Date: Dec 04, 2014
December 2014: Immigration Effort Top Story of 2014
Sonny Rodriguez and Gary Pasquinelli

Vic Smith of JV Smith Companies, Yuma, AZ, was elected chairman the board for the next year at the 89th Western Growers Annual Meeting, held in Las Vegas, Nov. 2-5.

Other highlights of the event included Gary Pasquinelli of Pasquinelli Produce, Yuma, AZ, being presented with the group’s prestigious Award of Honor and outgoing Chairman of the Board Bruce Taylor of Taylor Farms California Inc., Salinas, CA, urging grower-shippers to be more collaborative.

Smith will preside over the association for the next year, serving along with other officers including Senior Vice Chair Larry Cox of Lawrence Cox Ranches, Vice Chairman Sammy Duda of Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Treasurer Carol Chandler of Chandler Farms and Executive Secretary Garland Reiter of Reiter Affiliated Companies.

Pasquinelli, who has served on the Western Growers board since 1973 and was chairman of the association in 2000, was presented the Award of Honor at a special dinner on Tuesday night, Nov. 4.  The veteran Yuma grower and shipper of vegetables, watermelons and other crops is the longest-serving director in the history of the association.  His longtime friend Sonny Rodriguez of The Growers Company Inc., Somerton, AZ, presented the award citing Pasquinelli’s service to the industry and his community.  A deacon in the Catholic Church, Pasquinelli is noted for his charitable endeavors as well as being one of the best employers in all of agriculture.  He is often lauded for treating his employees as members of his extended family.

Another highlight of the Annual Meeting was a comedic performance by Jay Leno, the longtime host of The Tonight Show.  Leno’s appearance packed in the crowd and was very well-received as the comedian’s adroit look at the topics of the day kept the crowd entertained and laughing.

The Annual Meeting included a handful of well-attended workshops and events chronicled on the following pages.  There was also the annual golf tournament, which featured a million dollar hole-in-one contest.  There was no winner, but several hearts skipped beats as a few tee shots headed toward the appropriate flag with promise. But no shots found the bottom of the cup.  The winning team consisted of Chris Harmon, Joe Murphy, Anthony Ratto and Cass Antle.

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