WAFLA's New CEO Pt 2

WAFLA's New CEO Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Enrique Gastelum has been hired as the new CEO at WAFLA and is about a month into his new duties.

The former Washington Farm Bureau Chief Financial Director says challenges are out there, like the newly removed overtime exemption, as well as finding the necessary labor …

GASTELUM … “And on the labor supply side is using the vitally important H-2A program to bring workers legally, from out of the United States, from countries like Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Jamaica, to come and help work these ag labor-intensive crops.”

But, Gastelum says WAFLA won’t back down …

GASTELUM … “Now, the program’s not perfect. There’s still a lot of administrative stuff where it can get cleaned up and become more efficient, but that will take some political savvy to get to see that happen at the federal and state government levels.”

So, Gastelum says he’ll take the challenges as they come …

GASTELUM … “While lots of things concern me, nothing scares me. I’m up for the task and it’s good too when you know you’ve got a great team here of staff at WAFLA and we have even better members and the industry that we’re serving.”

It’s a cause, Gastelum says that’s near and dear …

GASTELUM … “The farmers, farmworkers that we work with, to me, these rural communities that we’re helping support, that just speaks to my heart, and so it’s easy to serve people that are living those lives.”

Gastelum says there’s plenty of work ahead, but he’s ready to listen and observe, and to roll up his sleeves and get to it.

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