Tim Welsh is the General manager of New Variety and Orchard Development for Columbia Fruit Packers, Inc. of Wenatchee Washington. He was raised in orchards, educated at Washington State University and has been with Columbia Fruit for 28 years. He currently develops orchards with new varieties and training systems to accommodate future technology while incorporating the latest technology available; orchards that are worker friendly and utilize biologically friendly inputs with a vision for the highest quality fruit and production levels possible.
Tim has been married for 35 years, is the father of 4 and grandfather to 6.
Avi Kahani co-founded FFRobotics in February 2014. Prior to that Mr. Kahani served as Vice President of EMEA and CET of Mobixell Networks Inc. He served as the CFO and VP operations at Mobixell Networks, part of the leading team of the acquisition of two startup companies and later directly involved in the sale of Mobixell Networks in early 2014.
Dan Steere is a serial entrepreneur, successfully bringing technologies to market and having an impact on society. He holds degrees from Harvard University and the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Rod Farrow was born and raised a city boy in Ipswich, England. Luckily his first accepted job application as a 13-year-old was on a local apple farm 4 miles outside Ipswich where he learned to love working outdoors with plants. After graduating high school and completing a one year exchange living and working on a fruit farm in France, Rod decided that the “school of hard knocks” was for him and he took off for 3 more years working around the world on fruit farms in New York, New Zealand and Japan. In 1986 he moved permanently to NY with his wife Karyn (New Zealand) and daughter Rebekah (England) to start a new life with Lamont Fruit Farm. Sebastian (USA) came along in 1990 to give him a very global family. Hard work, luck and perseverance (plus an understanding boss, George Lamont) allowed him to purchase the operating company and 500 acres of orchards from 1993 to 2012. Rod now enjoys the support of two new partners, Jose (Mexico) and Jason (USA) in the business as the cycle renews itself. Rod has started and is involved in the management and ownership of 8 different businesses and volunteers in a number of roles. One of the most enjoyable and rewarding is being on your IFTA Board with the global friendships and learning that go hand in hand with the Association.
Sara Serra, PhD. Assistant Professor, WSU, Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, Wenatchee. She joined WSU in August 2013. She previously worked as Post Doc at the University of Bologna, Italy, where she earned her M.Sc. in Agricultural Biotechnology and her Ph.D. in Fruit Tree Science and Forestry and Landscape Ornamental Agro-systems. Her current research is mainly focused on tree physiology, orchard management and fruit quality on apple and pear.
Stefan Roeder graduated (M.Sc. horticulture science) in August 2015. He worked for a year as a research assistant for the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission in Yakima (WA). Stefan joined the WSU PhD program in August 2016 and will work with Stefano Musacchi’s group. His work will focus on new apple pollinizer to replace the Manchurian crabapple.
Rob Blakey obtained his PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. He was a horticultural researcher at a multi-national avocado company in South Africa and the UK. He specialized in defect sorting and maturity determination of avocados with NIR, but also worked in nursery and protected cultivation R&D. He joined Washington State University in August 2016 as a Tree Fruit Postharvest Extension Specialist.
Dr. Hanrahan has been employed as a Project Manager by the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission (WTFRC) since 2005. She has earned a Diploma in Agricultural Engineering (Dipl. Ing. Agr.) from Humboldt University Berlin, Germany in 1999 and a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA in 2005. Her professional experience includes an extensive international background in practical and academic horticulture, including: research, teaching, and consulting. Dr. Hanrahan’s expertise includes the management of technical projects related to temperate fruit quality such as: apple fruit finish improvement, methods to prevent rain-induced cherry cracking, apple postharvest physiological disorder prevention, optimization of cropping and storage systems to produce consistently high yields of target fruit, management of plant material evaluation from breeding programs for commercial suitability, and applied food safety research in the areas of water quality, preharvest die-off and postharvest systems management. Overall, her primary focus is on managing various projects, expedite transfer of research results to implementation, to provide an ongoing link between scientists and the industry and to train the next generation of industry professionals.
