AgTech Summit Speakers

Confirmed AgTech Summit Participants and Speakers include:


253_150X200_Luis-Alvarez-2008-682x1024Luis Alvarez has grown the Alvarez Technology Group, Inc.
Twitter: @luismalvarez

In less than a decade, Luis Alvarez has grown the Alvarez Technology Group, Inc. (ATG) from a small two-person consultancy to the premier information technology (IT) solutions provider on the California Central Coast, delivering IT services to more than 200 companies throughout the state. A visionary who never shies away from exploring exciting new technologies that might give his clients a competitive advantage, Luis specializes in working with executives and managers of small- and mid-sized businesses, sharing his expertise by advising them on trends, analyzing their systems for improved performance and planning how IT can help achieve their business goals.

Luis lead the industry towards a managed services model, an operational strategy that allows ATG to offer continuous monitoring and management of client IT infrastructure at an affordable price point. Luis designed the iTeam service delivery system based on this managed services model.

Luis has lived and worked in the Monterey Bay area since 1986, after 21 years of combined active and reserve duty with the United States Air Force. He has been received numerous accolades and awards, and was recognized as a community leader, serving on the board of numerous non-profits, including the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Rotary Club of Salinas and the Monterey Bay Area Chapter of the American Red Cross.




May Chow, KSBW
Twitter: @MayChow

May is a general assignment reporter for KSBW. Born in San Francisco, May grew up in the Bay Area. She graduated with honors from UC Berkeley with a degree in English literature and editor of her college paper. She reported and anchored for her college radio station, and won a CIPA for her live coverage of the San Francisco mayoral race.

May went on to complete her master’s in journalism from Columbia University in New York City. Prior to arriving at KSBW, May was an award-winning anchor, reporter and producer at KTWO-TV, the statewide ABC affiliate in Casper, Wyoming. May was honored with an Associated Press first place award for a series she photographed, wrote and produced, on being young and homosexual in Wyoming. She has been named one of the top food writers in the San Francisco Bay Area and was also a columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, has reported for San Francisco Magazine, Frontline, The Center for Investigative Reporting and the Global Russian Television Network.

When May isn’t reporting for viewers on the Central Coast, she enjoys running, cooking, backpacking, playing the guitar and taking pictures.



Courier Photo Medium 001Dan Dougherty, Business Development and Solutions Strategy, John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group (ISG)
Twitter: @JohnDeere

Dan Dougherty leads business development and solutions strategy for the John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group. He has been in this position since August 2013. In this role, Dan has responsibility for business development, strategy, market analysis and partner alliances.

Dan’s professional career began at John Deere in 1999 as an analyst within the company’s Worldwide Logistics organization. Dan continued in positions of increasing responsibility within the logistics group until 2004 when he transitioned to John Deere Power Systems. At JDPS he served as Production Control Manager of the Engine Works and completed additional assignments in manufacturing and quality. In 2007, he became Program Manager of the Interim Tier 4/Stage IIIB diesel engine product programs, culminating in a successful launch of the industry’s first off-highway diesel engine to be US EPA certified to meet the new regulatory standard. In 2010, Dan joined the Ag & Turf division business development team where he was responsible for identifying emerging opportunities and managing collaborative industry relations.

A native of Gate City, Virginia, USA, Dan has a bachelor of arts from Virginia Tech and an MBA from the University of Tennessee.



941Tom Harter, Cooperative Extension Specialist, UC Davis
Twitter: ‪@ucdavis

Thomas Harter received a B.S. in hydrology from the University of Freiburg, Germany and a M.S. in hydrology from the University of Stuttgart, Germany. He received his Ph.D. in hydrology (with emphasis on subsurface hydrology) at the University of Arizona, where he became the 1991 Harshbarger fellow for outstanding research in subsurface flow and transport modeling. In 1995, he joined the faculty at the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources, University of California, Davis. Harter is in charge of the University of California Cooperative Extension Groundwater Hydrology Program. His research focuses on nonpoint-source pollution of groundwater, groundwater resources evaluation under uncertainty, groundwater modeling, and contaminant transport. Dr. Harter has done extensive modeling of heterogeneous aquifer/vadose zone systems.



