published on July 1, 2016 - 1:05 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff


Joseph I. Castro, president of Fresno State, is one of three Stanford alumni to receive the Graduate School of Education’s Alumni Excellence in Education Award, which honors graduates who are transforming the field, changing communities and influencing policies.


Fresno First Bank has announced that Susan Perry has joined the bank as Vice President, Cash Management Manager. Susan has more than 25 years of banking experience that includes establishing and managing both commercial and consumer relationships. She moved into community banking in 1993 with ValliWide Bank. As a result of a merger, she joined Imperial Bank, and later, Washington Mutual Bank’s Commercial Banking Center. For the last 13 years, Susan was with Premier Valley Bank where she was responsible for managing the bank’s Cash Management Department and focusing on commercial banking relationships, before becoming part of the Fresno First Bank team.

Fresno First Bank also announces the addition of Jim O’Brien as a Senior Business Marketing Officer. Jim began his banking career with Sanwa Bank in 1969 as a Trust Officer. Later, he became the Director of Retirement Programs with Coast Federal Bank and then Retirement Service Manager with Glendale Federal Bank. In 1994, he joined Regency Bank as a Vice President, Business Marketing Officer. In 2004, Jim moved to Premier Valley Bank as a Business Marketing Officer and Community Relations Consultant before joining the Fresno First Bank team.


The Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. of California have chosen Assemblyman Jim Patterson as the 2016 Legislator of the Year from the NorCal Chapter. Patterson has shown support for ABC of CA members by carrying legislation in consecutive years (AB 1865 and AB 842) to protect contractors from having to pay twice for health care when working on a public works project covered under a Project Labor Agreement.


The California Restaurant Association announced it has hired Sharokina Shams as vice president of marketing and communications. Shams brings more than 17 years of experience in media and communications. Prior to joining the California Restaurant Association, Shams served as a political reporter for Fresno’s KSEE-24 from 2004 to 2006.


Provost & Pritchard has grown again with the addition of five staff members in three of the firm’s offices.  The newest professionals on staff include:  Sarah Rutherford, an environmental specialist, and Kaitlin Palys, as an assistant environmental specialist/planner, are both based in the Visalia office; Nicholas Jacobson, PE, as an associate engineer, and Laura Facciani as a human resources generalist, are working out the firm’s Fresno office; and Daniel de Graaf, EIT, as an assistant engineer, is based out of the Modesto office.  

Rutherford comes to Provost & Pritchard from the Regional Water Quality Control Board and has experience with the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program. Palys is a recent graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University in Blacksburg, Va., where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, water science and quality option, and minored in wetland science. Jacobson has five years of experience in an engineering environment.  A registered civil engineer in Fresno in California, he has provided design-engineering services for a variety of municipal projects including master planning for water, sewer and recycled water, sewer rehabilitation, and development impact analyses. With over five years of professional experience, de Graaf holds a bachelor’s degree in bioresource and agricultural engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Facciani has over six years of experience in human resources, including the development and implementation of internal employee education programs, policies, and internal employee communication avenues.  


The California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA), at its board of directors meeting held in Sacramento, announced a change in leadership for the Association with the simultaneous departure of the current president, Barry Bedwell, and the hiring of its new president, former eight term U.S. Congressman George Radanovich.
Bedwell has been president of CFFA since 2003 and is transitioning from the organization to serve as president of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF). CALF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation committed to leadership training and transformational learning experiences in partnership with four California universities: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo; Cal Poly, Pomona; California State University, Fresno; and the University of California, Davis.
Radanovich, a graduate of Class 21 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program, served in Congress from 1995 to 2011 representing California’s 19th district. While in the House of Representatives, he served as Water Caucus co-chair, Wine Caucus co-chair and as co-chair for the Congressional Croatian Caucus as well as being considered an agricultural expert in areas related to water supply and immigration reform. He is a native Californian, born and raised in Mariposa, and was educated at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. Radanovich is also a farmer who began growing premium wine grapes in Mariposa County in 1982.

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