Sharon Lombardi, longtime executive director of the Dairy Producers of New Mexico (DPNM), will retire from that position June 1.
Since DPNM's founding in 1993, Lombardi has served not only as executive director for the trade association but as its public relations officer, lobbyist, membership services director and accountant.
Under her leadership, the organization has grown to include most of New Mexico's dairies and some West Texas dairies.
Lombardi will begin her transition into retirement and will work part-time while handing over the reins of executive director to Beverly Fikse. Lombardi will continue to work with DPNM on an as-needed basis.
"Although it's been a very difficult decision to make, as I love my dairy families, it's one I'm ready for,” Lombardi said.
"Although she is retiring, Sharon will still be on board with us to work on national policy and any other issues that may arise,” said Al Squire, DPNM president.
Fikse has been the DPNM's government and regulatory officer since 2008, serving as a liaison for dairy producers at the local, state and federal levels of government. She deals with public policy and regulatory issues. Raised on a dairy in Southern California, she has a bachelor's degree in Justice Studies with a minor in Political Science from Arizona State University. She also holds a master's degree in Public Administration from California State University at San Bernardino.
"I've been working as Sharon's right-hand woman for two years now, and I'm ready to take over,” Fikse said. "Although I will miss working with Sharon, I look forward to the responsibility of advocating for our dairies.”
DPNM is a grassroots agricultural trade association for dairy producers in New Mexico and West Texas. The association works closely with dairy associations in other western states on national issues as well as other New Mexico associations ranging from agriculture to small business.
Source: Dairy Producers of New Mexico news release