Board of Directors
Dr. Melanie Chiesa is a native of Stanislaus County and a lifelong resident of Hughson. Dr. Chiesa is an optometrist with Monte Vista Optometry in Turlock. Chiesa and her husband Kevin are also longtime farmers in the Hughson area. Chiesa is a member of the Hughson Chamber of Commerce, Stanislaus County Farm Bureau, California Optometric Association, Gratton Parent Teacher Club, St. Anthony’s Pastoral Council and the Young Ladies Institute.
Bill Jackson’s family is part of the rich agricultural history of Oakdale and Stanislaus county, and the family’s legacy dates back to the mid-1800s. Today, VA Rodden includes the diversification from cattle holdings to include almonds, walnuts, wine grapes and silage. For that heritage and for his own innovations and work ethic, Jackson was named the 2011 Livestock Man of the Year by California’s livestock industry and the California Chamber of Commerce.
As a principal in Grimbleby Coleman, Jeff is a tax department “Partner”—a tax accounting resource for clients and staff and a tax planning and reporting expert. A native of the San Joaquin Valley and a resident of Turlock, Coleman also serves on the Modesto Chamber of Commerce Agricultural committee. Jeff received his BS in Agricultural and Managerial Economics, followed by a Masters in Taxation and is a CPA.
Chris Tyler is a former portfolio manager and equity research analyst for Great Gable Partners, a Bay Area hedge fund, and the Managing Partner of Terravest Capital Partners. He has served as Deputy Chief of Staff for California State Senate District 12, City of Modesto Planning Commissioner, Board Member of Modesto’s State Theatre and Co-Founder and Treasurer of the Miracle League of Stanislaus State.
Craig Lewis is the President and CEO of Lewis Capital Advisors which focuses on commercial brokerage, development and property management. Before this venture, Lewis owned and operated the Prudential California Realty brand in the Central Valley for 33 years and also worked as a commercial broker at Berkshire Hathaway Commercial for three years. Lewis has a long history of involvement in community initiatives focused on developing the Central Valley’s economic base for years to come. These endeavors have led to Lewis being named the Modesto Chamber of Commerce “Citizen of the Year” for 2001 and the Small Business Advocate of the Year by the California Chamber of Commerce in 2013.
Jeffrey Burda is the Loan Team Leader and Senior Vice President for Mid-Valley RCBO at Wells Fargo Bank. Burda has more than 30 years of financial experience in banking. Previously, he President/Chief Executive Officer for Modesto Commerce Bank and was part of the leadership team for Bank of Stockton for many years . Burda is a committee member for the Land Use & Transportation for the Chamber of Commerce as well as Investment Committee member at the Gallo Center for the Arts and Stanislaus Community Foundation. Burda’s past board services include President of Modesto Chamber of Commerce, Modesto Rehabilitation Hospital, Memorial Hospital Association, Stanislaus Credit Bureau and Del Rio Country Club among many other organizations in Stanislaus County.
Seana Day is a native of Stanislaus County and currently resides in her hometown of Turlock, CA. Seana brings over 12 years of investment, M&A advisory and technology experience to Better Food Ventures and the Mixing Bowl Hub. Prior to her involvement in food and agriculture, Seana was a technology investment banker at AGC Partners in London, Ridgecrest Capital Partners in the Bay Area and Headwaters MB in Denver. Her background also includes Head of Restructuring and Operations at Versata Enterprises. Seana currently serves as a Board Member of Dave Wilson Nursery and is a member of Stanislaus New Leadership Network.
Lynn Dickerson is Chief Executive Officer of the Gallo Center for the Arts. Previously, she worked for 30 years managing various media companies, serving as Vice President for Operations for the McClatchy Company, and President and Publisher of the Modesto Bee. Dickerson has served as President of the Modesto Junior College Foundation; Campaign Chairman for the United Way of Greater Stanislaus County and on the Boards of several area nonprofits.
Joe Duran has extensive experience at the leadership level in community banking and the credit union sector. He currently serves as a Board member with City Ministry Network as well as Community Transitional Resources. Duran is the Co-Founder of the Latino Business Association of Stanislaus County and served on the Board of Directors for the Community Hospice Foundation. Duran and his family in in Ripon.
Britta Foster is a partner at Zentiv, a boutique marketing agency based out of Sonoma County. In addition to her professional work, Britta and her husband, Jeff Foster, started the Modesto chapter of Blessings in a Backpack in 2012 which now feeds more than 1800 students each week. Additionally, Britta is an active supporter of many local organizations including the Stanislaus Family Justice Center and the Gallo Center for the Arts. Britta and Jeff have three children.
Louis Friedman’s law practice emphasizes the areas of Estate Planning, Finance, Business Organization, Succession Planning and Asset Protection. He has vast experience advising family owned and closely held companies and has spent decades working in this field as a CPA, attorney, and senior officer of a family owned business. Some of his local positions have included the Gallo Center for the Arts, Modesto Rotary Club, Sylvan Unified School District and the Stanislaus Business Forum Steering Committee.
Matt Friedrich was raised in Patterson where his father and brother still farm. He attended Central Catholic High School and then Santa Clara University before earning his law degree at U.C. Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. After working several years for law firms in San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties, Matt and his partners started their own firm. Matt’s practice primarily involved tax planning and business transactional work. In 2012, Matt accepted a position as General Counsel, Family Taxation, with E. & J. Gallo Winery where he works today. Matt’s wife, Christina Tourtlotte, is a dentist in Oakdale and they have four children.
Lazar is a realtor with Century 21 M&M and Associates in Turlock. He served eight years as Turlock’s mayor and 14 years as a Turlock City Council member. He continues to contribute to the community as a member of the Emanuel Medical enter Governing Board, the We Care Program – Turlock Board and Turlock Rotary Club.
Dave Olson has over 42 years of restaurant industry experience and began his career with OCAT, INC. in June of 1984 as a District Manager. He was promoted to the position of Director of Operations in September of 1990 and then promoted to Vice President/General Manager in December of 1997. As Vice President/General Manager, he oversaw the Company’s expansion into Casual Dining with Chevy’s Fresh Mex and Fuzio Universal Pasta restaurants. Olson also supervised the opening of five Chevy’s restaurants, two Fuzio restaurants and the addition of 15 Taco Bell restaurants in the Fresno market from 1997 through 2004. On October 29, 2004, the Taco Bell restaurants were sold by OCAT, INC. founder, J. Allen Beebe to Olson.
Judy Sly Herrero retired in 2013 as Editor of the Opinions Page after a 40-year career that included various reporting, editing and management positions. The recipient of multiple awards in journalism and editorial writing, Judy also has deep community roots as a volunteer with multiple local organizations. Judy is a Vestry member at Wellspring Anglican Church, a member of the North Modesto Kiwanis Club, volunteer ambassador for Team in Training for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, marketing committee member for Boys & Girls Clubs of Stanislaus County and a weekly volunteer in a kindergarten class at Sipherd School. Judy serves as the chairperson of the Grants Committee at Stanislaus Community Foundation.