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Our Team
Jeanette Lombardo - Our Team

Jeanette Lombardo

 
Executive Director

“I cannot think of any profession that would be more rewarding; this role takes everything that I am and have achieved throughout my life, and utilizes it for the service of the two groups of people I admire the most: our veterans and our farmers and ranchers.”
Jeanette Lombardo’s passion and life experiences have uniquely prepared her to lead Farmer Veteran Coalition. Born in Wiesbaden, Germany, while her father served in the U.S. Air Force, she was raised on her family’s multi-generational farm in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Jeanette spent multiple decades in the agriculture financing industry before co-founding and serving as Chief Strategic Officer for Global Water Innovations, Inc., a desalination technology company that creates innovative water solutions for the agricultural sector. Prior to this, Jeanette was the principal for California Food and Agribusiness Advocates whose mission was to improve policy decisions for farmers in the areas of water, land use, crop protection tools, and international trade.

Over the course of her career, Jeanette has received appointments at the federal and state level including to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Farmer, Rancher, and Rural Communities Committee, the USDA’s Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade, and the State of California Environmental Protection Agency’s Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. Jeanette also belongs to and has served on several agricultural association boards including President for California Women for Agriculture and American Agri-Women.

Nick Flanigan - Our Team

Nick Flanigan

 
Director of Operations

“I owe almost everything to two groups of people: agriculture producers and veterans. To be able to assist in the promotion and recognition of both of those groups is truly rewarding.”
As the grandson of two veterans and the son of an Air Force veteran, Nick’s farming and military roots run deep. Nick grew up in the Texas panhandle on his grandfather’s cotton/cattle operation. These men helped form Nick’s love of agriculture and his passion for working with veterans. Nick also has a passion for working with youth and is a volunteer for Koda’s Kamp, a free camp for siblings of medically dependent children to connect with other kids who deal with similar things at home.

Nick graduated from Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, TX, earning a bachelor’s degree in Ag Business and an MBA in Management. He has two kids, Grady and Kalyn, and the whole family enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors, especially fishing. Nick joined Farmer Veteran Coalition in August 2022 as Director of Fund Development. Before joining FVC, he worked as an ag irrigation specialist, a seed production agronomist, an agriculture sales and marketing consultant, and an agriculture data analyst.

deshauna hollie staff for web

DeShauna Hollie

 
Grant Coordinator

“Seeing neighbors, churches and organizations work together to build gardens, start small businesses, and bring farmers markets and fresh food access to their neighborhoods have driven me to work and volunteer with nonprofits.”
DeShauna grew up in Texas and is native Wacoan. She moved away to attend college in Illinois at Greenville College, where she studied history and political science. After college she spent some time volunteering and living in an intentional Christian community in Comer, Georgia, called Jubilee Partners.

At Jubilee she had the opportunity to work with refugees, teach English and work in a community garden that fed the whole community.

After graduate school in Philadelphia at Eastern University, where she studied urban economic development, DeShauna moved back to Waco in late 2008 to be closer to family and spent numerous years working as an educator. DeShauna has spent a lot of time volunteering on community boards that focus on a range of initiatives.

DeShauna’s own interest in community agriculture, as well as having many family members who served in the military, made joining the staff of Farmer Veteran Coalition in April 2023 a natural next step.

When she's not serving on boards and committees, DeShauna likes to spend time riding her bike around town, writing haikus, and trying to grow plants.

Lawrence Rhone web

Lawrence Rhone

 
Project Manager

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Lawrence Rhone is a Fayetteville, North Carolina, native and Army veteran who served during both the Cold War and Gulf War eras in field artillery as a forward observer which included directing close air support. In addition to his time spent sending rounds down range, Lawrence also became a Defense Language Institute certified translator of the German language and remains proficient as a simultaneous translator. Lawrence is also an Office of General Counsel accredited Claims Representative, a member of the National Organization of Veteran’s Advocates (NOVA), and in August 2021, he was appointed to the Advisory Council on Vocational Rehabilitation by the Secretary of the Veteran’s Administration in Washington, D.C.

At FVC, Lawrence serves as a project manager which allows him to share his deep knowledge base on both the veteran and agriculture fronts, particularly on grant-related work in addition to other agriculture career-focused programs and initiatives.

