Meet Bold Class 3

Get to know the twelve members of the third class of BOLD: The Hass Avocado Industry Board Leadership Development Program.

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Olivia Avellaneda

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Olivia is key member of London Fruit, representing the next generation of her family's business. Based in Pharr, TX, Olivia holds the multifaceted role of Sales/Marketing/Off-Shore Grower Relations specialist. Her primary responsibilities include nurturing and managing grower and customer relationships, as well as spearheading the creation and implementation of innovative marketing strategies across various platforms.

Eager to enhance her expertise and contribute to the avocado industry's continued growth and sustainability, Olivia enthusiastically participates in the BOLD program. Through this opportunity, she aims to expand her industry knowledge, broaden her professional network, and make valuable contributions to the vibrant avocado industry. Olivia's dedication to London Fruit and her passion for the avocado sector make her a valuable asset to the company and the industry as a whole.

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Victoria Cao

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Victoria currently serving as a Sales Representative at Del Rey Avocado in Fallbrook, CA. Armed with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, with a focus on Marketing from San Diego State University, Victoria's roots in Fallbrook, California, naturally guided her towards a career in avocados.

With seven years of experience in the produce industry, five of which have been dedicated to the avocado category, Victoria has developed a deep understanding and passion for the avocado sector. Eager to expand her knowledge and expertise, she is excited to be part of the BOLD Program. Victoria looks forward to further honing her skills and making significant contributions to the growth and success of the avocado industry. Her dedication to Del Rey Avocado and her commitment to the avocado industry make her a valuable asset to the company and the broader avocado community.

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Lilia Carmen

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Lilia currently holds the position of Procurement Supply Manager at Mission Produce, situated in Oxnard, CA. Armed with a B.S. in Business Administration from San Francisco State University, Lilia embarked on her career journey with an excellent opportunity to work at Mission Produce shortly after graduation.

Her professional journey at Mission Produce began with joining the Quality department, where she played a crucial role in supporting teams in the USA and Canada to uphold the highest standards for avocado quality. This experience, combined with the unwavering support from her managers, laid a strong foundation for her thriving career in the avocado industry.

Eager to foster meaningful connections with industry leaders, Lilia is excited about the prospect of examining her organization's market strategy. With her dedication and continuous drive to excel, she is poised to contribute significantly to the success of Mission Produce and the avocado industry as a whole.

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Michael Craviotto

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Michael serves as the Operations Manager at Grace Farms and Orchards, LLC in Moorpark, CA. Proudly representing the fourth generation of Ventura County avocado farmers, Michael's deep-rooted connection to the land extends beyond farming, as he also serves as the president of a Mutual Water Company.

With a diverse educational background, Michael earned his MBA from Pepperdine University following six years of dedicated service in the US Coast Guard. Fueled by a passion for sustainable farming practices and nutrient-dense food production, he takes pride in being a part of the pioneering avocado industry in California, which prioritizes land conservation and sustainability.

Excited to embrace new opportunities for growth and learning, Michael is enthusiastic about participating in the BOLD program. Through this experience, he aims to expand his understanding of global trade dynamics, further contributing to the success and advancement of the avocado industry. His commitment to sustainability and passion for farming make him an invaluable asset to Grace Farms and Orchards, LLC and the industry as a whole.

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Emely Allen Fernandes

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Emely currently holds the position of Global Sourcing Specialist at Mission Produce in Oxnard, California. With a strong passion for the agricultural sector, Emely embarked on her career journey almost a year ago, and her dedication to the industry has only grown since. She pursued her academic interests by studying Agricultural Business and Spanish at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, which further solidified her commitment to developing a successful career in this field.

As a dedicated professional, Emely feels deeply honored to be part of BOLD Class 3. Recognizing the significance of continuous learning and networking, she is eager to utilize the tailored educational opportunities provided by the program. Emely is excited to connect with like-minded professionals who share the common goal of promoting and supporting the avocado industry's sustained growth. Her enthusiasm and determination make her a valuable asset to the industry and the BOLD program.

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Jorge Mario Gomez

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Jorge Mario currently holding the roles of Warehouse Manager & Sales at Henry Avocado in Houston, TX. With nearly a decade of privileged experience working at Henry Avocado, Jorge is deeply committed to ensuring exceptional quality and freshness at the Houston-based ripening and distribution center.

As a dedicated representative of Henry Avocado, Jorge actively participates in industry shows, consistently showcasing the company's commitment to excellence. In his role as the overseer of the Houston Food Safety program, he places great emphasis on implementing robust protocols at collaborating packing houses to safeguard the interests of valued US customers.

Driven by a passion for growth and development, Jorge is excited to embark on the BOLD program journey. He eagerly anticipates gaining invaluable perspectives from industry leaders, recognizing the importance of broadening his knowledge to enhance his expertise in the avocado industry. His dedication and commitment to excellence make him a valued asset to Henry Avocado and the industry as a whole.

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Nick Lahr

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Nick currently holds the position of Regional Manager, Southern Field, at Calavo Growers in Santa Paula, CA. Hailing originally from Santa Maria, California, Nick's love for avocados blossomed during his upbringing, surrounded by over 60 different types of fruit trees in his backyard.

Fueling his passion for the agricultural industry, Nick pursued a degree in agricultural business at Cal Poly SLO. Following his studies, he found his way into the avocado industry, beginning a fulfilling career journey that led him down the coast. Currently, Nick serves as the Southern Regional Field Manager for Calavo in Temecula.

