Keynote Speakers


Ashley Swearengin


Mayor of FresnoAshley_Modified

Mayor Swearengin took office in 2009 at one of the most challenging times in Fresno’s history. She has shown true leadership in working to return the City of Fresno to financial health while at the same time focusing on long-term transformational efforts such as downtown and community revitalization, homelessness and adult education. Because of her leadership, Mayor Swearengin was named one of California’s top 10 mayors by Capitol Weekly.

She is a board member of the California League of Cities, chair of the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, and at the national level, she serves on the leadership team of the U.S. Conference of Mayors as a member of its Executive Committee

Before being elected to office, Mayor Swearengin led a number of economic development programs in the Fresno area, including the Central Valley Business Incubator, Fresno State’s Office of Community and Economic Development, the Regional Jobs Initiative and the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley.

She was born in Texas, raised in Arkansas, moved to Fresno while she was in high school and has called Fresno home ever since. Mayor Swearengin holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration from Fresno State. She and her husband, Paul, have two children, Sydney and Samuel.

Dr. Pamela Marrone, PhD


CEO and Founder, Marrone Bio InnovationsMarrone_KNS

Dr. Pamela Marrone is the chief executive officer and founder of Marrone Bio Innovations (MBI), a company she started in 2006 to develop bio-based products for pest management and plant health. The company’s award-winning products are used in fruit, nut, vegetable and row crop markets.

Dr. Marrone has a Bachelor of Science in Entomology with Honors and Distinction from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Entomology from North Carolina State University.

In October of 2014, Dr. Marrone was awarded Agrow’s Best Manager with Strategic Vision award for her career-long leadership in biopesticides. Dr. Marrone also received the Growing Green Award from the Natural Resources Defense Council, recognizing pioneers in sustainable farming and food. Similarly, MBI received the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award and a California Department of Pesticide Regulation IPM Innovator award.

Prior to her work with MBI, Dr. Marrone founded the company AgraQuest, known for commercializing several biopesticide products that became the biological standards for their categories. Before AgraQuest, she was founding president and business unit head for Entotech, Inc., a biopesticide subsidiary of Novo Nordisk. At Monsanto, she led the Insect Biology group, which sought alternative ways to control insect pests.

Dr. Marrone serves as the treasurer of the Association for Women in Science. She is also on the board of the Association of Applied IPM Ecologists Foundation, as well as a board member and past treasurer of the Organic Farming Research Foundation.

Dr. Marrone is the Founding Chair of the Biopesticide Industry Alliance, a trade association of more than 90 biopesticide and related companies. She is on the advisory council for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis and the College of Agriculture and Life Science at Cornell University. Dr. Marrone was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science by her peers.