Robert Russell: SPHR, Principal and Co-Founder

Robert has over thirty years of successful Management and Human Resources experience. Robert co-founded TPO in 1991 and provides ongoing services including employment workshops, policy development and management/employee relations consulting to TPO members and clients. His management and supervisory training programs have been presented to hundreds of organizations, large and small, and he provides expert consultation and training on all aspects of management, including terminations. Robert’s clients rely on his business acumen and ability to provide savvy consult on a broad range of operations and business management issues.

Robert specializes in conducting investigations into allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and workplace malfeasance. His investigative expertise dates back to his service in the US Navy involving top secret crypto-analysis and interpretation. Today, called upon by law firms and employers throughout the state, Robert has conducted hundreds of workplace investigations and is extremely effective in providing expert evaluations and resolution of harassment and discrimination claims.

A skilled public speaker, Robert frequently presents programs on virtually all aspects of practical Human Resource Management. He is also the publisher and co-editor of TPO’s regular eNewsletter, Employment Update. He is certified by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). Robert is an active member of the Monterey Rotary Club.

To contact Robert, click here.

Jill Russell: SPHR, Principal and Co-Founder

Jill is a principal and director of TPO, and has over twenty-five years of increasingly broad and responsible experience in the field of Human Re­source Management.

Jill has trained and coached hundreds of supervisors, managers, and executives in basic and complex employment skills and techniques to decrease legal exposure, and increase employee relations and productivity.

Jill specializes in management and employee relations, communications/conflict management, executive and management level hiring and optimum performance systems, leadership skills training, and in facilitating consensus and organizational leadership initiatives with boards of directors for non-profit organizations. She also serves as an expert consultant to law firms engaged in employment litigation.

In addition to client project support, her role at TPO is that of a project manager for all TPO consultants and administrative staff to ensure high quality, consistent deliverables. She also takes the lead on ensuring TPO’s technology and operational infrastructure is solid, efficient and keeping pace with our ability to provide the expert consulting support for which TPO is known.

Prior to co-founding TPO, Jill was employed by the Pebble Beach Company from 1980 through 1988. She formed the Human Resources Department for this internationally renowned destination resort, where she was the Corporate Director of HR for over 1600 employees.

Jill earned her national Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR) certification in 1993 by passing a rigorous examination demonstrating competencies in both theoretical and practical experience of the considerable body of knowledge in the field of HR. After completing two successful re-certifications (two three-year cycles), she was recognized as a certified professional for life in March of 1999. Jill served a regional lead instructor for the SHRM Learning System HRCI Certification Institute supporting the professional advancement of the HR field.

Jill is an Advisory Committee member and Past President of the Board of Directors of the Central Coast Human Resources Association (a local chapter of SHRM national). CCHRA achieved its first ever “Superior Merit Award” by SHRM in the Chapter’s 20-year history for both years under her leadership as President. Prior to being President, she served on the CCHRA board since 1990 as Government Affairs Director.

She is a past member of the Leadership Morgan Hill Board of Directors, and is a graduate of Leadership Morgan Hill class of 2004.

To contact Jill, click here.

Melissa Irwin: SPHR, PHRca, SHRM-SCP, Senior Consultant / Training Specialist

Melissa is a nationally certified Senior Professional in Human Resources with a CA-specific designation, as well as a SHRM Senior Certified Professional. Working with TPO for the past 20 years, she is versatile in her presentation and facilitation techniques, and is equally comfortable discussing employment regulations as well as communication and leadership techniques with both employees and key managers.

Melissa specializes in training and has a generalist’s perspective of Human Resource Management and works with business owners and managers offering a broad spectrum of consulting services: from the auditing of current and desired practices, to the identification of areas of exposure and opportunity, to the development, implementation and ongoing support of sound employment policies and practices.

Whether creating employment policies, conducting training or providing one-on-one consulting, she takes pride in simplifying employment issues for business managers who may lack the time, desire or expertise to address and resolve human resource issues on their own. Melissa authors many articles for publication and contributes to TPO’s eNews and eCompliance Updates.