Lawrence and his wife operate Rhone’s Farm & Retreat LLC in Flaxville, Montana, a veterans solution resource where they provide firsthand insight into the journey of acquiring, establishing, and sustaining a veteran-owned, conservation oriented, organic practicing, farm and ranch operation.

Abbie-Rowe

Abbie Earp

 
Program Coordinator

“Words cannot express how honored I am to assist veterans through agriculture. These men and women have sacrificed everything and seeing these amazing individuals enter the agriculture community is such a special opportunity.”
Abbie grew up in East Texas, where her family has been involved in agriculture for generations. She is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, earning a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Business. She was very involved in the Agriculture Business Club, Lumberjack Marching Band, and many other organizations.

Abbie has grown to love beef cattle. She and her husband, Cullen, hope to have their own herd soon, along with working horses. In her spare time, she loves working with animals, enjoying the outdoors, and spending time with her family and friends.

Abbie joined Farmer Veteran Coalition in January 2022 as a Veteran Service Provider. She believes that giving back to veterans through her love for agriculture is one of the most rewarding opportunities she could have.

Lori's Headshot

Lori Newton

 
Chapter Coordinator

“I have a passion for agriculture and a deep respect for those who have served. I am honored to assist people in the transition from military service to the agriculture industry.”.”
Born and raised in Waco, Texas, Lori is no stranger to the military or to agriculture. One of her grandfathers was active duty for 29 years and is a retired Army colonel; the other owned and operated a cattle and goat ranch in Central Texas for 70 years.

As chapter coordinator, Lori is the contact at the national headquarters for state chapter leaders.

Lori attended Texas A&M University and dual majored in agricultural communication/journalism and agricultural leadership. After graduation, she moved to Ukraine to work with at-risk youth. When the pandemic hit, she took the last plane home and worked as a primary school substitute teacher until joining FVC in 2023 as its Veteran Service Provider. She assumed Chapter Coordinator duties on March 1.

In Lori’s spare time, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and cooking something new. She is always down for activities with friends and exploring new places in Waco.

Diego Loredo

Diego Loredo

 
Digital Marketing and Outreach Specialist

“I have always had a great respect for veterans and the sacrifices they make. Having the opportunity to help these men and women while also learning and sharing their unique stories is one that I am very grateful for.”
Born and raised in Waco, Texas, Diego left Waco to attend the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations.

His love for nonprofits began when a local nonprofit in Waco helped pay for his college expenses. Since then, Diego has worked with several nonprofits during his time at UNT and has continued that now that he is back in Waco. His experience includes client relations, event planning, social media management, and communications.

Meeting new people and learning about their stories has become a passion of his and one that he hopes to continue for a long time. In his spare time, Diego loves watching soccer, enjoying the outdoors, and spending time with his family and friends.

ken sury staff pic for web

Ken Sury

 
Communications Specialist

“Sharing the incredible stories of our members and the good work that FVC does on behalf of our Farmer Veterans is what makes this job so great.”
Ken Sury brings nearly 40 years of journalism experience to his communications role at FVC, which he joined in August 2023. A native Texan, Ken grew up in the small rural community of Fayetteville, near Brenham.

His family moved to his grandfather’s farm just outside of city limits when he was 8 and he was in 4-H and Future Farmers of America. Both parents had a brother in the Air Force and his brother-in-law spent time in the Navy.

Ken and his wife, Jean, a middle school science teacher, will be married 30 years this summer. They have two grown children, Elaine and Grant.

Ken attended Texas A&M University and earned a journalism degree there while also working on the school’s newspaper, The Battalion. After A&M, he worked for daily newspapers in Orange and Brenham, before moving to Waco to work for the Waco Tribune-Herald. He spent 25 years there, 12 of which included being editor of a monthly magazine.

He is active in the Rotary Club of Waco, his church, and is a member of the selection committee for the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.

richard creppel staff for web

Richard Creppel

 
Delta Region Coordinator

“I really hope to help soldiers and Veterans get the information and resources they need to pursue agriculture.”
Army Veteran Richard Creppel joined the staff in January 2024 as FVC’s first regional coordinator. The Louisiana native and 20-year Veteran is serving the FVC’s Delta Region, which is made up of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas.

Richard grew up in and around New Orleans area and joined the Army in November 2000. He left Louisiana during his military service. He returned home in 2004 with a break in service.

