Haggin Museum announces Susan Obert as new CEO

Susan Obert

The Haggin Museum announced this week that its Board of Trustees has appointed Susan Obert as the new CEO, effective May 22. Obert will succeed current CEO Tod Ruhstaller, who in January announced his retirement after 37 years of service.
“As a Committee, we took our responsibility of being stewards of the Haggin Museum legacy very seriously,” said Board Chair and Search Committee member John McKinley. “Susan stood out as an experienced and highly-regarded leader who is deeply connected in our community and committed to collaboration. We felt strongly that she would be the right person at the right time for the institution.”
Obert’s experience is rooted in fund development which provides her with a clear understanding of the importance for institutional financial sustainability, which has become even more critical as we emerge from the pandemic. She also has a solid marketing and business background along with a strong commitment to community collaboration.
At the Haggin, increasing responsibility and organizational leadership has been the cornerstone of her role. From day-to-day operations to working on special projects such the James Irvine Foundation grants which led to the 2017 reinterpretation and redesign of the Haggin’s core art galleries, Obert’s experience and commitment can be found.
When Ruhstaller was informed of the Board’s decision he said, “The Haggin could not have a more qualified person to serve as its next CEO than Susan. In the 19 years she has been with the museum as its Director of Development and later as its Deputy Director, she has not only become familiar with practically every aspect of this institution’s everyday operations and management but has also become its public face through her many community outreach efforts and various social media platforms.”
Obert said she is “honored and committed to taking on this next chapter in the Haggin’s future.” 

Emanuel Medical Center names new Chief Human Resources Officer

Traci Holzer

Emanuel Medical Center has appointed Traci Holzer as its new Chief Human Resources Officer, effective May 3.
“We are excited to have Traci join us here at Emanuel,” said Lani Dickinson, CEO of Emanuel Medical Center. “She brings with her many years of experience and wonderful knowledge in the human resources field. She will be a great addition to our executive leadership team.”
Holzer is currently the CHRO at Doctors Hospital of Manteca, a sister hospital of Emanuel Medical Center, and will now serve as CHRO over both hospitals. In her role, Holzer is responsible for human resources and employee health.
Holzer has been with Tenet Healthcare since 1996. She has been serving as CHRO at Doctors Hospital of Manteca since 2012. Prior to her role in Manteca, Traci served as Human Resources Manager at National Health Plans, Employee Relations Manager at Doctors Medical Center and Assistant Director of Human Resources at Doctors Medical Center.
Holzer earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix. She has served on the board of directors for Give Every Child a Chance since 2014 and is actively involved with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Blue Diamond Growers announces New Director of Sustainability

Blue Diamond Growers is pleased to announce Dr. Daniel Sonke as its new Director of Sustainability. In this role, Dr. Sonke will lead global sustainability efforts across all segments of the Blue Diamond Growers business. He will be responsible for integrating company performance with the 111-year-old almond cooperative’s sustainability pillars of economic viability, environmental stewardship, and community well-being.
With deep roots in the California almond industry, Dr. Sonke grew up on his family’s almond farm near Ripon. He holds a cutting-edge, advanced professional degree – Doctorate of Plant Medicine – from the University of Florida. Dr. Sonke most recently led corporate sustainable agriculture programs for Campbell Soup Company as Director of Sustainable Agriculture. Additionally, throughout his career, he has led numerous efforts to advance science-based sustainability efforts and certification programs for multiple agricultural commodities, including almonds, hazelnuts, pears, mushrooms, peaches, plums, nectarines, citrus, potatoes, wine grapes, and tomatoes. Dr. Sonke currently serves as a member of the Almond Board of California’s Sustainability Working Group.
“We are thrilled to have someone of Dr. Sonke’s caliber join the Blue Diamond Growers team to lead the cooperative’s sustainability efforts,” said Brian Barczak, Senior Vice President, Global Supply for Blue Diamond Growers. “With his world-class expertise, deep scientific background, and hands-on experience with a variety of industries, he will be pivotal in further advancing our critical sustainability mission.”
Blue Diamond Growers has a long-time commitment to sustainability and was recently recognized as Green Business Certified by the Modesto Chamber of Commerce’s California Green Business Network, Stanislaus County Program. The Green Business Certified recognition goes to companies that achieve a verified set of standards, including reducing water use, conserving energy, preventing pollution, increasing recycling, avoiding waste, encouraging alternative transportation, and partnering with other local vendors.
“Our latest sustainability recognition as Green Business Certified is an important milestone along Blue Diamond Growers sustainability journey,” said Barczak. “It is a path of continual progress that will no doubt be enhanced with Dr. Sonke’s leadership and skill.”

