Mike Ratto, left, says good-bye to the California Almond
industry during a ceremony at the Gala Dinner at the close of
The Almond Conference in Sacramento in December. With
him is Almond Board President and CEO Richard Waycott,
who presented Mike with a framed photo of almonds at
hullsplit, signifying “maturity,” and signed with tributes by
members of the staff and the Almond Quality and Food
On the eve of his retirement, the California Almond industry paid tribute to long-time Almond Board of California field representative Mike Ratto at The Almond Conference in December. Ratto has been the face of the Almond Board to a multitude of growers and handlers, many of whom may have never met another member of the ABC staff.
“Mike has performed his job with dedication and integrity, and always with the best interests of the California Almond industry at heart,” said ABC President and CEO Richard Waycott as he presented Ratto with a memento of his decades of service to the almond industry.
“When Mike started at the Almond Board in 1987, the total handle was about 250 million pounds,” Waycott said. “Now, 25 years later, the crop is almost 10 times as large. In spite of all that growth, this industry has retained its foundation of family, in which personal relationships are the fabric that binds us together. For many years, Mike has provided that personal link, strengthening the bonds that make our industry great.”
At the Conference Gala Dinner, Ratto recalled the sequence of events when he was hired at the Almond Board. After his first interview, he said, he received a rejection letter. When a call came months later to come in for another interview, he said he would “take any job they had.” And the rest is history.
Back then, the Almond Board dealt primarily with compliance issues. “There was little transparency as to where the organization was adding value to the industry,” Waycott said. “Today, the ABC is a talented service organization that is focused on adding value across a comprehensive landscape of issues and opportunities confronting our industry. Mike Ratto contributed greatly to ‘moving that needle’ over the years, and he did it in a thoughtful, caring and professional way.”