Our Team

Staff

Annie Nguyen

Executive Director

As the child of refugees growing up in Alabama, Annie Nguyen's passion for human rights started early. She has been working with nonprofit organizations in education, conservation, and social justice on the local, state, national, and international level for more than 20 years. After graduating from the George Washington University with a BA in Political Communication, Annie started her career in teaching, fundraising, and management. She has served as an afterschool writing/soccer coach for America Scores, a Program Coordinator for the International Visitor Program and National 4-H Council, the Maryland Branch Manager for BPSOS, the Director of Grant Funding for St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore, and the Grants Manager for Seattle Jobs Initiative.

Annie fell in love with the Northwest while earning her MFA at the University of Montana and moved to Seattle in 2015. She believes a more just world begins on the local level, by valuing diverse voices among stakeholders. As she has furthered her career, she has kept true to her belief in service as an active volunteer. She has volunteered as an Americorps Literacy Corps member, as a mentor for Asian American LEAD, a teacher trainer in Thailand, and most recently, as a moms group facilitator for PEPS and as a mural artist with Friends of Little Saigon. Annie joins City Fruit excited to increase access for all to Seattle's urban fruit orchards, reducing food waste and creating more community one fruit tree at a time. She would love to hear from you at [email protected]


Juan Pena

Community Engagement & Harvest Manager

Juan comes from a family of migrant farm workers. The family traversed the east coast following work on farms, ranches, and orchards. They harvested apples, cherries, asparagus, sweet potatoes, oranges, etc. To this day, sweet potato pies and grilled asparagus are some of Juan’s favorite foods. The family eventually settled in West Chicago where Juan spent his formative years. He has still maintained a strong connection to growing food and sustainability.
 
Juan comes to City Fruit with a strong commitment to food and social justice. He is eager to learn about our city’s fruit trees to develop better methods in sharing resources with our communities and contributing to healthier trees and people. Contact Juan at [email protected].


Lisa Miyashita

Communications & Community Engagement Manager

Lisa originally hails from the metropolitan city of Tokyo but has spent the majority of her adult life in Seattle and fully embraces the life in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Always interested in supporting the local community including the businesses and people that it represents, Lisa has spent most of her professional career dedicating herself to working with local artisan producers, including many years working for the WA Brewers Guild and WA Beer Commission. In addition, she founded the Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival in 2012 to help raise awareness for the growing cheesemaking industry in our state. Lisa is passionate about locally grown food and making it accessible to everyone in the community, and is excited to be part of the City Fruit team. Contact Lisa at [email protected].


Latest blog post: Next generation of community leaders: Y-WE

Emily Katz

Community Growth and Impact Manager

Emily comes to City Fruit with a passion for human growth and cultivating intentional communities. Knowing that nourishment through education, community and the food we eat is key to success for human growth, Emily is driven to support Seattle and City Fruit with equitable educational and volunteer opportunities that do just that. 

Using the environment and education as her medium she has found herself in many Outdoor and Environmental Education roles in the past ten years after completing her B.A. in Geography at the University of Colorado. Fresh out of the desert canyons, rivers and mountains in Utah and Colorado working for Colorado Outward Bound School as a Course Director, Emily made the move to Seattle to complete her M.A. of Urban Environmental Education at Antioch University to become a more just and equity-driven educator.

In her free time, she is probably making “dad-jokes” while adventuring with friends wearing a banana costume (she really loves fruit).

[email protected]


Luke Jesperson

Tree Care Specialist

Luke was born and raised in the golden wheat fields of North Dakota. A desire to experience elevation change brought him to pursue his studies in Tacoma at the University of Puget Sound where he graduated with a degree in political science. After returning to the states from teaching middle school math in Juticalpa, Hondura, Luke moved to Whidbey Island to help his sister on her 6 acre, organic produce farm, Deep Harvest Farm. After the 2013 harvest season was complete, Luke moved to Seattle and interned with the Domestic Fair Trade Assocation - an organization committed to working towards a more equitable, diverse, and sustainble food system. Besides playing in the dirt, Luke enjoys cooking, reading, ultimate frisbee, and getting lost in nature. Contact Luke at [email protected].


