Speaker Biographies


Mary Bolton graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Food Science and has worked in the food industry for 9+ years. She has been in the olive oil industry for a little over 5 years, and is currently the Director of Technical Services for California Olive Ranch. Prior to California Olive Ranch she worked in the tomato and consumer packaged goods industries with vast knowledge in Quality Assurance and regulatory compliance. She is a member of the California League of Food Processors (CLFP), Regulatory and Nutrition Committees and Olive Oil Commission of California (OOCC) Standards Committee, where she helps provide expertise on food safety and quality related programs. In all food sectors, she has focused on implementing food safety systems for various regulatory requirements for olive oil and consumer packaged goods specifically oils, dressings, sauces, herb rubs, granola, etc.

Adam Englehardt, President of U.S. Operations at Boundary Bend Olives, comes from a 5th generation farming family. Olives have been planted on their family ranch since the 1880s and his family started planting modern olive groves for olive oil production in the 1990’s. After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in Agricultural Business he spent 3 years working for Hearst Corporation on their cattle ranches before he returned to work for his family operation managing olive groves. In 2008 Englehardt joined California Olive Ranch serving as the vice president of Orchard Operations prior to joining Boundary Bend in 2014 to launch US operations. Boundary Bend Olives is a vertically integrated olive oil company operating in Australia, California, and Argentina.

David Garci-Aguirre is the Vice President of Operations and Master Miller at Corto Olive Co. Corto is a family-owned company and is the second largest producer of EVOO in the United States. Corto is committed to producing high quality oils, and under David’s direction, Corto’s research laboratory and state-of-the-art processing facility are helping to advance olive oil research and production techniques. David’s career in olive oil production began in 2009, when he pioneered mobile olive oil production in California. As the co-inventor and operator of Olive to Bottle, North America’s first mobile olive mill, David produced numerous award-winning oils, including 4 Best In Class awards at the California Olive Oil Council Competition in the course of 3 years. He remains dedicated to the advancement of olive oil production, research and education.

Jim Kamas is an Associate Professor & Extension Fruit Specialist stationed at the Texas A&M Agrilife & Extension Viticulture and Fruit Lab in Fredericksburg, TX. He has worked as a Research Associate and Instructor at Texas A&M, commercial fruit grower in Austin County, Texas and Ex- tension Team Leader for the New York and Pennsylvania Lake Erie Regional Grape Program. Since returning to Texas in 1996, Jim has worked extensively with grape and other perennial fruit industries to conduct applied research and extension education programming to address the needs of commercial and home fruit growers. Jim has also been active in international fruit work in the Caucuses, North Africa and across the Caribbean Basin and Central America.

Sheila McBride graduated from Texas A&M University in 1985 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Microbiology. Recently, she graduated with her Masters of Science in Plant pathology working on cotton root rot of grape vines. She is the diagnostician (Extension Program Specialist) at the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab. She has had over 20 years of experience working at the Department of Plant Pathology & Microbiology at Texas A&M University, and is well-verse with nematodes, fungi and bacteria. As the plant disease diagnostician for the National Plant Diagnostic Network member lab, she sees over 2000 samples/year.

Brian Mori comes from a second-generation farming family specializing in citrus crops in south- ern California. He graduated from California State University, Chico where he received his BS degree in Agricultural Business. Brian joined California Olive Ranch in 2009 working through the ranks from Field Representative to now Grower Relations Manager. Prior to his six years with California Olive Ranch he worked with UC Davis cooperative extension crop advisors specializing in tree crops. This included several research initiatives in olives for both table and oil production in the northern Sacramento Valley. Brian overseas grower relations and purchasing of fruit from an additional 10,000 acres of super high density orchards in California, which includes technical support to ensure crop practices meet quality and production expectations and took an active role in the creation of the Olive Oil Commission of California.

Dr. Jake Mowrer is currently Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Soil Nutrient and Water Resource Management at Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension. Dr. Mowrer’s re- search and outreach focus on soil nutrient cycling dynamics, crop rooting patterns, and production management systems that promote long-term sustainable production and improved crop quality. Dr. Mowrer previously served as coordinator of the Crop Quality Laboratory at the University of Georgia cooperating with specialty crop producers to relate soil fertility management to end-product quality and desirable chemistry profiles in olives, Vidalia onions, blueberries, peaches, and watermelons.