C4044F15-F91A-480A-A92C-0BACE933CBBBJames Elser, Professor, Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Science, ASU
Twitter: @ArizonaJJE

James Elser is Regents’ Professor and Distinguished Sustainability Scientist in the School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University.   He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a foreign associate of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters.  Elser holds a BS degree from the University of Notre Dame, an MS degree from the University of Tennessee, and a PhD (in Ecology) from the University of California – Davis.  Recipient of the 2012 G. Evelyn Hutchinson Award for research accomplishment  from the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanog­raphy (ASLO), he now serves as the President of this association, the world’s largest scientific society advancing research and education about lakes, rivers, estuaries, and oceans.  Author or co-author of more than 200 scientific articles and co-editor of the recent book “Phosphorus, Food, and Our Future”, Elser is co-founder of ASU’s Sustainable Phosphorus Initiative and during recent years has played a role in shaping the Steinbeck Innovation Cluster research agenda focused at the intersection of precision agriculture and food system sustainability.  For more info, visit



David Evans is currently the co-founder and CTO of a Silicon Valley stealth start-up.
Twitter: @davethefuturist

Mr. Evans was the Chief Futurist for Cisco. A Cisco veteran of 24 years, Mr. Evans was a member of the Corporate Technology Group (CTG) where he was responsible for identifying disruptive technologies that were relevant and aligned to Cisco. He is an expert on emerging technologies, holding numerous patents in the fields of connected car, RFID, virtual people, mobile phone technology and more. His visionary acumen has garnered global attention on topics such as the “Internet of Everything” (IoE) and “The Net Effect,” where he outlines IoE’s transformational impact and the role of the network. Mr. Evans’ views have been shared in Forbes, Fortune, CNN, San Jose Mercury News, New York Times, Nikkei, MSNBC, Discovery Channel, History Channel, as well as numerous other media outlets.



Mike Federle is Chief Operating Officer of Forbes Media
Twitter: @Forbes

Mike runs global new business development and oversees technology, as well as brand extensions in international licensing, conferences, research, consumer marketing, manufacturing and distribution operations. Prior to that he was a co-founder, President and COO of Techonomy Media Inc, a multimedia company based in New York, in which Forbes acquired an equity interest in July, 2011. He is a 25-year veteran of the media industry including positions as Publisher of Fortune magazine, Group Publisher of the Time Inc Business & Finance Network and Group Publisher of the Bonnier Mountain Group in Boulder, Colorado.



JoeGunterJoe Gunter, Mayor of Salinas
Twitter: ‪@CityofSalinas

Mayor Joe Gunter was elected as Mayor of Salinas in November 2012. After serving his country in the United States Marine Corps, Joe Gunter returned to Salinas and joined the Police Department in 1969. After 32 years as a Police Officer and Detective, he retired in 2002. Over the years he has served his community in many capacities.
Joe has always been involved in community events and served six years as Director of Security for the California International Air Show. He is now the Past President of the Air Show, having served two years as President. He sits on the Board of the Central Coast Federal Credit Union and is the Chairman of the Supervisory Committee, responsible for reviewing and signing off on millions of dollars in loans. He is a Past President of the Women’s Crisis Center for Monterey County and has been a volunteer for the California Rodeo and Alisal youth sports for over 30 years. For many years he was a board member of the Bobby Sox as a coach and served as President of the organization. Joe is the first Police Officer ever elected to the position of Mayor of Salinas.



John Hartnett, CEO of SVG Partners LLC and Cofounder of Steinbeck Innovation Foundation
Twitter: @cjhartnett

John is a senior technology executive & investor based in Silicon Valley, California and a native of Limerick, Ireland. He is founder and president of the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG), a network of global Irish technology leaders who’s main focus is to foster the links between Ireland and Silicon Valley in the areas of Innovation, Investment, Education & Entrepreneurship. Mr. Hartnett has over 25 years of executive level experience leading global sales, marketing, and operations. More recently Mr. Hartnett was appointed as independent non-executive director to the board of Aer Lingus, he serves on the board of University of Limerick Foundation and as Executive Chairman of Daybreak Information Technologies, Chairman of Sisaf Ltd and director of Mcor Technologies. He also served on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Northern Ireland Working Committee 2009 – 2011 and is currently leading the Global Diaspora innovation initiative with the US State Department. Mr. Hartnett is a member of the Irish Government’s Global Irish Network advisory group and the Global Irish Economic Forum.



Brian W. Kocher is the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Chiquita Brands International Inc.
Twitter: @Chiquita

Brian is responsible for all aspects of the Chiquita Brands International Inc.’s operations in North America, including value-added salads, bananas and other produce. Mr. Kocher has more than 15 years of accounting, sales, finance and business process change expertise, including work experience at General Electric and Hill-Rom. He is also a Director of United Fresh Produce Association since April 2010.



