Stakeholder Advisory Board

Dr. Carlos A. Blanco has worked for 20 years as researcher and regulator of genetically-modified plants and insects. His work in USDA-APHIS involved him in the evaluation and approval of the GM pink bollworm and GM diamondback moth. Carlos’ current work as senior entomologist in the APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine, is to evaluate and regulate the importation and domestic movement of insects.

Dr. David Epstein is the Senior Entomologist for the USDA Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP). The OPMP works with EPA on pesticide registration review issues resulting from implementation of the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), responding to national needs related to alien and invasive pest species, pollinator health issues, Endangered Species consultations,  and in providing leadership in the adoption of the National Road Map for Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Dr. Epstein served for 12 years as the IPM Specialist for tree fruit crops for the Michigan State University Integrated Pest Management Program.

TJ Hafner is a lead agronomist for Agricare, focusing on sustainable and profitable blueberry and hazelnut production in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. He is also the co-owner of a small hazelnut farm in linn county.(OR)

Phil Korson is the president of the Cherry Marketing Institute.

Nick Matteis is an Associate Director at Ag Association Management Services in Sacramento, CA.

Nancy McBrady is the Executive Director at the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine and has a background in environmental, land use, and municipal law.

Wayne Mitchem works with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension with theSouthern Region Small Fruit Consortium Coordinator and Weed Management programs in the Department of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University. Wayne is also a blackberry grower in North Carolina.

Nate Nourse is the Sales Director at Nourse Farms. He has served in leadership roles for the North American Strawberry Growers Association, North American Raspberry and Blackberry Growers Association, New England Vegetable Growers Association, and National Berry Crops Initiative.

Tom Peerbolt is a Senior Consultant and Co-Owner of Peerbolt Crop Management,and works with berry growers primarily in the Williamette Valley (OR) and Southwest Washington.

Dean Polk is the Fruit IPM coordinator at Rutgers University’s Blueberry and Cranberry Research Station.

Nikki Rothwell is the Center Coordinator and District IPM Educator for the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center.

Ed Show is an entomologist at Driscolls (CA) working on pest management in strawberries.

Dr. Powell Smith works for the Clemson Extension Service in Lexington County, South Carolina, focusing on sustainable production of small fruits and vegetables. Dr. Smith earned BS in Agriculture and MS in Plant Protection from the University of Georgia and a PhD in Entomology from Clemson. Powell is married with four children and two grandchildren, he lives with his wife,Cathy, in Gilbert, SC where they enjoy gardening, kayaking, and hiking.

Megan Thompson has worked as a field representative for Oregon Cherry Growers for the past 15 years, working with area growers to facilitate maximum grower return and quality control. Megan graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Horticulture, after first falling in love with plants and horticulture due in part to her involvement with the Green Thumb program in Portland as a child.

Dave Trinka is the Vice President of Agri-Research and Member Services for MBG Marketing (Michigan Blueberry Growers).

Albert Wildes is a blueberry grower in Georgia and member of the Georgia Blueberry Commission.