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CSUB alumnus Jeff Huckaby selected for prestigious ‘Made in the CSU’ campaign

California State University, Bakersfield alumnus Jeff Huckaby, a titan in the world of agriculture, was selected from 3.7 million alumni by the CSU Chancellor’s Office for a campaign to highlight the most distinguished graduates in the 162-year history of the system.

Five other CSU alumni from throughout the state join Huckaby in the 2019 “Made in the CSU” recognition. Huckaby is the sole selection from CSU Bakersfield.

“We are so proud that the California State University system is showcasing one of our own, CSUB alumnus Jeff Huckaby, who is the standard bearer of hard work, integrity and innovative leadership in the agricultural industry,” said CSUB President Lynnette Zelezny. “Jeff’s professional success exemplifies the power of the California State University that educates leaders to serve their regions and the world.  Thanks for putting us on the map, Jeff!”

As president of Grimmway Enterprises, Huckaby operates the world’s largest grower, packer and shipper of carrots and the nation’s largest grower of organic vegetables.

“I had a passion for farming, having grown up in it, living it, and it being in our family for so long,” Huckaby told the university in an interview in February, when he was inducted into the CSUB Alumni Hall of Fame. “You either have a passion for faming or you don’t, and you won’t last long if you don’t.”

The Chancellor’s Office asked each of the 23 CSU campuses to nominate up to three alumni for “Made in the CSU.”  Among the criteria considered in the selection process was impact, compelling story, access to the alumnus and diversity. Elected officials were not eligible.

Huckaby’s likeness will grace printed materials set for display near Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office at the state Capitol, the CSUB Board of Trustees headquarters in Long Beach, and alumni events throughout the country, said a spokeswoman at the Chancellor’s Office.  

Honored alongside Huckaby in the “Made in the CSU” campaign are:

  • Phillip Boutté Jr. (CSU Long Beach) Concept Costume Artist, entertainment industry. Boutté has designed costume concepts for blockbuster films such as “Black Panther" and “A Wrinkle in Time," television shows including “Westworld" and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and the Broadway musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch."
  • Gerald Freeny (Cal State LA) 2019 President, Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. In his role as the 2019 President, Freeny provided leadership for the 130th Rose Parade and the 105th Rose Bowl Game.  
  • Erica Lockheimer (San José State) Vice President of Engineering, Learning, LinkedIn. Lockheimer serves as vice president of engineering, LinkedIn Learning, working to empower every member of the global workforce to develop the skills they need to realize economic opportunity and connect organizations and professionals with learning experiences that make them more productive and successful. 
  • Diane G. Miller (Cal Poly Pomona) Director of InfoSec Operations and Cyber Initiatives, Northrop Grumman Corporation. Miller serves as director of InfoSec Operations and Cyber Initiatives and director of Global Cyber Education & Workforce Program, where she is responsible for ensuring effective information security and works to develop the corporation's cybersecurity strategy. 
  • Julio Cesar Ortiz (CSUN), Television News Reporter, Univision Television Group. Ortiz has been awarded 20 Emmys, nine Associated Press Writer of the Year awards and several Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike awards.

The CSU has honored eight other CSUB alumni with a similar campaign in the past:

  • Jon Van Boening, President and CEO of Dignity Health
  • Donald E. Carter, Superintendent, Kern High School District
  • Sheryl Chalupa, President and CEO, Goodwill Industries of South Central California
  • Greg Colson, American artist
  • Jeff Colson, American artist
  • Joel Heinrichs, CEO, Lightspeed Systems
  • Tara-Nicholle Nelson, Founder and CEO, RETHINK Multimedia, Inc.
  • Kathleen O’Neal Gear, Best-selling Author

In addition to being inducted into the CSUB Alumni Hall of Fame, Huckaby joined U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in March to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, the second consecutive year Huckaby enjoyed the honor.

A 1989 CSUB graduate in Petroleum Studies, Huckaby followed his family’s passion for farming, starting at Wm Bolthouse Farms before joining Grimmway, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

“He’s so instrumental to our relationship with the huge retail stores,” Kari Grimm-Anderson, widow of Grimmway co-founder Bob Grimm, told CSUB in February. “They all want to talk to Jeff Huckaby. He’s kind of a rock star in the produce industry.”

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