Amrith_Gunasekara.jpgAmrith Gunasekara 

Amrith Gunasekara has joined the California Farm Bureau as the director of science and research of the California Bountiful Foundation, which compiles scientific data on agriculture, water and the environment. Gunasekara comes to CFBF from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. He most recently was the manager of the Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation. Before that, he was Secretary Karen Ross’ science adviser. He is also a former research scientist for the California Department of Public Health and worked as a graduate assistant with the state Department of Pesticide Regulation.

Governor Gavin Newsom has made the following appointments:

Le-Quyen Nguyen has been appointed as the deputy secretary for energy at the California Natural Resources Agency. Nguyen has served as chief of staff to chair David Hochschild at the California Energy Commission since 2019 and was also interim chief of staff to vice chair Siva Gunda at the Commission from 2021 to 2022.

Elena Lee Reeder will sit on the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. She has been a trustee of Reclamation District 1000 since 2019, and has served as vice president since 2020. She was appointed as an lternate to the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency in 2019 and as a sitting member in 2022. 

Bates Troy Bowers Jr. has been appointed to the 2nd District Agricultural Association, San Joaquin County Fair Board. Bowers was chief executive officer at the Amador County Fair from 2007 to 2019 and was deputy manager II at the San Joaquin County Fair from 1992 to 2005.

Monet Allen and Alyssa Burrone have been selected to serve the 10th District Agricultural Association, Siskiyou County Fair Board. Allen has been secretary and partner at CLT Logging Inc. since 1997. Burrone has been a teacher at Etna Elementary School since 2021.

Annemarie Pender .jpegAnnemarie Pender

Arturo Barajas Jr., Evan Corder, Serina Correa, and Denise Tugade have been appointed to the 52nd District Agricultural Association, Sacramento County Fair Board. Barajas has been a government affairs manager at FanDuel Group since 2021. He was also the deputy secretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture from 2019 to 2021. Corder has been principal at Redwood Public Affairs since 2021. He was also vice president of public affairs at DeBoo Communications from 2019 to 2021. He also held several positions in the Office of State Assemblymember Rob Bonta from 2015 to 2019, including chief of staff and legislative director. Correa has been director of finance for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California since 2020. Tugade has been a government relations advocate at SEIU-UHW since 2020. She was also a legislative director at the Office of State Assemblymember Christy Smith from 2019 to 2020.

Clint Nesbitt has joined Genus PLC as the global director of regulatory and external affairs. Nesbitt previously was the senior director of science and regulatory affairs for food and agriculture at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization. Nesbitt also worked for nine years at USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, where he was a supervisory biotechnologist when he left in 2014. 

Annemarie Pender has been hired by the National Pork Producers Council as the new assistant vice president for marketing and communications, based in NPPC’s D.C. office. Pender most recently was vice president of communications for Autos Drive America. She also spent 10 years at the Association for Global Automakers as the director of communications.

Carolyn Payne has joined AgriSompo North America as senior vice president and general counsel. Payne has worked the last three years at FCS Financial, most recently as the chief risk officer. Before FCS Financial, Payne worked for Compeer Financial as the assistant general counsel. 

Christina Dineen is the new chemist and study director with IR-4’s regulatory sciences team. The IR-4 Project was established in 1963 by the Department of Agriculture to help specialty crop farmers have legal access to cropJennifer Friedlin .jpgJennifer Friedlin protection products. It is headquartered at North Carolina State University. Dineen previously was a research and development chemist at National Foam.

The Nutrition Coalition has named Jennifer Friedlin as the organization’s new president. Friedlin previously was the communications director for ExpandED Schools, a non-profit organization that supports and advocates for New York City’s publicly funded afterschool system. She succeeds Nina Teicholz, who is the founder of The Nutrition Coalition and has led the organization for the last five years. Teicholz will continue as a member of the board. 

The World Food Prize Foundation has added Jon Wogman to its staff as the new senior program manager, global youth programs and partnerships. Most recently, Wogman worked independently as a program specialist and professional development coach, where he supported anti-hunger campaigns focused on racial equity and provided career coaching to young professionals working for nonprofits. He was also the chief program officer of the Food Recovery Network and held numerous positions at the Congressional Hunger Center in Washington, D.C.

Kainan Miranda has been promoted to legislative assistant in the office of Rep. Ed Case, D-Hawaii. Miranda handles the portfolio for animal issues, appropriations, environmental protection, public lands and natural resources, transportation and public works. Miranda previously was a legislative correspondent. 

Bryson Wong left Capitol Hill and joined the Idaho National Laboratory as the director of federal government affairs. Wong was a legislative assistant to Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and also was a professional staff member to Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., on the House Natural Resources Committee’s Water, Power, and Oceans Subcommittee.

Sebastian Belle.jpgSebastian Belle

Harry Child has been elevated to deputy press secretary for Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. He previously was a press assistant to Tester. 

Michelle Howard has joined Barchart as the new director of business development and strategy for the firm's agribusiness solutions. Howard brings over seven years of experience in the agricultural industry to the role, most recently serving as the international business growth adviser of agriculture at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. She also previously worked for Cultura Technologies as their director of marketing.

The National Aquaculture Association has elected Sebastian Belle as the new president of the board of directors. Belle currently serves as the executive director of the Maine Aquaculture Association. Belle has worked in the aquaculture industry since 1984, helping to establish best practices and advise commercial aquaculture ventures around the world. Before joining MAA, Belle served as the state aquaculture coordinator at the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

SNAC International has named its 2022-23 officer team. Mike Harper, chief financial officer and vice president of finance at Rudolph Foods, has been named chairman. Other officers include: Greg Pearson, chief executive officer of Pretzels, Inc. and The Hershey Co., as vice chair; Justin Spannuth, vice president and chief operating officer of Unique Snacks, as second vice chair; Leanne Oliver, general counsel for PepsiCo Foods North America, as general counsel; Fritz Kohmann, chief financial officer of Shearer’s Foods, as past chair; Dan Sifer, senior vice president of supply chain and contract manufacturing for Herr Foods, as past chair; and Lisa Stern, senior vice president of sales and marketing for LifeSpice, as associate executive council president. In addition, the new board directors are: Mike Cantore, vice president of sales, Carolina Ingredients; Joan Cetera, vice president of communications, PepsiCo Foods North America; Mark Costello, vice president of sales and marketing, Better Made Snacks; Spencer Fivelson, vice president and general manager of snacks, Conagra Brands; Clifton Hilario, COO and CFO, Hippeas; Cindy Kuester, vice president of sales, Snak King; Dan Morgan, CEO, G&S Foods; Milton Mattus, CEO, Wise Snacks; and Ryo Tsutsumi, CEO, Calbee America.

Christine Cochran has officially taken over responsibilities as president and CEO of SNAC International, effective April 1. Cochran was named the successor to Elizabeth Avery, who announced last October she would retire this Spring. Cochran was also elected as an ex-officio member of the SNAC board, in accordance with the organization’s by-laws.

Agri-Pulse added a new “team” member on April 4, 2022. Jonathan Dean Lutz arrived Monday night at a healthy 8 lbs., 5 oz. He and his mother, Danielle, are doing well, along with his two older sisters who are almost 4 and 2, respectively. His father is our Sales and Marketing Manager, Jason Lutz, and also, our oldest son. We could not be happier that our family-owned business continues to grow.

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