Our management team has more than 70 years of combined experience in Entrepreneurial, Business Development and Organic Farming. Our Advisory Board Members each have many years of Entrepreneurial, all forms of farming from traditional to using the most state of the art growing equipment, Retail, Produce distribution, Marketing, Sales and Renewable Energy experience.
Daniel Gibbs, CEO
Dan brings more than 30 years of experience as an Entrepreneur, Board member, CEO and VP. Dan was a Co-Inventor of the Self Heating Container technology and served as Vice President of Business Development for OnTech Inc. Dan played a leading role in negotiating and closing product development contracts with Procter & Gamble, Kraft and other multi-national corporations and closed the first $300 million in sales for the company. While Dan was Vice President of OnTech Inc., Fortune magazine picked OnTech as one of the top 25 breakout companies of the year. Dan is also named on numerous utility patent claims issued in over 35 countries.
As CEO of Gold Mine Natural Foods, Dan developed strategic relationships and implemented and created growth initiatives that lead to the fastest growth in the Company's 21 year history. Dan was also the Co-Founder and Board member of Predict Power LLC. Predict power offered real-time energy price and consumption forecast information systems, specifically-designed for commercial and industrial (C&I) facilities. Dan is a junior partner of ClearDome Solar Thermal LLC. ClearDome produces a line of solar thermal products for residential and commercial use.
Dan is a current Advisory Board member of San Diego State University (SDSU) Water Conservation Advisory Board, Provide industry expertise in the best use of water and land in urban and city areas. SDSU will use this information to create new learning curriculum and certificate programs for college students. Dan is a current Advisory Board member of Compass Auto Finder LLC. The Compass Auto Finder is a revolutionary patented product made up of the world's smallest directional antenna. Dan is a past Vice-Chairman and Board Member of the San Diego Renewable Energy Society, which is the local chapter of American Solar Energy Society, one of the largest and oldest solar groups in the US. Dan has been involved in raising over $35 million dollars for various companies.
Michael Castro, COO
With over 30 years Agricultural experience, Michael Castro a native of Coachella Valley, California, has extensive practical and management experience in both conventional and organic farming, as a Grower and Grower Supervisor. As a winner of the Bank of America Agricultural Scholarship, he studied Crop Science with a concentration in Vegetables and graduated with a B.S. from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Following his graduation he spent 25 years as an owner and manager of various private, public and multinational produce operations, some as large as 20,000 acres.
His experiences have taken place not only in the USA, but he has also had extensive program development experience in Mexico, Central America, South America and the Dominican Republic, in both Organic and Conventional agriculture. He has held all 7 Pest Control Advisor's Licenses in the State of California and is also a Certified Organic Inspector. His extensive skills as related to this business include Real Estate development, Human Resources, Team Building, Budgeting and Tracking, Procurement, Harvesting and Packaging, Produce Sales and Purchasing, International Import/Export, and transportation. He has been instrumental in the turn around of various operations by bringing new technological ideas to these businesses that made them more competitive in the International marketplace. The initial operation Mike was associated with in Mexico became very successful and was purchased by an International public company and Mike was retained as the Growing Operations Supervisor responsible for Contracts, Crop Scheduling, Quality Control and Operations. He supervised a $20M budget that generated over $100M in annual sales.
Mike was on the initial fact finding tour of greenhouse operations in Spain for a group of Mexican producers that led to the implementation of greenhouse growing techniques that are fast becoming the standard of the industry in Mexico. He has worked with some of the pioneers of Organic growing, and is a researcher and developer himself, of innovative organic products for Agriculture and the Home Gardener.
Roy H. Wilburn, Farm Manager/Grower
Mr. Wilburn has more than 20 years, of experience managing and operating vegetable and berry farms. Immediately after college he became an agriculturalist in the San Quintin Valley of Baja California Norte. For the next twenty years he was a hands-on grower and eventually owner of ranches up and down the Baja Peninsula. Mr. Wilburn has managed over 1000 acres of tomatoes, all types of peppers, peas, beans, cucumbers, squashes, asparagus, strawberries and other produce annually. All aspects of production were his responsibility including seed acquisition and varietal selections, greenhouse growing of all transplants, ground prep, MBr and plastic mulch application, macro and micro irrigation design and installation, planting, cultural practices, fertilization and pest control, harvest, hauling, packing and shipping and working daily with the sales team. Over two million boxes were produced annually and distributed from their sales facilities in the Otay Valley of Chula Vista, California.
