Research Designed For Agriculture
Steve West - COO, VP & Director Of Research
Steve West, COO and Research Director for RD4AG grew up alternatingly on the end of a spray hose, irrigating citrus or sweeping the (200 acre) shop floor at the family businesses of farming, aerial and ground pest control application and pesticide distribution. A 5th generation Southern California farmer, it seemed natural that in 1983, after previously gaining a degree in Agronomy, Steve would join with Lee and start a crop consulting business. Steve believes in innovation and is constantly looking for ways in which new technologies can be used to improve quality, accuracy and efficiency in the research field. While running RD4AG takes much of Steve’s time, he still finds a little time to enjoy fishing, hunting and shooting sports. Steve has a soft spot for dogs – in particular 3 French Spaniels who join him in the hunt.
Lee West - President & CEO
With family beginnings in the place that eventually became the State of California, Lee West, RD4AG’s President and CEO spent part of her childhood on her grandmother’s rice farm in the Sacramento area. Lee’s love of the great outdoors led her to get a degree in entomology (something that still bugs all of us) and considers herself a naturalist. Lee was the first agricultural researcher to serve as President of the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants, and was a founding member of the Independent Agricultural Consultants of Colorado. Over the years Lee has lent her insight and leadership to many agricultural policy organizations and Ad Hoc committees. Lee, an avid photographer, also runs a nature and agricultural photography business – Cultivated Images. She is a skilled markswoman – both with a camera and a pistol. In her off duty hours, Lee also enjoys tending her garden, growing plants and flowers to encourage insects and birds.
President & CEO
COO, VP &
Cody Chesrown - Agronomy Research Team Lead
Cody describes himself as a bit of a geek for anything historical or Ag related. Having spent 14 years getting his feet wet in Agronomic, and Plant Pathological research. Our Research Agronomist is a recent addition to our team and transplant from North Dakota who decided to become a snow bird much earlier in life. He said one of the main reasons for joining the team was to broaden his knowledge base of crops and cropping systems beyond the typical Midwestern flair, having spent the majority of his career to this point in a soybean breeding project.
For fun he enjoys hunting, fishing and the occasional round of golf.
Paulo Dafoe - Crop Protection Research Team Lead
Paulo Dafoe brings a wealth of international experience to RD4AG. His degree in Agricultural Engineering has enabled him to work doing field research in Brazil, Australia and now here in the USA. As a Research Biologist in our desert research team, Paulo loves the wide variety of tasks he has to perform. “This keeps the work dynamic and interesting” he says. At home, Paulo and his wife Cyntia are also working very hard on training their new puppies, Roxy and Macy.
Kenny Bagby –Research Farm Team Lead
RD4AG’s farm supervisor, Kenny Bagby, came to us with over 30 years of experience and a vast knowledge of farm equipment, irrigation and crop production—In short, a true Farmer. Kenny is a natural mentor for our more junior staff as well as our “go to man” for everything concerning our equipment. He also oversees and participates in the planting, growing and harvesting of all our crops. When not spent with his family, Kenny likes to use some of his spare time staying off road and enjoying extreme Jeep excursions.
Shaunicy Thomas – Data Support Team Lead
Shaunicy is RD4AG’s technical coordinator. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Masters of Education in Human Relations, both from the Northern Arizona University.
Shaunicy has an agriculture background in seed production and distribution and enjoys the wide variety of work RD4AG is involved in and the constant change of pace that makes working here exciting and educational.
She has a strong military family background, a beautiful partner Cassie, and two dogs Onyx (boxer) and Matty (Rottweiler)
Sally Hill – Quality Assurance Team Lead
Commitment is important to Sally Hill who has been with RD4AG for almost two decades. Originally the Data Specialist and Archivist Sally now heads up the QA Team.
Sally takes the long term view in her personal life too, she has been married for over 40 years, is a mother, a grandmother and now great-grandmother. And if you meet her, ask her about “Mr Boots”, her cat.
Crop Protection Research Team Lead
Tex Philpot - Farm Facility Coordinator
Tex Philpot is Farm Facility Coordinator and comes from a very technically oriented military background. Before joining RD4AG, he served 26 years of active duty in the US Coast Guard overseeing mechanical and maintenance concerns, and ultimately becoming a Chief Engineer.
Tex has also worked as a QA and oversight for US Coast Guard contractors in Alaska and in similar roles for the US Army Proving Ground near here in Yuma, and as far away as Afghanistan. On the weekends, Tex enjoys upland game hunting with his 4 lively bird dogs.
Ramiro Galvez – Research Technician III
An Agronomist graduated from the Faculty of Agricultural Science, from the University Autonomous of Baja California, Mexico, Ramiro has been exposed to agriculture since his childhood. For three generations, his family has been devoted to agriculture. Ramiro believes that research in agriculture is very important for the future development of new technologies. He is a husband and father to three beautiful girls and spends his spare time as a karate instructor, and training a group of children for karate tournaments.
