Dedicated Leaders

Christy Hornbuckle, President


Christy Hornbuckle was born and raised in Bakersfield California. She is a graduate of Bakersfield High School and continued her secondary education at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Upon graduation, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked on Capitol Hill for Congressman Bill Thomas. In 2003, Christy followed her dreams of living in the Big Apple and moved up the East Coast to New York City. She spent 7 years in the City working in various capacities, but most predominately as a Marketing and Business Development Coordinator at large law firms in New York, and then eventually back to California in Los Angeles. Christy moved back to Bakersfield in 2011, where she worked for a short period for Kern County’s Mayor, Karen Goh (then-Supervisor). In 2011 she married her husband, Matt Hornbuckle, and began her most important role as a mother to their three daughters, Georgia, Faye, and Nora. Since being back in Bakersfield, Christy has given back to her community through leadership roles in the Junior League of Bakersfield, an advisor of the Assistance League of Bakersfield, and spent 5 years chairing the American Cancer Society’s Valley of Hope Gala. Christy also sits on the Kern Agriculture Foundation Board and stays very involved in her children’s education and has volunteered for the Parent Club year after year.

Brian Kirschenmann, Vice-President

CEO & President of Kirschenmann Farms

Brian Kirschenmann is a fifth-generation California potato farmer from a family with over 100 years of history in Bakersfield, California. He is the owner/operator of Kirschenmann Farms, Inc., which specializes in growing chipping potatoes and other rotational crops in and around the Bakersfield area. Between Kirschenmann Farms, Inc. and his co-ownership of Allied Potato, Inc., he is currently farming over 17,000 acres annually between Washington, Oregon, California, and Colorado, supplying chipping potatoes on a year-round basis to customers domestically and internationally. Brian currently chairs the California Potato Research Advisory Board and has served 6 years on the US Potato Board, with 3 of those years being on the Executive Committee. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Brian is a graduate of Bakersfield High School and a loving father of three children, Chase, Annabelle, and Clara.

Joel Bock, Treasurer

Partner, Daniells Phillips Vaughan & Bock

Joel graduated from California State University, Fresno, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration–Accountancy Option in 1998. In 2006, he graduated from Golden Gate University with a Master of Science in Taxation.

In 2004, he joined Daniells Phillips Vaughan & Bock and became a partner in 2012. Joel is also the partner in charge of the firm’s Tax Department.

Joel started his career with a large local firm in Fresno and became a Certified Public Accountant in 2001. Joel’s experience includes tax planning and compliance, primarily for closely held partnerships and corporations as well as individuals. He has experience in a variety of industries including real estate, construction, agriculture, wholesale, retail, and professional services.

Joel is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants. He has previously held several positions at the state and local level for the California Society of Certified Public Accountants, including President of the Bakersfield Chapter and Chair of the Bakersfield Chapter Taxation Committee. Currently, Joel serves as the Treasurer and Trustee for the Mendiburu Magic Foundation and is a member of the Leadership Bakersfield Class of 2014.

Katie Valentich, Secretary

Philanthropist and Educator

Katie was born in Berkeley, CA to Gene and Jane Jones. She graduated from Miramonte High School and continued her education at California State University Fresno, where she earned her bachelor’s degree and teaching credential. Upon graduating from college, she moved to Bakersfield, CA, where she married Chuck Kirschenmann and began her family. She taught for three years until her first of three children were born. Katie enjoyed being home and raising her kids, while continually giving back to her community through the Assistance League of Bakersfield and staying keenly involved in her kids’ education. This involvement led her to run for the Panama-Buena Vista Unified School District, School Board. She was honored to be elected several times and spent 15 years on the Board. In 2000, she remarried her now-husband, Steve Valentich. Katie has always been a community server and continues to give through Guild House, Assistance League of Bakersfield, and was a founding member of the Panama-Buena Vista Education Foundation.

Board of Trustees

Thomas Baker

Director of Farming Operations, Kirschenmann Farms

Thomas John Baker is a native of Bakersfield California. He attended Bakersfield High School, graduating in 2004. Thomas earned his degree in Business Public Policy from California State University Bakersfield, with an emphasis in Non-Profit Management. He spent the year after graduation exploring Europe. Of the cities and countries, he visited he spent the most time in Berlin enjoying the food and culture, in addition to the art and history of the city. Thomas joined Kirschenmann Farms in 2013 and enjoys his role as Head of Operations. He appreciates solving the unique problems that present themselves in the farming industry. In 2017 he married Brittany Baker and in 2018 they welcomed their son Graham McKay Baker into their lives. Thomas currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Bakersfield Museum of Art, he values art engagement and hopes to help the foundation continue its community outreach programs. In his downtime, Thomas enjoys mountain biking, gardening, and cooking with his family.

