|6th California Insurance Commissioner|
January 8, 2007 – January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||John Garamendi|
|Succeeded by||Dave Jones|
January 4, 1957 |
Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.
|Residence||Los Gatos, California, U.S.|
|Alma mater||University of Texas at Austin
Stanford Graduate School of Business
|Profession||Entrepreneur, businessman, politician|
Stephen Leo "Steve" Poizner (born January 4, 1957) is an American businessman, entrepreneur and Republican politician, who was elected State Insurance Commissioner of California in November 2006, and concluded the 4-year term in January 2011. Poizner co-founded Empowered Careers with the Sherry Lansing Foundation and Creative Artists Agency in June 2011, which will partner with UCLA Extension to offer online non-degree certificates for out of work adults and baby boomers looking to switch careers.
Poizner has been a successful Silicon Valley high tech entrepreneur, founding both SnapTrack, Inc. and Strategic Mapping, Inc. In 2001, following privately held SnapTrack's sale for $1 billion to Qualcomm, Poizner served a year as a White House Fellow in the National Security Council. Starting one week before the September 11, 2001 attacks, Poizner held the position of Director of Critical Infrastructure Protection, and was involved in developing Homeland Security programs relating to cybersecurity and emergency response communication protocols.
Poizner was a candidate for the California gubernatorial election, 2010; He was defeated in the June Primary by former CEO of eBay, Meg Whitman who spent a national record $100 million in the primary.
Background and early life
Poizner was born on January 4, 1957 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Poizner attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he became valedictorian while earning his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1978. He was also a member of the prestigious Tejas Club, as well as president of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity.
After graduating from UT, Poizner moved to California to attend the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he received his M.B.A. in 1980 and was named an Arjay Miller Scholar.
Two years after Poizner graduated from Stanford, the national Jaycees organization sued the Palo Alto Jaycees chapter for admitting female members. Working in coordination with other Jaycees chapters around the country, Poizner led the Palo Alto Jaycees in their legal defense of their efforts to admit women against the national organization's wishes, and the case eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Poizner and the Palo Alto chapter, along with its fellow groups in other communities, won the suit. Poizner's wife was one of the first women admitted to the Palo Alto chapter.
Poizner and his wife, Carol, live in Los Gatos, California. They have one daughter, Rebecca.
Poizner has started and run technology companies in Silicon Valley for over 30 years.
Poizner served for several years as a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group.
In 1983, Poizner founded and served as chief executive officer of Strategic Mapping Inc., a software company that developed a program to display geographic data on digital maps, assisting police departments, utilities, transportation companies, banks and retailers with selecting new locations and plotting distribution logistics. Strategic Mapping was sold to Claritas in 1996, with the GIS mapping software being sold to ESRI.
In 1995, Poizner founded SnapTrack, Inc., which pioneered technology that put GPS receivers into cell phones. Poizner served as its chief executive officer until he sold the privately held company to Qualcomm in 2000 for a reported $1.0 billion in Qualcomm stock. Poizner's personal net worth is believed to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Education reform and community service
In 2001, Poizner co-founded EdVoice, an educational non-profit organization dedicated to improving public schools and serving the interests of K-12 children in California.
From September 2002 to June 2003, he served as a volunteer teacher in San Jose's Mount Pleasant High School teaching 12th grade American Government. Poizner authored a book about his experience – "Mount Pleasant" – which has been both praised and criticized for its depiction of a low income public high school. Claims have been made that the picture painted of the students as possibly "too busy ducking bullets to consider their careers," and violent atmosphere of Mount Pleasant were deliberately misleading and damaging to the school's reputation. Critics accept the academic critique presented in "Mount Pleasant" but argue that Poizner's substituting in a dangerous gang-ridden, failing school looked better on the campaign trail than the actuality of his substituting in typical under-performing institution and believe he chose to write the "better story" for his campaign.
In 2003, Poizner co-founded the California Charter Schools Association.
California Insurance Commissioner
The California Insurance Commissioner was created in 1988 via the voter approval of Proposition 103. Poizner took office in January 8, 2007 and served until January 3, 2011. As Insurance Commissioner, Poizner received praise for his handling of the San Diego wildfires in 2007, for taking on health insurance companies' illegal rescission practices and rate increases, and for decreasing spending in his state government department's discretionary operating budget by 13%. At the end of his term, Poizner was praised for his efforts to streamline and modernize the CDI through spending cuts and conducting a top-down review of the department. Poizner oversaw nearly 2,800 fraud-related arrests, the most in CDI history, in a 3-year span and conducted the first ever terror finance probe by a US Insurance Commissioner, which resulted in millions of dollars diverted from Iran.