Monte Nesbitt is an Extension Program Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Horticulture located at College Station, Texas. He has 28 years of professional experience in academia, having worked for Texas A&M University, USDA/ARS, Auburn University, and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Nesbitt has been with A&M AgriLife Extension since 2009 with responsibilities to develop and deliver educational programming throughout the state of Texas on pecans, tree fruits and citrus. He also conducts research on fruits and nuts in the areas of water management, propagation, freeze protection and variety performance. He is currently engaged in olive research and extension activities in Texas, serving as the coordinator for the Coordinated Olive Variety Trial, a multi-site study of olive tree performance that began in 2015.

Dr. Larry Stein is an Extension Specialist and Professor of Horticulture with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Larry is headquartered at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Uvalde, Texas. He was appointed Associate Department Head and Program Leader for Extension Horticulture in September of 2012. A proud Texas Aggie to the core, Larry Stein earned three degrees from Texas A&M University: a B.S. in horticulture in 1979, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in horticulture in 1981 and 1985, respectively. Dr. Stein’s work has emphasized production horticulture, working with pecans, fruits, grapes and vegetable crops. He has done a great deal of work on variety screening in both fruits and vegetables, including olives. His work has also focused on using drip irrigation to conserve water and improve fruit quality and production.

Josh Swafford graduated from Texas A&M University with B.S. In General Agriculture and Agricultural Business. He is the 6th generation farmer on his home orchard in Williamson County TX; and has had the opportunity to install, manage, and consult on orchards all over Texas for the past 8 years. Since 2014, he has been a board member of the American Olive Oil Producers Association.

 

OUR SPECIAL GUESTS

SID MILLER: TEXAS AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER

Sid Miller is serving as the 12th Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, with his first term beginning in January 2015. Commissioner Miller brings a wealth of knowledge to the Texas Department of Agriculture. He is recognized as one of the state’s most dynamic and effective conservative leaders, as well as one of the state’s staunchest defenders of constitutional freedoms. As the leader of the Texas Department of Agriculture, Commissioner Miller is working to safeguard water resources to ensure access for farmers and ranchers, as well as fighting to secure our nation’s porous border with Mexico. Commissioner Miller is focused on promoting the best Texas-grown and Texas-made products through the GO TEXAN program. Additionally, Commissioner Miller will push for polices to continue growing the Texas economy and creating jobs.

Commissioner Miller was born in De Leon, Texas. He is a cattle rancher and farmer, as well as the owner/operator of a commercial nursery business. A former six-term member of the Texas House of Representatives, Commissioner Miller served as chairman of the House Agriculture and Livestock Committee. He is a graduate of Tarleton State University in Stephenville, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Vocational Agriculture Education.

KIMBERLY HOULDING: AMERICAN OLIVE OIL PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT & CEO

Kimberly Houlding is the President and CEO of the American Olive Oil Producers Association (AOOPA). AOOPA is a voluntary, non-profit olive oil trade association that is engaged in the development of sound government policies to ensure a fair and honest olive oil market. Previously, she worked as the Director of Operations of the Fresno County Farm Bureau. Kimberly also worked for Congressman George Radanovich (CA-19), serving as a Field Representative, specializing in agriculture and water issues. She grew up in Madera, California where her family has been farming for four generations.

Kimberly holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business with concentrations in Policy, Communications and Water Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Kimberly is a graduate of the 2009 Water Education Foundation’s William R. Gianelli Water Leaders program and Leadership Fresno – Class XXVII. Recently she was appointment to the Agriculture Technical Advisory Committee for processed foods (ATAC) for the USDA and USTR for a four-year term 2017-2021.

CHRISTINE ARREDONDO, SAN ANTONIO’S GOURMET OLIVE OILS

San Antonio’s Gourmet Olive Oils has been in business three years at 1913 S. Hackberry Street. Owner Christine Arredondo, Gunnery Sergeant, retired from the United States Marine Corps in a career that took her on two tours in Iraq. Earning 2 Commendation Medals, and a Presidential Unit Citation, along with many other medals. She retired in 2013 returning to her hometown of San Antonio. There, she opened her specialty store, “San Antonio’s Gourmet Olive Oils”, and set out to educate her community about the benefits of cooking with high-quality ingredients.

Arredondo sells a variety of 70 Olive Oils and Aged Italian Balsamics, including EVOOs and oils infused with ingredients like cilantro, blood orange, Persian lime and black and white truffles. San Antonio’s Gourmet also offers Italian balsamic vinegars aged between 12 and 18 years. “I tell them, ‘You can use this instead of cooking oil that’s high in cholesterol and trans fats; you can use a very clean extra virgin olive oil with garlic, rosemary or basil and cook your food just the same way.’”