Former Salinas, Calif. Mayor Dennis Donohue will work with Western Growers to further develop the organization’s Center for Innovation & Technology (WGCIT) into a premier agricultural technology startup incubator.
In his role, Donohue will drive agricultural technology initiatives, bolster innovation programming, further facilitate relationships between start-up companies and growers and spearhead business development at the WGCIT in Salinas.
“As farmers continue to face relentless challenges, Western Growers makes it a priority to work with industry leaders who will advance our efforts to accelerate the development of innovative technologies and help ensure specialty crop agriculture remains strong and vital,” said Hank Giclas, Western Growers’ senior vice president, strategic planning, science & technology.
“Dennis is not only highly regarded for his role in creating an agricultural technology ecosystem throughout the Salinas Valley and Silicon Valley, but he also brings with him 30 years of expertise in agriculture across the nation,” Giclas continued. “We are honored to have him join us and know that his wealth of experience will be crucial in helping move our agricultural technology efforts swiftly forward.”
Donohue has been lauded for his leadership in agriculture where he has played a key role in creating innovative business models, identifying new technologies and developing initiatives that integrate agricultural technology and innovation into the business structure at organizations such as Cultiva Global, European Vegetable Specialties/Royal Rose, River Ranch Fresh Foods, Fresh Express Farms and Fresh Western Marketing.
Additionally, his dedication to the community and region is unmatched. Donohue’s strong civic commitment includes his leadership as Salinas’ mayor from 2006 to 2012. He also served on governing boards at the Grower Shipper Association of Central California, Salinas Chamber of Commerce and Steinbeck Innovation Foundation.
“Because the Center for Innovation & Technology offers unbeatable resources such as market access and direct connections to growers, I firmly believe that it’s one of the best advances in the agtech movement,” said Donohue. “Western Growers’ commitment to accelerating innovation and industry success is inspiring, and I’m ecstatic to work with Western Growers to drive the future of agriculture.”
Donohue holds a Master’s degree from Gannon University in religious education and a Bachelor’s degree in history from the University of San Francisco. He currently lives in Salinas with his wife, Paula.