.

Patricia Cordova has more than twenty years of experience in public service with a focus on juvenile justice and human services public policy. Most recently, she served in several capacities at the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections including Assistant Director of Support Services, Director of Communications and Legislative Policy and as Executive Assistant to the Director. She has also spent time as a Juvenile Justice Administrator with the Governor’s Community Policy Office, Division for Children and as a Program Specialist with the Arizona Supreme Court, Juvenile Justice Services Division. Ms. Cordova began her public service career with the Maricopa County Superior Court as a Juvenile Probation Officer and as a Judicial Services Administrator in the Juvenile Division.

Ms. Cordova received her Associate of Arts in General Studies from Scottsdale Community College and went on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Arizona State University. She then earned her Master of Arts in Education and Human Relations from Northern Arizona University.

As has been previously reported, Governor Brewer announced the appointment of Alberto Gutier as Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Gutier founded and served as partner in the lobbying and public affairs firm, Gutier Group, representing associations and private entities in legislative, city and county matters. He has an extensive background in public service, having served previously as the Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, as State Personnel Director and Administrative Services Officer for the Department of Administration, and as Acting Driver Licensing Program Administrator and Driver License Deputy Program Administrator for the Motor Vehicle Division of the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Mr. Gutier has served on numerous community boards and committees including the Board of Directors of the National Association of Governor’s Highway Safety Representatives, The State Emergency Medical Services Council, the Legislative Oversight Committee on School Safety and the Drugs Don’t Work in Arizona Board of Directors.

Mr. Gutier attended Elementary and Preparatory High School at Christian Brothers, La Salle in Havana, Cuba. He graduated from the University of Florida, Gainesville with his degree in Business Administration and became a U.S. Citizen in 1966. He speaks fluent Spanish and English.

Matthew Derr will serve as Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Prior to his appointment, he served as Campaign Manager for the Jim Ogsbury for Congress Campaign. There he was responsible for the formulation and execution of budgets, development of the campaign message and communications plan, management of the candidate’s schedule and formulation of the overall campaign strategy and fundraising. He has also served as Policy Advisory to Commissioner Kris Mayes of the Arizona Corporation Commission and as Deputy District Director and Political Director for Congressman J.D. Hayworth.

His experience in the private sector includes time as a Regulatory Affairs Analyst with Salt River Project and as a Competitive Marketing Analyst with New West Energy. In these roles, he gained extensive experience analyzing existing and proposed regulations and legislation, performing legal research and developing financial and business models for corporate profitability.

Mr. Derr received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics with a minor in Political Science from Arizona State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude.




  1. I would like to send a very positive message regarding a little known program hosted by the City of Phoenix. Not asking for funding just to highlight one of the best programs I have ever encountered. Who is the appropriate person in your press office to send this to?

    Brian Carroll
    Cave Creek, Arizona

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