Jennifer Bundy - Training Development Coordinator
Jennifer contributes her experience in biological lab management and field experience in entomology. She is currently pursuing a degree in Systems Engineering with emphasis in Biosystems. In her spare time, Jennifer devotes her time studying and photographically documenting the life history of moths and butterflies. Her long term goal is to bridge her two academic disciplines (Entomology & Engineering) to further contribute to new technologies for insect identification.
Farm Facility Coordinator
Training Development Coordinator
Isaiah Wong – Research Technician
A devout family man with an agricultural background, Isaiah Wong is studying Agricultural Science and enjoys the challenges offered by evaluating trials as part of his role as a Research Technician here at RD4AG. He likes to share his experiences with his family, especially his wife and beautiful daughter.
Brandy Tannahill - Research Technician
Brandy describes herself as a “big nerd” who loves seeing how processes work and solving problems hands on. Before joining RD4AG she had a varied career in business and also the Film and TV industries. As a Field Research Technician Brandy utilizes her broad experience and keen attention to detail in precise and expedient field pest and vigor evaluations and logistics. Brandy is passionate about the future of agriculture and finding answers to the big questions developing in ag science and she is currently enrolled in the Agricultural Operations Technology program at Montana State University Northern. In her free time Brandy enjoys swing dancing and shooting shoot trap and skeet.
Gerry Cervantes - Research Technician
Even before graduating High School, Gerry Cervantes worked part time for RD4AG collecting data. After graduating he joined us full time as a Research and Farm Technician. Gerry loves food and where it comes from. His time at RD4AG has engendered a respect for those who grow crops and the importance of their role in providing our food. His passion for nutrition, fitness and natural medicine keep him busy in his free time.
Jose Armando Solis - Farm Technician
Jose Armando Solis – Armando – is studying to be a Mechanical Engineer and is gaining valuable experience as an RD4AG Farm Technician. He participates in the planting and growing process as well as the maintenance of the farm equipment. As he wishes to pursue a career in agriculture, this gives him valuable insights and experience into the role and importance of machinery in today’s agriculture. While working and studying take up most of Armando’s time, he still finds opportunities to play sports, particularly football.
Daniel Sandigo - Farm Technician
Daniel Sandigo is currently a student at Arizona Western College, working on his Bachelors degree in Agricultural Technology Management. Daniel was born and raised on a horse ranch which contributed to his affinity for for animals and a love of farm life. Now, as a member of the American Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers program (YF&R), Daniel is an enthusiastic member of the collegiate agriculture community, and feels right at home at RD4AG.
Jose Armando Solis
Leigh Loughead - Quality Assurance
Leigh Loughead is a Professor of Agricultural Science and Co-Manager of the Land Lab at Arizona Western College. Leigh is a part-time Research Biologist here at RD4AG over the summer and also performs QA assessments on GLP trials as needed. She has a B.S. in Agricultural Education and a Minor in Agricultural Communications from the University of Arizona – Tucson. Before joining RD4AG, Leigh had been an Agriculture Science Teacher and FFA advisor at Yuma High school for 23 years. She is a huge animal lover, active Alumni and supporter of FFA and the Yuma County Collegiate Young Farmers and Ranchers. She enjoys traveling when she can, reading a good mystery and spending time with family and friends.
Rick Wood - Quality Assurance
Working as a part time Auditor for GLP and USDA regulated trials, as well as general farming advice, Rick Wood brings a lifetime of experience to RD4AG. A graduate from the University of Arizona with both a BS and MS in Agriculture Rick first worked with RD4AG 25 years ago as a client when he ran the lettuce program for Action Produce and we were doing the pest management scouting for his fields. Over the years Rick has worked as a grower for several of the progressive farming operations in Central Arizona. Rick has extensive experience in drip irrigation, and besides his assistance to RD4AG, Rick is also the manager of Arizona Plant Breeders and works with Ocean Mist Farms evaluating the desert plantings of lettuce and broccoli. Rick is a lifelong Corvette aficionado, a private pilot, and spends many weekends watching the grandkids in their endeavors.
Mary Heath – Bookkeeper
Mary Heath is our bookkeeper here at RD4AG, and has been working with us for over 20 years. She is going on 21 years as a lung cancer survivor, and is absolutely enamored with her professionally trained Rottweiler service dog, Nana.
Nana carries Mary’s oxygen tank, and Mary enjoys going out with her to go shopping. Nana’s favorite place in the world is Walmart, because she can be very social and enjoy all of the people and smells she encounters there.
Mary’s experience is that public interaction with her dog brings a community together - as complete strangers treat her and her service dog like family. Mary is happily married to her childhood sweetheart John, who keeps things lively by being the cowboy of the family and loves to handle horses and cattle.
Steven Kinney - Quality Assurance
Steve Kinney is our Quality Assurance Auditor. Steve has a varied and extensive background - while an instructor at Colorado Northwest Community College, Steve taught college level courses in Management, computer applications, algebra and statistics, among others. After joining the Ag field, he taught several QA and GLP training classes in multiple venues, including NAICC. He received his BS in Business from University of Colorado, and has been working with RD4AG for 24 years making sure we dot our “i”s and cross our “t”s.
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