Diganta Adhikari, PhD, is the global head of on-farm IoT for Syngenta. Previously, he was the director of engineering for Irrometer Company Inc. He has numerous years of experience in water management, environmental engineering, consulting and project management, focused on both government and industry clients. He also serves on various domestic and international technical and standards committees on smart water technology.
Jonathan Aguilar, PhD, PE, is an associate professor, extension specialist and irrigation engineer for the Kansas State University Southwest Research Extension Center. Aguilar’s research is focused on water resource issues, particularly as they pertain to irrigated agriculture in western Kansas. The major emphasis of his work is in technology development and management related to irrigated agriculture. He provides leadership and support on irrigation technology and water management-related programs for county extension agents and producers. His current educational programs focus on crop water allocation, ET-based irrigation scheduling, soil moisture sensors, mobile drip irrigation, groundwater quality and subsurface drip irrigation.
Inge Bisconer, CID, CLIA, is a sales and marketing consultant. She became a managing member of Surf ’N Earth after retiring from Toro Ag where she worked in ag irrigation sales, marketing and technical roles. Her current focus areas are advocacy, education, project management, and content creation. Bisconer earned a bachelor’s in agriculture from the University of California, Davis and an MBA in technology management from the University of Phoenix. She taught soil science and landscape irrigation at MiraCosta College. She currently serves on the IA Board of Directors and was honored with the IA’s Industry Achievement Award in 2016.
John Farner is the global chief sustainability officer for Netafim. He has led the creation of irrigation’s first national sustainability dialogue, which has brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to develop best practices for the irrigation industry relating to environmental, economic and social sustainability. Farner also currently sits on the steering committee of the United Nations CEO Water Mandate. Before joining Netafim, he most recently served as industry development director for the Irrigation Association.
Andres Ferreyra, PhD, works as data asset manager for Syngenta Digital. His responsibilities include leading development of Syngenta’s global machine data integration platform and the semantic infrastructure that supports it. He sees standards implementation as an important step to make field operations data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) within the context of a data ethical process.
Franklin Gaudi, EdD, CID, CIC, CAIS, CCA, is the executive vice president of design for Laurel Ag and Water, a design/build irrigation company specializing in drip and microirrigation systems. Previously, he worked at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo’s BioResource and Agricultural Engineering Department as an assistant professor and project manager for the Irrigation Training and Research Center. He has experience teaching courses in irrigation water management, on-farm irrigation systems and landscape irrigation design.
Bill Green is an education manager at the Center for Irrigation Technology at California State University, Fresno, while also farming and managing his family’s raisin grape vineyard near Fresno.
Sargeant J. Green is a water management specialist with the Center for Irrigation Technology and California Water Institute at California State University, Fresno. CIT provides testing laboratories for water equipment, conducts water use research and training, and houses a water and energy business incubator. CWI provides water issue facilitation and research on water quality and water policy issues. Green is also associate director of the Water Resources and Policy Initiatives program for the CSU Chancellor’s office.
Mike Hemman is the president and CEO of Netafim USA. His primary responsibility is building the short- and long-term strategy to maximize the financial performance of Netafim’s U.S. and Canadian business. Prior to Netafim, Hemman was the western area leader for Corteva and spent over 14 years in various positions at DuPont. He is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a bachelor’s in plant science.
Chris Henry, PhD, PE, is an associate professor and water management engineer at the University of Arkansas. He holds several patents and is a visionary, mobile app developer, air quality modeler, embedded system developer, and a construction, irrigation and manure management systems designer. His work involves agricultural development and production system advancement.
Charles Hillyer, PhD, is the director of the Center for Irrigation Technology. Before CIT, he was an assistant professor and researcher at Oregon State and Texas A&M Agrilife Research and Extension Service in Amarillo. In addition to working with Texas farmers in the North Plains, he also worked on the Precision Ag Irrigation Language, a data exchange standard that helps irrigation technologies work together better.
Gary L. Hix, RG, CWD/PI, has been a fixture in numerous and varied capacities in the groundwater industry for over 40 years. A former licensed water well drilling contractor and registered geologist, Hix is actively involved in the National Ground Water Association and the Arizona Water Well Association. Throughout his career, he has been a contributor to Water Well Journal and taught classes for the Bureau of Land Management and the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Service. He is the founder and owner if In2Wells.
Ted Kowalski, JD, is a senior program officer, leading the Walton Family Foundation’s Colorado River initiative. In this role, he supports work that promotes sustainable management of the Colorado River in order to benefit rivers and communities. Prior to joining the foundation, Kowalski was the chief of the Interstate, Federal and Water Information Section for the Colorado Water Conservation Board. In this role, he represented the State of Colorado in state, federal, inter-state, and international negotiations. Kowalski is recognized for his deep expertise in Colorado River water management issues.
Amy Kremen is the operations manager for the Irrigation Innovation Consortium. She also serves at the manager of the Ogallala Water Coordinated Agriculture project and is a water expert at Colorado State University. She has worked in agriculture for over two decades as a farmer, researcher, writer, editor and policy consultant in the United States and Canada. She earned her master’s in soil science studying nitrogen capture and turnover from Brassica cover crops.
Forrest Melton is a senior research scientist with the NASA Ames Cooperative for Research in Earth Science and Technology and with California State University, Monterey Bay. He serves as the program scientist for the NASA Western Water Applications Office and as an associate program manager for the NASA Earth Science Applied Sciences Water Resources Program. Since 2003, Forrest has worked in the Biospheric Sciences Branch at NASA Ames Research Center on the development of modeling and data assimilation frameworks including the Satellite Irrigation Management Support system, the Terrestrial Observation and Prediction System and the NASA Earth Exchange.
George Oamek, PhD, is an economist for Headwaters Corporation. His areas of expertise include agricultural and natural resource economics, public finance and mathematical statistics. George is also a staff member of the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program’s Executive Director’s Office. In this capacity, his responsibilities include devaluating potential water acquisitions, developing water leases, and planning assistance for meeting the Program’s long-term water goals.
Brad Rippey is an agricultural meteorologist in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Chief Economist, and the managing editor of the Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin. He is an author of the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor and the monthly North American Drought Monitor. Prior to joining USDA in 1998, Rippey worked for the U.S. Department of Commerce for more than 10 years. Since 1994, he has been a columnist and contributing editor for Weatherwise magazine. Rippey is a 1988 graduate of Penn State University.
Stephen W. Smith, PhD, FASIC, CLIA, CAIS, is an agricultural consultant in Colorado and the principal for Wade Water LLC, a closely-held firm providing consulting services in SCADA, efficient water delivery and irrigation design. For 25 years, he has operated a farming enterprise, Buena Vida Farm, in Larimer County, Colorado, which specializes in blue spruce tree and vegetable production. His irrigation engineering experience includes projects throughout the United States, Europe, the Far East and the Middle East.
Greg Stark, PE, is an assistant professor of practice in the Texas A&M University Biological and Agricultural Engineering department. He develops and teaches training courses to energy companies, technical associations and businesses on subjects including electric system fundamentals, electric business understanding, electric industry structure, power distribution systems, energy management, power quality, electrical motors and controls, protection of electrical and electronic equipment, electrical codes and standards and stray voltage.
Saleh is an associate professor and extension specialist in agricultural water management at the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Oklahoma State University. His research and extension interests are focused on finding innovative and sustainable solutions to current and emerging water management challenges, such as lack of adequate water resources to maintain crop demands, low efficiency and uniformity of irrigation systems, suboptimal irrigation scheduling, and salt buildup in the root zone.