Featured Guests

Extend your experience with our in-depth breakout sessions featuring industry trailblazers.

Event Schedule

Meet with top ag industry partners to learn how their products and services can help you.

Hotel Info

Uncover new ideas and stretch your thinking all week long.

Sponsors

Make valuable connections with hundreds of your ag peers.

Jim-Gaffigan_800x800

Jim Gaffigan

Comedian, Author, and Dad

Jim Gaffigan is a Grammy nominated comedian, actor, writer, producer, New York Times best-selling author, and top touring performer. He is known for his unique brand of humor which largely revolves around fatherhood.
Click here for Jim’s full bio

 

Jim will be providing entertainment at the Chairman’s Award of Honor Dinner.

ksa_headshot_800x800

Kristen Soltis Anderson

Co-Founder of Echelon Insights

Kristen Soltis Anderson is a co-founder of Echelon Insights, a research and analytics firm. She was one of TIME’s “30 Under 30 Changing the World” and was featured as one of ELLE’s 2016 “Most Compelling Women in Washington.”
Click here for Kristen’s full bio

 

Kristen will be presenting the Keynote Speech at the Chairman’s Luncheon.

pj_orourke_800x800

P.J. O'Rourke

Author and Editor

P.J. O’Rourke is the best-selling author of 17 books. With more citations in The Penguin Dictionary of Humorous Quotations than any living writer, O’Rourke has established himself as America’s premier political satirist.
Click here for P.J.’s full bio

 

P.J. will be a guest speaker at the PAC Lunch.

Duda-Sam_800x800

Sammy Duda

Western Growers 2017 Chairman

Sammy Duda is the Vice President of Duda Farm Fresh Foods and is currently serving as Chairman of the Board for Western Growers. Duda has become one of the country’s most reputable family-owned enterprises.
Click here for Sammy’s full bio

 

Sammy will be presenting the Chairman’s Address and hosting the Chairman’s Reception.

tnassif_headshot_800x800

Tom Nassif

Western Growers President and CEO

Tom Nassif has been President of Western Growers since 2002. His leadership and experience as a labor attorney made the former U.S. ambassador a natural choice to lead the fresh produce industry into a new era.
Click here for Tom’s full bio

 

Tom will be hosting and moderating the Breakout Session on Immigration.

Dave-Puglia-Pro_600x600

Dave Puglia

Western Growers Executive Vice President

Dave Puglia joined Western Growers in 2005, leading the association’s state government affairs team and media communications staff on behalf of the association’s 2,500 members in California, Arizona and Colorado.
Click here for Dave’s full bio

 

Dave will be a moderator for the Breakout Session on healthcare.

Jason-Resnick_600x600

Jason Resnick

Western Growers Vice President and General Counsel

Jason Resnick is the Vice President and General Counsel at Western Growers. He works closely with the Western Growers executive team on legal, business, and policy matters, and has primary staff responsibility for the Western Growers Labor Committee.
Click here for Jason’s full bio

 

Jason will be a moderator for the breakout session on Cannabis.

Jeff-Gullickson_600x600

Jeff Gullickson

Western Growers Senior Vice President Sales Operations

Jeff Gullickson began leading Western Growers Insurance Services in 2015. Before coming to Western Growers, Jeff worked at USI Holdings, a national insurance brokerage firm serving businesses throughout the country.
Click here for Jeff’s full bio

 

Jeff will be moderating the breakout session on Building, Preserving, and Protecting Capital.

Dr-Robert-Graboves_600x600

Dr. Robert Graboyes

Senior Research Fellow at George Mason University

Dr. Robert Graboyes is Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, and is the author of “Fortress and Frontier in American Health Care.” In 2014, he received the Reason Foundation’s Bastiat Prize for Journalism.
Click here for Dr. Robert Graboyes’ full bio

 

Dr. Robert Graboyes will be a panelist for the Breakout Session on healthcare.

Matt-Lewis_600x600

Matt Lewis

Western Growers Financial Services, President

Matt Lewis manages retirement plans, corporate cash, and investments for Western Growers membership and their affiliates. He is responsible for the management of the portfolio activities for the entire organization.
Click here for Matt’s full bio

 

Matt will be moderating the Q&A session for the breakout session on Building, Preserving, and Protecting Capital.

