Board Members

David Peartree,  President, Belli Architectural Group

DavidPeartreeDavid Peartree is an architect and project manager for Belli Architectural Group, a Salinas-based design firm serving the agricultural, education and commercial sectors in Monterey County and beyond. He brings to the table 15 years of architectural work experience on a wide range of project types and delivery methods. David is proud to be part of a team that has a proven track record for providing clients with carefully considered design solutions that respect budgeting and scheduling constraints.

David graduated from U.C. Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design in 1998. Other credentials include status as a LEED Accredited Professional through the U.S. Green Building Council, and graduation from Leadership Salinas Valley in 2011.

In addition to his involvement in Ag Against Hunger, David serves as an executive board member for the American Institute of Architects, Monterey Bay Chapter.

Laura Berlanga, First Vice President, Ocean Mist Farms

LauraBerlanga_RevisedLaura Berlanga is the Product Innovation and Research Manager for Ocean Mist Farms.  Laura has been working with the company for over 15 years.  She has had previous job titles within Ocean Mist Farms, marketing associate, sales coordinator, and account assistant for Sea Mist Farms.  Laura’s professional experience outside of Ocean Mist Farms, consist of work for a non-profit organization, Association of Parents of University Students and Analysis Research as a marketing analyst.

Laura received a Bachelor of Arts and Letters in Economics from San Diego State University with an emphasis in International Economics, Marketing and Spanish.  She has lived in the Salinas valley for most of her life and has two daughters and one son, Claudine, Faith and Enrique.

Laura is a recipient of the 40 under 40 Rising Star this year and she is currently a board member and second Vice President of Salinas based Ag Against Hunger and a member of the California Women in Agriculture.

Dave Ghio, Second Vice President, Dole

DaveGhioDave Ghio is the Director of Sales for the Dole Berry Company based in Monterey, California. He has been with Dole for 11 years and started out working on the Dole Vegetable sales division of the company. Dave was born and raised in Salinas.

He graduated from Cal Poly in 1995 and has been in the agriculture field ever since.  He has been a board member for Ag Against Hunger since 2011. For Dave, the best part about being involved with Ag Against Hunger is being able to make a difference in the community we live in.

Terrence R. O’Connor,  Secretary, Noland, Hamerly, Etienne and Hoss

TerryOConnorTerry O’Connor has been a shareholder in the Salinas law firm of Noland, Hamerly, Etienne & Hoss for the last ten years.  Before that Terry was General Counsel for Western Growers and the Grower Shipper Association in Salinas.  Mr. O’Connor has over 25 years litigation practice in state and federal courts and before various agencies including the NLRB, the ALRB, PERB, the State Labor Commissioner, Cal-OSHA and other state and federal agencies.

A graduate of Stanford University, Terry received a Master’s Degree from San Francisco State University and law degree from the University of California Hastings College of Law.  He is a member of the State Bar Labor and Employment Section.  Terry serves on a number of boards including Ag Against Hunger and the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Natalie Rava, Treasurer, Hayashi Wayland

NatalieRavaNatalie Rava is a CPA and the Senior Manager in Charge of Hayashi Wayland’s King City office. Natalie has seven years of experience in public accounting, primarily including audit and financial review services for commercial agricultural and not-for-profit entities. Prior to public accounting, Natalie worked for 20 years in private industry. Her areas of expertise include auditing, financial reviews and general business services for individuals and business owners in various industries. She holds a Master of Accountancy degree from Golden Gate University and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from San Jose State University.

Natalie’s community involvement includes board participation in California Women for Agriculture – Salinas Valley Chapter, as well as Hartnell College Foundation. She also volunteers on committees for Hospice Foundation, King City Rural 4-H and Relay for Life of King City.

Helena Beckett, Board Representative, Tanimura & Antle

HelenaBeckett2

Helena is Director of Category Management at Tanimura & Antle.  She is a native of Monterey County, but earned a degree in International Studies from Depaul University in Chicago, Illinois.  Helena began her produce career in operations at Fresh Express in 2003. Her experience includes supply chain management, sales, inventory management, negotiation, and category management.   She is passionate about delivering fresh, high quality produce to customers, and providing fresh fruits and vegetables to children and underserved communities.  Helena is a graduate of United Fresh Leadership Class 18 and currently sits on the Alumni Board.  She is also on the board of Ag Against Hunger, and a participant in the 2014 Tour de Fresh.

