Biographies of Presenters 

2021 Climate Action & Agriculture Symposium Webinar Series
May 24 - May 28, 2021, M-Th, 3:00-4:30 PM; F, 9:00-10:30 AM

Oli B

Oli Bachie, PhD
County Director – San Diego and Imperial Counties; Agronomy Farm Advisor – San Diego, Imperial, Riverside Counties
University of California Cooperative Extension

Oli Bachie is the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Agronomy Advisor for Imperial, Riverside and San Diego counties. He is also a CE county Director for San Diego and Imperial Counties. Bachie has led research and extension efforts in Imperial county since 2012. Earlier to this Bachie has worked as an adjunct professor at National University, Victor Valley and Imperial Valley colleges teaching computer networking, biology and environmental science classes, respectively. He develops and encourages adoption of research-based cropping systems to improve crop productivity and yield with due consideration for environmental and ecological compatibilities. Additionally, he served as a CDFA training technical assistant for the Health Soil Program (HSP) in 2018 and 2019. Bachie’s current research interests are on forage crop productivity, New and alternative crops such as quinoa, teff, Moringa, and Industrial Hemp. He is evaluating alternative pest management options to chlorpyrifos for sugarbeet. Bachie earned a PhD from the University of California Riverside.


Matt D

Dr. Matt Daugherty
Extension Specialist, Department of Entomology, 
University of California, Riverside

Matt is a faculty member in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside. He is a Northern California native, who has spent substantial time at each of the land grant UC campuses (Davis, Berkeley, Riverside) and a bit of time in the Midwest (Illinois State University). Matt’s research focuses on population and community ecology, particularly as they relate to the management of invasive insects and plant diseases. This work has taken him throughout the state to work in vineyards, citrus groves, cotton fields, pear orchards, plant nurseries, and desert ecosystems. Current projects include studies of the invasion dynamics and management of the Asian citrus psyllid, the factors driving Pierce’s disease resurgence in North Coast vineyards, and damage by the invasive Bagrada bug on native desert plants. 



Jason DuMond
Environmental Scientist, Commercial Agricultural Program, 
San Diego Water Board 

I am the program manager of the Agriculture Program at the San Diego Water Board. I currently oversee the revision of the Ag Order while handling other program needs. Prior to the Water Board, I worked in Hawai’I where I developed a water quality monitoring plan for Malama Maunalua and worked with local communiWes to install green infrastructure BMPs throughout the region to reduce pollutant runoff. The water quality monitoring plan is used to track the progress of reducing pollutant runoff as more green infrastructure BMPs are implemented.


Ben F

Ben Faber, PhD
UCCE Farm Advisor – Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties
University of California Cooperative Extension

Ben Faber was hired in 1989 by Cooperative Extension in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. Since then he has worked on numerous research topics, ranging from avocado pollination, avocado disease and pest management, avocado irrigation, cherimoya pollination and pruning, nursery irrigation practices, the recycling of urban yard waste and the introduction of new crops, such as blueberry, litchi and longan. During this period, Ben has published over 35 peer-reviewed publications and nearly 200 popular articles. He has had the opportunity to speak at four international conferences on the biology of avocado and spent two years in New Zealand and Turkey researching methods to control avocado root rot. Check out our blog and newsletters:
Topics in Subtropics Blog: http:// 
Topics in Subtropics Newsletter: 



Tyler Farmer
Advance Planning| Planning Manager - Sustainability
County of San Diego | Planning & Development Services


