WAFLA announced Monday the hiring of a new CEO Enrique ‘Rick’ Gastelum. Since 2013, Gastelum, served as the Chief Financial Officer for the Washington Farm Bureau where he managed the business operations and finances of the organization. While there, he also led Farm Bureau Solutions, a labor and employment educational outreach program.
“This opportunity could not have been realized without my family, my cultural roots, my professional experiences, and the countless people who supported me over the years,” said Gastelum. “I am humbled and blessed to take on this next chapter of my career working with a wonderful staff and member farms who feed our world.”
Prior to his employment at the Washington Farm Bureau, he served as a Regional DOSH Consultation Manager with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. He has 20 years of experience consulting with businesses from various industries, leading teams, managing projects, and developing employees to perform at a high level.
Gastelum is only the second CEO to lead WAFLA. Founding CEO Dan Fazio will stay with the organization in a strategic projects role focusing on recruiting and housing.
“Rick is the perfect choice to lead wafla and support our member farms as they work to overcome the challenge of maintaining a consistent workforce that gives guest workers the dignity of legal presence,” said Fazio. “Rick’s been a strong advocate for agriculture and brings a diverse mix of work and personal experience that will serve wafla’s members well. I couldn’t be more excited for Rick to join us!”
Gastelum grew up in a farm-working family in Sunnyside, WA, where he worked among the agricultural community picking cherries, cutting asparagus, working in packing warehouses, and working in irrigation supply and sales. He went on to attend Washington State University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology, followed by an MBA in Public Administration from the University of Phoenix.
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