Conference & Induction Ceremony 2016

Agriculture, Water, and Energy

We welcomed another great class of professionals and finalists for the IGIHOF 2016 Conference and Induction Ceremony. This year we experienced an exciting new venture- for the first time, we conducted the events on high school campuses. Our mission of educating the public started at an even younger age, for the resident students were invited to attend and even participate.

IGIHOF shared green industry stories first hand to encourage students to strive for a more environmentally friendly future while still building the economy for years to come. For the Conference, we invited experts near and far to discuss the complex dynamic between agriculture, water, and energy. There was an on campus electric vehicle show at Buchanan High School. Also, we had panels on each theme as well as a panel on achievements of women in the green industry. Following, Buchanan High School students presented their own green projects as part of a poster competition. In the second part of our event, our accomplished 2015 Inductees received their Hall of Fame honor and shared their stories of how they became leaders in the green industry.



Event Program (March 9, 2016)


Master of Ceremony – Kevin Musso, Meteorologist, ABC 30 Action News


Buchanan High School1560 N. Minnewawa Ave., Clovis, CA 93619

7:30am – 8:30am: Registration/Breakfast/Exhibits

8:30am – 9:30am: General Session featuring MC Kevin Musso, Meteorologist, ABC 30 Action News
and Keynote Speaker, Jim Kor, CEO, Kor Ecologic, “Embracing Innovation as a Way of Life.”

Welcome – Ricci Ulrich, Principal, Buchanan High School

9:30am – 11:10am: 3 Concurrent Panel Workshops (9:30am, 10:05am, 10:40am)
How is the Water-Energy Nexus Impacting California Agriculture – Olivier Jerphagnon
Women in the Green Industry – Nancy Wahl-Scheurich
Agriculture Landscape – Ryan Jacobsen

11:15am – 12:15pm: Lunch

1:00pm – 2:00pm: General Session featuring Student Presentation of Awards, Robotics Team, and Keynote Speaker Dr. David Zoldoske, “California Water: Today and in the Future.”

2:00pm – 2:30pm: Energy & Environmental Research Center Tour

Induction Ceremony

Master of Ceremony – Ryan McCormick, Stand Up Comedian

Promotional picture

CART – 2555 Clovis Ave., Clovis, CA 93612

4:30pm – 5:30pm: Tour of CART

5:30pm – 6:30pm: Reception

6:30pm – 6:45pm: Welcome, Rick Watson, CEO, CART and MC Ryan McCormick

6:45pm – 8:30pm: Induction Ceremony and Press Conference

Thank You to our Event Sponsors

Gold Sponsors


General Sponsors

BCT Consulting
Sunnyland Mills
Janet Ontko
U.S. Department of Commerce

Jim Kor

Jim Kor

CEO, Kor EcoLogic

Jim graduated as a mechanical engineer from the University of Manitoba in 1974. After a decade of designing farm machinery for Winnipeg manufacturers, Kor started his own design firm. KOR Product Design is now an international design consultancy with clients in Canada, the USA, and Europe. KOR has worked within various industries, including agricultural machinery, city and inter-city buses, commercial swimming pools, automotive, and aerospace. KOR’s designed products are mass-produced and reach world markets. KOR’s projects have been presented at conferences, schools, and universities in North America and Europe. KOR’s third vehicle project, an environmental car called Urbee, initiated the formation of a new company called KOR Ecologic, aimed at developing and commercializing this unique roadworthy vehicle worldwide. Kor was born in Amsterdam, lived in Indonesia, and moved to Canada when he was seven.

Dr. David Zoldoske

Dr. David Zoldoske

Center for Irrigation Technology

Dr. David Zoldoske serves as the director of the Center for Irrigation Technology and the California Water Institute at California State University Fresno, where he has been actively working on “water use efficiency” issues for over 30 years. He recently served as vice-chair of the California Department of Water Resources strategic planning caucus for New Water Technology, served as a member of the California Department of Food and Agriculture Nitrogen Tracking and Reporting Task Force and served as a member of the A-2 subcommittee to the SBx7-Agriculture Stakeholders Committee. David was named 2015 “person of the year” by the California Irrigation Institute, and was named 2013 “person of the year” by the Irrigation Association, he is a Senior Fellow with the California Council on Science and Technology, and an Honorary Member of the American Society of Irrigation Consultants. He is also a past President of the Irrigation Association (2005); a member of the Irrigation Association’s “SMART” Water Application Executive Committee, founding Executive Director for the Water Resources and Policy Initiative for the California State University system (2008-2013) and past President of the American Society of Agronomy: California Chapter (2002).

