IA Times, September 2019

IA announces newly elected directors

We are pleased to announce that the following three irrigation leaders have been elected to serve on the IA Board of Directors. The board is tasked with establishing the association’s strategic direction, policies and programs. Directors are nominated each year by members of the association and represent the diversity of member types and market segments.

Richard Arias

Richard Arias is the vice president of sales for the Southwest United States and Mexico for both RDO Water and RDO Equipment Company (San Diego, California). He began his career in 2001 with Water Tech Ag Supply, a family business, managing Water Tech de Mexico, which was an agricultural irrigation retailer. He built his family business from a small, two-location organization to 11 standalone business units throughout the Southwest United States and Mexico. In 2013, they sold the business to RDO Equipment Company, which is a global John Deere dealership.

Arias’ involvement with the Irrigation Association includes serving on the Public Affairs Committee. Outside of the IA, he served on the California Irrigation Association Board for four years including being president. He also sat on the board for the Oceanside Boys and Girls Club and volunteered and coached soccer for the American Youth Soccer Organization Matrix.

“I want to serve on the board to continue to align state organizations similar to the California Agricultural Irrigation Association with the Irrigation Association. I believe that with better alignment, the IA and the state organizations can achieve a greater impact influencing policy. I believe that state organizations can benefit from the strength of the IA structure and become much more professional. By focusing on these local-level groups’ alignment with the IA, we can provide an improved membership experience for all concerned.”

Julie Bushell

Julie Bushell is the director of sales and marketing for the ag division of Paige Electric Co. (Union, New Jersey) and the president of Paige Wireless (Union, New Jersey). Bushell’s career has been focused on agriculture since joining Paige in 2004. She began her role as director of sales and marketing for the ag division in 2012. Her passion drives Paige precision ag, from products and services to emerging technology and advocacy. She became a partner of Paige Electric in 2013. In March 2019, Bushell became president of Paige Wireless, a new innovative arm of Paige Electric. Paige Wireless was born from her love of agriculture and dedication to continuous improvement.

Bushell’s involvement with the Irrigation Association includes serving on the IA PAC Board of Advisors as well as the Government Affairs Committee. She served as chair from 2017-2019 and vice chair from 2015-2017 of the Government Affairs Committee. She has also been active on several IA task forces including the farm bill and annual fly-in.

“I would like to serve on the IA Board because I have grown to have a deep appreciation for the association and the benefits it offers its members and the irrigation industry as a whole. The IA has provided me with many amazing opportunities, both personally and professionally, and I look forward to paying that forward to the next generation of irrigation industry members. I also feel I could bring new and fresh ideas to the board to help attract younger generations to the industry. I also look forward to the opportunity to engage in more state outreach initiatives to help grow IA membership, profitability and reach.”

Eric Santos

Eric Santos, CAIS, CGIA, CIC, CID, CIT, CLIA, CLWM, is the vice president of irrigation services for the landscape maintenance division of BrightView Landscape Services (Calabasas, California). Santos has been in the irrigation industry for 26 years. He graduated with a bachelor’s in agricultural engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. While attending Cal Poly, he began his career in the landscape irrigation industry as a laborer on an irrigation installation crew. From there he moved into roles as an irrigation supervisor, irrigation estimator and irrigation manager. In 2002, he was promoted to national division irrigation advisor for ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance. He has been in his current role with BrightView since 2014.

Santos’ involvement with the Irrigation Association includes serving on the Education Committee, being a new product contest judge and chairing the former Contractor Common Interest Group. He was also highly involved with the Irrigation Foundation, serving on its Board of Trustees and as chair. Outside of the IA, he is heavily involved with the California Landscape Contractors Association. Santos holds many IA certifications as well as the National Association of Landscape Professional’s lawn care technician certification, the Florida Water Star certification, QWEL certification and CLCA’s water manager certification.

“Being nominated to the IA Board of Directors is very humbling and it would be an honor to serve our association. With my experience, I feel I can contribute by sharing the perspective of a commercial contractor. Our industry’s biggest current challenge is having enough trained and qualified employees. I would like to work with the IA Board to continue to promote the education of efficient irrigation practices and to develop ways to help our industry grow.”

These individuals will start their three-year terms at the conclusion of the 2019 Irrigation Show and Education Week. To learn more about the IA Board of Directors and view a complete roster, go to the website.