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F3 AgTEC Summit Speakers

Thank you for joining us at the AgTEC Workforce Summit! We hope you found the presentations and panel discussions informative and inspiring. We encourage you to connect with them and continue the conversation on building a more diverse and skilled agricultural workforce. Together, we can make a positive impact on our industry and communities.


Stewart Knox

Stewart Knox is the current Secretary of the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency, bringing 28 years of experience in statewide workforce and economic development. Prior to his appointment, he held various leadership positions including Undersecretary of the Labor & Workforce Development Agency and Executive Director of the California Employment Training Panel. Secretary Knox is highly experienced in organizational management and strategic planning, and has successfully transitioned several workforce development entities into productive and accountable organizations.


Christine Birdsong

Christine Birdsong was appointed by Governor Newsom as Undersecretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Previously, Birdsong was Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Director of People and Culture for the Sun Valley Rice Company. She has also served as General Counsel for the National Cotton Council of America, Counsel for the Committee on Agriculture for the United States House of Representatives and Federal Government Affairs Leader for CropLife America. Birdsong earned a Juris Doctor degree from the UC College of the Law, San Francisco, and is a UC Berkeley alumni.


Ashley Swearengin

Ashley Swearengin is the President and CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation. She is also a former Mayor of Fresno, California, where she implemented several initiatives aimed at improving the city's economic and social conditions.


Hernan Hernandez

Hernan Hernandez is the CEO of the California Farmworker Foundation (CFF). The CFF is a non-profit organization that provides support and resources to California's farmworkers and their families.


Ricardo Castorena

Ricardo Castorena is the Executive Director of Binational of Central California.  ​Binational of Central California’s mission is to serve low-income, immigrant, farmworker communities by connecting them to much needed resources which includes, but is not limited to, immigration, healthcare, and educational resources.


Alison Schmitt

Alison Schmitt is an associate director at JFF with expertise in policy analysis, inclusive economic development, nonprofit finance, financial modeling, systems change, and strategic planning. She previously served as the director of financial analysis at ReNEW Schools and worked at a boutique strategy and management consulting firm. Her recent work includes collaborations with the National Employment Law Project and the Port of Oakland, where she evaluated the capacity for project labor agreements to advance racial equity.


Karen Aceves

Karen Aceves is the CEO at Arken. In her role as the AgTEC regional director she works across 8 community colleges, with industry, and farmworkers to build the AgSystems certificate and transform the way education is delivered. She has over 10 years of experience in community development and has led numerous initiatives aimed at improving workforce outcomes in the Central Valley.


Amber Garrison Duncan

Currently, Dr. Garrison Duncan serves as the Executive Vice President of the Competency-Based Education Network, the nation's largest non-profit organization devoted to focusing education on what learners know and can do. These models allow institutions to advance a truly learner-centric model that creates new, more equitable opportunities for economic mobility. Over her career, Amber has led work in competency-based education, learning frameworks, assessment, credential recognition, digital learner records and open data standards, as well as quality assurance.


Chancellor Kristin Clark

Dr. Clark, Chancellor of West Hills Community College District has over 26 years of experience in higher education administration. As President at West Hills College Lemoore, she led the college to reaffirm accreditation and innovated several student success initiatives.


Andy Anzaldo

Andy Anzaldo has worked for The Wonderful Company for 24 years and is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Wonderful Philanthropy. He drives and integrates education, health & wellness, and community programs to create positive, generational change in underserved areas. This work supports Wonderful employees, their spouses and children, and other families where we operate, from California’s Central Valley to Mexico, FIJI and beyond.

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