  • Melissa has trained and coached thousands of supervisors, managers, and executives in basic and complex employment skills and techniques to decrease litigation exposure, and increase employee relations and productivity.
  • As an HR Generalist, she specializes in offering a broad spectrum of consulting services.
  • Melissa audits current and desired employment practices to identify areas of exposure and opportunity.

She develops implements and provides ongoing support of sound employment policies and practices.

To contact Melissa, click here.

Brian Pratt, Director of Investigative Services PI-19075

Brian has been a licensed Private Investigator since 1996. He was born and raised in Carmel, CA, served four years with the 82nd Airborne Division, and retired from the Monterey Fire Department. He has provided expert investigative and security support to scores of public, private and nonprofit entities in his capacity as President of Solutions Investigative & Consulting Services.

As TPO’s Director of Investigative Services, Brian applies his years of experience combined with the latest technology to oversee all TPO client investigations including alleged harassment, discrimination and malfeasance. As a risk management and loss prevention specialist, he investigates and analyses root causes, patterns and trends to reduce exposure and liability – and then recommends corrective actions.

Brian brings substantial experience, judgment and credentials to TPO clients through:

  • RISK MANAGEMENT: Safety Regulation Compliance, Workers Compensation, Loss Prevention
  • COMPUTER/NETWORK SECURITY: Data Retrieval, Email Tracing, Access Limitation
  • BACKGROUND INVESTIGATIONS: Education, Employment, Criminal, Credit
  • SECURITY: Internal Theft & Fraud Investigations, Workplace Violence Prevention
  • SURVEILLANCE: Video & Still Photography
  • CORPORATE ISSUES : Due Diligence, Competitor Intelligence
  • SAFETY: SB198 Injury & Illness Prevention Programs, Fire Prevention & Emergency Action Plans, Accident Investigation & Future Incident Prevention

Brian has served as a member, volunteer, board member and/or officer in numerous community organizations including: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Seaside Rotary Club, American Legion Post 591, Seaside Parade of Champions, Carmel Volunteer Fire Department, and the Carmel Youth Center.

To contact Brian, click here.

Amber Allerton, Operations Manager

Amber is TPO’s Operations Manager with over twenty years of experience in the Administrative field. She steadfastly assists in the daily operation of TPO, ensuring that overall business office administration, client deliverables, marketing, communications and technology practices are smooth, efficient, orderly, and state-of-the-art. Applying her employment regulations expertise, she both supports and takes the lead in the creation, production and delivery of client deliverables. Amber consistently monitors and ensures that established TPO quality standards, client service standards, operational policies and work procedures are exceptional.

Amber applies her well-honed organizational, detail‑orientation, time management, client service and communications skills to:





  • Manage all aspects of TPO’s eNews, eCompliance, Training and other electronic communications including formatting, editing and distribution.
  • Serve as TPO’s Webmaster and internal technology expert in conjunction with external IT and Web contracted experts.
  • Assist with business management tasks for accounts payable, accounts receivable, vendor/contractor management and office management.
  • Oversee all aspects of TPO’s Training division including scheduling, PPT standards, registration, logistics, data base management, participant correspondence, recordkeeping, consultant/trainer/participant materials and equipment, web and other technology, and food and beverage.
  • Manage TPO’s Annual Employment Law & Leadership Conference planning and administration: pre-registration, marketing, collateral, budget, Conference Guide production, affiliate and speaker relations, reports, contracts and event management, setup, logistics, technology and post conference activities.
  • Support and often takes the lead in the creation, production and delivery of client deliverables such as Employee Handbooks, HR Administration Kits, Leave Compliance Programs, HireRight Systemssm, Career Transition Support, and Job Descriptions.
  • Support TPO clients “On-Site” with HR Generalist support handling full-range HR tasks from recruiting, onboarding, performance and leave management, employment records and administration, workers compensation and benefits administration, exiting, state and federal regulatory compliance and more.

Provide outstanding routine and complex administrative support to TPO Principals, Consultants and Staff to facilitate and expedite optimum outcomes for TPO and our clients.

To contact Amber, click here.

TPO Human Resource Management.    30 Ragdale Drive, Suite 100, Monterey, CA 93940.   Phone: 1-800-277-8448.   
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