Stan State honors eight faculty with Outstanding Awards for 2020-2021

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kim Greer announced the recipients of Stan State’s Outstanding Faculty Awards and the Elizabeth Anne B. Papageorge Faculty Development Award for the 2020-2021 academic year. Presented annually, the Faculty Awards recognize exceptional achievements in teaching, research, service to the community and faculty governance.

Outstanding Professor
Anita Pedersen-Pennock – Department of Psychology and Child Development
Anita Pedersen-Pennock’s ability to cultivate an empathetic and engaging classroom environment despite virtual teaching and learning challenges has been truly admirable. In particular, she has made it a point to incorporate undergraduate and graduate students in research activities as well as leading the McNair Scholars, participating in the Faculty Mentor Program and serving on several committees for graduate theses.

Outstanding Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity
Sarah Chan – Department of Music
Sarah Chan has been awarded eleven grants and has been prolific in the performance of her music in concertos and professional recordings. In addition, she has conducted countless master classes, interviews, and presentations, as well as created numerous publications. Her impact goes far beyond personal accomplishment and serves as outreach for the university and enriches our entire community.
Gina Cook – Department of Psychology and Child Development
Gina Cook has amassed over $1.5 million in grants, contracts, consulting, and other funding sources. In addition, she has authored 19 refereed publications and 8 books or other publications. With numerous conference presentations as well, her work has significantly impacted not only our campus, but her field of study as well.
Xun (Peter) Xu – Department of Management, Operations, and Marketing
Xun (Peter) Xu has created 43 refereed journal publications and four book chapters and editorial publications. He has also presented at countless conferences and given numerous professional presentations. With 10 papers under review and another 24 papers in progress, his work is prolific and meaningful on every level.

Outstanding Service in Faculty Governance
Ann Strahm – Department of Sociology
Ann Strahm has a distinguished record of active and engaged participation in faculty governance and has authored or co-authored several senate resolutions. The breadth and depth of her service to Stanislaus State is highlighted by her service as chair-elect of the University Educational Policies Committee (UEPC) and Vice President of the Stanislaus chapter of the California Faculty Association (CFA). In addition, her work on various COVID-19 planning committees has been especially vital during these very trying times.

Outstanding Community Service
Dr. Aletha Harven – Department of Psychology and Child Development
Dr. Harven possesses a deep passion for our community and has given selflessly, her time, energy and attention to fostering an appreciation for important social justice issues in the Turlock community. Among other things, she organized the training event, “Confronting Anti-Black Racism on College Campuses.” Not only was she able to reach our surrounding community members in this training, but international participants as well. Equally as admirable, are her services as a co-organizer for several important activities during Black History Month as well as a clothing drive for transgender and gender non-confirming students.

Elizabeth Anne B. Papageorge Faculty Development Award
Sarah Bissonnette – Department of Biological Sciences
Sarah Bissonnette has cultivated an incredibly engaging and active learning environment for students in her courses. In addition, she provides extra support for students through supplemental instruction, learning assistants and direct mentorships. These experiences have been transformational for her students. Her work outside the classroom is equally as admirable and includes service as a co-PI for an NSF grant for collaboration and inclusion in the sciences.
Mary Roaf – Department of Anthropology, Geography and Ethnic Studies 
Mary Roaf is an accomplished scholar, highly impactful in the classroom, and incredibly dedicated to our students. Her teaching philosophy utilizes the development of critical analysis, informed by theory and practice, and a student-centered learning environment in a way that is absolutely phenomenal. In addition, she has dedicated time to the Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in leading workshops on dismantling white supremacy in faculty teaching.

Turlock bakery celebrates anniversary

Olde Tyme Pastries celebrated its 40th anniversary on May 1 with a ribbon cutting ceremony, with the Turlock Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Amy Bublak, Vice Mayor Pam Franco and Brandi LoForti of Assemblyman Heath Flora’s office on hand to congratulate the business on four decades of excellence. The bakery is known locally for its decadent treats and even earned statewide recognition in 2019 when it was named by Dawn Foods as the Sweetest Full Line Bakery in California. Saturday’s anniversary saw Olde Tyme provide plenty of thanks to its customers, who have remained loyal since the bakery opened in 1981, by giving away celebratory pins and scratch-off coupons which revealed a variety of discounts and giveaways.