Presenters

Summary of presenters are alphabetized by last name.

Shannon Archibeque-Engle, College of Agricultural Sciences, Colorado State University.
Shannon Archibeque-Engle was born and raised in Cortez, Colorado. As a child, she spent her summers building fences, irrigating fields, and putting up hay in southwestern Colorado. She was always grateful for school to start and is still excited about the role that education can play in the lives of young farmworkers. She earned a B.S. in Environmental Health in 1994 and a M.S. in Toxicology in 1996 from… Read more…


Rudy Arredondo, President/CEO/Founder, National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Association.
Rudy “el Hijo del Pueblo,” the “Son of the Peoples” has spent his lifetime defending the rights of Latinos around the United States. He has been the leading visionary for the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Association for over 13 years. A highly motivated bilingual problem solver and advocate with a lifetime career in civil, human, labor, immigration, and health care rights. Read more…


Edward Avalos, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, United States Department of Agriculture.
Edward is the Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the United States Department of Agriculture. Mr. Avalos provides leadership and oversight for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service which addresses animal and plant pests and diseases; the Agricultural Marketing Service, which provides standardization testing and marketing of commodities and specialty crops; and the Grain Inspection,…Read more…


Randy Breitling, Vice President, Human Resources, Capital Farm Credit.
Randy Breitling is beginning his 33rd year in Farm Credit as Vice President of Human Resources with Capital Farm Credit, which is headquartered in Bryan, Texas. In that role he supports Human Resource operations for the Agricultural Lender over 72 offices in the state with approximately 340 employees. During his farm credit career he has had various roles including CEO of the Federal Land Bank Association…Read more…


Emmanuel Caldera, Ruminant Nutrition, Colorado State University
Mr. Caldera is currently a student pursuing a Master’s degree in the Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University. Emmanuel grew up in Dublin, TX. During high school, Emmanuel worked as a part-time employee at Aurora Dairy where he gained valuable experience working with cattle and people. He soon realized the importance and benefits of being bilingual (Spanish and English) in the agriculture industry. Read more…


Aurelio Curbelo, Director, Multicultural Programs Office, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Iowa State University.
Aurelio is administrator of the George Washington Carver Summer Research Program in the college in addition to his responsibilities to promote diversity, facilitate internship opportunities, and organize research experiences in the areas of agriculture, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Mr. Curbelo is a talented bilingual individual recruiting multicultural students into experiential scientific… Read more…


Aury M. Curbelo Ruiz, Ph.D., President, Digetech.net and Associate Professor, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
Dr. Aury M. Curbelo is an Associate Professor of Office Administration and Information Systems in the College of Business Administration at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. She has taught courses in the disciplines of business, agriculture, and education at University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez for over 10 years. For the last few years she has offered workshops for faculty in areas… Read more…


Oslo “Bob” Ehart, Public Policy Director, National Association of State Department of Agriculture
Bob joined the National Association of State Department of Agriculture (NASDA) in 2003 as the Animal and Plant Health Safeguarding Coordinator. The National Association of State Department of Agriculture reorganized in 2008 and Bob became Director of Public Policy. Since then, Bob has moved into the position of Senior Policy & Science Advisor. In his capacities with NASDA he works on agricultural… Read more…


Daisy Garcia, Agriculture Major, Palo Alto Community College, San Antonio, TX
Daisy Garcia is a student at Palo Alto Community College in San Antonio, Texas, majoring in Agriculture. Daisy is the fourth of six children born to Maria and Martin Garcia, who originate from Guanajuato, Mexico. She is one of three siblings currently enrolled in college pursing a higher education degree. Daisy will be completing her Associate of Science degree with a concentration in Agriculture this Fall… Read more…


Juan M. Garcia, Administrator, Farm Service Agency, USDA
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of Juan M. Garcia as Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator, effective July 15, 2012. Garcia previously served as deputy administrator for Farm Programs where he managed all FSA programs under the Production Emergencies and Compliance Division, Conservation and Environmental Programs Division, and Price Support Division. Read more…


Lyda G. Garcia, Ph.D., Department of Animal and Food Sciences, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University
Dr. Garcia is an Instructor / Post-Doctoral (Researcher and Recruiter) in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at Texas Tech University. She earned her Associates degree from Clarendon College – Clarendon, TX in Science; a Bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University – Lubbock, TX in Animal Science; a Master’s degree from West Texas A&M University – Canyon, TX in both Animal Science and Meat Science;… Read more…


Orlando Gil, President, TCTS Global, LLC.
A native of Venezuela, Orlando came to the United States to further his education. He attended Oklahoma State University and received B.S. degrees in Animal Science and Agronomy in 1983. Orlando owns and operates TCTS Global, LLC a consulting company that helps businesses “bridge the gap” with Latino talent in agricultural and food related industries as they meet their needs for a professional and skilled workforce. Read more…


Andre Gordillo, Agricultural and Food Business Management, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Andre is a rising senior enrolled in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. An engaged and committed student, Andre has been involved on campus through various student organizations. He has served as the President for the Minnesota chapter of the Minorities in Agriculture, and Natural Resource Related Sciences club (MANRRS),… Read more…