Hannah G

Hannah Gbeh
Executive Director, San Diego County Farm Bureau

Mrs. Gbeh serves as the Executive Director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau and Administrator of the San Diego Region Irrigated Lands Group. She is owner/operator of a 5 acre family farm in rural San Diego County, Bee Valley Farm. She was a voting member on the Board of Directors of the San Diego County Farm Bureau for two years, representing SDCFB in both Sacramento and Washington D.C., in addition to establishing and serving as Chair on the Farm Bureau's Membership Assistance Committee. In her spare time, she founded, incorporated and managed a local non-profit organization that provided food, clothing, shelter, healthcare and education to poor, distressed and disadvantaged individuals. Mrs. Gbeh also has 20 years of experience teaching and researching environmental science, 12 of which focused exclusively on the preparation of documents for compliance with federal, state and local environmental regulations. She is a graduate from the University of Michigan with a degree in Environmental Science, a minor in Global Climate Change and a focus on environmental justice. Mrs. Gbeh is a County of San Diego Qualified EIR Preparer, served as Vice-Chair of the Jamul-Dulzura Community Planning Group, Chairs the San Diego County Fish and Wildlife Advisory Commission and Chairs the Cuyamaca College Ornamental Horticulture Advisory Committee.


Jan J

Jan Gonzales
Program Coordinator, Climate Resilient Agriculture, UCCE, San Diego County



Doug Hipple
Business Development Manager-West Coast, Generac Power Systems


Craig K2

Craig Kolodge, PhD
Business Development & Sustainability Manager, San Pasqual Valley Soils 

Dr. Kolodge is the former academic advisor, administrator and field plant pathologist for the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) and the Agriculture & Natural Resources Research and Extension Center in Santa Clara county. As superintendent of the UC Bay Area Research and Extension Center (BAREC), Dr. Kolodge was instrumental in developing the City of San Jose’s green waste utilization program entitled Agriculture in Partnership with San Jose in 1993. As county director for UCCE, he helped launch the countywide Master Composters public education program which continues to be an important part of the city’s environmental and recycling efforts. Following his retirement from UCCE, he served as the West Coast Business and Technical Director for Filtrexx In’l., a pioneer in the use of compost-based Sustainable Management Practices (SMP’s) for storm water management and industrial pollution control. Dr. Kolodge is currently the Business Development and Sustainability Manager for San Pasqual Valley Soils in San Diego county where he provides technical consulting supporting regenerative agriculture, watershed management and the expansion of ecosystem services through the re-purposing of recycled organics. 


Ramiro L_2

Ramiro Lobo
Small Farms and Agricultural Economics Advisor – San Diego County
University of California Cooperative Extension

Ramiro Lobo has been the Small Farm and Agricultural Economics Advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension in San Diego County since 1997. He conducts research and educational activities to support small scale agricultural producers in San Diego County. Ramiro’s work focuses primarily on topics related to agricultural business and risk management, new crop development and evaluation, new entry grower startup/education, market development through agricultural tourism and direct marketing, food safety, IPM and farm/pesticide safety education. His current research efforts have focused on the evaluation of Pitahaya or dragon fruit (Hyloceresus sp.) for commercial and backyard production in California; the evaluation of water/irrigation requirements for pitahaya/dragon fruit production; evaluation of potting size and potting media for container-grown blueberries; and the evaluation of coffee varieties and production practices for ornamental/backyard and commercial production in Southern California.


Chris M

Chris McDonald, PhD
Inland and Desert Natural Resources Advisor – San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego and Imperial Counties; County Co-Director – San Bernardino County | University of California Cooperative Extension

Chris is the Natural Resource Advisor in southern, Southern California. His expertise is in managing plants in wildlands with an emphasis on managing difficult weeds. He conducts research on habitat restoration by reducing weed populations as well as actively increasing native plant populations. He also conducts research on early detection of weed species, sensitive species habitat restoration and management techniques, including chemical and non-chemical control methods. He educates the public on using native plants in backyards and to increase our sustainability and wildlife. Chris has conducted research and outreach activities in the southwestern US for nearly 20 years working almost exclusively in arid and semi-arid ecosystems.