Dr. Mattheis' principle area of investigation is postharvest physiology of apples, pears and cherries. Ongoing topics of research include assessment of various fruit physiological and quality factors as indicators of fruit harvest maturity, determination of appropriate maturity indices for new fruit varieties grown in the Pacific Northwest, characterization of fruit responses to stressful storage environments and identification of principle volatiles produced by fruit as indicators of physiological condition. Preharvest field research includes the study of apple and pear fruit blossom physiology.
Dr. Lee Kalcsits is an assistant professor of tree fruit physiology in the Department of Horticulture at Washington State University in Washington, USA. He grew up in Saskatchewan, Canada and received a bachelor’s in Horticulture and a M.S. in Tree Physiology from the University of Saskatchewan. He went on to complete his Ph.D. in Forestry at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada specializing in the physiology of nitrogen uptake and distribution in poplar. The focus of his research program is understanding the interactions between environment, management and genetics of tree fruit using a physiology-centric approach. His current work includes developing new methods to understand calcium uptake and distribution in tree fruit and mitigation of abiotic stress in apples. His program combines classical ecophysiological approaches and isotopic techniques with new imaging and sensing approaches to understand the problem of bitter pit in apple.
Peter grew up on an apple farm and has pretty much had something do with apples and farming his whole life. Peter, always ready for a challenge, recently started a new farm, Breeze-Way Acres. Breeze-Way Acres includes 15 acres of new orchard, consisting of mostly Honeycrisp and Ambrosia on several different rootstocks. Peter lives in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, with his wife Lisa and four children; Joshua, Noah, Savana-Raine, and Isaiah.
Justin Finkler was born and raised in the Fruit Ridge area of Michigan. He started work for Riveridge Produce Marketing as a fieldman in 2006 and is currently the operations manager for Riveridge Packing and Riveridge Land Company. His previous jobs include quality assurance and food safety manager.
Jim McFerson was born and raised in Midwest. In 1975, Jim received a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Horticulture; in 1977, an MS in Horticulture from Texas A&M, and in 1982, Jim earned his doctorate in Plant Breeding and Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
From 1983-1988, Dr. McFerson worked as a vegetable breeder for private seed company, and from 1989-1998 Jim was a Research Geneticist with USDA Ag Research Service at Cornell University in Geneva NY.
Jim has been the manager of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission since 1999, and is also an adjunct faculty member with WSU's Horticulture Department.
Jim lives in Wenatchee with his wife: Carol, who is an Outreach Coordinator with Columbia Valley Community Health. They have two daughters: Maureen – a WSU student, food science major, and KC, a philosophy major at Seattle University.
Dr. Vincent Jones’ areas of research activity include pest management in orchard systems, insect population dynamics, importance of landscape-level dispersal on IPM and biological control, sampling systems, biological control, agricultural acarology, effect of introduced pests on natural and agro-ecosystems, mechanisms of mating disruption, and demography of insect populations.
Dr. Jones holds a B.S. in Biology (with honors), an M.S. from the University of California at Riverside, and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Riverside. He holds professional memberships in the Entomology Society of America, Gamma Sigma Delta, and Sigma Xi.
Dr. Tim Lawrence research interests include environmental federalism (relationship between local, state, and federal governmental entities) from the local perspective
He holds a Ph.D. Environmental Sciences, Human Dimensions from Ohio State University; an M.S. in Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology from Ohio State University; a B.S. in Apiculture and Pomology from the University of California, Davis; and an A.A. in Industrial Technology from the College of the Redwoods.
