Jordan College Faculty Spotlight: Brad Mendes
By Erica Bowles, Ag Publications 166 class
With deep roots in the Central Valley, it’s not surprising that Fresno State animal science faculty member Brad Mendes made his way back to California when the opportunity arose.
His passion for livestock was instilled while growing up. His father, John Mendes, worked as an agriculture educator at Modesto Junior College (MJC), which submerged him into the culture and environment of agriculture in and out of the classroom from a young age. Mendes enjoyed all that came with livestock and working with young people, so he decided to pursue it as a career.
Mendes attended MJC, where he competed in junior college livestock judging. Next, he made the move to College Station, Texas, to attend Texas A&M University and continued his judging career on a very successful senior college team.
When he was about to graduate with his bachelor’s degree, John Cordeiro, who was Fresno State’s livestock judging coach at the time, called and asked what he thought about being a master's student at Fresno State while helping with the team.
“I liked the sound of the opportunity," Mendes said. "Everyone at the time was starting to go to the Midwest, but I always wanted to stay in California and make California great.”
Now, as the head coach for Fresno State’s livestock judging team, Mendes is hoping to follow in Cordeiro’s footsteps in the philosophy and prioritization of “Family, school, judging.”
Students have enjoyed the opportunity to work with and learn from Mendes over the last several years.
“One thing that I learned as a student from him is that whatever he does or whatever challenge he takes on, he does extremely well,” said Tim Truax, an alumnus of the judging program and current assistant coach. "There’s lots of value from a student's perspective to watch that."
It doesn’t matter your background, the right work ethic is what Mendes is looking for on his team.
“When I joined the team, I had no judging experience under my belt,” said Emily Krage, a member of one of the first teams he worked with at Fresno State. “Brad never made me or any of his students feel like that would hold us back. He always encouraged me to work hard and try for anything, even if I thought it wasn’t possible or I wasn’t qualified. He instilled in me that with hard work and total dedication it is possible to achieve my goals, and he never let me forget that.”
The livestock judging team at Fresno State is more than just an extra-curricular program, it is a community of strong-minded, well-spoken young people devoted to the agriculture industry.
“I want to see the team be successful," Mendes said, "but more importantly, develop a program that respects its tradition and is excited about adding new chapters. The more I coach, the more I realize how much I like watching the students grow and develop skills that they can use the rest of their lives.”