Nursery Director leaves for California wine job

Oregon Nursery Trade Association Executive Leaves for California Wine Job
Association of Oregon Nurseries,

Wilsonville, Ore. – Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN) president Kevin Klupenger announced today that John Aguirre, the association’s long serving executive director, will depart for another professional opportunity in the agriculture industry. Aguirre will lead the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) as president.

“Over the past ten years, John offered vision and leadership which enabled us, the volunteer leaders, to think and act proactively about how best to serve the industry,” Klupenger said, noting that the association is in sound financial condition. “When industry profits are scarce and every penny counts, it’s a testament to John’s management skills that the OAN’s membership numbers and dues revenue remain strong,” he said. “With healthy reserves, the OAN is well positioned for future success – but he will be missed.”

Aguirre joined the OAN in November 1999 amidst a sustained period of unprecedented industry growth. The value of industry sales set new highs every year until 2007, peaking at nearly $1 billion. During his tenure with the OAN, Oregon nursery growers faced major regulatory and marketplace challenges posed by Phytophthora ramorum, commonly known as Sudden Oak Death. Aguirre successfully navigated those challenges and advocated for additional resources and new approaches to managing plant pest and disease threats.

Aguirre’s track record includes the establishment of a successful lobbying presence in Washington, DC, new industry marketing schemes and programs, the launch of a sustainability initiative, and impressive growth in OAN revenue from $1.9 million to $3.4 million, until declining to $3.1 million in 2009. Despite a tough economy and a downturn in industry sales, the nursery and greenhouse industry remains Oregon’s largest sector of agriculture.

“Throughout my career, I’ve been in the enviable position of working for the best people in premiere agricultural industries,” said John Aguirre. “The OAN’s volunteer leaders are smart, visionary and dedicated to the association. They allowed me to hire and keep a tremendously talented team of staff, who will ensure the OAN’s continued success,” said Aguirre.

His understanding of key issues with the OAN will serve Aguirre well in his new position. CAWG is California’s leading advocate for winegrape growers, providing leadership on public policies, research and education programs, sustainable farming practices and trade policy to support the California winegrape growing business.

The position of President at the CAWG opened last November when Karen Ross left to serve as Chief of Staff for the Secretary of Agriculture in Washington, DC. Aguirre will begin his service with the CAWG on June 1, 2010.


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