Kelly-Bianchi_600x600

Kelly Bianchi

Encore Executive Chef

Kelly Bianchi is the Executive Chef at the Encore. Kelly and her team are committed to applying the same principles and quality standards used throughout her many years of fine dining experience to ‘group dining.’
Click here for Kelly’s full bio

 

Kelly will be demonstrating her seasonal menu at the breakout session for Top Chef.

Patrice-Caillot_600x600

Patrice Caillot

Encore Executive Pastry Chef

Patrice Caillot is the Executive Pastry Chef at the Encore and presides over all aspects of the Wynn pastry program, including menu creation and operations for in-room dining, and guest room amenities.
Click here for Patrice’s full bio

 

Patrice will be demonstrating his seasonal dessert at the breakout session for Top Chef.

Craig-Regelbrugge_800x800

Craig J. Regelbrugge

AmericanHort Senior Vice President

Craig Regelbrugge is the Senior Vice President for AmericanHort and serves in leadership positions representing the horticulture industry on matters relating to the labor force, plant health, and trade.
Click here for Craig’s full bio

 

Craig will be a panelist for the Breakout Session on immigration.

Alex-Nowrasteh_800x800

Alex Nowrasteh

Cato Institute Policy Analyst

Alex Nowrasteh is an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. He regularly appears on Fox News, MSNBC, Bloomberg, and numerous television across the United States.
Click here for Alex’s full bio

 

Alex will be a panelist for the Breakout Session on immigration.

Jeff-Brothers_800x800

Jeff Brothers

FLRish, Inc. Senior Advisor

Jeff Brothers currently is a board member and Senior Advisor to FLRish, and is also advising a few other highly qualified entities navigate the cannabis space. He is a recognized leader in the renewable energy field.
Click here for Jeff’s full bio

 

Jeff will be a panelist for the Breakout Session on cannabis.

Mike-Prosio_600x600

Michael Prosio

Anthem Regional Vice President for State Affairs

Mike Prosio is the Regional Vice President for State Affairs for Anthem. He oversees the company’s legislative efforts in the West Region, including California, Texas, Colorado, Nevada, and Washington.
Click here for Michael’s full bio

 

Michael will be a panelist for the Breakout Session on healthcare.

Randel-Johnson-600x600

Randel Johnson

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President

Randel K. Johnson is the Senior Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He is primarily responsible for labor, immigration, and employee benefits issues pending before Congress and the federal agencies.
Click here for Randel’s full bio

 

Randel will be a panelist for the Breakout Session on immigration.

Cameron-Dunn_600x600

Cameron Dunn

Tillridge Managing Partner

Cameron Dunn is a Managing Partner of Tillridge, where he concentrates on the firm’s efforts in sourcing investments, transaction analysis, and execution as well as the monitoring of portfolio companies.
Click here for Cameron’s full bio

 

Cameron will be a panelist for the Breakfast and Breakout Session hosted by WGFS and WGIS.

Dennis-Nuxoll-Picture

Dennis Nuxoll

Western Growers Vice President of Federal Government Affairs

Dennis Nuxoll serves Western Growers in Washington, D.C. as the vice president of federal government affairs. Nuxoll has more than 15 years of experience as an attorney, Congressional staffer and agricultural lobbyist.
Click here for Dennis’ full bio

 

Dennis will be a panelist for the Breakout Session on healthcare.

Sanjeev-Krishnan

Sanjeev Krishnan

Chief Investment Officer and Managing Director at S2G Ventures

Sanjeev Krishnan has over 15 years of experience in sourcing, executing, managing and governing venture and private equity investments, including a focus in agriculture and food companies.
Click here for Sanjeev’s full bio

 

Sanjeev will be a shark at the  AgSharks™ Breakout Session.