Lorri Koster COL 3-18-10Lorri Koster, Chairman & CEO Mann Packing Company
Twitter: @VeggiesMadeEasy

Lorri A. Koster has a Bachelor of Arts degree in public relations with a minor in business marketing from California State University, Chico. She is Chairman, CEO and a primary shareholder of Mann Packing Company. She started at Mann in 1990, and directed the firm’s marketing and communication programs­­. Although Lorri temporarily left Mann, she returned full time in 2006. She has been named one of the industry’s top 40 produce professionals under the age of 40, one of the industry’s “Top 25”, and one of the Top 100 Women in Grocery. In 2013 she was named Produce Marketer of the Year. She was also awarded her the distinguished Ag Leadership Award in 2014. . Lorri is co-chair of Monterey County’s Economic Development Committee. She is a trustee at the Panetta Institute for Public Policy and serves on the board of Monterey County’s Hospice Foundation.  She is also a member of the Business Advisory Council for Rancho Cielo Youth Campus and serves on the board of The First Tee Program for Monterey County.



WCLewallenDr. Willard Clark Lewallen, President, Hartnell College
Twitter: @HartnellCollege

Dr. Willard Clark Lewallen is a native Californian and a product of the California public education system where he graduated from Garey High School in Pomona. He completed a B.S. degree cum laude at California State Polytechnic University at Pomona and played intercollegiate baseball. He was awarded a graduate teaching assistantship at Purdue University where he completed two master’s degrees. He completed a Ph.D. in education at UCLA.

From 1984-1999 Dr. Lewallen served as a faculty member and as a dean at Antelope Valley College. From 1999-2007, Dr. Lewallen served as the vice president of student services at Victor Valley College (Victorville, CA). From 2007-2012 he served as president of West Hills College (Coalinga, CA). He currently serves as the superintendent/president at Hartnell College (Salinas, CA). Additionally, since 1993 he has served as an adjunct professor in graduate studies at two universities (Chapman University and University of La Verne) where he teaches psychological assessment, statistics, and research/evaluation methods. He also has firsthand experience teaching online classes.

Dr. Lewallen’s career has been characterized by one central theme – “students first.” He firmly believes that the majority of issues, initiatives, and developments need to start with the following question… “What impact will it have on student development and success?” Questions about resources, personnel, facilities, etc. are important, but only after the “student” question.

Dr. Lewallen’s record of leadership, scholarship, achievement, accomplishment, community involvement, and service is documented in his curriculum vitae which can be accessed at this link.

Dr. Lewallen’s hobbies and interests include guitar, fitness, and backpacking. His wife of 32 years, Michele, is a health and physical education professor and they are the proud parents of Jennifer (28), Kasey (26), and Parker (24). He and Michele lead physically active lifestyles that include a commitment to physical fitness and health. They have both completed the Los Angeles Marathon twice.



Deborah Magid, Director, Software Strategy, IBM Venture Capital Group
Twitter: @IBM

Deborah represents IBM’s $25B software business in the company’s 12-year old Venture Capital Group.  Her responsibilities include sharing insights about emerging markets, including innovation and growth areas in the market, and scouting for emerging business opportunities.  She is responsible for fueling the ecosystem pipeline in strategic areas related to building a “smarter planet” and contributes to filling out the IBM product portfolio through M&A. Outside of her work at IBM Ms. Magid is Chairman of the Board of SVForum, the Silicon Valley emerging technology network; on the advisory board of White Bull, serving the European entrepreneurial and venture communities; and on the Steering Committee of the California Sustainability Alliance.



moran-150x200-11sep12Richard Moran, CEO and Vice Chairman, Accretive Solutions
Twitter: @richmoran

Richard A. Moran serves as Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman of Accretive Solutions. Mr. Moran is a San Francisco based venture capitalist, best selling author and evangelist for organizational effectiveness. He is best known for his series of business books beginning with Never Confuse a Memo with Reality and is credited with starting the genre of “Business Bullet Books”. His latest book is Sins and CEOs. Previously he served as an Executive-in-Residence at Venrock and was also the Chairman of Portal Software which was later sold to Oracle. He is a former Accenture Partner where he focused in the technology, media and financial services practice. He often works with corporate boards to improve effectiveness and serves on the boards of the Silicon Valley Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors, Mechanics Bank and GluMobile. Mr. Moran holds an A.B. from Rutgers College, an M.S. from Indiana University and a Ph.D. from Miami University.