Latest blog post: City Fruit U-Pick Harvest Box

Board of Directors

Patrick Gordon

President

Raised in the Greater Seattle Area, Patrick grew a fondness for our local environment through enjoying the great outdoors of the region. Working for the U.S. Peace Corps, he learned the value of subsistence farming and food preservation, growing his belief that access to food, despite one’s situation, should be a human right. Returning from abroad and hoping to make a career in the non-profit sector, Patrick attained a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. He discovered City Fruit when his family was looking for a way to donate extra fruit from their small family farm and gardens.

Joining the Board in January 2018, Patrick loves working with City Fruit and is driven largely by the organizations goals of feeding those in need and protecting the Emerald City’s unique urban orchard. He works as a Project Manager at Seattle University and brings his experience in organizational management, process improvement and board staffing to his work with City Fruit.  In his spare time, Patrick enjoys making cider from his family’s trees, mountaineering around the Pacific Northwest, and spending time with his family, partner June, and cat Squash. 


Lamai Cox

Vice President

As a Seattle-area native, Lamai has been aware of City Fruit’s efforts for years. During travels abroad, she reflected on the uniqueness on her hometown and returned with a renewed vigor to enhance the Pacific Northwest and its spirit from a grassroots approach.  She felt City Fruit embodied that mission of grassroots change for good.

Lamai is pursuing a Master’s in environmental studies, specializing in geography at Western Washington University. During her studies Lamai is driven to build data visualizations across geographies so that all may better understand and interact with their environments for long-term conservation. She holds a BA in environmental studies from the University of Washington with a minor in anthropology and believes that human culture and the natural environment must be addressed in tandem for a resilient and sustainable future.

Most recently she was the Manager of Community and Giving at PCC Community Markets, bringing to City Fruit insight on grocery retail through the lens of a cooperative business model and perspective on business philanthropy.

At home, Lamai enjoys sharing a meal, getting her hands in the soil, and – of course – foraging!

Lamai aims to add diversity in City Fruit guidance in a way that benefits all communities of Seattle.


James Lenihan III

Treasurer

James joined City Fruit because it bonds our environment with our community in a way that everyone benefits. He believes City Fruit is uniquely positioned to steward our urban orchard in a dynamic, changing landscape while responsibly leveraging our natural resources to ensure our neighbors thrive.

James is a Senior Manager of Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) at Tableau Software and has prior experience in public accounting at KPMG LLP. James holds Bachelors of Science degrees in Accountancy and Finance from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Washington Foster School of Business, and is a licensed CPA in the State of Washington.

James aims to leverage his professional experience and academic background to ensure City Fruit’s resources are put to their best and fullest use as the organization advances its community impact.


Michael Kim

Secretary

Michael joined City Fruit because it empowers Seattle's community to nurture two of Seattle's most neglected natural resources -- its landscape and its people. He hopes to challenge our community's standards for inclusive and active engagement and to further enrich our city's urban landscape through thoughtful planting of edible resources, including the cultivation of existing and new fruit trees.  

Michael was born and raised in Los Angeles (i.e., the San Fernando Valley) and moved to Seattle in 2009 to attend the UW's law school. Currently, he works with Amazon's state income tax reporting and compliance team. He's the husband of a budding chef (@mextizopnw) and the father of a terrier mix named Remy. In his free time, he's a muddled mix of an amateur ceramicist, vegetable gardener, aquaponics experimenter, casual gamer, and aspiring bike commuter. His favorite fruit, if he had to choose, is Korean pear.


