|Erkan Demiragci (President)
Erkan Demiragci was born and raised in Izmir-Karsiyaka. From a young age, he was raised with the values and correct understanding of the principles and reforms of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Strongly influenced by these tenets and his sincere believe that to succeed as a Nation, Turkiye must follow the vision and in the footsteps of Turkiye's greatest leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Erkan moved to US in 1994 . He attended Saddleback College and Fullerton University . Work for international corporations as an Sales Manager between 1996-2004. He became Mortgage Loan Consultant in 2004. Currently holds California Department of Real Estate and NMLS licenses. Erkan received a Bachelor's of science Degree in Business Administration from 9 Eylul University in 1988. Erkan is the proud father of 19 years old son Ertugrul , known as "Kucuk Ataturk" a nickname acquired when he was 10 years old participating in a play as Ataturk giving his first speech to Turkish Parliament in April 23 /1920.
|Aycan Iskent Ekener, Esq. (Secretary)
Aycan was born in Istanbul, Turkey. She graduated from Marmara University in 2003, and practiced law in Turkey for 5 years. After she moved to California, she had her master's degree in Business Law at Whittier Law School. Aycan passed the CA bar exam in 2011, and became also a licensed attorney in the United States. Currently she is managing her own law office in Irvine, CA where she mainly handles business immigration matters. She is a member of Istanbul Bar Association, California Bar Association, Orange County Bar Association and American Immigration Lawyer's Association.
|Engin Pehlivan (Membership Chair)
Engin was born in Tekirdağ to a family who lived in the area for centuries. He however had to move to İstanbul to study at Atatürk High School of Science at the age of 15. He then studied at METU, Ankara for Electrical Engineering (major) andComputer Science (minor). After finishing his bachelors he lived in Cleveland, Ohio to finish his masters in Electrical Engineering. Two harsh Cleveland winters motivated him to move to SoCal where he has enjoyed living since 2008. He isworking as a Principal Electrical Engineer in Skyworks Solutions in Irvine, designing communication chips for mobile devices. His designs resides in the pockets of 100s of milions. He holds several honors and patents in Physics, Mathematics, and engineering. Ever since he moved to SoCal he was actively helping OCTAA reaching out to the community. He has been a board member since 2013. He enjoys volunteering to cherish Turkish culture far away from home in the light of Atatürk's principles.
|Melih Kahraman Picture||Melih Kahraman (Treasurer)|
|Basar Simsek (Member at Large)
Basar Simsek was born at Ankara, Republic of Turkey in 1977. Mr. Simsek holds Bachelor Degree in Industrial Engineering and MBA Degree in Management. Mr. Simsek has more than 15 years of professional Management experiences in Business Consultant, Power, Construction, Utilities, Mining, Oil and Gas industries.
|Uluc Bayar (Member at Large)
Born in December 8th, 1973 and raised in İzmir, Turkey, Uluc graduated from the Middle East Technical University (METU)'s Architecture program in 1997 and moved to Southern California in 2003 after completing his graduate studies in Building Construction and Project Management at University of Florida. After Karsiyaka and Besiktas, Uluc is a big fan of Mustang and Motorcycling. He currently lives in Aliso Viejo with his 10 year-old daughter Sophia Bayar and their 14 year-strong cat Pudy, and trying to teach Turkish to adults at the Orange County Turkish School.
|Ruya Urso, M.A.
Ruya was born in Istanbul. After going to English High School, she came to USA to go to college. After graduating with honors with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, Ruya stayed in Washington DC and worked in her field for 2 years. At the end of 1992, she moved back to Istanbul and remained there for a little over 2 years. During her stay, Ruya worked at Migros Supermarket Chain Headquarters as a Training Specialist, researching, structuring and coordinating all the foreign training for the employees, as well as performing the in-house customer service training of the personnel. In the summer of 1995, Ruya moved to Southern California, where she has been residing ever since. In Orange County, she worked in a few different corporate positions. Ruya worked for several years at DFH Network, starting from the first day of the corporation and helping build different departments and wearing many hats. After DFH, Ruya went to work for Marsh Risk and Insurance Servi words leading insurance brokerage companies. During that time, Ruya went to Webster University to get her Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. After graduating with highest honor and receiving her M.A., Ruya went to work as a Children's Social Worker IV for Riverside County and then as a therapist at Bayfront Youth and Family Services in Long Beach. At the end of 2015, Bayfront closed its doors due to losing their funding as a nonprofit and Ruya went to work for College Hospital partial hospitalization program in Santa Ana as a therapist, where currently she continues to work. Ruya is married for 13 years to a retired U.S. Coast Guard Chief, Wesley Urso and has a 10 year old girl, Melodi Urso, who has been a student at Orange County Turkish School for 7 years. Ruya has been a member of Orange County Turkish and American Association (OCTAA) for many years and 6 years ago, started volunteering in Orange County Turkish School's Board of Directors as Vice Chair for 3 years and as the Director School for the remainder of time. As Director of OCTS, she also became the member of OCTAA Board of Directors. During this time, Ruya coordinated many successful events for the students of the school, as well as the Turkish Community. Ruya is a devout follower of all the principles of Ataturk and believes in educational principles of a democratic, secular, and progressive society. Celebrating Turkish National Holidays and teaching the basics of Turkish heritage and culture, as well as Ataturk's principles is one of the most important duties of her life and Ruya has been dedicated to these duties and would like to continue performing these duties, at any capacity for the Turkish Society in Southern California.