The 2017 Almond Leadership Class recently tapped by the Almond Board of California (ABC) includes 18 wannabe future leaders who represent multiple facets of the tree nut industry including growers, retailers, processors, pest control advisors, and suppliers.
Started in 2008, this year’s program will inform class members about the California almond industry and also how to become better leaders in their communities. On the almond front, class members will learn more about food safety, nutrition research, honey extraction, biomass utilization, and other issues.
During the yearlong journey, members will also build relationships, improve communications skills, plus learn about almond economic issues and how the industry works together.
In alphabetical order, 2017 class members include: Lucas Avila, Farmland Management Services; Annie Benisch, Stewart & Jasper; Christina Brichetto, Terra Nova Trading Inc.; Brennon Christopher, Semios; Devin Clarke, Stanislaus Farm Supply; Kevin Esau, Arysta LifeScience; Luke Heuer, Heuer Farms; Ashley Hollis, Almond Alliance of California; and Robert Holtermann, Holtermann Farms.
Other class members include Marcus McClure, Gar Tootelian, Inc.; Chris Parreira, RPAC; Michelle Penney, Del Rio Nut Company; Sharon Rucker, Law Office of Sharon E. Rucker, PC; Bret Sill, Sill Properties Inc.; Bikramjit Singh, Bapu Almonds Co., Inc.; Katelynn Staack, Grizzly Nut; Ryan Sunzeri, Sunworks; and Cameron White, Sierra View Ranch.
“We are so fortunate to have this program,” said Kent Stenderup, ABC board member and a volunteer mentor for this year’s leadership program.
“As an industry, we get to interact with the best and brightest individuals who will lead us in the decades to come. This program grounds these participants in the latest industry knowledge, but also teaches them how to be leaders, and to understand the responsibilities that come with that.”
Sunworks is the sponsor of the 2017 leadership program.
More than 100 people have graduated from the eight-year-old leadership program, including third generation almond grower Daniel Bays of Westley, a 2013 program alumni.
“I loved going through the Almond Leadership Program,” the grower said. “It was invaluable for me.
“Even as someone who grew up in the industry, I had a lot to learn. The attention to the curriculum, as well as the emphasis on leadership and the responsibility we have to give back to our communities, are what I took from the program.”