Edgardo Alifano

Edgardo Alifano relocated to Seattle in 2016 to join Darigold as chief audit executive. Edgardo’s passion for fresh fruit, farming, communities, and environment started being developed when he joined the world’s berry company, Driscoll’s. Edgardo began his career in audit at the Ministry of Economics in Argentina in 2000. He also worked in Spain, Ireland and Mexico for recognized companies including Citigroup. Later, Edgardo relocated to Texas with Hewlett-Packard in 2005, and then moved to California to establish the audit function for Driscoll’s in 2010.

From an academic standpoint, Edgardo holds a Master’s Degree in International Business Administration from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain), a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from Universidad Tecnológica Nacional Córdoba (Argentina), and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (Argentina). In addition, Edgardo has obtained certificates on COSO Enterprise Risk Management, International ISO 9001:2000 Auditor, and Green Belt on the Six Sigma initiative.         


Andrew Graf

Growing up in Wisconsin, Andrew always had an association with fresh fruit and vegetables, from his parent’s garden to his uncle’s much larger farm. Upon arriving in Seattle in  2016, Andrew was impressed with the  overall greenness of the city and was excited for the opportunity to revive family traditions in an urban setting. He was excited to join City Fruit because of the wonderful simplicity of its mission.

In addition to being a City Fruit board member, Andrew is a director who democratizes data at Starbucks. He lives with his wife and young son in West Seattle. Andrew’s goal is to leave a legacy of data literacy & growth that allows City Fruit to flourish and become a sustainable non-profit in the city of Seattle for years to come.


Brian McGuigan

Brian moved to Seattle in 2012 to work for Laird Norton Company, where he is currently Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Investments.  He is a keen amateur cider maker, and his interest in cider initially drew him to City Fruit. Over a period of years he got more and more involved, feeling that its mission just made sense. The process culminated with his joining the board in 2016.

Brian lives in Magnolia with his wife and with their two sons.  He would like to see City Fruit become a financially stable and sustainable non-profit that is recognized as a pillar of the community.


Rivers Townes

In 2018, Rivers' career in technology brought him to Seattle from Charleston, South Carolina. And more recently, his love of nonprofits and passion for social justice brought him to City Fruit. Rivers is inspired by the community that food (and in our case, fruit) brings together. Rivers' appreciation of local fruit was inherited from his role model and grandfather, who made his own wine using South Carolina-grown Fredonia grapes and emphasized the importance of using fruit that shared the same sunlight and rain as his family and community. 

By day, Rivers works as an Account Executive with Salesforce.org, partnering with changemakers who are building a more just and equitable world. He brings with him 4 years of experience in nonprofit technology and a unique perspective on how solutions and data can be leveraged to drive social impact. Through City Fruit's mission to promote Seattle's urban fruit, it's Rivers aspiration that we also promote the wonderful diversity of our urban neighborhoods, and strive towards a happier, healthier, and more inclusive community.


Laura Wilson

Laura is a Pacific Northwester, who first developed her passion for the environment in northern British Columbia and earned degrees in Chemistry and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria.  Moving to Seattle, she pursued a MPA at the UW Evans School and continues her endeavors in social impact, animal welfare, and environment sustainability.  Laura enjoys growing her own local fruit (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and figs), trying to shift to eating more vegan and connecting / sharing the valuable community resources of City Fruit.  


Advisors

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Gail Savina

Founder

Gail grew up picking apples in the ‘Apple Capital of the World’ and, after a hiatus of 40 years, returned to coordinate fruit harvests throughout Seattle. She has organized neighborhood and community harvest groups and is the author of Gather It: How to Organize an Urban Fruit Harvest. Gail’s background includes serving as a communications specialist with King County environmental programs, working as a public health educator, and overseas stints in the Philippines and Ghana. She has masters degrees in anthropology and public health.

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Matt Pope

Technology Advisor

Matt was introduced to City Fruit when he joined the Orchard Steward group at Martha Washington Park. He is committed to supporting good local food and is especially interested in getting it to those who need it most and in building knowledge and community around food. Most recently Matt has been applying his experience as a hobby hard cider maker to teaching people how to turn their bounty of apples into delicious cider. Matt works at Fair Trade USA as a web applications developer.