Barry Bedwell (Class 13) began as president of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation in August 2016. He is the eighth president to serve the organization. As president, Barry is responsible for directing all foundation activities and guiding the leadership program. Prior to CALF, Barry was president and CEO of the California Fresh Fruit Association for 13 years. He has served in leadership positions for numerous organizations, including United Fresh Produce Association, California Association of Winegrape Growers, Fresno State Bulldog Foundation, Alliance for Food and Farming, Agricultural President’s Council and USDA’s Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Fruits and Vegetables. He is a well-known public speaker and has worked extensively with diverse groups and government officials. Barry studied at Fresno State, where he earned a degree in business administration.
Director of Education
Dr. Michael Thomas
Dr. Thomas assumed the role of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation’s director of education in September 2010. In this position, he works closely with core faculty members from partner universities in curriculum planning and delivery. He also maintains communication between the Education Team and CALF staff, provides continuity between seminars and conducts feedback sessions at each seminar, plans and scouts international travel seminars, and leads the continuous improvement efforts carried out by the Education Team. Dr. Thomas has served as the core faculty member representing Fresno State for seven years, and he maintains that role in addition to being the director of education. As an educator with the Fresno State Department of Animal Sciences and Agricultural Education for more than 25 years, he has received numerous teaching awards, including the National Excellence in University Teaching Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dr. Thomas received a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Brigham Young University and a DVM from Washington State University.
Dr. Charlie Crabb
With a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in wildlife biology, Dr. Crabb began a 32-year career in higher education. He has served as a research associate, faculty member, interim associate dean, associate vice president, regional director for cooperative extension and dean of agriculture. During that period, he took time out to earn a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of California, Davis. Upon “retiring” from higher education in 2006, Dr. Crabb served one year at the California Farm Bureau Federation as manager of the governmental affairs division. He came to work for the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation in November of 2007 and has served as director of education, interim CEO and program advisor. Dr. Crabb has served on a number of boards, including the California State Board of Food and Agriculture. His service to agriculture has earned him the Honorary American FFA Degree, the California Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award and the California Agricultural Leadership Program Honorary Fellow Award.
Judy began working part-time at the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation in May 2007 as the program coordinator. She became a full-time employee in May 2008. Her responsibilities are to assist the director of education with all program-related activities. Judy also works closely with the four core faculty members on logistics of all program seminars. In addition to her program responsibilities, she also works with the Ag Leadership Alumni Council on events such as the Washington, D.C. Educational Fellowship Program. Judy grew up in Sacramento and currently resides in Monterey. In her free time she can be found in a dance studio either teaching or taking class. From an early age, Judy has been very passionate about dance and it continues to play an important part of her life. She also enjoys traveling and spending quality time with her amazing friends and family.
As enterprise coordinator for the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation, Emily oversees the entire operation of the organization. She helps organize events, track donations, manage the database and carry out a variety of other tasks. Emily has professional experience in the insurance industry, specifically in quality control and database management. She graduated with honors from California State University, Monterey Bay in May 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a concentration in information technology/e-commerce. In her free time, Emily enjoys being outside with her husband, son and their two dogs.
Sharon joined the staff of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation in January 2017. She is responsible for the accounting operations of the foundation in addition to alumni outreach and event coordination. She brings more than thirty years of accounting, human resource, 401(k) plan administration and office management experience in the agricultural, construction and medical fields. Sharon is a member of the Jeffery family and is a fifth generation Salinas resident. Along with her husband Brian, and their respective families, they have deep roots in Salinas Valley agriculture. Away from the office, Sharon loves spending time with her family, being of service to her community and staying healthy by working out and practicing yoga.
Liza Teixeira Robertson
Liza works in a freelance writing and editing role for the foundation. Her responsibilities include writing and editing Horizons magazine, In Touch e-newsletter, annual reports, news releases, website content, social media, media relations and other projects. Her previous work experience includes director of communications for the International Agri-Center in Tulare, public relations specialist for the California Strawberry Commission and program coordinator for the Tulare County Farm Bureau. Liza was raised on a small farm in Hanford. She studied agricultural communications at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and graduated with a degree in agricultural science and a minor in agricultural business. While at Cal Poly, she served as president of Cal Poly’s Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow and editor for the Brock Center’s Ag Circle magazine. Liza also owns and operates The Flower Farm in Hanford and grows fresh cut flowers for farmers markets, weddings, special events deliveries. Liza and her husband, Kevin, live in Hanford with their son.
Amanda (Mandi) Nack joined the Foundation in January 2018 as the Alumni Coordinator. She helps direct and support day to day efforts by the alumni in connection with recruiting, fundraising and networking. She is responsible for helping organize the approximately thirty annual events in the 11 statewide regions for the alumni as well as any special events. Mandi is a Salinas resident with life-long ties to the Central Coast area where she attended local schools. She later lived in Fresno and attended Fresno State. Mandi enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, going to Disneyland and trips with her friends.