It would be hard to find someone that would disagree with Turlock resident Scott Tucker when he says that almonds are the king of agriculture in the Central Valley.
“There are almonds almost everywhere around here,” said Tucker. “I didn’t know much about them and I don’t like not knowing about something big going on.”
With this in mind, Tucker applied for the 2015 Almond Leadership Program, a one-year program that encourages participants to take part in leadership activities that will enable them to successfully progress into roles to advance the future of the California Almond Industry.
According to manager of Industry Relations Jenny Nicolau, all participants have a strong tie to the California Almond Industry, including almond growers and processors, pest control advisors, and health educators.
“The 2015 Almond Leadership participants are second to none,” said Nicolau. “These young leaders are bright, passionate, and thirsty for knowledge. I have no doubt that this group of leaders will become a strong team, leading the California Almond industry to continued success.”
Program goals include developing skills to effectively lead, manage, and inspire those in the almond industry; enhancing business relationships through networking and collaboration; learning about issues within the almond industry; and mastering communication and leadership techniques.
The year-long program kicked off in January with a presentation by Almond Board of California President and CEO Richard Waycott.
“It was neat to have the President of ABC just sit down and talk to us about the state of the industry,” said Tucker. “Richard talked about how almonds are unique and that most of the world’s production is right here in the Central Valley. We are very fortunate to be at the epicenter of the crop.”
Various components of the program do not all focus specifically on almonds, as the group also attended a seminar in February which spotlighted DiSC, a behavioral assessment that stands for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness.
During the workshop, participants answered a number of questions that gave them a better understanding of their natural behavior and how they can better interact with others in their life, including co-workers, family, and friends.
“After we answered the questions and I got my report, I was surprised as it showed my personality pretty much to the T, including what I would do or think,” said Tucker. “I think it’s pretty amazing how they can figure that out based on a couple of questions.”
Future endeavors for the 2015 Almond Leadership Program participants include tours at Burchell Nursery in Oakdale, where they will gain a better understanding of how almond trees are budded, and a job shadowing activity, where Tucker has been assigned to learn more about bankers that benefit the industry.
“I’m going to learn more about agricultural finance and lending and see the inner-workings of how money is lent to established farmers and younger farmers,” said Tucker. “That’s what I’m hoping to learn from the experience.”
Tucker said the true benefit of the program is not the different seminars or industry tours, but rather the various networking opportunities.
“The networking that happens is amazing,” said Tucker. “We get to meet the people that are essentially the face of almonds and it’s pretty remarkable to be able to walk up to them and learn from the best people.”
Other members of the 2015 Almond Leadership Program include Taj Samran from Denair; Krista Frelinger Tavares and Brandon Rebiero from Modesto; Michael Marsh from Madera; Ricardo Camargo from Lodi; Rosa Perez from Firebaugh; Mike Vasquez from Pleasant Hill; Maria Vasquez from Snelling; Mike Curry from Hughson; Derek Thomas from Keyes; Matt Roy from Orangevale; and Sim Batth from Caruthers.