Tony M

Tony Mente
Industrial Solutions Manager, Generac Power Systems

Tony Mente is an Industrial Solutions Manager with Generac Power Systems who is focused on providing innovative solutions to customer’s power needs and building resilient microgrid systems to bridge the transition to renewable energy. Tony has worked at Generac for nears two years and prior to joining Generac, he spend 9 years as an application engineer with GE’s Distributed Power business focused on large engine solutions for the oil & gas industry. Tony holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and an MBA from Indiana University.


Ali M

Ali Montazar, PhD
Irrigation and Water Management Advisor – San Diego, Imperial and Riverside Counties
University of California Cooperative Extension

Dr. Ali Montazar is currently Irrigation and Water Management Advisor with University of California Cooperative Extension in Southern California mainly covers Imperial, Riverside, and San Diego Counties. He has a PhD in Irrigation and Drainage and more than 20 years of research, extension, teaching, and technical consulting experience and has served in several leadership positions in agricultural water management and irrigation engineering in California and abroad. Before joining UC in 2011, he was associate professor at the Department of irrigation Engineering, University of Tehran- Iran. In 2017, he came to Southern California from UC Davis where he had a project scientist position. He has developed an applied research and training program in southern California and currently has several ongoing irrigation and water conservation studies. His focus is sensor-based irrigation management, water conservation, and best irrigation and nutrient management practices. 


Esther M

Esther Mosase, PhD
Climate Smart Agriculture Community Education Specialist
University of California Cooperative Extension

Dr. Esther Mosase joined ANR as the UC Cooperative Extension Community Education Specialist for Climate Smart Agriculture in February 2019. Esther’s work involves sensitizing agricultural operators on climate smart farming and help them apply for grants geared towards reducing climate change impacts. She organizes outreach activities such as workshops, on-farm visits and advise farmers on best climate smart management practices to implement on their farms She also occasionally help CDFA with the verification process for their awarded ongoing projects. Prior to joining UCCE, Esther was a research assistant at South Dakota State University and her research activities focused on surface and groundwater interactions, hydrologic modelling, water quality, climate variability and remote sensing engineering. Dr. Mosase earned her masters in Agricultural Engineering majoring in irrigation and drainage and Ph.D in Civil Engineering specializing in water resources Engineering.


Joji M

Joji Muramoto, PhD
UC ANR Specialist - Organic Production
University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Dr. Muramoto is a soil scientist/agroecologist specializing in fertility and soilborne disease management in organic strawberries and vegetables. After working as a researcher at UC Santa Cruz for 23 years, in May 2019, he became the first Cooperative Extension Specialist solely dedicated to organic production in the UC system. He is also the first CE Specialist based at UC Santa Cruz. He is responsible for statewide research and extension in organic farming systems and is networking organic production researchers across the state.


Bruno P

Bruno J.L. Pitton
Staff Research Associate, Plant Sciences Environmental Horticulture/Ornamentals
University of California – Davis 

Bruno J.L. Pitton is a Staff Research Associate working with Dr. Loren Oki in the Department of Plant Sciences at University of California, Davis. As an undergraduate student, he studied Environmental Horticulture and worked at the UCD Student Farm and the Arboretum Nursery to acquire hands-on production experience. After graduation, Bruno was employed in the UCD greenhouses where he gained greenhouse operations expertise. While working in the greenhouses, he researched residential irrigation runoff issues and received an MS in Horticulture and Agronomy. Bruno worked on CleanWateR3, a nationwide research project to develop an online decision support tools for helping container plant growers reuse their irrigation runoff water. Bruno has been researching nitrogen use and loss in nursery production since 2018 in an effort to help growers meet state regulations, increase nitrogen use efficiency, and reduce the environmental impact of nitrogen loss. 


Niamh Q_2

Niamh M Quinn, PhD
Human-Wildlife Interactions Advisor – Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego Counties
University of California Cooperative Extension

Niamh Quinn is University of California Cooperative Extension Human-Wildlife Interactions Advisor, based at the South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine. Her focus is directed on the coordination of Cooperative Extension programming regarding human-wildlife conflicts, particularly within the residential and industrial areas within Southern California where significant human-wildlife conflicts are occurring. Her research and education focus on everything from mice to mountain lions but she mostly focuses on rodents and coyotes, their management, and the pathways and effects of rodenticides on non-target wildlife.


