Beth Pandol
After ten years as WAKC Executive Director, Beth Pandol, is retiring (Photo courtesy Beth Pandol)

By Elizabeth Vaughn, Copy Editor, Valley Ag Voice

Incoming WAKC Executive Director, Jenny Holtermann (Photo courtesy Jenny Holtermann)

Starting September 1st, the Water Association of Kern County will have a new Executive Director at the helm. Serving dutifully as the association’s executive director for ten years, Beth Pandol will be retiring and welcoming long-time Ag community advocate Jenny Holtermann.

Both women have deep roots here in Kern County and strive to better their community through education to the public, which perfectly coincides with the mission of the Water Association of Kern County (WAKC).

When reaching out to Jenny regarding her new position she stated: “I am excited for the opportunity to lead the Water Association of Kern County as Executive Director, upon Beth Pandol’s retirement. Beth has led WAKC for a successful ten years and I look forward to continuing the momentum she created.” She continued saying that she hopes “to build on the positive reputation of the association and to further expand in consumer outreach and education.”

Jenny Holtermann is a fourth generation California farmer and graduate of California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo with ties to the Farm Bureau of Kern County as the second vice president.

Her passion is advocacy and outreach, both of which she has focused on through her blog, freelance writing, and social media advocacy over the past several years. “My plan is to bring that same passion to WAKC. Water is at the root of success for our Kern County businesses and communities. My outreach and education efforts will focus on the symbiotic relationship of agriculture, urban communities, and all water users. When we all work together, we can be stronger.”

Gene Lundquist, president of WAKC said, “We are so pleased to have Jenny fill our executive director position and know she will do a wonderful job for our organization. She has tremendous credentials. We have been fortunate to have Beth Pandol as executive director for ten years and believe that Jenny will be able to seamlessly continue our mission.”

Ask anyone about Beth Pandol and you’ll hear great things: strong leadership, dedicated, innovative, to name a few. When asked about her accomplishments, Beth shared that she “started with WAKC ten years ago, in 2010. I had a career prior to that as a freelance Ag journalist for 20 years, then stints at KERO-TV as an editorial director, Griffin Communications on the creative team, Kern County Water Agency in communications, Calcot in communications and then the Bakersfield Museum of Art as marketing director.” She’s also a grad of the CA Ag Leadership program and served on many boards and projects in the community including starting the Teachers Ag Seminar, Youth Leadership Bakersfield, Kern County Nut Festival and several others.

When asked about her greatest accomplishment with WAKC, Beth said it was “creating and producing the Kern County Water Summit. The first was held in 2017. The summit was highly successful, drawing together water experts from around the state and nation to talk about current water issues and challenges. It has become a hallmark event for WAKC and serves not only to educate the public but is also a wonderful fund raiser for the organization.”

“I think the WAKC grew over the last ten years because of our dedication to bringing water issues to the forefront of public discussion, in a way that was relevant. We also moved into more modern modes of communications with an active web page and social media. And, like anything else, consistency and determination were key. I was lucky to have a board that is not only top-notch in the water world, but willing to participate in our activities and move forward in our mission. I believe the WAKC became more relevant in the last ten years because the board saw the importance of continuing efforts to provide water information and was willing to expand membership and provide a place where the entire water community could gather to share information and fellowship.”

A decade of working in any position feels like an accomplishment, and so we wanted to know what legacy Beth felt she was leaving: “I think the legacy I may leave is the sense of energy and drive to continue the WAKC mission. Non-profits have to work hard to remain solid and it takes hard work and constant attention to serving members and being creative in carrying out your missions. I’m confident that will continue in the future with WAKC.”