Tyllor Ledford has joined the U.S. Wheat Associates as the assistant director of the West Coast office located in Portland, Ore. She succeeds Michael Anderson who was promoted to market analyst earlier this year. Ledford most recently completed her master’s degree in agricultural and applied economics from Texas Tech University, where she also earned a bachelor’s degree in the same concentration.
Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Joel Ledesma of Sacramento as the deputy director for statewide water and energy at the California Department of Water Resources. Ledesma previously served as assistant general manager at Northern California Power Agency since 2019. He has held several positions at the California Department of Water Resources from 1991 to 2019.
Newsom also appointed Lisa Lien-Mager as senior adviser for strategic communications at the California Natural Resources Agency. Lien-Mager has served as the deputy secretary for communications at the California Natural Resources Agency since 2017. In addition, the governor reappointed Kevin Chan as special assistant to the State Fire Marshal at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. He has served in this position since 2017.
Conterra Ag Capital, an ag lending firm, has added Jon Reiter to its board of directors. Reiter is the owner of McConnell Farms, which grows almonds, blueberries and pistachios in California's San Joaquin Valley. He also started Cavalrei, a consulting firm offering services in the agriculture, finance, solar and water/water storage industries. Reiter previously served as the CEO of Maricopa Orchards, and before that, he was a finance attorney for Milbank.
Marie Baldassarre is the new communications director for Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif. She previously worked for Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., as his digital director and press adviser.
Ken Paglione has joined Mucci Farms as sales account manager in its Kingsville, Ontario office. Paglione brings 15 years of experience in greenhouse produce.
Amélie Gaudin, associate professor at the University of California, Davis, has been appointed as the holder of the Endowed Professorship in Agroecology. Gaudin joined the UC Davis staff in 2015 and before that was a lecturer and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Guelph.
Randy Abhold has announced he will retire as president of Rainier Fruit Company, effective Aug. 31. Mark Zirkle, current CEO, will reassume the position of president following Abhold’s retirement. In his first four years at Rainier Fruit, Abhold became the domestic sales manager, helping lead the company into one of the largest tree fruit sales groups.
Chris Alpers of RedPath Orchards in Michigan has been tapped to be the new board chairman of the U.S. Apple Association. Alpers succeeds Mike Preacher, marketing director of Domex Superfresh Growers in Washington. Other members elected to the board includes: Brenda Briggs of Pennsylvania as vice chair, Steve Clement of Washington as secretary, and Craig Hinkle, of Pennsylvania as treasurer.
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