Following Hurricane Katrina he re-enlisted in the Army in 2006. He served as an engineer, infantryman, and ammunition and supply specialist. Previous stops for him were at Ft. Polk (now Fort Johnson), Ft. Bragg (now Fort Liberty), Ft. Carson, Ft. Lewis, Ft. Bliss, Fort Hood (now Fort Cavazos) and several overseas tours.

Richard entered the agriculture world in 2021 by growing industrial hemp. He and wife Angelica also raise sheep, goats and a variety of crops. Richard and his wife have been married since 2010 and have a blended family, with children ranging in age from 8 to 22. Two are in college and three are in high school.

He is a member of the United Houma Nation, a Native American tribe recognized by the State of Louisiana since 1972.

mariel staff pic

Mariel Kessenich

 
Veterans Service Provider

“My passion is for the beginning farmer! If I can help them avoid the mistakes I made when I started, I count that as success. Seeing their passion and walking with them while they grow their dream, makes my heart burst with pride in each and every one of their farms.”
Mariel was born and raised in the dairy farmland of Wisconsin. She married into the Army family and enjoyed an adventurous 22 years serving as Army spouse and FRG (Family Readiness Group) leader.

During that time Mariel earned her bachelor’s degree in human resources management and master’s in business management and marketing. Her family started a local farm raising beef, pork, and eggs, and provided agritourism classes, giving Mariel hands-on knowledge of agriculture and a deep appreciation for beginning farmers.

Her passion is for beginning farmers/ranchers and growing the sustainability of agriculture.

When Mariel isn’t working the farm she enjoys time with her eight children, traveling, and reading. The Army life has provided each of her children a unique perspective on life, and Mariel enjoys how every dream and sense of adventure they have is so different. It keeps her energized.

Travel and reading, time away to decompress and recharge is important to her. She loves people-watching at airports, eating at new places, and reading a variety of genres. Having time to sleep in a hotel bed, stretch out without children, and enjoy quiet is extremely valuable to maintaining her high-energy work and family life.

Michael O'Gorman web

Michael O’Gorman

 
Founder

“I believe deeply in American agriculture and the rich reward it can give to all who take part in it. Sharing that opportunity with men and women coming home from war has been a wonderful and humbling experience.”
Michael began farming in 1970. After 20 years in 1990 Michael was hired to run the first organic farm in Salinas, California. Over the next five years TKO Farms became the country’s leading grower of packaged salad greens. In 1996 he became the first Farm Manager for Mission Organics, growing for the Earthbound label and newly formed Natural Selection Foods. In 1998 Michael began a ten year stint developing 1600 acres of intensive organic vegetable and herb production in the northern half of Baja California for Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo, including 30 acres of indoor tomatoes. In 2008 he began the Farmer Veteran Coalition out of the back of his pickup truck.

Our Team
Jeanette Lombardo - Our Team

Jeanette Lombardo

Executive Director
“I cannot think of any profession that would be more rewarding; this role takes everything that I am and have achieved throughout my life, and utilizes it for the service of the two groups of people I admire the most: our veterans and our farmers and ranchers.”
Jeanette Lombardo’s passion and life experiences have uniquely prepared her to lead Farmer Veteran Coalition. Born in Wiesbaden, Germany, while her father served in the U.S. Air Force, she was raised on her family’s multi-generational farm in Erie, Pennsylvania. Jeanette spent multiple decades in the agriculture financing industry before co-founding and serving as Chief Strategic Officer for Global Water Innovations, Inc., a desalination technology company that creates innovative water solutions for the agricultural sector. Prior to this, Jeanette was the principal for California Food and Agribusiness Advocates whose mission was to improve policy decisions for farmers in the areas of water, land use, crop protection tools, and international trade. Over the course of her career, Jeanette has received appointments at the federal and state level including to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Farmer, Rancher, and Rural Communities Committee, the USDA’s Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade, and the State of California Environmental Protection Agency’s Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. Jeanette also belongs to and has served on several agricultural association boards including President for California Women for Agriculture and American Agri-Women.
Nick Flanigan - Our Team

