Noted Ag and Natural Resource Leaders Join Ag Innovations Board of Directors

We are elated to announce the addition of three highly respected leaders in the field of natural resource management to the Ag Innovations Board of Directors. Joining the Board are climate scientist Juliet Christian-Smith, PhD from the Union of Concerned Scientists, retired USEPA water expert Jovita Pajarillo, and natural resources management consultant Mark Rentz.

Juliet Christian-Smith, PhD is a climate scientist with the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), based in UCS’s Oakland office. Dr. Christian-Smith is the lead author of the book, “A Twenty-First Century U.S. Water Policy” (Oxford Press 2012), and an editor of the journal, Sustainability Science. The focus of her work is providing California and U.S. policymakers and the public with robust, timely, accessible, and policy-relevant information on climate science and climate impacts. Prior to joining UCS, Dr. Christian-Smith worked as a senior researcher for the Pacific Institute, performing policy-focused research on sustainable water management, primarily in the Western United States. Dr. Christian-Smith and two colleagues received the Environmental Protection Agency’s Award for Outstanding Achievement for their work on agricultural water management. Previously, as a graduate student, she received a Fulbright Fellowship to study the implementation of the European Union’s innovative Water Framework Directive. Dr. Christian-Smith holds a PhD in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. in Biology from Smith College.

Jovita Pajarillo is retired from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9, in San Francisco. In a 35-­year career at EPA, her range of duties included managing, developing, and implementing a range of Clean Water Act programs, including nonpoint source pollution, watershed protection and restoration, and regulatory programs. She has been recognized by various constituencies for her work in these areas. She has a long track record of accomplishments with the agricultural community focusing on partnerships and collaboration to advance water quality, watershed protection, food safety, and the regulation of concentrated animal feeding operations. She also briefly served as the deputy director of the Office of Public Affairs. She is an alumna of UC Berkeley and the California Agricultural Leadership Program, Class 28. A founding member of the California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment, she currently is a member of the California Roundtable for Water and Food Supply, the California Envirothon, San Francisco Baykeeper, and the California Water Policy Conference planning committee.

Mark Rentz is the founder and president of Integrated Natural Resources Management, LLC (INRM) in Sacramento. INRM is dedicated to developing innovative solutions for complex environmental challenges while providing long-term certainty in an ever-changing regulatory environment. Mark has more than 30 years experience in natural resource management, policy, law, and regulations. Before forming INRM, he was the Director of Regulatory Affairs at the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA). Previously, he was the Vice President of Government Affairs and General Counsel at the California Forestry Association, and National Director of the Federal Timber Sale Program at the American Forest and Paper Association in Washington, D.C. In addition to working in the private sector, he has the unique experience of working both for state government — as Deputy Director of Policy Coordination at the California Department of Pesticide Regulation/California Environmental Protection Agency, a Governor’s appointee — and the federal government, in numerous capacities with the U.S. Forest Service. Mr. Rentz has a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management with a Business minor from Oregon State University and graduated with honors from Golden Gate University School of Law with an emphasis in environmental law.

Juliet, Jovita, and Mark join existing Board members Joseph McIntyre (Ag Innovations President), Nicole Mason (Marketing Communications Director for San Francisco organic produce distributor Veritable Vegetable), and Paul Martin (retired Director of Environmental Services for Western United Dairymen and former Deputy Director of Permit Assistance in the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development) to enhance the leadership of Ag Innovations’ governing body.