SALINAS, October 30, 2015 – Four individuals were honored with the 2015 Ag Leadership Awards by the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF) and the Ag Leadership Alumni Council. The awards were presented on Oct. 15 at Fresno State.

Roxanna Smith, Frank Hilliker and Mike Young received the 2015 Profiles in Leadership Award, which recognizes Ag Leadership Program alumni for their leadership actions resulting in the betterment of industry, community, business, government, education and/or the environment. Dr. Charles Boyer received the 2015 Honorary Fellow Award, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated consistent commitment and uncommon excellence in the furtherance of education and leadership in California agriculture. Recipients are also dedicated and longtime supporters of the California Agricultural Leadership Program.

Roxanna Smith is senior vice president and senior relationship manager for the Mid-Valley Commercial Banking Office of Wells Fargo Bank. Her volunteer resume is extensive and includes a wide array of community and agricultural organizations. Frank Hilliker is president of Hilliker’s Ranch Fresh Eggs, a family business he has been actively involved in for the majority of his life. The business, which was started in 1942 by Frank’s grandparents, Frank and Josephine Hilliker, is the oldest egg laying operation in San Diego and one of the longest established in all of California. Mike Young is principal of Wegis & Young and a fourth generation agricultural entrepreneur who grew up in Bakersfield working on the family farm every summer. The diversified farming operation, Wegis & Young, grows a variety of tree and row crops and manages agricultural property for individual and institutional investors. Dr. Charles Boyer is currently the vice president of agriculture, dean and director of the College of Agriculture and the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station, Montana State University (MSU). Before taking on his new position in December 2014, Boyer was dean at Fresno State University’s (FSU) Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.

“It gives us great pleasure to shine the spotlight on these four remarkable individuals for our 2015 Ag Leadership Awards,” said Bob Gray, CALF president and CEO. “They have demonstrated effective and strong leadership and have made positive contributions to agriculture and beyond. It is inspiring to see what they have done for the betterment of industry, community and agriculture.”

CALF operates the Ag Leadership Program, which is considered to be one of the premier leadership development experiences in the United States. Since it was first delivered in 1970, more than 1,200 men and women have participated in the program and have become influential leaders and active volunteers in agriculture, government, communities, business and education.

** BIOS **

Roxanna Smith
Class 19

Roxanna Smith is senior vice president and senior relationship manager for the Mid-Valley Commercial Banking Office of Wells Fargo Bank. In her position, she focuses on middle market commercial banking relationships and is responsible for representing Wells Fargo in developing and maintaining relationships with key clients. Smith began her banking career in 1980 as a college intern for a production credit association. She received her degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo where she studied agribusiness management.

Smith is described by her peers as a true servant leader who has maintained a high level of community involvement. Her volunteer resume is extensive and includes a wide array of community and agricultural organizations. Her PIL nominators note that, “Roxanna lives the mission of the California Agricultural Leadership organization and she is a leader that makes a difference through her example.”

Frank Hilliker

Class 32
Frank Hilliker is president of Hilliker’s Ranch Fresh Eggs, a family business he has been actively involved in for the majority of his life. The business, which was started in 1942 by Frank’s grandparents, Frank and Josephine Hilliker, is the oldest egg laying operation in San Diego and one of the longest established in all of California.

When his father, Harold Hilliker (12), suddenly passed away in 2009, Frank Hilliker stepped up in a big way at the ranch. With the support of his family, Hilliker led the business through the unexpected loss of their patriarch, and the changes that came with Proposition 2, while continuing to support the community through his many volunteer activities.

Hilliker serves as a director of the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) representing Lakeside Water District. Through this expertise, he has reviewed state water infrastructure projects and created opportunities to coordinate with state officials for improvement projects. He works to represent and share the viewpoints of Lakeside while maintaining the goal of a better water system for San Diego and California.

Mike Young
Class 35

Mike Young is principal of Wegis & Young and a fourth generation agricultural entrepreneur who grew up in Bakersfield working on the family farm every summer. He studied business and finance at the University of the Pacific and had planned to enter the finance world after graduation. However, his roots and passion for his family’s business changed his mind.

Young currently manages his family’s operations with his father, uncle, brother and cousin. Wegis & Young has several ag-related businesses under its umbrella. The diversified farming operation grows a variety of tree and row crops and manages agricultural property for individual and institutional investors.

Young has been very involved in his community and industry as a servant leader who makes a
difference. Some of the organizations to which he dedicates his time include: Kern County Farm Bureau; California Farm Bureau Federation; Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government; San Joaquin Valley Young Presidents Organization; Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce; Youth Leadership Bakersfield; California Cotton Growers Association and the Kern County Fair Board—to which he was appointed by Governor Brown in 2011.

Dr. Charles Boyer

Dr. Charles Boyer has been named this year’s Honorary Fellow in recognition for his outstanding service to the California Ag Leadership Foundation. He is currently the vice president of agriculture, dean and director of the College of Agriculture and the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station, Montana State University (MSU). Before taking on his new position in December 2014, Boyer was dean at Fresno State University’s (FSU) Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.

Boyer earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Eastern Oregon State College and a master’s degree and doctorate in genetics, both from The Pennsylvania State University. In 2006, he was named dean of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State. Prior to the appointment, he served as associate dean and associate director of the Agricultural Experiment Station, College of Agricultural Sciences, at Oregon State University; professor and head of the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University; chairman of the Intercollege Graduate Program in Genetics at Pennsylvania State University; professor and associate professor of plant breeding and genetics at Pennsylvania State University and as assistant professor of horticulture at Rutgers University.