Nick Flanigan

Director of Fund Development
“I owe almost everything to two groups of people: agriculture producers and veterans. To be able to assist in the promotion and recognition of both of those groups is truly rewarding.”
As the grandson of two veterans and the son of an Air Force veteran, Nick’s farming and military roots run deep. Nick grew up in the Texas panhandle on his grandfather’s cotton/cattle operation. These men helped form Nick’s love of agriculture and his passion for working with veterans. Nick also has a passion for working with youth and is a volunteer for Koda’s Kamp, a free camp for siblings of medically dependent children to connect with other kids who deal with similar things at home. Nick graduated from Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, TX, earning a bachelor’s degree in Ag Business and an MBA in Management. He is married to Kristol, Director of Student Accounts at Baylor University, and has two kids, Grady and Kalyn. The whole family enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors, especially fishing. Nick joined Farmer Veteran Coalition in August 2022 as Director of Fund Development. Before joining FVC, he worked as an ag irrigation specialist, a seed production agronomist, an agriculture sales and marketing consultant, and an agriculture data analyst.
Lawrence Rhone web

Lawrence Rhone

Project Manager
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Lawrence Rhone is a Fayetteville, North Carolina, native and Army veteran who served during both the Cold War and Gulf War eras in field artillery as a forward observer which included directing close air support. In addition to his time spent sending rounds down range, Lawrence also became a Defense Language Institute certified translator of the German language and remains proficient as a simultaneous translator. Lawrence is also an Office of General Counsel accredited Claims Representative, a member of the National Organization of Veteran’s Advocates (NOVA), and in August 2021, he was appointed to the Advisory Council on Vocational Rehabilitation by the Secretary of the Veteran’s Administration in Washington, D.C. At FVC, Lawrence serves as a project manager which allows him to share his deep knowledge base on both the veteran and agriculture fronts, particularly on grant-related work in addition to other agriculture career-focused programs and initiatives. Lawrence and his wife operate Rhone’s Farm & Retreat LLC in Flaxville, Montana, a veterans solution resource where they provide firsthand insight into the journey of acquiring, establishing, and sustaining a veteran-owned, conservation oriented, organic practicing, farm and ranch operation.
Abbie-Rowe

Abbie Rowe

Veteran Service Provider
“Words cannot express how honored I am to assist veterans through agriculture. These men and women have sacrificed everything and seeing these amazing individuals enter the agriculture community is such a special opportunity.”
Abbie grew up in East Texas, where her family has been involved in agriculture for generations. She is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, earning a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Business. She was very involved in the Agriculture Business Club, Lumberjack Marching Band, and many other organizations. Abbie has grown to love beef cattle. She and her fiancé, Cullen, hope to have their own herd soon, along with working horses. In her spare time, she loves working with animals, enjoying the outdoors, and spending time with her family and friends. Abbie joined Farmer Veteran Coalition in January 2022 as a Veteran Service Provider. She believes that giving back to veterans through her love for agriculture is one of the most rewarding opportunities she could have.
Diego Loredo

Diego Loredo

Digital Marketing Specialist
“I have always had a great respect for veterans and the sacrifices they make. Having the opportunity to help these men and women while also learning and sharing their unique stories is one that I am very grateful for.”
Born and raised in Waco, Texas, Diego left Waco to attend the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations. His love for nonprofits began when a local nonprofit in Waco helped pay for his college expenses. Since then, Diego has worked with several nonprofits during his time at UNT and has continued that now that he is back in Waco. His experience includes client relations, event planning, social media management, and communications. Meeting new people and learning about their stories has become a passion of his and one that he hopes to continue for a long time. In his spare time, Diego loves watching soccer, enjoying the outdoors, and spending time with his family and friends.
Michael O'Gorman web

Michael O’Gorman

Founder
“I believe deeply in American agriculture and the rich reward it can give to all who take part in it. Sharing that opportunity with men and women coming home from war has been a wonderful and humbling experience.”
Michael began farming in 1970. After 20 years in 1990 Michael was hired to run the first organic farm in Salinas, California. Over the next five years TKO Farms became the country’s leading grower of packaged salad greens. In 1996 he became the first Farm Manager for Mission Organics, growing for the Earthbound label and newly formed Natural Selection Foods. In 1998 Michael began a ten year stint developing 1600 acres of intensive organic vegetable and herb production in the northern half of Baja California for Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo, including 30 acres of indoor tomatoes. In 2008 he began the Farmer Veteran Coalition out of the back of his pickup truck.