John-Shin_600x600

John Shin

Bank of America Merrill Lynch Senior G10 FX Strategist

John Shin joined Bank of America Merrill Lynch in 2008 as a Senior G10 FX Strategist and Chief G10 Currency Economist in New York He is responsible for the flagship monthly publication, “World At A Glance”.
Click here for John’s full bio

 

John will be a panelist for the Breakfast and Breakout Session hosted by WGFS and WGIS.

Chuck-Templeton

Chuck Templeton

S2G Ventures Managing Director

Chuck  Templeton joined S2G Ventures because of a deep-rooted belief that it holds an opportunity to help reimagine a food system to move from cheap calories to cheap nutrition, while also adapting to climate change
Click here for Chuck’s full bio

 

Chuck will be a shark at the  AgSharks™ Breakout Session.

Not-Pictured

Timothy J. Miller

BlackRock Vice President

Timothy J. Miller, CFP(R), CIMA(R) – Vice President, is the Independent Channel Market Leader in the Southern California area. Mr. Miller’s responsibilities include representing BlackRock and iShares.
Click here for Timothy’s full bio

 

Timothy will be a panelist for the Breakfast and Breakout Session hosted by WGFS and WGIS.

Matthew-Walker

Matthew Walker

S2G Ventures Principal

Matthew Walker is a Principal at S2G Ventures. His efforts are focused on sourcing and evaluation of potential investment opportunities, and contribution to business development efforts of portfolio companies.
Click here for Matthew’s full bio

 

Matthew will be a shark at the  AgSharks™ Breakout Session.

Aaron-Johnson_600x600

Aaron Johnson

Partner and Member of the Business Department of L+G

Aaron Johnson is a partner and member of the Business Department of L+G, where he has extensive experience in the fields of cannabis business entity formation and regulation.
Click here for Aaron’s full bio

 

Aaron will be a panelist at the Breakout Session on cannabis

Henry-Wykowski_600x600

Henry Wykowski

California Cannabis Industry Association, General Counsel

Henry Wykowski is recognized as one of the most respected cannabis attorneys in the country, and widely considered the counsel of choice for the most significant challenges facing the industry.
Click here for Henry’s full bio

 

Henry will be a panelist at the Breakout Session on cannabis.

Lori-Ajax_600x600

Invited Guest: Lori Ajax

Chief of the California Bureau of Cannabis Control

In February 2016, Governor Brown appointed Chief Ajax as the first Chief of the newly formed Bureau of Cannabis Control. Prior to her appointment, Chief Ajax served as Chief Deputy Director at the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Click here for Lori’s full bio

 

Lori has been invited to speak at the Breakout Session on cannabis.

Edwin_Camp_600x600

Edwin Camp

President at D.M. Camp & Sons

Edwin camp is the president of D.M. Camps & Sons. Edwin was elected to the Western Growers board in 1994 and served as chairman in 2003.
Click here for Edwin’s full bio

 

Edwin will be a shark at the  AgSharks™ Breakout Session.

Ryan_Talley_600x600

Ryan Talley

Farm Manager and Co-Owner at Talley Farms

Ryan Talley is the third-generation manager and co-founder of Talley Farm. Ryan was elected to the Western Growers Board in 2017.
Click here for Ryan’s full bio

 

Ryan will be a shark at the  AgSharks™ Breakout Session.

Rob-Yraceburu

Rob Yraceburu

President at Wonderful Orchards LLC

Rob Yraceburu is a fourth generation farmer of raisins and almonds, and is president of Wonderful Orchards. Rob was elected to the Western Growers board in 2016.
Click here for Rob’s full bio

 

Rob will be a shark at the  AgSharks™ Breakout Session.

Las Vegas: Double-down on your success!

Event Schedule

Sunday-October 29th

11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Registration and Guest Services

Check in with Western Growers staff to collect your badge and Annual Meeting materials, purchase raffle tickets, tickets to the PAC Lunch and Golf Tournament. Lost and found located at Registration Desk.

Please wear your badge to all events.

Location: Registration 6

6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Welcome Reception

Welcome to the 92nd Western Growers Annual Meeting! This is the first of many opportunities to make those meaningful connections, mix and mingle with friends and network towards those new collaborations.

Light refreshments will be served.