Dr. Vip Dev

Director of Plastic Surgery, California Institute of Reconstructive Surgery

Vipul Dev is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon that resides in Bakersfield, California. He is married and has three daughters and one son. Dr. Dev values the unique privilege he has been granted to practice a surgical specialty that is limited in availability and, toward that end, it is important to him that his physician group provide care to those in need in Kern County and the Central Valley. He has been a member of many community groups and served on many corporate boards. Dr. Dev is the current chairman and founding member of a large clinical integration program that has over 800 physicians and provides care for over 40,000 patients. Through this, he realizes the importance of health care access and the important role the Scott Kirschenmann Foundation will serve to our community.

Kristin Hagan

Partner, Hagan Law Group

In practice since 2003, Kristin Hagan has experience advising both private and public sector clients on a broad range of legal issues.

Kristin’s practice primarily focuses on real estate transactions and litigation matters, as well as representing her clients in business and general civil litigation matters.

Her specialized areas of expertise include land use planning and development, where she provides advice and consulting regarding entitlements, state and federal permitting, the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”), and oil and gas rights. In representing public agency clients, Hagan provides general counsel services in a variety of municipal and public law matters.

In addition to serving as a mother to two children, Kristin currently serves on the Board of Directors for Goodwill Industries of South Central California and Rotary–Downtown.

Chuck Kirschenmann, Senior Advisor

Seasoned farmer, businessman, and proud father.

Derek Yurosek

Managing Director, Arable Capital Partners

Mr. Yurosek has been with Arable Capital Partners since the fund’s inception in 2017. As a Managing Director for Arable Capital Partners, Mr. Yurosek is responsible for oversight of all acquisition opportunities as well as ongoing portfolio company operations. Mr. Yurosek serves on the boards of both Laurel Ag & Water and Fresh Innovations.

Prior to Arable, Mr. Yurosek was the Head of Agriculture Operations for the agriculture asset management team for BMGI/Cascade Investment, the private holding company for Bill and Melinda Gates. Mr. Yurosek led the team responsible for the acquisition and operational performance for a portfolio of agriculture assets, including 150,000+ acres of land, and vertically integrated farming and food processing businesses primarily located in the United States.

Mr. Yurosek comes from a long history of farming and agriculture in the central valley of California. Before joining BMGI team, he spent 14 years at Bolthouse Farms in his hometown of Bakersfield, CA. When he left Bolthouse, he was the Vice President of Agriculture and Regional Operation responsible for $550 million in revenue and 750 employees.

Mr. Yurosek has an M.B.A. with a concentration in Agricultural Business from Colorado State University and a Bachelor of Science from Colorado State University with a major in Agricultural Business and Economics.

Katie Werdel

Katie Werdel

Katie was born and raised in Bakersfield California, graduating from West High School. She is an alumna of Whittier College, where she received her BA and MA. Adding to her educational diversity, she graduated from The French Culinary Institute with a degree in French Culinary Arts and French and Germanic Bread Baking. For eleven years, Katie taught in the Panama-
Buena Vista Union School District before ‘retiring’ to start her family. She and Tim have one
son, Cooper, who is the light of their lives.

Katie is very involved in her community; she serves on many boards and enjoys giving back to the community. Katie serves as the Director of Student Leadership Ford Dream Builders and Ford Dimension. She also sits on the board of Jim Burke Education Foundation and The Friends of Mercy. Katie is a member of the Ellen Baker Tracy Guild and the Catherine McAuley Society. Previous board services also include, Bakersfield Museum of Art, Bakersfield Community House, The Grimm Family Education Foundation Advisory Council, and the Kern County Museum Foundation.

Clay Freeman

Clay was born and raised in Bakersfield California. He is a graduate of Foothill High School and continued his education at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Clay graduated with a BS in Agriculture Science and an MS in Agriculture Education. Clay has been teaching with the Kern High School District for 22 years and is currently the Agriculture Coordinator for the District. Clay resides is Bakersfield with his wife, Jennifer and daughter, Abigail and son, Caleb.

Hallie Thomsen