Colby Pereira, Past President, Costa Farms

Colby_HeadshotColby Pereira received her Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business with a minor in Crop Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2005.  Colby is involved as a 3rd generation member of her family’s farming operation, Costa Farms.  She currently resides where she was born and raised, in Soledad, CA.  Colby has served as President to the Salinas Valley Chapter of California Women for Agriculture, representing Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.  Colby currently serves as Vice President of Legislative Affairs for Monterey County Farm Bureau and is involved with Central Coast Young Farmers & Ranchers.  She also participates on the Food Safety & Water Use Committees with both Monterey County Farm Bureau and Grower Shipper Association of Central CA, is involved with the Monterey County Young Professionals, is a Board member at Ag Against Hunger, works on the Salinas Valley Half Marathon Board, sits on the Healthy Eating Lifestyle Principles (HELP) board and is currently elected to the Mission Union School District Board of Trustees.  In her spare time she enjoys staying active with sports, traveling and spending time with friends and family.

Jocelyn Bridson, Board Member, Rio Farms

JocelynGretzJocelyn Gretz is the Director of Environmental Science & Resources at Rio Farms. She has been with the company since 2011 and in her role there she works with farmers to identify and test best management practices and analyze resource use to reduce the environmental impacts of farming and capture economic value.

Jocelyn received her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and her Master of Environmental Science and Management degree from University of California, Santa Barbara.

Heather Callens, Board Member, American AgCredit

HeatherCallens2Heather Callens was raised in a 3rd generation ranching family in Santa Clara County.  She graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics.  Heather’s passion for agriculture and interest in assisting farmers and ranchers led her to American AgCredit in 1994.  Founded in 1916, American AgCredit specializes in providing financial services to agricultural customers throughout the West coast and Midwest.  Heather is currently Vice President-Branch Manager in the Salinas Branch of American AgCredit.  She also serves on the San Benito County Farm Day committee and is an active member of the San Benito County Cattlewomen.  Heather resides in Paicines where she and her husband, Ed, run a cow-calf operation.

Alicia Emberson Cask, Board Member, Chiquita/Fresh Express

AliciaCask2_RevisedAlicia Cask is a 3rd Generation Salinas Valley Native.  She was born and raised in the Salinas Valley and South Monterey County. She has been actively working in Produce Transportation Logistics since 1983. She previously worked for Conrail/CSX Produce Intermodal Division. Alicia attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received her Certification in 2005 as a Freight Claims Specialist.  She is an active member of California Woman for Agriculture-Salinas Valley Chapter and has previously served on their Executive Committee.  Alicia helped in the creation of “The Annual Chickens for Charity Thanksgiving Fund Raiser” in 2008, at Chiquita.  She has assisted in successfully raising over $25,000 from Employee donations to help bring more needed protein into our tri-county food banks for the local hungry over the last five years. Alicia is a former Board President for Ag Against Hunger.

Ida Chan, Board Member, Wells Fargo

IdaChan

Ida Chan has been in the financial services industry for 15+ years in various positions.  She is a visionary and is recognized as an industry executive that is not only committed to her company and local community, but to the Banking industry as a whole.  She is an active member and was the former Assistant District Governor for Rotary for Territory 4 and was Rotarian of the Year, 2010.  She is an active Board Member of the Community Foundation for Monterey County and Grants Committee Chair.  Ida is also the President of the Salinas Valley Business Women’s Network and was the former President of the School Site Council at Frank Ledesma Elementary.

Jessica Harris, Board Member, Earthbound Farm

JessicaHarrisJessica Harris is the Trade Marketing Manager at Earthbound Farm. She works with the organization’s marketing and sales teams to create and execute customer specific in-store and digital marketing programs, manages business to business marketing activities and manages all Earthbound Farm events.

Jessica is also very active in her community and supports many local organizations.  She currently serves as the Secretary of the Salinas Valley Fair Heritage Foundation and also sits on the organization’s scholarship committee.  She also serves on the California Rodeo Marketing Committee and Colmo del Rodeo Parade Committee.  She is the past Chair of the Kiddie Kapers Parade of the California Rodeo Salinas and also past president of California Women for Agriculture.