Sonia R

Sonia Rios
Area Subtropical Horticulture Advisor – San Diego and Riverside Counties
University of California Cooperative Extension

Sonia Rios currently serves as an Area Subtropical Horticulture Farm Advisor in Riverside and San Diego Counties and has been in her current position, just over six years. However, has been with the University just over 10 years, as she worked for an Agronomy Farm Advisor in Tulare County as a Staff Research Assistant II, for four years prior to coming to southern California. She works on an array of tree crops, such as avocados, citrus, dates, and macadamias. She received her M.S in Plant Science, with an emphasis in weed science, from California State University, Fresno and received a B.S in Plant Science with a concentration in pest management from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. In her spare time, Sonia enjoys spending time with her family, especially with her with her two children, Bella, age two and Robert, age four.


Eric S

Eric Snodgrass
Science Fellow and Principal Atmospheric Scientist
Nutrien Ag Solutions

Eric Snodgrass is a Science Fellow and Principal Atmospheric Scientist for Nutrien Ag Solutions, where he develops predictive, analytical software solutions to manage weather risk for global production agriculture. He provides frequent weather updates that focus on how high-impact weather events influence global agriculture productivity. His current research uses machine learning to better understand field-level weather impacts on yields in the US and to increase confidence in long-range weather prediction. He presents his research as a featured speaker at over 120 conferences annually where he provides logistical guidance and solutions to weather sensitive financial institutions, farmers, commodity traders, and other stakeholders. Snodgrass is a co-founder of Global Weather and Climate Logistic, LLC and Agrible, Inc which were both acquired by Nutrien Ag Solutions in 2018.

Before transitioning to Nutrien Ag Solutions, Eric was the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 2006-2019. Each year, he guided over 1800 students through the wild side of weather in ATMS 120: Severe and Hazardous Weather. He taught advanced courses on General Physical Meteorology, Meteorological Instrumentation, while routinely guest lectured for multiple disciplines across campus including the College of Law and the College of Agricultural and Consumer Economics. He also supervised dozens Capstone Research projects that focused on the economic impacts through applied meteorology and seasonal prediction. Snodgrass also taught advanced courses for the Environmental Sustainability Program on Renewable and Alternative Energy . He advised all undergraduate majors and minors in atmospheric science (~100 students) and supervised graduate teaching assistants and master’s students. He won many prestigious teaching awards at the University of Illinois including College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Teaching Excellence award, the Campus Teaching Excellence Award and the Campus Teaching Excellent Award in Online and Distance Education. His online version of ATMS 120 was awarded the 2012 "Best Online Course" from the University Professional Continuing Education Association (a national organization). Eric currently serves as the chair of the Alumni Council for the Department of Atmospheric Science’s at the University of Illinois.  


Gerry S

Gerry Spinelli, PhD
Production Horticulture Advisor for Nurseries, Floriculture and Controlled Environment Agriculture – San Diego County
University of California Cooperative Extension

Dr. Gerardo (Gerry) Spinelli began his work as the Production Horticulture Advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension in San Diego County in October 2020. Dr. Spinelli joined UCCE San Diego with a wide breadth of experience. He received his Ph.D. in Horticulture and Agronomy from UC Davis and prior to coming to San Diego, had been working with the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County assisting growers with water conservation, nitrogen management and erosion control. He has strong extension and research experience in environmental water quality protection, hydroponics and other controlled environment systems, and pest management. In addition to the U.S., Gerry has worked in Central America, Europe, and the Middle East. He speaks English, Italian, Spanish, French, and Arabic.



Moe A. Zarabi, M.P.P, LEED AP-ND
Land Use and Environmental Planner | Planning & Development Services
County of San Diego