After his Mexico experience, he worked for HerbThyme Farms in Oceanside California as Grower/Manager of all sixteen herbs, both conventional and organic; again, all aspects of growing were his responsibility. Besides growing, Organic Registration, Primus Certification, all audits, Kosher registration and complying with all state, county and federal regulations were also his responsibility. GAP, food safety regulations, fertilizer and pesticide application logs were kept daily. No violation of any kind was allowed under his watch.
Mr. Wilburn worked closely with University of California system, farm advisors all over the nation, seed companies, irrigation companies, and chemical companies to stay on the cutting edge of all technological aspects of agriculture. His outfit was the first to bring drip irrigation and the use of plastic mulch to Baja. He worked with Sun World International to become the first grower, in Baja, of the LSL tomatoes and seedless watermelons, galia melons and the now popular La Mouye type of Spanish red pepper. During his second year of growing strawberries, he received national recognition at the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association Convention for the first ever, pre-print strawberry box.
His research and education led him to many growing areas in the USA, Mexico, Spain, Israel and the Netherlands. Always looking for an advantage in latest technologies, varieties and growing practices were crucial to stay on top. He was a member of the California Tomato Advisory Board; he was an Executive Board member at Peninsula Vegetable Exchange, Inc. and resident of Island Horticultural Specialists, Inc. Mr. Wilburn has certificates in Post Harvest Handling and Completion of Vineyard Series from UC Davis and is a Licensed Private Applicator of Pesticides in California.
Advisory Board Members
Mr. Miller has held positions as CFO, COO, and CEO of public and private companies. The range of companies has varied from a Cleantech start-up to a turnaround of a public company, and in diverse industries from fresh and processed food to aerospace. Mr. Miller was Chief Operating Officer of Jeltex Holdings, Inc. a vertically integrated fresh produce and food Ingredients Company. While at Jeltex Mr. Miller was responsible for 6 acquisitions of growing partners in Mexico and California, Import operations, large scale production of Green Chile and sales to industrial food manufacturers and direct sales to major retailers such as Kroger, Albertsons and Safeway.
He formerly served as Chief Financial Officer of Wild Oats Markets, Inc. Mr. Miller is a CPA, spending his formative years with KPMG, and previously held membership to the New Mexico Bar.
Bruce is the founder and president of Peterson Insights, Inc., a consulting company specializing in helping fresh food companies successfully navigate through a wide variety of complex challenges.
Bruce is a 39 year veteran of the produce industry, who began his food career bagging groceries for a supermarket chain in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan in 1970. Bruce worked for several notable supermarket chains, as well as owned and operated a wholesale produce company.
But Bruce is best known for the time he spent as Senior Vice President of Perishables for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Bruce joined Wal-Mart as the Produce Director in 1991 after being interviewed by none other than Sam Walton himself. During his 17 year career at Wal-Mart, Bruce saw the company grow from 6 Supercenters to over 2300 Supercenters, 117 Neighborhood Markets, and established 42 food distribution centers. He became Vice President of Produce/Floral in 1994, and in 1998 was made Senior Vice President of Perishables. In addition to his Merchandising and Procurement responsibilities, Bruce was the Chairman of the WalPac Advisory Group, which is Wal-Mart's Political Action Committee (P.A.C). Bruce actively represented Wal-Mart in Washington and lobbied on a wide variety of agricultural issues. Bruce was a driving force in several industry changing initiatives including Reusable Plastic Containers ( RPC's), Radio Frequency Identification ( RFID), Vendor Co-Managed Replenishment, Category Management, Food Safety/Traceability, and Case Ready Meat, just to name a few.
Bruce retired from Wal-Mart in 2007, and later joined Naturipe Foods LLC as its President and CEO, where he applied his retail perspective and business acumen to a grower shipper organization.
During his career, Bruce has been active and recognized in a wide variety of industry roles.
- In 1997, Bruce was honored as Produce Marketer of the Year by "The Packer".
- In 2001, he was named Perishable Executive of the Year by "Grocery Business" magazine.
- In 2002, he served as Chairman of the Produce Marketing Association. In that same year, he was appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to serve on the USDA Produce Advisory Committee.
Bruce is a guest lecturer at 6 major Universities, is frequently asked to comment on timely and relevant industry issues, and is asked to speak at a wide variety of industry events. He brings a seasoned perspective to virtually every aspect of the supply chain from the producer straight through to the consumer. He serves as a Board member for several companies dealing in supply chain logistics, grower/shipping, and Information Systems.