Kacie Ragsdale, Board Member, Taylor Farms

KacieViethSince graduating from Saint Mary’s College of California, Kacie Vieth has been entrenched in the agricultural industry.  She has diverse experience in new product development, marketing fresh produce, and value-added products.  She has been able to transform her personal desire to provide consumers with great tasting healthy food into introductions of exciting new products and business opportunities.  She utilizes these abilities as the Director of Product and Business Development for Taylor Farms.

Her commitment to the community and industry has included various levels of involvement in the American Heart Association of the Central Coast, Monterey Museum of Art, Produce for Better Heath Foundation, Junior League of Monterey County, among other organizations.

Matt Seeley, Board Member, The Nunes Company

MattSeeleyMatt Seeley is Vice-President of Marketing for The Nunes Company (grower-shipper of Foxy brand vegetables), where he has been for the past 23 years. Before coming to Nunes, Matt was previously with The Packer newspaper and Fresh Produce Council.

Matt attended the University of Kansas. He currently serves on the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement Communications Committee.  He resides in Salinas with his wife Marilyn, and their two daughters.

Tom Spaulding, Board Member, Driscoll Strawberry Associates

TomSTom Spaulding is Driscoll’s District Production Manager for the Salinas and Watsonville regions of California, which are comprised of over 8,000 acres of berry production annually by over 40 independent growing companies.  He has worked for Driscoll’s for three years, and has been employed in agriculture since 1995.  He has previously worked as General Manager at Amycel Spawn Mate and at Valley Pride.  He began his career in ag working in both growing and research for Monterey Mushrooms.  He got his MBA at San Jose State in 2005.  Tom lives in Soquel with his wife and their three children.

Sue Storm, Board Member, Pacific Valley Bank

SueStormSue Storm is currently Senior Vice President of Business Banking for Pacific Valley Bank in Salinas.  She has played a key role in lending, sales and service with local area banks and business owners for over 20 years.  In addition to her long career in banking, Sue graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and also earned her MBA from Golden Gate University.  Born and raised in the Salinas Valley to a family whose deep agricultural  roots go back five generations, Sue has been and continues to be an active volunteer within the community with Junior Achievement of Monterey Bay as Chair of the Board, California Women for Agriculture as Past President, Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Foundation as Treasurer and VP of Development, California State University of Monterey Bay on the Advisory Board, Boys and Girls Club of Monterey County, California Rodeo, Kinship Center and Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce as well as several other organizations in the Salinas Valley and on the Monterey Peninsula.

Diana Ybarra, Board Member, Mann Packing

DianaYbarraDiana Ybarra was born and raised in the Salinas Valley. She graduated from North Salinas High School and previously worked for Monterey County office of Education, Household Bank and was given the opportunity to start her career in the ag industry as a Sales Coordinator in 1995 for Fleming Companies. She is currently a Senior Sales Representative for Mann Packing Co., Inc where she has worked for the last 14 years.

Over the years, Diana has volunteered for several organizations. She has worked with the Jacob’s Heart foundation, The American Heart Association, and as a board member on a few organized youth sports leagues and many local community events.

Lynn Figone, Executive Director, Ag Against Hunger

LynnFigoneLynn Figone brings over seven years of experience in the nonprofit sector, having worked for both the Lake County Farm Bureau as well as Marin Agricultural Land Trust. Lynn is currently the State President of California Women for Agriculture and Past National Secretary of American Agri Woman.

Lynn has instilled a passion for agriculture in her two children, who are actively involved with livestock projects in 4H & FFA.

Julie Ruiz, Administrative Assistant, Ag Against Hunger

Julie Ruiz is our newest addition to our Ag Against Hunger Team. She comes to us with an extensive background in accounting, finance and agriculture.

Julie graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor’s degree in Agri Business, with a concentration in Finance & Appraisal. She lives on the peninsula with her husband and is actively involved in local and State agricultural organizations.

Cesar De La Torre, Warehouse Manager, Ag Against Hunger

CesarDeLaTorreCesar De La Torre has an extensive background in agricultural cooling, with 15 years experience at Mann Packing as their Shipping and Receiving Supervisor. He came to Ag Against Hunger in 2010 as the Warehouse Cooler Manager. Cesar manages all aspects of our cooler operations and produce collection and distribution.

Cesar was born and raised in Salinas, where he still lives with his wife and 4 daughters.