Staff & Board

It Takes A Farmer To Till A Field

Board

Bill Palmer

Board President, Palmer & Associates Owner and CEO

After getting a BA in Economics from Columbia, Bill served five years as a Navy Supply Corps officer. He served twenty years as the CEO of a 100% employee owned supermarket chain in Northwest Washington. After selling the company in 1996, Bill has worked as a consultant with hundreds of companies and leaders from all industries.

Don McMoran

Vice President & Co-founder Viva Farms, Director Washington State University Skagit County Extension

Don McMoran was born on a 2000 acre diversified potato farm in West Side Mount Vernon, of Skagit County, Washington.  He grew up working on the farm including bucking hay bales and moving irrigation pipe all summer long.  Working in the fields was long and hard but he grew to appreciate how hard area farmers work to make the valley what it is today.  Don completed his Master’s Degree in General Agriculture in 1998 with a minor in Spanish and a Masters in Arts and teaching in 2000.

After graduating from college, Don taught Spanish at Stanwood Middle School for one year before receiving a position with the Skagit Conservation District where he implemented the Conservation Enhancement Reserve Program (CREP).  Don is a graduate of the Washington Ag Forestry, class 26. In May of 2006, Don was hired as the WSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator for Skagit County, where he assists local farmers and gardeners with their research and extension needs. Don took over as director of WSU Skagit County Extension in 2012. Don has been published in the American Journal of Potato Research, Journal of Extension, Journal of Horticulture, National Association of County Agriculture Agents (NACAA), Pacific Northwest Handbook, Tilth Producers Quarterly, Whatcom Ag Monthly, Read the Dirt and he is responsible for publishing the Annual Skagit Agriculture Statistics.  Don was honored by the Washington State Governor with a Building Better Communities Award and received the National Association of County Agricultural Agents achievement award for his work on energy and water conservation in Skagit County.

Steve Brinn

Secretary & Co-founder Viva Farms, Raptor Group CEO

Steve manages a family owned private equity group that invests almost exclusively in Northwest Washington food production, processing and distribution to build food system resilience and generate reasonable returns on capital. Before joining Raptor Steve directly invested in several small ventures involving land based freshwater salmon production, modular housing and food services. He previously served as COO and later Vice Chairman of Trillium Corporation, a real estate and resource investment company. Steve began his professional life as a business attorney at Brett & Daugert, where he served as Managing Partner for twelve years. He serves on the boards of Salish Coast Enterprises, Inc. (dba Skagit Valley Malting), Easy Metrics, Inc. in addition to Clario Medical Imaging, Inc., which he co-founded. Steve is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School. He has been active in civic, environmental and charitable activities for many years. Steve and his family live near Bellingham, on a lake, which supports his addiction to recreational sculling.

Andrew Miller

Treasurer, Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County Business Retention and Development Director, and Attorney

Andrew is a proud Skagit County native and has returned to Skagit Valley to raise his six children after leading global teams at Amazon, Expedia, and Weyerhaeuser and a distinguished military career as an intelligence, counter-terrorism, homeland security and cyber operations officer.  A nationally-recognized subject matter expert in strategy and sense making in dynamic environments, Andrew has taught graduate-level courses in strategy, leadership development, organizational effectiveness, communication and technology integration.  Andrew holds a JD from the Seattle University School of Law, an MBA from Pacific Lutheran University, a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University, and a master’s degree in strategic studies (homeland defense) from the Naval Postgraduate School.  He is a distinguished graduate of the US Air Force Officer Training School, Air Command and Staff College and National Defense University Joint Staff College.  An Eagle Scout, avid outdoorsman, and mountaineer, Andrew also volunteers as a Scoutmaster.

Amy Frye

Boldly Grown Farm Owner/Operator and Previous Director at University of British Columbia Student Farm

A sustainable food systems advocate with over 12 years’ experience in management, communications, fundraising and event planning, Amy Frye is currently the co-owner and operator of Boldly Grown Farm, a Certified Organic vegetable and cut flower farm in Skagit Valley. Prior to starting Boldly Grown Farm, Amy was the Director of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at the University of British Columbia Farm in Vancouver, BC. She oversaw all aspects of human resources and financial management, fundraising and grant writing, business planning and development, organizational management and policy development. Amy grew up running around on her grandparents’ farm in Minnesota, helping in the veggie garden and kitchen.

David Bauermeister

Northwest Agricultural Business Center Executive Director

David has been Executive Director of NABC 2006. David was raised on a dryland wheat farm in Eastern Washington.  He attended Washington State University and has a degree in Agronomy, Business Management option and worked 25 years in the ag-business sector. David has experience in the seed production and processing industry, as well as the food processing, marketing and distribution experience.  David also managed a start-up business that manufactured particleboard from wheat and grass straw. Before moving to the west side, David managed the Ag Bureau for the Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce, best known for producing Spokane Ag Expo each January. David resides in Mount Vernon with his wife Janet.

José García-Pabón

Washington State University Latino and Community Studies Outreach Specialist

Dr. José L. García-Pabón is an Associate Professor and the Washington State University’s Latino Community Studies and Outreach Specialist. His work includes the design and implementation of outreach programs to educate and support Latino immigrant entrepreneurs and farmers in rural and urban areas. His research and extension agenda includes understanding the experience and needs of Latino, immigrant and minority entrepreneurs, farmers, and youth. Further, Dr. García-Pabón provides educational opportunities to Extension faculty, staff and professionals in organizations and agencies on cross-cultural communication with underserved, immigrant and minority communities. In partnership with Latino oriented nonprofit organizations, Dr. García-Pabón has co-developed and implemented a multicultural leadership training for minority college students, and a series of educational workshops titled “El bienestar total de la mujer Latina” (Latina total wellbeing) designed to educate and empower Latina women.

Before coming to WSU, Dr. García-Pabón was the coordinator of the Community Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia and the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) coordinator for Missouri. His 25-year experience working with hard to reach and underserved urban and rural communities is almost equally distributed domestically and internationally. He has published several articles on working with Latino/immigrant entrepreneurs and farmers and ranchers.

José received his BS in agronomy (with emphasis in international agriculture) at the University of Kassel, Germany; his MS in Farming Systems Research and Extension at the University of Florida and his Ph.D. in Agricultural Extension and Education at the University of Minnesota.

Ada Snyder

High Mowing Seeds Northwest Sales and Product Development Associate

Mauricio Soto

Arado Farm Owner and Operator

Mauricio has been farming his whole life, beginning in his home of Nayarit, Mexico. Since coming to the U.S., he has worked as a farm-worker, crew boss, and farm manager in California and in the Skagit Valley. Mauricio was also Farm Manager at Viva Farms for several years before deciding to go full-time on his farm