Paul Noglows, Executive Producer Forbes Reinventing America Summits/Forbes Summit Group.
Twitter: @PaulNoglows

Mr. Noglows has spent his entire career focused on identifying, analyzing, explaining, investing in and helping build ground-breaking business models whether as a journalist, equity analyst, director of research, angel investor or producer. He is fascinated by the effective live presentation of content and is excited to help Forbes creatively grow its burgeoning Summit Group. He produced the inaugural and highly successful Forbes Reinventing America Summit in Chicago in March 2014 and is now busy producing Reinventing America Summits across the U.S.



3dc9b32Howard Roeder, President of Dole Fresh Vegetables
Twitter: @DoleFoods

Howard recently became President of Dole Fresh Vegetables (DFV), a division of Dole Food Company. He previously held the position of SVP Finance for DFV. Prior to joining Dole, Howard was President of Herb Thyme Farms, a grower, packer, shipper of fresh herbs. Previously, he was Chief Operating Officer at Ready Pac Foods.



3948a19Kamath Shyam, Dean, College of Business at California State University, Monterey Bay
Twitter: @CSUMB

Shyam J. Kamath is the founding Dean of the College of Business at California State University, Monterey Bay. Previously, he was Professor of Global Business and Economics and Associate Dean Graduate and Global Programs in the School of Economics and Business Administration at Saint Mary’s College of California. He has previously taught at California State University, East Bay, Dalhousie University (Canada), Simon Fraser University (Canada) and the University of Madras (India). He has been a Visiting Professor at the Academy of National Economy (Moscow, Russia), IMADEC University (Vienna, Austria), International Business School Styria (Graz, Austria), Thammasat University (Bangkok, Thailand) and Xiamen University (Amoy, China). He is Permanent Visiting Professor at Beijing Administrative College in China and Honorary Professor at the Vladivostok State University of Economics and Services in Russia. He has published over eighty articles in leading international journals such as the American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Atlantic Economic Journal, Columbia Journal of World Business, Critical Review, Decision Line, Economic Development and Cultural Change, International Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, Journal of Economic Studies, Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics, Journal of Marketing Education, Journal of Private Enterprise, Public Choice, Review of World Economics, and the Southern Economic Journal. He is the author of three books, Excellence in Exporting (Govt. of Canada Press), Political Economy of Suppressed Markets (Oxford University Press) and Corporate Governance Failures (University of Pennsylvania Press. He is the recipient of a number of international teaching and program excellence awards. He received his BA (Hons.) degreee from St. Stephen’s College (Delhi University), the MBA degree from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from Simon Fraser University in Canada.




John Stanton, General Partner, SVG Ventures
Twitter: @svgpartners
Website: http//

John has amassed a wide variety of technology, entrepreneurial and venture experience in Silicon Valley over his 25 year career. John is currently the President of SVG Partners and General Partner of SVG Ventures. Prior to this, he was founder and CEO of CubeGuard, a simple office productivity tool he invented for preventing office interruptions. Prior to founding his own company, John served at Palm as Vice President of Product Marketing, Vice President of Mobile Software and Services, and Vice President Customer Support and E-Commerce. Previous to that, he held various leadership positions with several top technology companies in the Silicon Valley including: Apple, Intuit and Hewlett Packard.



Bruce Taylor is Chairman and CEO of Taylor Farms.
Twitter: @YourTaylorFarms

Mr. Taylor is the third generation of a Salinas Valley produce family. Mr. Taylor has been with Taylor Farms since 1994, after 13 years as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fresh Express, Inc. He serves as an Advisor at Footbridge Partners, LLC and Chairman of Taylor Farms Florida, Inc. pulling from his over 20 years of experience in the produce industry. From 1979 to 1994, Mr. Taylor served as Co-Chairman of Fresh Express Inc., Salinas, CA. and was previously Co-Chairman of Fresh International Corporation, Salinas, CA. from 1981 to 1994. Mr. Taylor attended University Of California, Berkeley, CA and holds an MBA From Harvard University.



PWPeter Williams, CTO IBM’s Big Green Innovations
Twitter: @IBM

Peter is currently the chief technology officer for IBM’s Big Green Innovations incubator, and has more than 20 years of management consulting experience. His focus areas include photovoltaic technologies, developing greenhouse gas reduction solutions and, especially, services and water management solutions that cover entire water resources, utility infrastructures and enterprise water management. He was also heavily involved in creating the intellectual foundation for IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative. In 1986, Willams received his PhD from the School of Management at the University of Bath, England. He was born in the UK and moved to California in 1999, where he currently lives with his wife and three children.


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