Public service and civic affairs
From 2001 to 2002, Poizner served as a White House Fellow where he worked in the National Security Council Office of Cyberspace Security, serving as Director of Critical Infrastructure Protection. In this capacity he developed strategies for protecting critical infrastructure against cyber-terrorism and developed an emergency communications plan for national security and emergency response personnel.Starting one week before the September 11, 2001 attacks, Poizner was responsible for issues such as emergency communications planning for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and protecting Internet, banking system and power grids from cyber attacks.
In 2004, Poizner ran unsuccessfully for the California State Assembly against Democrat Ira Ruskin, a Redwood City Councilman, in the 21st district, losing by 5,884 votes out of 190,120 votes cast in 2004.
In 2006, Poizner ran for the office of California Insurance Commissioner. He ran unopposed in the Republican primary on June 6, and won the general election on November 7 by defeating Democrat Cruz Bustamante, then Lieutenant Governor of California, by a 12.4% margin.
In late 2007, Poizner led the effort to defeat Proposition 93, a term limit removal initiative. As Chairman of the No on 93 campaign, Poizner contributed $2.5 million of his own money, secured No on 93 endorsements from over forty newspaper editorial boards, and appeared on talk radio across the state. Proposition 93 was defeated by 54% to 46% on February 5, 2008.
On September 15, 2008, Poizner announced his candidacy for Governor of California.
In May 2009, Poizner successfully campaigned against Proposition 1A (a $10 billion tax increase) during the California state special elections, 2009. Proposition 1A was defeated by a margin of 65.6% to 34.4% on May 26, 2009.
On March 1, 2010 Poizner officially became a candidate for Governor of California.
Following his term as Insurance Commissioner, Poizner partnered with the Sherry Lansing Foundation and Creative Artists Agency to create Empowered Careers, an online educational company geared specifically for baby boomers in need of work or looking to switch careers.
Empowered Careers secured $15 million in Series A venture capital funding from two Silicon Valley–based firms, InterWest Partners and Granite Ventures, to develop the new online education company.
As the current CEO of Empowered, Poizner has been an outspoken advocate for using technology and education to help many jobless baby boomers reinvent themselves and find work in second careers.
On July 4, 2012 Empowered completed development of a custom iPad application, The Empowered app, "which took a little less than a year to write", and "incorporates many of the device's built-in functions." 
- Marinucci, Carla (June 23, 2011). "Encore Career Institute to aid Baby Boomers". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
- , Qualcomm press release, January 26, 2000
- Encore Career Institute to aid Baby Boomers, San Francisco Chronicle, June 23, 2011.
- Steve Poizner Joins Two USC Boards, USC News, January 2011.
- "Poizner's non-partisan approach worthy of emulation". San Jose Mercury News. December 9, 2010.
- "Visionary Leadership: Innovative Results". California Department of Insurance. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
- Lifsher, Marc (December 14, 2010). "Iran disinvestment law is working, Poizner says". Los Angeles Times.
- "Meet Steve Poizner Biography". Stevepoizner.com. September 11, 2001. Retrieved 2010-11-18.
- Yi, Matthew (November 7, 2007). "Insurance chief Poizner to lead fight against term-limit measure". San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Bush Visit May Boost Olmert – May 13, 2008 – The New York Sun". Nysun.com. May 13, 2008. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- Goldmacher, Shane (September 15, 2008). "It's official: Poizner wants to be governor". Sacramento Bee Capitol Alert.[dead link]
- Poizner, Steve. "Propositions are just more false promises". San Diego Union-Tribune.
- "Election Results". Office of Secretary of State Debra Bowen. May 19, 2009.
- "Poizner files papers to run for governor". ABC Inc., KGO-TV/DT San Francisco. Retrieved 2010-01-06.
- Levy, Ari (August 18, 2011). "Poizner’s Gubernatorial Miss Lands Him at Web-Education Startup". Businessweek. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
- Wauters, Robin (June 23, 2011). "Online Education Firm Encore Raises $15 Million; Steve Poizner To Serve As CEO". Tech Crunch. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
- Poizner, Steve (August 18, 2011). "Encore Career Institute's real world job solutions". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
- Poizner, Steve (July 5, 2012). "Online Education for Boomers". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
||This article's use of external links may not follow Wikipedia's policies or guidelines. (June 2010)|
- Spending At The Department of Insurance
- Official Campaign Site
- Poizner Joins Race For California Governor[dead link]
- Poizner leading Republican candidate 2010
- Poizner at the head of the pack 2010
- Poizner Visits Israel on 60th Anniversary
- Poizner Visits Israel with President Bush[dead link]
- Official California Department of Insurance biography
- Tech Titans for Governor
- Poizner's businesslike style pays political dividends
- Term limits backers shot themselves in the ballot box[dead link]
- A look at who might run for governor of California
- Qualcomm Acquires Wireless Location Leader SnapTrack
|California Insurance Commissioner
January 8, 2007 – January 3, 2011