Matthew Whiting directs Washington State University’s stone fruit physiology research and outreach program which addresses key horticultural and physiological research issues, focusing on sweet cherry. Dr. Whiting’s program is leading the industry in the transition to high efficiency orchard systems. Considerable emphasis is placed on developing management systems for establishing and maintaining planar architectures and facilitating the incorporation of automation and mechanization. Dr. Whiting has led collaborative research efforts in Canada, Chile, Turkey, and Australia. He has been invited to speak around the world on orchard systems innovations, whole-tree physiology, pollination biology, and practical strategies for efficient production of superlative fruit. In the past 10 years, he has published over 30 journal articles, edited the book “Producing Premium Cherries”, and secured over $5.5 m in competitive grant funds in support of his program.
Dan Griffith is a 1980 Washington State University graduate with a degree in agriculture specializing in plant protection and pest management.
Dan has been a tree fruit consultant in the Yakima Valley and Columbia Basin for the past 36 years. For the first half of his career, he was a consultant with Wilbur Ellis Co. and the latter half with G.S. Long Co., where he is currently employed.
Dan’s main professional focus is on fertility and alternation management.
Stefano Musacchi has been named the Endowed Chair of Tree Fruit Physiology and Management at the Department of Horticulture, Washington State University in August 2013. Musacchi previously worked at the University of Bologna where he earned his doctorate in Pomology in 1996 and was appointed Assistant Professor in 2000. Musacchi’s expertise is mainly on apple, pear, and cherry horticulture. He has been involved in pear rootstock evaluation and cultivar breeding and released four new pear cultivars in 2014. Musacchi is the author of over 150 publications in both Italian and English. In addition, he has served on many scientific committees for international meetings and as reviewer of many refereed journal articles.
Dr. Stuart Tustin’s research interest and activities include the physiological and environmental regulation of fruit development and productivity of deciduous tree fruit crops, intensive orchard production systems, regulation of fruit quality - specialising in apple. Orchard canopy architecture and planting systems design, structural-functional relationships regulating plant development including rootstock-induced vigour control. Source-sink relations and carbon allocation in fruit development and fruit quality.
Dr. Tustin is a Fellow, New Zealand Institute of Agriculture and Horticultural Sciences and holds membership in the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science and the International Society for Horticultural Science.
Dale S. Goldy is the Assistant General Manager of Stemilt Ag Services, LLC, located in central part of the State of Washington. In that position, Dale oversees horticultural production of apples, cherries, and pears.
Dale is also the President of Gold Crown Nursery, LLC, a fruit tree nursery also in central Washington.
Jennifer Baugher was born and raised on her family farm, located in Adams County, Pennsylvania. She attended Elizabethtown College, and finished with a Bachelor’s degree in International Business. Upon finishing school (and taking a leap of faith), Jen joined her family business in November of 2004. Now part-owner, she has enjoyed working in both sales and marketing segments of Adams County Nursery. In recent years, Jen has committed much of her time at work to product development projects, transition planning and management responsibilities. Jen serves on multiple industry advisory boards, including RosBREED Project, and is excited to have been appointed most recently to your IFTA board. Jen and her husband, Henry, are involved with their church and different service projects there. Jen also enjoys playing racquetball and reading. Grateful for the love and support of her family and friends, Jen spends as much of her free time with them, including her niece and two nephews.
Philip Schwallier was born and raised on a fruit and beef family farm in Ottawa County, Coopersville, Michigan. This area is considered the west side of Peach Ridge fruit growing area. Phil received his B.S. in Horticulture at MSU in 1975 and his M.S. in Entomology in 1978. In 1978 Phil became the Kent County Horticulture Agent and later that year married Judy May of the east side of Peach Ridge where they took up residence in Sparta, Michigan. They have 4 children, Jody, Katie, Becky and Tim and 4 grandchildren, Lucas, Louisa, Tyler and Sophie. In 1982, Phil became the District Horticulture Agent specializing in apple production. Additionally Phil also served from 1996 to 2008 as the Station Coordinator for the Clarksville Horticultural Experiment Station. In 2010 Phil became a member of the IFTA Board of Directors and was elected in 2011 as Vice President and then in 2013 as President of IFTA.