In addition to his role at Calavo, Nick actively contributes to the avocado industry's advancement by serving as the Vice-Chair on the Board of Directors for the California Avocado Society. Eager to expand his knowledge and commitment to the avocado industry, he is thrilled to be part of the HAB's BOLD program. Nick's dedication and enthusiasm make him a valuable asset to Calavo Growers and the avocado industry as a whole.

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Nathan Lurie

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Nathan currently serves as the Operations Manager at Brokaw Ranch Company in Santa Paula, CA. Growing up in the hills of Ventura County, Nathan developed a profound love for nature and a strong sense of environmental stewardship. This passion led him to pursue a B.S. in Soil Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, setting the foundation for his career journey.

Nathan's career path initially involved working for prestigious organizations such as the USDA and US Forest Service, where he contributed his expertise in soil science and mapping. However, his desire for a perfect balance between physical work and scientific practice ultimately brought him back to the private sector. In 2012, he embarked on a consulting role for a laboratory specializing in soil/plant analysis, an experience that eventually steered him towards his true calling - the orchard.

As the Operations Manager at Brokaw Ranch Company, Nathan embraces a diverse range of responsibilities, from ensuring food safety and handling procurement and sales to effectively managing irrigation, orchestrating orchard development, and implementing new technologies. His willingness to embrace new opportunities has proven valuable throughout his career.

Nathan feels deeply honored to have been selected for the HAB BOLD program, recognizing it as an exceptional chance to enrich his understanding of the avocado industry. As a producer and land-manager, he is eager to explore new insights that can help him be a leader in supporting the industry's growth and success. Nathan's dedication to environmental stewardship and expertise in soil science make him a valuable asset to Brokaw Ranch Company and the avocado industry as a whole.

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Alfredo Rodriguez

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Alfredo currently holds the position of Finance Manager & Fleet Manager at Villita Avocados in Pharr, TX. Hailing from the heart of avocado production in Michoacan, Mexico, Alfredo's passion for avocados was ingrained from a very young age. With the avocado sector playing a significant role throughout his life, he has gained extensive experience in various facets of the industry, including quality control, logistics, and accounting.

Drawing from his diverse background and expertise, Alfredo is thrilled to be a part of the BOLD program. His participation in the program aims to gain valuable insights into the dynamic and ever-changing avocado markets. Additionally, he eagerly looks forward to engaging with industry peers to exchange perspectives and knowledge, fostering collective growth within the avocado category. Alfredo's dedication and experience make him a valuable asset to the avocado industry and the BOLD program.

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Daniel Ruiz

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Daniel Ruiz serves as the Commercial Leader for International Fresh Guacamole, based in Michoacan, Mexico. Born in Morelia, Mexico, he spent the formative years of his life in Periban, where his family operates their businesses. Holding a degree in Industrial Engineering from Tecnológico de Monterrey, class of 2020, Daniel now plays a crucial role in International Fresh Guacamole, a company specializing in the production of avocado pulp, oil, and guacamole, distributing these products globally.

With a passion for the avocado industry, Daniel saw an excellent opportunity to expand his expertise by participating in the BOLD program. As a commercial leader, he aspires to acquire knowledge and skills from industry leaders to further contribute to the success of his company. Hailing from a family with a strong presence in the avocado sector, including his first-generation brother and his father's involvement in other boards, Daniel is committed to continuing the legacy and making a positive impact on the avocado industry's growth and development.

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Casey Stoops

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Casey is the head of Global Information Security & Core Technology Operations at Patagonia, located in Ventura, CA. With a family background in operating a small avocado orchard since the early 90s, Casey embarked on his own journey in the commercial avocado industry in 2017. Together with his father and brother, he purchased and developed a new property, where he now manages the growing operation for both family farms in the Carpinteria area.

Alongside his responsibilities in the avocado industry, Casey holds a prominent position at Patagonia, where he leads the global cyber security and core technology teams. His passion for technology extends to his avocado operations, where he implements digital sensor and automation technology to optimize water and fertilizer applications, constantly seeking innovations to enhance efficiency and production.

Casey firmly believes in the potential of integrating agriculture and technology, recognizing the mutual benefits it can bring to all stakeholders. Excited to expand his knowledge about the avocado industry, he is participating in the BOLD program to explore various ways technology can positively impact the entire avocado supply chain. Eager to give back to the community, Casey expresses gratitude to the Hass Avocado Board for the opportunity to learn and grow as part of BOLD class 3.

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Jennifer Zendejas

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Jennifer currently serves as the National Director of Sales & Business Development at West Pak Avocado, located in Murrieta, CA. With over fifteen years of experience in the food industry, Jennifer has focused her career on the retail sector. She began her journey by bagging groceries at a local store and steadily progressed to category management at the corporate level.

Driven by her passion for the industry, Jennifer transitioned into sales, working on the broker side of the business. Through this role, she had the privilege of assisting numerous retailers, leveraging her expertise in category management and consumer understanding. Jennifer is dedicated to helping retailers identify opportunities to enhance sales and is genuinely passionate about the growth and success of the avocado category. Her extensive background and commitment make her an invaluable asset to West Pak Avocado and the retail industry as a whole.

Learn more about how you can get involved in the bold program.

Whether you are a potential applicant or an interested member of the industry, learn more about how BOLD brings out the best in all of us.