` California Olive Oil Council Elects Board Members - Olive Oil Times

California Olive Oil Council Elects Board Members

Mar. 23, 2011
Lori Zanteson

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The elec­tions had some­thing to do with the record num­ber of atten­dees at this year’s meet­ing of the California Olive Oil Council (COOC). Members voted to fill six seats on the COOC board of thir­teen mem­bers. Candidates included six incum­bents and six chal­lengers.

Results were released on March 10th. Re-elected incum­bents were Charles Crohare, Roberta Klugman and Gino Favarossa, and the newly elected chal­lengers were Michael Tuohy and Deborah Rogers, with a tie for the sixth seat between Laurie Schuler-Flynn and James C. Nickel.

Though the COOC board can accom­mo­date up to fif­teen mem­bers, the board decided via tele­con­fer­ence not to add an extra seat, result­ing in a run-off elec­tion between Schuler-Flynn and Nickel. Ballots were sent to mem­bers by email Sunday, March 13th and were due by March 18th.

Patty Darragh, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the COOC, spoke highly of the can­di­dates. I know sev­eral can­di­dates,” she said, and they’re peo­ple with tremen­dous knowl­edge and pas­sion for the indus­try.” She was also pos­i­tive about some changes com­ing to the COOC, such as cre­at­ing a new infra­struc­ture through com­mit­tees includ­ing edu­ca­tion and mar­ket­ing, which don’t require board mem­ber­ship to par­tic­i­pate.

People bring dif­fer­ent gifts to the board,” Darragh said. This remains true with the newly elected board mem­bers. Deborah Rogers, one of the orig­i­nal mem­bers of the COOC, is con­sid­ered a trail­blazer in the olive oil indus­try with a strong knowl­edge of mar­ket­ing. Michael Tuohy, chef and owner of Grange Restaurant in Sacramento, brings his culi­nary exper­tise and views to the table.


The run-off remained between Nickel or Schuler-Flynn. My back­ground is with dif­fer­ent com­modi­ties,” explained Nickel of Rio Bravo Ranch. I have expe­ri­ence and a broad under­stand­ing of lots of com­modi­ties in agri­cul­ture.” Nickel reg­u­larly goes to Washington DC and Sacramento, serv­ing on boards and inter­fac­ing with the gov­ern­ment. Specialty crops deserve a seat at the table,” he said. He would like to see the COOC reflect the grow­ing olive indus­try as a uni­fied team of inter­ested peo­ple from dif­fer­ent back­grounds.

Schuler-Flynn’s back­ground is far dif­fer­ent from that of Nickel, but they each reflect a val­ued seg­ment of California’s grow­ing indus­try. Hillstone’s Schuler-Flynn is a voice and per­spec­tive of the small pro­ducer. I am very enthu­si­as­tic that if I were to be elected, I can bring with me the mar­ket­ing and pro­duc­tion knowl­edge from a small producer’s stand­point,” said Schuler-Flynn. I would like to see the COOC do for olive oil what the California almond board did for almonds.”

The run-off result for the sixth seat was announced Monday, March 21st. Laurie Schuler-Flynn has been voted onto the COOC board.

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