Board of Directors

Paul BrierleyAs head of the center, based in Yuma, which is a public-private partnership between the college and the Arizona and California desert agriculture industry, Brierley is dedicated to addressing “on-the-ground” industry needs through collaboration and research. Prior to joining the Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture, Paul operated Brierley Custom Hay in southeast Arizona for twelve years where he was an active leader in the Farm Bureau before joining the staff of the organization. As the Bureau’s Director of Organization, he helped agricultural producers improve their industry by actively identifying and solving problems.

Jerry CabreraBorn in Yuma and raised in Somerton, Cabrera served as City Manager for City of Somerton from 2019-2022. He earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from NAU and MBA, University of Phoenix. Prior to starting in his current role Cabrera was employed by Regional Center for Border Health and the Somerton Elementary School where he moved up the ranks to Assistant Superintendent. He has been active in many Yuma County boards, from Yuma Community Foundation, Yuma County Food Bank, and most recently Somerton Rotary, Yuma HOME Consortium, Yuma County Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority and various other committees. In addition, he still holds his Elementary School Certification, Mediation Certification, MBTI Trainer Certification, and Student Hearing Officer.

Daniel CorrJoining Arizona Western College (AWC) in July 2016, Corr has focused his early efforts on facilitating student success, increasing access to higher education, creating a comprehensive strategic plan, and fostering a climate of innovation, collaboration and stewardship at AWC. Prior to assuming the role of AWC’s President, Dr. Corr served as the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at Scottsdale Community College (SCC) from 2007-2016. Dr. Corr also held a variety of instructional and administrative positions at three different community colleges in Illinois. All told, he has over 24 years of experience at the community college level.

Julie EngelIn her tenure with Greater Yuma EDC, she has been directly involved in the creation of over 4,000 new jobs, over 1 million square feet of new industrial space and a capital investment to the region that surpasses $1.5 Billion. In 2012 Julie was named the Economic Developer of the Year for the State of Arizona. Julie’s career in Economic Development follows five years of local government leadership and eight years of federal government leadership and policy regulations.

Buna George

Buna George was elected to the YMVC Board of Directors in July of 2022.George has served as the Executive Director for the Greater Yuma Port Authority since 2018. She earned her Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from Arizona Western College and Bachelor’s Degree from Arizona State University in Urban Planning and Development, and City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning.  She was recently accepted to the UA James E. Rogers School of Law and will begin her Master’s in Legal Studies online this fall.

“I am truly honored to have been approached and selected to serve on the YMVC board,” George stated. “Advanced technology platforms allowed me to explore higher education options not offered in Yuma. While there is great value in a brick and mortar classroom setting, being able to interact in person with like-minded individuals allows refining of skills and meaningful interactions. I hope to integrate my leadership skills, experiences as a local and online student to further refine the YMVC initiative and highlight the benefits higher education would bring to the local workforce in the Greater Yuma region.”

Jon JessenJon was raised in Dos Palos, Ca. where his father taught school and had a small dairy.  After graduating from U.C. Davis, Jon served the United States military in Korea.   Upon return stateside, he secured a crop advisor job for a local farmer co-op in Yuma, Arizona.  Jon learned to fly and earned an MBA at Peter Drucker on the G.I. Bill. After over 50 years of service to the industry, he is still keenly interested in agriculture, traveling the world to explore its crops, meet its people and renew old friendships.

Russell McCloudRussell is owner and operator of Accurate Automotive Attention for over 30 years. The business has thrived with three locations throughout the Yuma area. He attended Rapport Leadership International’s leadership program and later became a Master Graduate of the program. He graduated from Project CENTRL in 2003, a two-year rural leadership program administered by the University of Arizona. Russell served for 16 years (2005-2020) on the Yuma County Board of Supervisors including several terms as Yuma County Board Chair and Vice-Chair.

Shelley MellonUpon graduating from the University of Arizona with a degree in Business Administration, Shelley became the 4th generation to follow in her family’s business, RL Jones Insurance. Her husband, Colin Mellon, is a 3rd generation Yuma produce farmer with Mellon Farms, Inc. Currently, they own their own farm and a ground application company. Shelley is a licensed Personal & Commercial, Life & Health Insurance Broker in Arizona and California, and a certified Habitude facilitator. Shelley owns and operates the three locations of RL Jones Insurance & MVD Services.