Bruce's experience and wisdom will help Home Town Farms build the most efficient retail outlets. Home Town Farms believes that Bruce will also be a great help in developing strategies for successful growth.
Roy Peleg, M.Sc, Agriculture Science
Mr. Peleg is CEO and partner in AraZim; an Israeli consulting company emphasizing in Ag-business services. Mr. Peleg was the Greenhouse Division Director, Regional Manager and Marketing Director for Netafim Ltd. a world leader in smart irrigation and greenhouse solutions (http://www.netafim.com). Mr. Peleg also served as the Chief Agronomist Corporate Greenhouse Division. As Chief Agronomist he was responsible for the scope and agronomic planning of TKP (Turn Key Projects) and upgrades worldwide, Agronomics support for greenhouse projects for all territories; Mr. Peleg also collaborated with research bodies on crop growing technologies, soil substrates, irrigation in greenhouses and farm management.
While Mr. Peleg was Greenhouse Division Director he was responsible for establishing the greenhouse divisions across; Japan, India, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Australia-NZ. He managed the greenhouse division manager in each country as well as the agronomic work force, Conducted the education and training programs for Netafim in the field of greenhouse engineering, agronomy, sales and marketing.
As Regional Manager Mr. Peleg managed the day to day business operations, including agronomy and business development in several countries including; Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar. While Marketing Director at Netafim Mr. Peleg was involved in the development of the Greenhouse solution for Japan and Korean national agriculture reconstruction (2009) and he was also involved with the development of the regional co-services company to deliver agronomic and technical services to farmers.
Mr. Peleg has 24 years of experience in the agriculture business including 5 years with Fertilizers and Chemical (ICL). Mr. Peleg has significant experience and knowledge in Greenhouses, Growing substrates, Vegetables, Herbs, Fertilization, Irrigation, Agriculture Marketing, Agriculture Planning and Business Development.
Mr. Peleg is an agronomist and holds a B.Sc and an M.Sc in Agriculture Science both from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Mr. Peleg will be a great help to us, he will ensure that we are using the right growing technologies and methodologies to ensure the production of the highest quality and quantity of vegetable and berries possible.
Mr. Hanson is CEO of Hanson Maslen Group (www.HansonMaslenGroup.com). Prior to consulting, he was Vice President of Corporate Communications at Microsoft, where he developed and executed the company's highly acclaimed branding strategy which included the market introduction of Microsoft's most popular producta graphical interface that he named "Windows." Several books published on the history of Microsoft document the strategies executed that led to the dominance of the Microsoft and Windows brands. Prior to Microsoft, he served as Vice President of Worldwide Marketing for Neutrogena Corporation, a skin care and cosmetics company that registered phenomenal growth thru new product introductions and global partnering before being acquired by Johnson & Johnson.
Rowland was also a business development consultant, branding consultant, and board member of The Nautilus Group (NYSE: NLS), the developer and marketer of such brands as Bowflex, Nautilus, Schwinn Fitness, and StairMaster. See www.nautilus.com.
Rowland is a Managing Partner at the Santa Barbara Wellness Institute which is a source for creating and maintaining a lifestyle dedicated to wellness. The Institute, led by internationally-recognized wellness experts, offers education, online communities, and a wide array of products that are the building blocks for a healthy mind, body, and spirit. http://www.sbwi.com. He is also a Partner at Montecito Corporation, the company leverages their proprietary Market Intelligence Systems, extensive healthcare industry experience and capital to help our partners identify and qualify the best sites for medical and senior living ventures in the country. http://www.montecitocorporation.com
Rowland has a BBA from Loyola University (Jesuit Honors Society) and an MBA from Wharton School of Business (Director's List). Rowland will be instrumental in forming our Branding strategy to ensure we are perceived as the leading experts on vertical urban farms and to brand our vegetables and berries as the most "Eco-Friendly" on earth.
Sanford B. Ehrlich, Ph.D.
Sanford B. Ehrlich is the QUALCOMM Executive Director of Entrepreneurship for the Entrepreneurial Management Center at San Diego State University within the College of Business Administration. Under Dr. Ehrlich's leadership, the EMC has been recognized among the top business schools for entrepreneurship by U.S. News and World Report and is a NASDAQ Center of Entrepreneurial Excellence. His teaching, research, and consulting is focused on entrepreneur-investor relations, leadership and organization design of emerging growth companies, corporate entrepreneurship, and technology commercialization.