Nancy Wahl-Scheurich

Women in the Green Industry

Nancy Wahl-Scheurich, Panel Moderator

Little Footprint Lighting

Nancy Wahl-Scheurich, MS, is an ecopreneur, combining her passion for sustainability with 20+ years of corporate marketing, business development, and product management to grow businesses that “do well by doing good” across software, technology and lighting sectors. Most recently she founded LittleFootprint Lighting, manufacturer of the HeronLED® Personal Task Light, an award-winning, energy-saving LED desk lamp that delights customers in the hospitality, green building, government, and green consumer markets. Arguably the “greenest” desk lamp available, the HeronLED is the first and only LED desk lamp made in the USA from recycled e-waste and steel. Nancy currently serves on the Technical Advisory Council of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC), working with supplier, purchaser, and public interest advocate stakeholders dedicated to harnessing the buying power of institutional purchasers to promote sustainability. Nancy is a member of the USGBC and has been a LEED Accredited Professional since 2009. She has presented on plastics in e-waste at the Sustainatopia Conference in 2014 and on Federal Sustainable Acquisition at the SPLC’s 2014 Summit. Nancy’s earlier career highlights include international marketing and sales, international product management, localization management, and corporate account management. She also taught Marketing and Product Management classes at the School of Business at CSUMB for over 5 years.

Margarita Colmenares

Margarita Colmenares

Think Verde

Ms. Colmenares is a sustainability and thought leader who has held leadership positions in the private, public and non-profit sectors. She is skilled at developing partnerships and collaborations that strategically create synergy and leverage resources. She has consulted or led business development efforts for emerging clean techs in renewables, energy storage/software, energy efficiency and water.Her public service includes serving as a senior political appointee under the Clinton administration and as a White House Fellow under the Bush Sr administration. She is skilled at launching new initiatives in collaboration with multiple strategic stakeholders. During her tenure as National President of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, a STEM non-profit, SHPE experienced significant growth in membership, sponsorships and leadership development. At Chevron, she was at the leading edge of environmental mitigation such as a multi-million dollar environmental remediation project to remove hydrocarbons from the refinery’s subsurface water table through an extensive network of extraction wells. In addition to leading a technical team, she also served as the liaison to regulatory agencies and impacted communities. Her corporate experience spans sustainability/corporate responsibility, manufacturing, marketing, operations, chemicals and executive management development. She was the first person in Chevron history to be named an Executive-on-Loan and to be named a White House Fellow. Previous to Chevron, she worked at the California Department of Water Resources, monitoring and evaluating the safety and performance of the State Water Project. She is a graduate of the School of Engineering at Stanford University and her circuitous and eventful path to becoming an engineer has been profiled in numerous publications targeting women and minority youth. She is continually invited to inspire and motivate the next generation of STEM leaders.

Jean Okuye

Jean Okuye

East Merced Conservation District

Jean Okuye has had a passion to protect agriculture and natural resources since a child, growing up in Lake County, northern California. Jean’s passion helped her transition from teaching piano in Santa Barbara to managing an almond and grape farm in Merced County the past 35 years. In 2007 Jean received the Merced County Outstanding Trees & Vineyard Award presented by Agri-Business Committee, the Merced County Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce. She spent 13 years on the Livingston Farmers Association board which has almond processing and sweet potato processing/marketing departments. She served the Farm Bureau board as the first woman president in 95 years of existence from 2012 to 2014. Jean is a charter member of the Valley Land Alliance, a non-profit with a mission to save farmland which promotes education protecting our resources. One of the projects Jean and Valley Land Alliance started is Country-Ventures which has been responsible for providing fun maps highlighting Merced County’s ag, art and nature. More than 30,000 maps have been distributed free over the past four years. Another Country-Ventures’ project, with the financial help of the Merced Chapter of California Women for Ag and development by University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor, Maxwell Norton, is the developing and marketing of audios promoting education along two major highways in Merced County. These audios and the maps which promote education and economic benefit in Merced County are free to download . Crop signs placed along these two roads were also made available. Jean has the only straw bale house in Merced County and has 4 solar systems on her farm. For the past eight years since she built her house she has had an annual day long green tour, promoting sustainability in design and landscaping.

