Grower-Shipper Association Inaugurates 2018-2019 Chairman Of The Board

Salinas, CA — The Grower-Shipper Association of Central California (GSA) held its Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 16 at Corral de Tierra Country Club in Salinas. Jason Smith, the Association’s new Chairman of the Board, was inaugurated at this event in front of nearly 80 members, dignitaries and guests.

Smith has been actively involved in the GSA board and the activities of the association for many years, as his family’s business was one of the first wineries to become a member almost 20 years ago. Smith, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Smith Family Wines, is a second-generation wine grape grower and vintner. Alongside his wife Jennifer, who serves as the company’s Creative Director, his sister Kacy, who manages endeavors related to Health and Wellness, and his son Justin, a fellow winemaker, he is focused on who has grown and expanded the family company built by his parents, Richard and Claudia Smith. When not managing his family’s business, Jason coaches track at Palma and Notre Dame High Schools in Salinas, his alma mater and that of his children Kelly and Matt, both current students at UC Davis. He has also been an active leader in Monterey County Farm Bureau, Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association, the California Association of Wine Grape Growers and Monterey County Ag Education, Inc.

Smith talked about the importance of reflection, member engagement and strategic planning as GSA prepares for the retirement of its President of 20 years, Jim Bogart, in May of 2019. He noted the importance of collaborative industry engagement in local, state and national politics, and the new focus he’s placed on thoroughly understanding the issues since the passing of his father Richard Smith in 2015.

“There are a lot of challenges that our members face daily, and when it comes to agreeing on a way forward, sometimes that’s easy and sometimes it’s not.” Smith said. “As I’ve taken on more of a role in the discussion in the past few years, I’ve realized that listening is essential, and that it’s easier said than done. Listening is a skill that has to be developed. Sometimes we can be very good at voicing our opinion, but we need to truly listen to pick up the details that help us understand and solve the problems.”

During GSA’s annual meeting, outgoing Chairman Pat Collins spoke of the accomplishments of GSA over the past year. He also thanked outgoing board members Cindy Jewell, Jeff Jackson, Dan Canales and Butch Corda for their service to the organization.  Past Chairman Butch Corda spoke of the accomplishments of the first class of the “Future Leaders” program that began under his leadership in 2016 and inducted the second class.

The event concluded with the announcement of GSA’s annual E.E. “Gene” Harden Award Honoree for lifetime achievement in Central Coast agriculture. Jim Bogart, GSA President and General Counsel, announced that the award would be presented to Ed Boutonnet of Ocean Mist Farms. The award will officially be presented at the organization’s annual gala event to be held June 23, 2018.

Smith will lead the organization as its Chairman until May 2019. Tom Nunes V of The Nunes Company is the Vice Chairman for 2018-2019 with Mark Campion of Taylor Farms serving as Treasurer. In addition to these, the 2018-2019 Grower-Shipper Association Board of Directors will be made up of Tony Alameda (Top Flavor Farms); Richard Amirsehhi (Naturipe Berry Growers); Rodney Braga (Braga Fresh Family Farms); Allan Clark (Merrill Farms); Patrick Collins (Ippolito International); Melissa Duflock (San Bernardo Rancho); Jay Iverson (GreenGate Fresh); Colby Pereira (Costa Farms); and Victor Ramirez (NorCal Harvesting).

The second Future Leaders Class of the Grower-Shipper Association will include: Glen Alameda (Ocean Mist Farms); Stefanie Bingaman (The Nunes Company); Carson Braga (Braga Fresh Family Farms); Chuck Church (Church Brothers); Keith Mallett (Ippolito International); Kristina Nunes (The Nunes Company); Kyle Pollock (Triangle Farms); Scott Rossi (Tanimura & Antle); Martin Sotelo (Taylor Farms); and Matt Young (Merrill Farms).

The Grower-Shipper Association is an organization representing over 350 members throughout Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties. For more information or to learn how you can become a member contact Jim Bogart, President at (831) 422-8844 or

Source: The Grower-Shipper Association