His publications have appeared in the Journal of Business Venturing, Organization Studies, Administrative Science Quarterly, Leadership Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Technology Transfer, Family Business Review, and the International Management Journal. For the past 5 years, Dr. Ehrlich has worked with the Peres Center for Peace in Israel to establish cross-country collaborations in the agricultural and food industries to commercialize new products. In this regard, Dr. Ehrlich has been a featured speaker at several conferences in the agricultural sector. At AgriTech, Israel's major agricultural technology conference, Dr. Ehrlich has presented a model for commercializing new food products, borrowing development models from technology-based companies.
Dr. Ehrlich is a member of the Board of Directors for Deep Sky Software Inc. (privately-held), and has formerly served as a Director of The Healthy Back Store Inc. and Amistar Corporation. He also serves on the board of advisors for Accenx Technologies, Confirm BioSciences, and Sullivan International Group. In addition to his involvement with entrepreneurial companies, he serves as a director and advisor to the following organizations that promote entrepreneurial development: San Diego MIT Enterprise Forum and CONNECT. For his work in entrepreneurship, he has received the 2000 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the 2001 Edwin M. and Gloria W. Appel Award from the Price-Babson Foundation. In 2007, Dr. Ehrlich was named one of the Top 18 Professors in Entrepreneurship by Fortune Small Business. He is also a Fellow of the Beyster Institute in the Rady School at University of California, San Diego.
Mr. Nishiguchi has over 35 years of experience in agriculture, farming, packaging and selling produce. Tosh has managed farms that had more than 400 employees and was responsible for the production, harvesting, packing, shipping and sale of strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, green beans, corn and watermelon. Tosh also has experience as a produce department manager were he was responsible for the staff, training them, ordering produce, receiving and preparing the produce, display and inventory management.
Tosh has extensive knowledge regarding all aspects of growing, propagation, plant and pest identification. Tosh's expertise and knowledge of farming will help us prevent typical farming issues and ensure a well run efficient farm to market operation. Tosh speaks fluent Spanish, Japanese and English. Tosh attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the field of Agricultural and Horticultural field.
Robert Noble Architect, AIA, LEED AP
Mr. Noble is an architect, environmental designer, industrial designer and environmental technology entrepreneur, and has been the recipient of numerous regional and national awards for his industrial and architectural designs, and green technology innovations. Over his 29 year career, he and/or his work has been awarded Entrepreneur Magazine's Environmental Innovator of the Year, the Edison Award for Environmental Achievement and "Best of What's New" Popular Science 100 Best of 1993, and awards from the American Institute of Architects, the Urban Land Institute and many others.
He attended UC San Diego, UC Berkeley, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Harvard Business School, and Cambridge University Graduate Department of Architecture. He is well known in the San Diego area as the past CEO of Tucker Sadler Architects, having led the turn-around and rebuilding of the 50 year old firm into the leading sustainable design firm in the region.
He is Founder and CEO of Envision Solar, which is positioned as the leading firm worldwide at the convergence of the solar photovoltaic, building/real estate and transportation industries. Envision Solar designs, engineers and installs photovoltaic solar parking arrays and other commercial and residential Solar Integrated Infrastructure and Building Systems worldwide, including LifeVillage⟳elf-sufficient decentralized power production facilities for developing nation and other markets.
He is Past Chair of the US Green Building Council of San Diego, Past President of the American Institute of Architects of San Diego, Chairman of the Board of the California Center for Sustainable Energy, past Chair of the California American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment, past Board Member of The Old Globe Theatre, Advisory Board Member of Clean Tech Institute and past Chairman of the San Diego Downtown YMCA.
He and his work have been published extensively, and he has written over 40 articles regarding sustainable design, USBGC LEED Certification, emergency shelter for disaster relief, renewable energy and many other subjects. He has been a highly committed and vocal local, regional and national advocate of environmentally responsible manufacturing, design and planning, and low-cost, emergency and affordable housing for over 25 years.
- Harvard University Graduate School of Design
- Cambridge University Graduate Department of Architecture
- Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration
- University of California at San Diego and Berkeley, Undergraduate Studies
Bob will be a great help to us in developing vertical roof top farms as well as the designing of our BIGS project (Building Integrated Growing Systems; multi story vertical growing). Bob's entrepreneur and business skills will be a great help too.