Linda Smith

Linda Smith-Zengen

EOC and Health Care Waste Strategies

Linda is a specialist in Medical Waste and has a very impressive series of achievements. Medical Waste is a Key issue in the emerging world and Linda has a wealth of experience in this field. She is currently the EOC and healthcare compliance manager at waste strategies. She has a degree in applied science and numerous certifications such as, CES, CSMP, R2, HAZMAT, BLOOD BORNE PATHOGENS, ETC. She has been featured in several news programs, spoke at conferences, and written numerous articles on the success of recycling programs and waste minimization in healthcare. She pioneered the recycling program across Lehigh Valley Health Network for paper, cans and glass which won two major awards in 2009: Environmental Achievement Award and Trailblazer Award from Environmental Protection Agency. Programs saved the hospital over $300K in the first nine months of operation and decreased infection waste volume by 50%. She has been recognized for her work as the winner of the 2011 Stephanie Davis Award for Environmental Excellence and 2012 Partner for Change Award from Practice Green Health

Olivier Jerphagnon

Water-Energy Nexus

Olivier Jerphagnon, Panel Moderator

Founder & CEO, PowWow Energy

Olivier is a serial entrepreneur with a talent to bring new technology to market. He is the co-founder and CEO of PowWow Energy, a SaaS company addressing the energy-water nexus in the agricultural sector. PowWow Energy was the recipient of the Grand National Prize at the Cleantech Open in 2013. Olivier Jerphagnon was previously CEO of Monitoring Division Inc., which sold professional services to telecom carriers worldwide using patented data sensing and machine learning technologies from Melbourne University in Australia. Olivier started his career at Calient where he held positions of increasing responsibilities in R&D, Marketing and Sales. Mr. Jerphagnon holds a M.S. from the UC Santa Barbara and an engineering degree from the Grenoble Institute of Technology. He is a senior IEEE member, holds four granted or pending patents, and has published more than 30 peer-reviewed papers. He is a frequent conference speaker and you can read his thoughts on technology innovation, energy policy and venture capital at

Carolyn Cook

Carolyn Cook


Carolyn Cook works as a Climate Change Specialist with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. She focuses on climate change impacts to agriculture, and identifies opportunities to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Previously Ms. Cook worked with the Pest Detection and Emergency Projects branch of CDFA. She was involved in various invasive species projects throughout the state. She received her B.S. in biology from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and earned an M.S in environmental management from the University of San Francisco. She lives in her hometown of Turlock, CA with her husband and two children.

Joey Barr

Joey Barr

Weather Bug

Joey Barr is the Director for Partner Development at WeatherBug Home’s. Previously, he directed strategy at PG&E for the $2B statewide policy initiative targeting schools and energy (Prop39), and managed advanced lighting products. As a manager for Toll Brothers, he led a real estate development team of 18 people. He left to found a startup developing a synthetic fuel from sequestered atmospheric carbon dioxide. He earned an MBA from Berkeley Haas Business School. Joey’s passion is his 2 young daughters, so usually he is either reading them a book, playing hide-and-seek, or exploring the zoo.

Pat Ricchiuti

Pat Ricchiuti

PR Farms

Pat Ricchiuti is a third-generation diversified fresh fruit and nut crop grower-packer-shipper. He is the President of P-R Farms, which was honored in 2002 as the Agriculture Business of the Year.
In addition to serving on the Fresno County Farm Bureau Board of Directors for many years, Pat is involved in many education, medical and community boards of directors. PR Farms is proud to be part of the Network for a Healthy California’s Harvest of the Month program. The goal of this program is to introduce agriculture into the classroom. Pat resides in Clovis with his family. In 2011, Pat and his son Vincent started the ENZO Olive Oil Company and milled their first harvested crop of organic olives.