Location: Braham’s Patio
Dress: Business Casual

Monday-October 30th

8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Registration and Guest Services

Check in with Western Growers staff to collect your badge and Annual Meeting materials, purchase raffle tickets, tickets to the PAC Lunch and Golf Tournament. Lost and found located at Registration Desk.

Please wear your badge to all events.

Location: Registration 6

8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Board Meeting

The Western Growers Board of Directors Meeting is open to all members. Meeting agenda will be available on site.

Location: Encore 2
Dress: Business Casual

10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Breakout Session - Top Chef

We all have a passion for food, and our Top Chef breakout session gives foodies a unique opportunity to learn from two very talented and accomplished Chefs. This culinary demonstration will present a seasonal menu using the finest ingredients.

Seats are limited, arrive early to secure your spot.

Location: Debussy
Dress: Business Casual

12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Chairman's Luncheon and Keynote

Chairman of the Board, Sammy Duda, will present the Chairman’s Address as he reflects back on his time leading the Board. Keynote speaker Kristen Soltis Anderson will share her insights on millennials and politics.

Lunch served

Location: Encore 4-8
Dress: Business Casual

2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Breakout Session - Healthcare

Will the Affordable Care Act be repealed? What might take its place?  Is single payer healthcare coming to California, or even the entire nation?  A panel of experts will delve into the controversies and questions surrounding the future of healthcare and employer-based group benefits.

Location: Debussy
Dress: Business Casual

6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Chairman's Reception

Join Chairman Sammy Duda, Amy Duda, and all the stars of the ag industry to walk the “green carpet” in anticipation of the Western Growers Award of Honor Dinner and Gala.

Refreshments served

Location: Encore 1-3
Dress: Business, Semi-Formal

7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Western Growers Award of Honor Dinner Gala

The stars of the ag industry come out to raise a toast, celebrate, and honor David Gill, Western Growers 2017 Award of Honor recipient. Entertainment provided by Grammy-nominated comedian, actor, writer, and producer Jim Gaffigan.

Dinner served

Location: Encore 4-8
Dress: Business, Semi-Formal

Tuesday-October 31

8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Registration and Guest Services

Check in with Western Growers staff to collect your badge and Annual Meeting materials, purchase raffle tickets, tickets to the PAC Lunch and Golf Tournament. Lost and found located at Registration Desk.

Please wear your badge to all events.

Location: Registration 6

8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Breakout Session—Building, Preserving, and Protecting Capital

Hosted by Western Growers Insurance Services and Western Growers Financial Services

In this panel discussion, guests will help unravel the mystery of building, preserving, and protecting capital for businesses of any size. Topics will include the economic outlook, equity markets, and private equity opportunities for ag. John Shin from Bank of America, Tim Miller from Blackrock Investments, and Cameron Dunn from Tillridge will lead the discussion to be followed by a Q&A session.

Continental Breakfast served

Location: Debussy

10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Breakout Session - Immigration

Will we ever see immigration reform become law? What will solutions for the agricultural workforce look like? Why is it so difficult to solve this ongoing crisis? Who will the new and unexpected players be in the debate? Come listen to some of the leading experts on immigration reform address these and other important questions that will impact the future of the ag workforce.

Location: Debussy
Dress: Business Casual

12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

PAC Lunch: "Off the Record" with P.J. O'Rourke

Western Growers Political Action Committee (WGPAC) provides critical campaign support to elected officials and candidates who support our industry. Proceeds from this event help amplify our members’ voices in political contests across California, Arizona and elsewhere.

The year’s featured speaker, P.J. O’Rourke remarked that the 2016 presidential election was a “horror movie starring a leading lady I can’t stand and a leading man I detest.” He is the author of 17 books, the latest titled, “How the Hell Did This Happen?” We know you’ll appreciate O’Rourke’s special blend of sarcasm and libertarianism.

Lunch served

Tickets: $175, available at Registration and Guest Services

Location: Encore 4-8
Dress: Business Casual

1:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Breakout Session - Cannabis

With California’s legalization expanding to non-medical use starting this January, will cannabis become the hot new specialty crop? Join our panel of experts as they discuss the emerging cannabis industry and what it means for the fresh produce industry.

