Which leadership program did you complete? California Ag Leadership Program
Class Number? Three (three-year program) after Class III, classes were reduced to two-year programs. The current California Ag Leadership program now has 26 ag leaders and conduct all their classwork within an 18-month period.
What year(s) did you participate? 1973-1975
What did you gain personally from your experience? Probably the most important part of our entire program of classes, events and travel is meeting and establishing personal connections with all our classmates and the two previous classes from all sections of California. (Class 1 and Class 2) Of course we stay well connected with all the following classes as California is now nearing 50 years of experience.
Favorite memory of the program? Everything but most important the making of personal acquaintances, traveling to other parts of the country and connections with the leadership team that we met and worked with at our four participating universities, Fresno State, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and University of California Davis. We also made connections with several other teacher-trainers outside of the university environment, but the four listed universities are the key providers.
Profession? President and CEO, Olive Growers Council of California for 39 years.
Hobbies? I am a lifelong member of the AF and AM Masonic Order; 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason; Member of Fresno Shrine Organization; Instrumented Rated Pilot of my aircraft (Cessna 182); Worked for the State Dept following leadership training in Afghanistan and Palestine; conducted farm trips to Spain, Israel and Italy; Graduate (Bachelor of Science) in Ag Education from Oregon State University, Corvallis; Past National President, Future Farmers of America; winner of National Public Speaking Contest at National FFA Convention, Kansas City, Missouri; winner of National Soil & Water Management Contest; and spent significant amounts of time as speaker at FFA/4H leadership training; traveled to numerous high school graduations as graduation speaker; appointed by President Eisenhower as member of National Educational Leadership Committee; and numerous other activities across the nation during and after my FFA experiences. Our National FFA Officer team also organized and conducted the very first National FFA Leadership Training Meeting, Washington D.C. (1959) to improve the skills and participation of State FFA Officers from across the country.
I also volunteered and served as the Executive Secretary of California Ag Leadership Alumni for eleven years (1985-1996).
What would you tell someone new about ILAC? Be open, relaxed, and informative with any who would be interested in learning about the program. Also, if highly qualified in my own mind, give them contact information about the program, location of headquarters and personal contact with people who I may know located in their hometown location.