Ryan Jacobsen

Agricultural Landscape

Ryan Jacobsen, Panel Moderator

Fresno County Farm Bureau

Ryan Jacobsen is the CEO/executive director for Fresno County Farm Bureau (FCFB), overseeing the administration of the 3,500-plus member agricultural organization. Jacobsen is no stranger to Farm Bureau or agriculture. He is the fourth generation of two Fresno County farm families. Previously, beginning in 2004, he served as FCFB’s issues coordinator and as the organization’s membership coordinator. Jacobsen is an honors graduate of California State University, Fresno with a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in animal science. While at Fresno State, Jacobsen served two terms as associated student body president and was recognized as the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology Dean’s Medalist and Craig School of Business Graduate Dean’s Medalist. He serves on numerous boards and committees throughout the community, industry and at the university. Jacobsen is the president of the Fresno Irrigation District. He is also the host of the local television show, Valley’s Gold, a weekly series that goes behind the scenes to look at the economic engine that drives this region, agriculture. Fresno County Farm Bureau is the county’s largest agricultural advocacy and educational organization, representing 3,500 members on water, labor, air quality, land use, and major agricultural related issues. Fresno County produces more than 400 commercial crops annually, totaling over $7.03 billion in gross production value in 2014. For Fresno County agricultural information, visit

Paul Betancourt

Paul Betancourt


Paul Betancourt was born and spent his early childhood on the East Coast until his family relocated to San Diego when he was 7 years old. After graduating from high school, Betancourt attended Westmont College and received a bachelor’s degree in religious studies. Upon graduation in 1981, Betancourt began working for his father-in-law, Walt Von Flue, introducing him to agricultural work. The Von Flues farm on the west side of Fresno County as VF Farms. The Betancourt family now farms almonds and field crops. Depending on the year and the marketplace, Betancourt has farmed barley, wheat, cantaloupes, and both Acala and American-Pima cotton. While Betancourt quickly learned the science of farming, he wanted to learn the business side of agriculture, and picked up a second major at California State University, Fresno, in agriculture business. Betancourt was a graduate of the California Ag Leadership Program, Class XXV. He also participated in California Farm Bureau’s Leadership Program, and began serving on the FCFB Board in 1994. He served as FCFB President from 2000 to 2002.

Jose Gutierrez

Jose Gutierrez

Westlands Water District

Jose Gutierrez is the Deputy General Manager of Resources at Westlands Water District (Westlands). His responsibilities include planning, organizing, and directing Westlands’ water resource activities including its federal contract water supply and acquired supplemental water supplies; administering and scheduling water deliveries; managing Westlands’ power programs; directing groundwater management and conservation activities; implementing state regulatory mandates; managing Westlands’ land lease and sales activities; and implementing Westlands’ capital improvement projects to enhance water supply reliability. He has been employed by Westlands since November 2012. Prior to his employment with Westlands, his professional experience included approximately three years serving as an engineer with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and 17 years as a consulting engineer working on water-related projects throughout California. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Civil Engineering in the California. Mr. Gutierrez received a bachelor’s and master’s from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1992 and 1994, respectively. His coursework focused on groundwater and surface water supply and treatment. The Westlands Water District is the most productive agricultural land in the U.S., generating $3.5 billion in farm-related economic activities and more than $1 billion worth of food and fiber. Westlands’ 700 family-owned farms feed local communities, California and the nation. Agriculture is the bedrock of life and this agricultural region is a critical asset for California.