Maria Gutierrez, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Institute of Renewable Natural Resources
Dr. María Gutierrez currently works for the Institute of Renewable Natural Resources at Texas A&M University in San Antonio, Texas. María also serves on the American Cancer Society High Plains Division Board of Directors and has been the recipient of the Harold P. Freeman Service Award for her commitment to underserved medical populations. She also received the 2006 Ethel Ashworth-Tsutsui Memorial Award for… Read more…


Paul H. Gutierrez, Ph.D., Professor and Extension Economist, New Mexico State University.
Dr. Gutierrez is a Professor and Extension Economist in the Department of Agricultural and Extension Economics at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM, where he works in applied research and does extensive work with range livestock producers, dealing directly with production, and marketing and financial management issues in range livestock production. Born and raised on a ranch near Grants… Read more…


Howard Hill, D.V.M., Senior Veterinarian, Iowa Select Farms
Dr. Howard Hill, DVM, a pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa, serves as vice-president for the National Pork Producers Council. Dr. Hill is also a member of the Iowa Pork Producers Association board of directors. He was born in a rural community just north of San Diego, CA., and a love for all facets of agriculture and a solid group of mentors fueled an enriching, four-decade-long and counting, multi-dimensional career. Read more…


Nancy A. Irlbeck, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, College of Agricultural Sciences, Colorado State University
Nancy A. Irlbeck, is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. Dr. Irlbeck grew up in Iowa on the land as oldest of 8 children and 54 grandchildren. She received a Bachelor’s degree in animal sciences and a Master’s degree in animal nutrition at Iowa State University. Her Ph.D. work in ruminant nutrition was completed at… Read more…


Nancy O’Mallon, President and CEO, About Harvest, LLC
Nancy O’Mallon grew up on an 80-acre family farm in Western Pennsylvania. She wrote produced and directed two documentaries, The Mighty Humble Blueberry and New Jersey’s Red October. Her documentaries won awards nationally, internationally and aired on local Public Broadcasting Stations. Award-winning filmmaker, writer and dynamic speaker, she has discovered, documented and catalogued… Read more…


Maria ‘Masi’ Mejia, Environmental Conservation of Natural Resources, Texas Tech University
Masi is currently a senior at Texas Tech University, majoring in environmental conservation of natural resources. She also has a minor in agricultural leadership from Laredo, TX. Since the beginning of becoming a Red Raider, she has been an active member of the Collegiate 4-H, Agri-Techsan, Range, Fish, and Wildlife Club as well as the Society for Conservation Biology. In Society of Conservation, her first… Read more…


Carolyn Parker, Director, Office of Advocacy and Outreach, USDA
Carolyn Parker serves as the Director of the Office of Advocacy and Outreach. As the first director of the office, Carolyn is responsible for leading outreach at the department to ensure greater participation in programs and services from the small, new, and beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Ms. Parker has been a leader at USDA in… Read more…


Lorette Picciano, Executive Director, Rural Coalition
Lorette Picciano has served as Executive Director of the Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural, a Washington, DC-based alliance of more than 70 culturally diverse community based organizations representing small producers and farmworkers in the US and Mexico, since 1992. She works with the RC’s diverse Board and members to promote just and sustainable development in rural areas. In 2012, she is participating in… Read more…


Edward W. Romero, Ph.D., Founder and Manager, AgForLife, LLC.
Dr. Edward Romero has over 18 years of experience in academia and business, dealing primarily in higher education in areas related to administration, agriculture, agricultural literacy, agricultural careers, diversity, minority student recruitment, retention, and student development. In addition, he also has experience in the financial services industry dealing primarily in insurance sales and investments. Read more…


Cruz Torres, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Texas A&M University
Dr. Cruz Torres is Professor Emeritus from the Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University. Dr. Torres’ distinguished career in academia has allowed her to be Principal Investigator, Co-Investigator, Co-Project Director, and/or Project evaluator for 17 externally funded research projects affiliated with the USDA, National Science Foundation, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Houston… Read more…


Brad VanAuken, President and Founder, BrandForward, Inc.
Brad brings an unequalled level of expertise in branding to his clients, leading them in the collaborative discovery process that results in strong brands. Brad gained his experience as director of brand management and marketing for Hallmark Cards, Inc. and as vice president of marketing for Element K, a leading e-learning company. During his tenure as Hallmark’s chief brand advocate, Hallmark rose to 4th in the EquiTrend… Read more…


Craig Wilson, Ph.D., Director, United States Department of Agriculture, Hispanic Serving Institutions National Future Scientists Program.
Dr. Wilson was born in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland but grew up in England and attended Oxford University. He met his Texan wife in Iceland and they had their three children in Botswana, Africa where he was Head of Science at a branch of The University of Botswana. He now works within the College of Science as a Senior Research Associate in the Center for Mathematics and Science Education (CMSE). Read more…