Location: Debussy
Dress: Business Casual

3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Breakout Session - AgSharks™

S2G and Western Growers presents “AgSharks™”—a groundbreaking collaborative forum to advance agricultural technologies for the fresh produce industry. Watch venture fund veterans and Western Growers members, the AgSharks, as they evaluate startups and technology for real time investments of up to $250,000.00 and opportunities to pilot their offerings on-farm.

Location: Debussy
Dress: Business Casual

7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Industry Partner's Masquerade Ball

Enjoy sensational entertainment and games, a delectable banquet, and festive cocktails as we honor Western Growers’ loyal members and partners during this unforgettable event. Grab your raffle tickets, and groove to the tunes of our featured band, The Apple Z Band.

Buffet-style banquet

The grand prize, a Haa Nee Naa fishing trip, was donated by Syngenta.

Location: Encore 4-8
Dress: Cocktail Attire with Mask (masks will be available). Masquerade costume optional.

Wednesday-November 1

6:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Registration and Guest Services

Check in with Western Growers staff to collect your badge and registration materials, and purchase single event tickets. Lost and found located at Registration Desk.

For the safety of our guests, please wear your badge to all events.

8:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

"Tee it High, Let it Fly" Western Growers Golf Tournament

The Western Growers’ Golf Tournament includes unlimited range balls, Revere GPS app, bottled waters on the cart, scorecards, bag handling, dedicated PGA Tournament Coordinator, and professional post-round scoring. Contests for the longest drive, closest to the pin and longest putt will also be offered.

Breakfast served

12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Golf Tournament Lunch and Golf Awards

Who reigns supreme? Who may want to think about taking up another sport? Find out after the tournament for lunch and awards ceremony.

Lunch served

Hotel Information

The Encore is a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Resort which continues the Wynn tradition of creating extraordinary interiors that elevate the guest experience with timeless design, impeccable restaurants, and exciting amenities. The rooms are elegantly appointed and equipped with advanced technologies, and floor-to-ceiling windows that offer incredible views of the Las Vegas skyline.

The Western Growers discounted group rate is now closed. Please visit the Encore website to book your room.

las

Vegas

Special Thank You to our Generous Sponsors

Sponsors and Donors are essential to the success of the Annual Meeting, without their financial support we would have to charge more for registrations and attending the Annual Meeting would be more expensive. They also help support us in delivering the best experience possible for our registrants by providing quality subject matter experts, moderators and by donating raffle gifts for the foundation.

Multi-Platinum

Platinum

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Thank you to our

Sponsors

Industry Partners

Barkley Ag Enterprises Belli Architectural Group Blue Book Services Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Buckman-Mitchell Bunzl Ag Buttonwillow Warehouse Company Calpine Containers
Capitol Advocacy LLC Central Valley Seeds Famous Software Frost, PLLC
Fruit Growers Supply Germains Seed Technology Global SCV Grimmway Enterprises
Holaday Seed Company J S Ag Packaging King City Nursery, LLC L+G LLP- Gilles, Rosenthal, Johnson, Rovella & Retterer
Law Offices of Shawn E. Caine Marsh Risk & Insurance Services Mixtec Group Ocean Mist Farms
O.M. Contracting OneAmerica Progeny Advanced Genetics Progressive Packaging Group
Sakata Seed America Sensitech Southern Valley Chemical Sturdy Oil Company
SWIIM System The Growers Company Tuttle, Taylor, and Heron Vegetable Growers Supply Co
Weather Tec

We are committed to offering a sponsorship program that will give you peak exposure while meeting your company goals. To join our family of generous sponsors and donors, or to learn more about how a sponsorship with the Western Growers’ Annual Meeting can help your company, please contact Lezlie Puglia.

Changing Workers’ Comp in the Ag Industry

Sponsored by Western Growers Insurance Services

The Western Growers workers’ comp program leverages more than 30 years of ag Industry expertise, giving us the insight required to offer WG members high-level solutions usually reserved for only the largest employers.