Christopher Valadez

Christopher Valadez

California Fresh Fruit Association

Christopher Valadez serves as the Director of Environmental and Regulatory Affairs for the California Fresh Fruit Association (Association). In this role, Valadez handles all legislative matters on behalf of the Association, as well as regulatory issues pertaining to labor, food safety, water, energy, the environment, and co-manages pesticide regulatory issues. Representing the permanent, fresh fruit, crop industry before federal, state and local legislative and regulatory bodies, Valadez works to shape policies, mitigate, collaborate, defend and/or advocate on behalf of the interests of the fresh fruit industry. In addition to his focused efforts in the legislative and regulatory arenas, Valadez manages the Association’s political action committee and guides the political decision-making of the organization. He serves as an industry representative, in a board member and/or advisory position, on food safety advisory committees, government relations committees, labor advisory groups, and water quality advisory committees. The California Fresh Fruit Association is a non-profit, public policy trade associated representing growers, shippers and marketers of fresh grapes, blueberries and tree fruit. Its membership also includes associate members who are indirectly involved with these commodities (for example, labeling equipment, container/packaging suppliers, and commodity groups). The membership is primarily located in the San Joaquin Valley, though there are members located as far north as Lake County and as far south as Coachella Valley.

Heroes & Volunteers
Jennifer Carter
Tom Cotter
Allyson Gaarder
Sam Geil
Donna Geil
Jim Geil
Lisa Hansen
Charlie Harris
Bruce Jones
Richard Kinney
Devin Kurtz
Colleen McCormick
Ryan McCormick
Kevin Musso
Kelli Parker
Glen Roberts
Pavady Senechaleunsouk
Ricci Ulrich
Jill Wagner
Molly Watson
Rick Watson

Hall of Fame Inductees


Agrissentials is a New Zealand company that manufactures a variety of high-quality organic fertilizers. Their specialized products are designed to enhance soil fertility and to rejuvenate soils that have been depleted of nutrients. Many of their innovative products and programs are formulated for specific crop types or livestock use, and they are all tailored to supplement New Zealand’s particular soil types. Agrissentials is being inducted into the International Green Industry Hall of Fame for their success in developing an environmentally healthy product that provides a powerful boost to the regional agriculture economy.

Alpine Bank Finance

Alpine Bank has been providing preeminent banking services for the citizens of Colorado for 43 years. It is a model for financial institutions to incorporate sustainability- it invests in and generates renewable energy, achieves resource efficiency through significant water and paper reduction, and offers a variety of green loans to its customers. The bank also values and promotes education by financing environmental education groups and providing information to the public on how to live sustainably. IGIHOF is recognizing Alpine Bank for its innovative and persistent efforts to support both environment and community.

Beneficial State BankFinance

Beneficial State Bank of California, Oregon, and Washington is committed to promoting equity by stimulating the prosperity of the underserved in our communities. The bank also focuses on financing local businesses and nonprofit organizations that value environmental protection and social justice. Beneficial banking is their creative business model, a manifestation of their economic philosophy. IGIHOF is awarding Beneficial State Bank for their integrative initiatives to uphold the disenfranchised and to protect the environment.

California Green Business ProgramBusiness

The California Green Business Program is a nonprofit organization that partners with both cities and counties to promote and assure sustainable business practices. The Program assists small and medium-sized businesses to develop and incorporate environmental management strategies, and endorses the businesses that adhere to their certification standards. The Program has certified over 3,000 businesses and last year facilitated a total annual cost savings of nearly 33 million dollars. IGIHOF is recognizing the California Green Business Program for its incredible influence on natural resource conservation and emissions aversion.

Castoro CellarsAgriculture

Castoro Cellars owns seven exquisite vineyards in Central California. In collaboration with Mesa Vineyard Management, Castoro is committed to environmental and human health by farming organically, by reusing and recycling, and through investing avidly in solar energy. Castoro Cellars also promotes health and wellness through its Beaverstock music and art festival and via other year-round community activities. The company’s environmental and social initiatives are verified by fellow 2015 IGIHOF Inductee Sustainability in Practice Certified. Castoro Cellars has been chosen for induction into the International Green Industry Hall of Fame because of their assiduous efforts to cultivate low-impact and high-efficiency products.

