Congratulations AgForestry Class 44!

Back Row (L to R):
Ryan Baye – Wash. Assn. of Conservation Districts – Lacey
Tyler West – AgWest Farm Credit – Seattle
Derek Friehe – Friehe Farms – Moses Lake
Justin Stang – Hama Hama Co. – Olympia
Carolyn Groom – AgWest Farm Credit – Pasco

Middle Row:
Colin Towne – Weyerhaeuser
Eric Dixon – South Columbia Basin Irrigation District – Kennewick
Tiffany Pitra – Yakima Chief Hops – Yakima
Carrie Nelson – Dept. of Natural Resources – Tacoma
Wioletta Skotnicka-Kowalec – Ste. Michelle Wine Estates – Richland
Megan Schultz – Weyerhaeuser – Kalama
Tammy Edmonds – Darigold – Kennewick

Front Row:
Andy Perleberg – WSU Extension – Cashmere
Natalie Sahli – Dept. of Natural Resources – Olympia
Maggie Elliot – Wash. Hop Commission – Moxee
Rosa Dekker – East Columbia Basin Irrigation District – Othello
Madi Roy – Wash. State Dept. of Agriculture – Yakima
Amber Itle – Wash. State Dept. of Agriculture – Bellingham

Public Policy Presentations & Lunch!

New this year! Watch the Public Policy Presentations that class members have been working on for the past 18 months!

When: Thursday, April 11, 2024
8:30 am – Panel Introductions and Process
9:00 am – Agriculture Pest and Disease Response Fund 
(Maggie Elliot, Amber Itle, Andy Perleberg, Tyler West, Rosa Dekker)
10:45 am – Federal Exemption for the Connell High School Commercial Drivers License Program
(Natalie Sahli, Eric Dixon, Wioletta Skotnicka-Kowalec, Derek Friehe)
12:15 pm – Lunch
1:15 pm – Creating Connections for Young, Beginning, and Small Producers
(Colin Towne, Carolyn Groom, Carrie Nelson, Madi Roy)
3:00 pm – Funding Agricultural, Natural Resource, and Forestry Career Preparation Programs in Washington State
(Megan Schultz, Justin Stang, Tiffany Pitra, Ryan Baye, Tammy Edmonds)

Where: Hotel Indigo – Everett Waterfront
Starboard Room
1028 13th Street
Everett, WA 98201
Click here for discounted hotel reservations

Graduation Details!

When: Friday, April 12, 2024
5:00 pm – Networking Reception
6:00 pm – Dinner and Graduation Ceremony

Where: Hotel Indigo – Everett Waterfront
1028 13th Street
Everett, WA 98201
Click here for discounted hotel reservations.

Registration for Graduation is closed. If you're interested in attending please call Julie at 360-941-1613 or email and we'll do our best to add you on!

Congratulations Class 44 Award Winners!

Carol Mercer Inspirational Award

Karl and Lexie Kupers Leading Edge Leadership Award

Jack Felgenhauer "Making a Difference" Community Service Award

Dr. Amber Itle embodies the characteristics of Carol Mercer. She demonstrates an incredible amount of enthusiasm and is a consistent force of empowerment and encouragement. She lives her values and lifts up her classmates, both publicly and one-on-one. She is an avid supporter of agriculture and natural resources and as State Veterinarian makes significant contributions to health and safety in our communities, animal welfare, and economic prosperity of agriculture.

She has been a constant inspiration through her encouragement, enthusiasm, and empowerment. She mingles throughout our class giving everyone a little bit of her sparkle.  Amber has a warmth and glow about her that is hard to miss, and she deeply cares for everyone she touches.  She gives 100% to everything she does.  

Justin Stang has a tenacious spirit in tackling new challenges, always looks forward, harnesses thoughtful optimism in navigating problems and considering approaches to adapt and improve in the face of complex issues. His unparalleled excitement and sincere curiosity instill a magnetic energy as we consider opportunities to forge meaningful impacts. 

Justin’s enthusiasm is unparallelled. He possesses childlike curiosity about everything he encounters. He is always open-minded to ideas and solutions. His breadth of knowledge is impressive—a Renaissance man. He has passion for the shellfish industry–for its growth and success.

