Tom Nassif took the leadership reins of Western Growers in February, 2002. His broad and distinguished leadership experience, along with his background as a labor attorney for the agricultural industry, made the former U.S. ambassador a natural choice to lead the fresh produce industry into a new era. Through coalition building and an aggressive approach of addressing the key issues confronting the industry, Tom has taken Western Growers to a new level of prominence and influence.
Tom’s remarkable career is highlighted by his service in President Ronald Reagan’s administration where he worked in several capacities. In 1981, he was appointed Deputy and Acting Chief of Protocol for the White House. He was promoted to the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asian affairs in 1983, and in 1985, he received the appointment by President Reagan to be his ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco where he served until 1988.
Following his tenure as a U.S. ambassador, Tom worked as chairman of Gulf Interstate Engineering in Houston, an oil and gas pipeline company. He then worked as President of Los Alamos Land Company, developing industrial and commercial business parks on the U.S./Mexican border. He later became a managing partner of Aequitas International Consulting, an international business and political consulting company.
Prior to joining the Reagan administration, Tom was a partner in the Gray Cary Ames & Frye law firm specializing in agricultural labor law. He represented the Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association along with the numerous growers and shippers throughout California and Arizona. Tom was one of the first attorneys to try a case before the Agricultural Labor Relations Board. He went on to represent growers and shippers in their elections, contract negotiations, arbitrations, unfair labor practice hearings and multi-employer bargaining.
Tom received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from California State University, Los Angeles and his Juris Doctorate from California Western University, School of Law in San Diego, California. He is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor; the distinguished Alumni award from the School of Business and Economics, California State University, and is an honorary Doctor of Law from California Western University School of Law in San Diego. He was decorated by the late King Hassan II of Morocco and the President of Lebanon for his work on Middle East issues and served as Chairman and CEO of the American Task Force for Lebanon. Tom currently serves on the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee in Washington, D.C. and is one of the three national co-chairs for the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance. Tom has been an active Christian all his life and is an ordained deacon in the Antiochian Orthodox Church.
Blog: Nassif Notes
Nassif’s Notes provides a regular forum for Western Growers members, policymakers, reporters and the general public to engage in meaningful dialogue around key issues impacting fruit, vegetable and tree nut farmers in Arizona, California and Colorado. Tom Nassif uses this blog to provide commentary on timely topics, events and people, hopefully furthering the public discourse. Read Tom’s latest blogs.