Linda Smith-Zengen Individual Contributions

Linda Smith-Zengen is an essential leader in the movement to optimize waste management in hospitals. She has mobilized recycling initiatives and has enabled facilities and operations to minimize their overall consumption. In the state of Pennsylvania, her pioneering recycling program saved her employer health network over $300,000 in the first nine months and decreased their infectious waste volume by 50%. Her innovations illustrate that waste reduction is beneficial not only for the cost and resource savings, but also to promote sanitation, which is especially valuable in the healthcare industry. Ms. Smith-Zengen is being inducted as an IGIHOF Lifetime Achiever for her novel and diligent efforts to pursue resource efficiency and ultimately to protect human health.

Michael Ben-Eli – Individual Contributions

Over the years, Michael Ben-Eli has worked for an impressive array of institutions, both private and public, as an international management consultant. His work involving the application of cybernetics and systems thinking to various management-related settings is considered groundbreaking, as are his acclaimed Five Sustainability Principles. He was an associate of R.Buckminster Fuller, with whom he researched advanced structural systems as well as conflicts related to the management of global resources and technologies. Today, Mr. Ben-Eli focuses primarily on issues related to sustainability and sustainable development, working tirelessly to involve the youth of today and the leaders of tomorrow in these pursuits through his project, The Sustainability Laboratory. It is for this particular effort that he has been chosen to receive the IGIHOF Lifetime Achievement Award.

LittleFootprint LightingManufacturing

LittleFootprint Lighting out of Santa Cruz has developed LED task lamps that are fabricated from recycled e-waste plastic and recycled steel. Their products are manufactured in America, stimulating local economies and reducing transportation costs. Their novel designs strive to reduce landfill waste and to decrease the demand of virgin materials. LittleFootprint Lighting helps reduce the carbon footprint of task lighting without sacrificing aesthetics or efficacy. IGIHOF is awarding LittleFootprint Lighting for taking LED lighting to an even more sustainable level by integrating waste reclamation and material efficiency.

Singing Frogs FarmsAgriculture

Singing Frogs Farm is a large family-owned vegetable farm in Sonoma County, CA. Amidst a no-till and no-spray management strategy, their farm produces six times the state average harvest per acre per year while significantly increasing the organic matter in their soil and generously decreasing water consumption. The farm also provides a Community Supported Agriculture program for members of the community, which includes a weekly box of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. Singing Frogs Farms is being awarded by IGIHOF for their fruitful efforts in sustainable agriculture, which reflects their commitment to the well-being of the local environment and the surrounding community.

Sustainability in PracticeAgriculture

Sustainability in Practice Certified, also known as SIP, is a non-profit organization that verifies and certifies vineyards for sustainable operations. SIP exceeds USDA Organic standards by including evaluations for water and energy efficiency, social responsibility, education, and for many other considerations. SIP emerged from an organization, the Vineyard Team, that was the first sustainability assessment for vineyards nationwide. IGIHOF is recognizing Sustainability in Practice Certified for their novel leadership, unerring precision, and absolute devotion to sustainable cultivation.

Tom Bowman – Individual Contributions

Tom Bowman, founder and CEO of Bowman Change Inc., combines years of practical experience in the private and public sector with a passion for environmentalism and sustainable solutions. In the 80s, he founded the Bowman Design Group, an exhibition design firm that worked with many of the most prominent private and public institutions in the country. His work designing climate change education exhibits for various museums led to a change of focus later in his career. Mr. Bowman has become one of the foremost sustainability specialists in the world, working closely with many of the most influential and important governmental agencies, think tanks, businesses and world leaders across the globe. His book, The Green Edge, is a landmark publication for the events and meetings industry. Its purpose is to dispense practical advice and solutions for corporate middle management tackling sustainable initiatives worldwide, which will, in turn, prepare us for a brighter, greener future. We are honored to present Mr. Bowman with an IGIHOF Lifetime Achievement Award today.


T4T, or Trash for Teaching, is a non-profit organization located in Los Angeles that diverts materials destined for the landfill to classrooms. These clean goods include products from businesses, manufacturers, and warehouses that are defective or that no longer have a use. T4T also helps middle and high school students to address fundamental questions in subjects like physics and biology by providing challenging educational workshops in which students utilize the recycled materials to develop creative solutions. IGIHOF is recognizing T4T for their innovative efforts to reduce waste as well as for their initiatives to promote education.