As you will see from the following biographies, Allied Grape Growersí staff is made up almost entirely of people who come from grape growing backgrounds. Most of our employees were raised on or around agricultural operations which produced grapes. There are no better people to serve the owners (growers) of a grape growers cooperative than those that have grape growing experience themselves, knowing the challenges that growers face.


President:
Nat DiBuduo (2000)

Nat DiBuduo is a native of the San Joaquin Valley, being born and raised in the Fresno/Clovis area. Nat attended California State University, Fresno where he earned a B.S. in Plant Science/Viticulture and a minor in Business. Nat is also a graduate of the California Ag Leadership Program. His roots in the wine grape industry run deep. His family was among the first to plant varietal wine grapes in the San Joaquin Valley back in the early 1970ís. Natís involvement with wine grape production and processing through a family owned winery has given him a large breadth of industry experience. Natís former work experience has ranged from being an independent consultant to overseeing the farm management of 24,000 acres of winegrapes, nuts, and vegatables. In his previous position overseeing this ag land, he had direct exposure to regional wine grape growing through property management in the Central San Joaquin Valley, the Lodi region, the Central Coast, and also acreage in the Napa Valley and Sonoma County. Natís experience is virtually unmatched. He has been with Allied Grape Growers since May 2000.

Vice-President, Operations:
Jeff Bitter (1997)

Jeff Bitter is a native of Madera County. He was born and raised in wine grape and raisin production. He is a fourth generation farmer himself, as he and his wife own and operate a vineyard in Madera County. Jeffís grandfather Henry was the first Madera County Allied member back in 1950s. Jeff attended California State University, Fresno where he earned a B.S. in Ag Business and a Master of Business Administration degree. Jeff has also completed the California Agricultural Leadership Program, a two-year leadership training and development program. Jeff has had a life-long interest in wine (well, at least since age 21) and enjoys spending free time tasting wines and learning more about wine. Jeff has been an employee of Allied since 1997.

Controller:
Irene Ybarra (1988)
Irene Ybarra is a native of the Central Valley, being born and raised on a family farm of wine and raisin grapes in the Reedley area. She, along with her five sisters, was involved with the day to day operations of the farm right down to harvesting the fruit. Irene attended California State University, Fresno graduating with a B.S. in Business with an emphasis in Computer Application. She has worked in agriculture since college in positions with farm management companies and wineries. She has been with Allied since 1988, and has served as the association's Controller the entire time.

Bookkeeper:
Alesia Zion (2010)
Alesia began her employment at Allied in the 2010 to serve as our Accounting Manager (A newly created position at that time). Alesia is a native of the Fresno/Clovis area. Because of her stepfatherís involvement in the fruit packaging business, Alesia grew up surrounded by the agriculture industry. She attended Fresno City College and studied Business/Accounting. Those studies facilitated her move into an agricultural career where she handled accounting for a local ag chemical supply company. She later accepted a senior accountant position for an agricultural investments company. There she handled 15 properties within the western states, who managed wine grapes, nuts, and various fruits and vegetables. Alesia eventually took time away from her career to raise a family where she stayed busy managing the home as well as her childrenís numerous school and sport activities. During that time, she refreshed her work skills by completing computer classes, as well as a medical billing program. Alesia is very excited to return to the agriculture workforce and is happy to be a part of the Allied team.

Office Administrator:
Marcia Silva (2000)
Marcia came to Allied in the Spring of 2000 to serve as our Office Administrator. She is a native of the Fresno area. Her vast experience in various office and administrative settings has qualified her to perform well in her position, keeping numerous documents, forms and reports in order and organizing the daily office administration. Her efficient and effective procedures are of great benefit along with her warm reception, whether by phone or in person.

Senior Coastal Grower Relations:
Chad Clark (2010)
Chad Clark came to Allied in 2010 to assist Richard Schoenstein in grower relations and contract negotiations in the expanding area of the north coast. Chad's education includes a BS in Agricultural Business from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo (with an emphasis in marketing and sales) as well as an AS degree in Viticulture and Winery Technology from Napa Valley College. His professional experience includes working for Constellation Brands as a Viticulture Technician where he monitored and collected data on over 250 vineyard blocks in Napa and Solano Counties to insure proper farming techniques were in place and contract terms were adhhered to. Chad has also been active in real estate as a Senior Account Executive responsible for over 2,500 clients. In addition to his professional and educational endeavors, Chad has played semi-professional baseball for the Oakland Athletics organization.

Central Coast Grower Relations:
Position Open
For information regarding this position Click Here. (.pdf version)

Viticulturist and Grower Relations (Madera County):
Emilio Miranda (2004)
Emilio Miranda came to Allied in 2004 to fill a newly created position within the company - Viticulturist. Emilio has over 25 years of experience in the wine industry, spending a majority of that time with Paul Masson Vineyards and the Canandaigua Wine Company. Emilio attended California State University, Fresno and majored in Plant Science before entering the workforce. Over his many years in the wine industry he has held various positions from Grower Relations to Vineyard Manager to Manager of Grape Supply for the largest multi-national winery in the world. Emilio grew up on a family farm specializing in grape production and has a perfect combination of book knowledge, research and experience when it comes to viticulture. Emilio is available to assist growers and provide advice in any way viticulturally possible to increase their productivity, quality and profitability.

Grower Relations, Northern San Joaquin Valley:
Joe Osterman (1988)
Joe Osterman is a native of Madera County, being born and raised on a family farm of wine and raisin grapes. Joe graduated from Reedley College with an A.A. and also earned his Certified Pest Control Advisorís license and Pest Operatorís license. Joe has various experience in ag, ranging from being employed as a Pest Control Advisor in ag chemical sales to farm managing wine and raisin grapes. He has been an employee of Allied Grape Growers since 1988 and has always served as our Northern San Joaquin Valley rep.

Grower Relations, Western Fresno County:
Karl Lehman (2005)
Karl Lehman is a native of the Biola/Kerman area where his family farmed grapes and almonds. Karl was born and raised on the family farm operation gaining years of first hand experience in grape production. Karl graduated from California State University, Fresno with a degree in Communications. Karl oversees the day-to-day farming of his family's ranch. Prior to coming to work for Allied in 2006, Karl was a produce inspector/buyer for a large produce markting operation.

Grower Relations, Eastern Fresno County and areas south:
Ed Nikssarian (2013)
With the continued growth of AGG, a new grower relations position was created in 2013. Ed Nikssairan, an industry veteran, was hired to fill the position. Ed is a native of Fowler, California, being born and raised on the family grape vineyards and plum orchards. However, the small town farm life for Ed was not limited to just permanent crops; the family had their share of chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys and even a dairy cow! Ed graduated from Fresno State Universary with a B.S. in Agricultural Science. Ed has managed farms that produced wine, raisin and table grapes and has also worked as a pest control advisor/salesman. During his career in grower reletions and ag sales Ed has also been employed in the nursery buseinss, specializing in grape vines. His many years of experience are a great asset to AGG and our growers.





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