Shelley serves as Chair of the Southwest Arizona Town Hall, the Yuma Education Advocacy Council, Education Forward Arizona Board of Directors, Board of Trustees for the Foundation of Yuma Regional Medical Center, member of the Foundation of Yuma Regional Medical Center Pediatric Oncology Fund Committee, Yellow Ribbon-Suicide Awareness Committee, Arizona House of Representatives Teen Mental Health AD HOC Committee, Chair, Board Member and Governance Committee of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area Corporation, Board Member Arizona Business & Education Coalition, Director of the Yuma Youth Leadership Council, Director of Yuma Youth Town Hall, Chair of the Yuma Union High School District Bond Campaign, Yuma Union High School District Governing Board Member, Board Member of the Arizona Community Foundation of Yuma, the Yuma County Education Foundation, Chair of the Yuma County Drug Free Community, the Yuma County Anti-Drug Coalition, the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, S June Pallack Award Council, the Benesche Collection (YRMC Art Heals), Mentor with Yuma Up Mentoring Program, Yuma Leadership, Board of Directors of the Evangelical Free Churches of America, Founding Board Member and Elder of Journey Church, volunteer and advocate for Healing Journey, founding Board Member of AdvoKATE Foundation, founding member of San Luis Rotary, Member of Yuma County Food Incubator, Member of P.E.O. Chapter Q. Past Board member of Arizona Town Hall, the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce, the Rio Colorado Commission, the Arizona Mexico Commission, the Yuma Executive Association, Expect More Arizona and Expect More Arizona CEO Council. Mellon is also the recipient of the International Athena award, Yuma County Citizen of the Year, Arizona Community Foundation Outstanding Leader, Yuma County Chamber Member of the Year, and Arizona Businesswomen’s Territorial Charter Chapter HerStory Recipient, recipient of the 48 Women, Arizona’s Most Intriguing Women of the Decade, Miss Yuma County 1986, and Miss Arizona 1st Runner-up 1987.

Colin and Shelley are grateful to be able to raise their three children on their farm in Yuma. Tanner-Graduate of Purdue University, Masters Krannert School of Management, Mckenna-Graduate of Cornell University, Dual major, Communication and International Agriculture and Rural Development, and Walker- ASU WP Carey Business School and Barrett’s Honor College, Majoring in Economics.

Mayor Doug NichollsDouglas J. Nicholls is the 27th Mayor of the City of Yuma, Arizona. He began his second term as Mayor in January 2018.  Mayor Nicholls is committed to the Yuma community through his core belief that quality communities provide opportunities to success to all residents through quality jobs, superior education and robust quality of life. Mayor Nicholls spearheads many efforts to enhance and grow the Yuma community, including serving as the Founder and Chairman of 4FrontED’s Governing Board. His vision to enhance accessibility to higher education culminates in plans for the Yuma Multiversity Campus (YMC). In 2019, he was inducted into the Arizona State University (ASU) Academy of Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame for the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. Mayor Nicholls was raised in Yuma, Ariz., and earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from ASU, before continuing post-baccalaureate studies in transportation engineering.

Tony ReyesA resident of San Luis, Arizona, Marco “Tony” Reyes serves as Chairman of the Yuma County Board of Supervisors. Reyes attended the Gadsden Elementary School, Kofa High School in Yuma and has received multiple Certificates from among others; the ALETA Police Academy for AZ Police Officer Certification, UTI Universal Training Institute for A/C Solar Heating Technician certification, Arizona Advanced Real Estate Institute for AZ Real Estate license, Arizona State University, Tempe, for Non Profit Management Certification, the BOA Development Leadership Institute and multiple Community and Economic Development courses. He served the citizens of San Luis for many years including 10 years as Mayor. He also has served as Executive Director of Comite De Bien Estar, a Community Development Non-Profit Organization focused on Housing and quality of life issues in South Yuma County for the last 35 years.

Robert TrenschelWith nearly 20 years of healthcare and medical management experience to Yuma Regional Medical Center, his strong focus on population health emphasizes the hospital’s responsibility to utilize its resources in a way that benefits the overall health and well-being of the community and region. Dr. Trenschel served as a physician in a private practice from 1990-2000. He graduated medical school from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and holds a Masters of Public Health from Florida International University in Miami.