Andy Perleberg lives and leads with selfless compassion, humility and service. Throughout his career, he has selflessly served marginalized communities, tribal communities, disabled communities, vulnerable communities, local, state, national and international communities.  He digs a neighbor out of the snow, he is the last one to leave a room to see if you need a hand, or to hold a door. He serves all indiscriminately to ‘make a difference’.  He takes genuine interest in everyone he encounters, listens and then regularly shares “customized” information and management plans to meet the needs of the community he is serving in impactful ways. 

Andy takes “service community” to the next level. He’s selfless and always willing to help.  Andy is the epitome of the word “serve”. He does so naturally: if it’s shoveling his neighbor’s driveway, patrolling a community park, or saving a forest and wildlife. He is always trying to make things better for people, and mother nature. He is selfless in all that he does for his family, his community, and in his work life. 

Stu Bledsoe Memorial Award - Jaime A. Pinkham - AgForestry Class 9

Jaime A. Pinkham has served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works since his appointment in April 2021. He oversees policy direction and supervision for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program, including water resource conservation, flood control, navigation, and ecosystem restoration.

Pinkham has held positions including Executive Director of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and Vice President of the Bush Foundation, focusing on Native nations’ governance redesign and advocacy for tribal sovereignty.

Pinkham is a Nez Perce Tribe citizen and holds forestry degrees from Oregon State University and Peninsula College. He has received prestigious awards for service to tribal communities. He is actively engaged in various non-profit organizations and enjoys activities such as fishing, hunting, hiking, and participating in traditional drum ceremonies in Nez Perce Country with his family.

Class 44 selected Jaime for the Stu Bledsoe Award to recognize his impactful leadership in affirming tribal sovereignty and environmental stewardship. Pinkham’s career exemplifies a commitment to building relationships and seeking diverse coalitions. Last year in Washington, DC, Pinkham connected with Class 44, reminiscing about his days in AgForestry Class 9. The class was inspired by his dedication to embracing new perspectives and fostering equitable systems of governance. His leadership journey underscored for the class the strength and resilience that can be cultivated as leaders when we prioritize inclusivity and innovation.  

Class 44 Speaker

Maggie Elliot is an excellent and professional speaker. She possesses a nice balance of presence and thoughtfulness that shines when she speaks publicly. She articulates her thoughts in an eloquent way. Throughout our journey together, Maggie has used public speaking to share her personal life and stand up for her values in a way that authentically conveys the powerful impact that AgForestry has had on her.

Maggie inspires through her professionalism and confident communication, the way she synthesizes and presents information and shares her objectives and vision.  She inspires her classmates, colleagues, communities and minoritized groups through her ability to be courageous and vulnerable.  Maggie is a showstopper and a natural inspirational speaker beyond her years.

Thank you to our sponsors!

Wine Glass and Table Wine Sponsor
Table Wine Sponsor

Event Sponsors

Arbaugh & Associates, Inc. Dave and Jan Roseleip

Class Sponsors

on your graduation.  Now it’s time for
YOU to figure out how to apply it. The sooner the better. A lot has been
invested in you so don’t waste it!
Good luck, Jerry Gutzwiler, Class V (that 39 years has gone by fast)

Congratulations Class 44, and may your leadership future be much more successful than the various buses on your international trip. – AgForestry Class 32

Congrats from Class 38! All the best as you lean into the world to impact it with your AgForestry education. – Class 38 – Best Class Infinity

Class 1 sends congratulations and best wishes to graduating Class 44.

Don’t wait for your ship to come in; swim out to it.  -anonymous

We hope that through AgForestry you were able to round off some of your square shoulders to see each other’s point of view. We hope those involved in policy making got a little dirt under their fingernails to see the complexity of each Ag business trying to put food on America’s table. The best to you! – Class 3

Congratulations on your accomplishment. Choose to make a difference with what you have learned to make the world a better place. – Class 31

Use what you have learned in AgForestry in help future generations in Natural Resource Industries. Congratulations! Class 22

Congratulations, Class 44! As you move forward, may you leverage your AgForestry experience to make impactful contributions to your communities and industries. Best wishes for a fulfilling and prosperous journey ahead!” – Class 43

Classes 4, 8, 10, 18, 33, and 37

Check back for additional updates. Contact with questions.