The Irrigation Association (IA) announced that three irrigation leaders have been elected to serve on the IA board of directors. The board is tasked with establishing the association’s strategic direction, policies and programs. Directors are nominated each year by members of the association and represent the diversity of member types and market segments. The new directors are as follows:
Richard Arias is the vice president of sales for the Southwest United States and Mexico for both RDO Water and RDO Equipment Company (San Diego, California). He began his career in 2001 with Water Tech Ag Supply, a family business, managing Water Tech de Mexico, which was an agricultural irrigation retailer. He built his family business from a small, two-location organization to 11 standalone business units throughout the Southwest United States and Mexico. In 2013, they sold the business to RDO Equipment Company, which is a global John Deere dealership.
Arias’ involvement with the Irrigation Association includes serving on the Public Affairs Committee. Outside of the IA, he served on the California Irrigation Association Board for four years including being president. He also sat on the board for the Oceanside Boys and Girls Club and volunteered and coached soccer for the American Youth Soccer Organization Matrix.
Julie Bushell is the director of sales and marketing for the ag division of Paige Electric Co. (Union, New Jersey) and the president of Paige Wireless (Union, New Jersey). Bushell’s career has been focused on agriculture since joining Paige in 2004. She began her role as director of sales and marketing for the ag division in 2012. Her passion drives Paige precision ag, from products and services to emerging technology and advocacy. She became a partner of Paige Electric in 2013. In March 2019, Bushell became president of Paige Wireless, a new innovative arm of Paige Electric. Paige Wireless was born from her love of agriculture and dedication to continuous improvement.
Bushell’s involvement with the Irrigation Association includes serving on the IA PAC Board of Advisors as well as the Government Affairs Committee. She served as chair from 2017-2019 and vice chair from 2015-2017 of the Government Affairs Committee. She has also been active on several IA task forces including the farm bill and annual fly-in.
Eric Santos, CAIS, CGIA, CIC, CID, CIT, CLIA, CLWM, is the vice president of irrigation services for the landscape maintenance division of BrightView Landscape Services (Calabasas, California). Santos has been in the irrigation industry for 26 years. He graduated with a bachelor’s in agricultural engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. While attending Cal Poly, he began his career in the landscape irrigation industry as a laborer on an irrigation installation crew. From there he moved into roles as an irrigation supervisor, irrigation estimator and irrigation manager. In 2002, he was promoted to national division irrigation advisor for ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance. He has been in his current role with BrightView since 2014.
Santos’ involvement with the Irrigation Association includes serving on the Education Committee, being a new product contest judge and chairing the former Contractor Common Interest Group. He was also highly involved with the Irrigation Foundation, serving on its Board of Trustees and as chair. Outside of the IA, he is heavily involved with the California Landscape Contractors Association. Santos holds many IA certifications as well as the National Association of Landscape Professional’s lawn care technician certification, the Florida Water Star certification, QWEL certification and CLCA’s water manager certification.