Craig has been in the horticultural industry since 1985. He helped establish Agfirst in 1995, a network of 40 (grown from the initial eight) private consultants in New Zealand. Agfirst works primarily within New Zealand but also globally, with expertise in all areas of primary industry, specialising in apples. Craig has travelled extensively to Australia, Brazil, Chile, Europe and USA studying Dwarf tree management and chemical thinning. Craig is also strongly committed to grower education and regularly leads field days in New Zealand as well as overseas, bringing to his audience the latest technical advances and tree management techniques. He heads a team on farm field research covering cropload load management, new varieties, fruit quality, and production systems. Direct on-farm consultancy is still the mainstay of his business, working across NZ helping growers maximise net revenue through improvements in production and fruit quality.
Tom is a research horticulturist with the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission and is also active in the management of the family’s orchard. He previously supervised Field Services for the Trout/Blue Chelan Cooperative for 21 years. He has served on the Tree Top Board since 1988 and served four years as Chairman. Tom received a BS degree in Horticulture from Washington State University. Tom is a member of the North Central Washington Fieldmen’s Association, the Washington State Horticultural Association and the International Fruit Tree Association. Tom served on the Orondo School Board for 16 years, 1986-2002.
Dr. Esmaeil “Essie” Fallahi is a professor and Research Director of Pomology and
Viticulture Program at the University of Idaho, USA. Prof. Fallahi is the Vice
President of the American Society for Horticultural Science and the Vice Chairman of
the International Society for Horticultural Science Commission on Irrigation and
Water Relations Issues. He is also on the National Task Committee for Agriculture in
the United States. Dr. Fallahi is a Fellow of the American Society for Horticultural
Science (the most prestigious award in horticultural science). Dr. Fallahi has been
the recipient of Governor’s Award of Excellence in Agriculture in Innovation and
Discovery, and Outstanding International Horticultural Scientists Award. He served
as the President of American Pomological Society (APS) in 2004-2005, and has
chaired numerous committees at the ASHS, APS, and ISHS. Dr. Fallahi has authored
over 300 publications during some 41 years of research in the USA in various fields
of pomology and viticulture physiology, including biostimulants, irrigation,
rootstocks, cultivars, nutrition, blossom thinning, fruit ethylene and pigment
biosynthesis and postharvest physiology.
Neal Manly currently serves as the Managing Partner for Regal Fruit International, LLC., an apple breeding company associated with varieties such as; Autumn Glory®, Pazazz®, SugarBee®, Juici® and Sweet Cheeks®. Previous to Regal, Neal spent the past 21 years employed as Director of Sales and Marketing for Willow Drive Nursery. From 2003-2012 he served as director and president of the International Fruit Tree Association (IFTA) and from 2002-2007 as a director of the Washington Apple Education Foundation. He received a Bachelor’s in Science from Brigham Young University in 1992 and his Master of Business Administration from Santa Clara University in 1994.
Roland Fumasi is a vice president and senior analyst for Rabobank’s Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory (FAR) group. Headquartered in Fresno, California, Roland is responsible for covering and analyzing the U.S. and North American fresh fruit and vegetable industries. He combines a background in agribusiness research with international market development and finance experience in the agriculture industry. Prior to joining Rabobank, Fumasi served as a senior executive in the equipment industry beginning in 2008. From 2005 to 2008, Fumasi served as a Research Associate for the Agricultural & Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University, where his research focused on specialty crops and alternative energy (bio-fuel) production. Roland completed his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University in 2013. Prior to Texas A&M, Roland was an active researcher at the California Institute for the Study of Specialty Crops at the California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly), where he produced an award-winning thesis related to specialty crops. Roland received both his B.S. and M.S. in Agribusiness from Cal Poly.
From 1998 through 2003, Fumasi served as a Financial Advisor for Morgan Stanley in Visalia, California, where his business focus was comprehensive financial planning for agricultural families. As a Marketing Director for various firms during the 1990’s, Roland was responsible for building distribution networks for the animal health industry in three countries.