Mr. Juergensen has over 20 years of experience in developing, building, managing and commercializing energy projects including renewable and traditional technologies. This includes proven technologies such as gas turbines and solid fuel projects as will as product development in advanced solar, engine technology, and energy software. Mr. Juergensen specializes in power generation, asset management, project finance, venture capital, start-ups, technology commercialization, product development, mergers and acquisitions, clean tech, sustainability, renewable energy.
Mr. Juergensen is on the Board of Directors of CleanTech San Diego, a non-profit 501(c) 6 committed to form and foster energy and environmental technology cluster in the San Diego region. CleanTech membership consists of City and County governments, research institutions, industry, professional service providers, and capital providers; Board member of Clean Ventures, Clean Ventures is a clean technology business accelerator based in San Diego region; Board member Los Angles Power Association, LAPA is a non-profit association providing a venue for major organization in Southern California to discuss energy supply issues. Board member Sterling Energy, one of the original members of this leading power generation management services firm.
Home Town Farms will utilize Mr. Juergensen's extensive experience in renewable and traditional power generation technologies to ensure that Home Town Farms uses renewable energy technologies to maximize energy efficiencies and cost savings.
Steven A. Brody, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Brody is a Reproductive Endocrinologist and Medical Director of Reproductive Endocrine Associates in La Jolla, California. He is an internationally-recognized clinical specialist, lecturer and researcher in nutritional genomics, anti-aging, menopausal medicine and neuroendocrinology. He also has a special interest in the role of nutrition in assistant reproduction and developmental biology.
Dr. Brody received his Bachelor's degree from Brown University in Providence, RI and his medical degree from Washington U. School of Medicine in St. Louis. He is the only physician in the U.S. who is Board Certified in the following four specialties: Internal Medicine, Endocrinology & Metabolism, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility. He trained at Yale-New Haven Hospital, N.I.H., Stanford University School of Medicine and Baylor College of Medicine, respectively.
In the past Dr. Brody has served in both leadership and advisory capacities. He was Associate Director of Reproductive Endocrinology at Baylor, Director of GYN Surgery at Ben Taub Hospital in Houston, Vice Regent of the International College of Surgeons, and Medical Director of Reproductive Endocrinology at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego. Dr. Brody served in the military as a Lieutenant Commander (surgeon) in the U.S. Public Health Service.
Dr. Brody is President of Phi Beta Kappa Epsilon Association in San Diego. At UCSD School of Medicine in La Jolla, Dr. Brody is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism. He is a Staff Physician at Alvarado Hospital and at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla. Dr. Brody would like to publish papers based on vine ripened organic produce that has more nutrients than traditionally grown produce and its' effect on people's over all health.
Chef Gordon Smith
Gordon Smith has over 35 years combined experience in organic food and farming both as chef and company owner. A California native, after graduation from Sacramento State with a B.S. in Communications, he entered the restaurant business, training under legendary chefs including Michel Stroot of the Golden Door. Chef Gordon became a respected specialist in spa cuisine and was instrumental in opening Deepak Chopra's Center for Well Being in La Jolla, California. Afterwards, he served as executive chef for major resorts in California.
During Los Angeles Olympics, he worked as kitchen manager to help plan, organize and feed healthy meals to 7,000 athletes in addition to catering presidential and mayoral events. At the Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt Germany, Smith was part of the American Natural Food Team which won two Silver Medals. A long time advocate of organics, his company, Gordon's Specialty Produce, serviced independent markets in San Diego with a wide variety of gourmet vegetables. He was thrice awarded Best Chef of North County for his own restaurant, Basil Street Cafe in Encinitas where he also owned a full service catering business. As an accredited teacher for regional occupations program, he gave demonstrations on the use of fresh herbs in food preparation and taught cooking to special education students. He has been a private chef for clients that include First Lady Betty Ford, Michael Eisner, Saudi Prince Fahad and James Garner.
For 5 years, Gordon was the backstage kitchen manager for Farm Aid. An early proponent of Community Sponsored Agriculture, he helped launch a CSA at Seabreeze Organic Farm with farmer/owner, Stephenie Cauglin. His interest in preserving the small farmer led him to found Slow Food San Diego. He served a four year term as Governor of Slow Food Southern California and was twice selected as a delegate at the Slow Food Terra Madre, an international conference of food communities from 150 countries united by a mutual goal of global sustainability. Currently, Gordon is co-owner of Vale View Farm in Vista, California which specializes in vertical growing. Chef Gordon's reputation as a top Chef and local food advocate will be instrumental to Home Town Farms in developing relationships with top Restaurants, Resorts, Spas, Wellness Centers and "local food" community groups.