About Us: Who We are With a focus on soil health and expertise in pest management, Tri-Tech Ag Products advisors can help bring in a bountiful crop while protecting the environment and improving agricultural sustainability. We integrate several pest management strategies to keep threatening pest populations below economic injury levels and we apply appropriate fertilizers to improve soil quality and support a thriving microbial population in the root zone. By building and maintaining soil organic matter, we enhance soil fertility and produce stronger plants, better equipped to defend themselves against pests and pathogens. Our team of PCAs and CCAs work together to develop efficient and sustainable agricultural management practices. With different experience levels and educational backgrounds, each of us contributes a unique skillset and perspective on problem solving. We make a dynamic and well-rounded team by balancing new scientific knowledge and technology with many years of field experience managing pests in Ventura County. Read our bios below to learn a little bit about each of us. Brian Benchwick Brian Benchwick grew up in Camarillo California and graduated from Camarillo High School in 1974. After studying agronomy at Cal Poly Pomona, Brian went to work as a licensed pest control advisor for Carr Fertilizer. Brian later worked for Hiji Bros., Inc for ten years where he advised on a variety of vegetable crops. He also worked as the Human Resource manager for several years and was involved in labor contract negotiations, grievance resolution, personnel policy implementation, workers compensation and safety policy. Brian now manages Tri-Tech Ag Products, Inc., where he oversees the company’s pest and nutrient management services. During his time at Tri-Tech, Brian has been the chairman for the Whitefly Committee. The committee’s purpose was to bring together growers, P.C.A.s, the Ag Commissioner’s office, the Farm Bureau, V.C.A.A. and University members to develop and implement a strategy to manage the Greenhouse Whitefly. Brian is also the chairman of the Spray Safe Committee, a group dedicated to the safe application of agricultural chemicals. Brian understands the value of agriculture to the economy of Ventura County and also to the quality of life. He believes that agriculture has an important and promising future here in our county and intends to do what he can to promote our industry’s future. Brian is married to Babette Benchwick and they have five children and one grandson. Hector Gutierrez Hector Gutierrez is managing member of Otilio Farms, LLC in Ventura County and has been farming strawberries for 25 years. A first generation farmer, Gutierrez has been a licensed Pest Control Advisor since 1982. Hector grew up around farming and managed other farming operations before starting his own. Hector has also been a Crop Advisor with Tri Tech Ag Products in Camarillo, California since 2006. As a California Strawberry Commission board member, he has served on the Research and Food Safety committees. He is also a member of the California Association of Pest Control Advisors, and the Ventura County Ag Association. He is active in his community volunteering with several non-profits, Ninos De Baja Orphanage in Baja California, and has served on Driscoll’s Philanthropy Committee. He holds a BS in Agricultural Management from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. David Clarke David Clarke was born in Hawaii and moved to Ventura County as a child in 1960. Dave was raised in Ventura, and graduated from Buena High School in 1974. After studying at Ventura College and Cuesta College, Dave transferred to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Ornamental Horticulture. Dave interned at Santa Clara Chemical and Seed for two summers and obtained is Pest Control Advisor License early in his career. Dave worked as a nursery manager for Montgomery Words, and as a PCA for Santa Clara Chemical and Seeds. Later, Dave worked as a PCA for Boskovich Farms, where he eventually managed 8,000 acres of farmland. While at Boskovich, Dave worked on food safety and participated in farming ventures that took him on several trips to Mexico and China. Dave joined Tri-Tech as a Pest Control Advisor in 2004 and advises on strawberries and vegetables. Dave married his spouse Elaine in 1983. After being foster care parents for 5 years, Dave and Elaine adopted their two sons Daniel and Timothy. Dave enjoys hiking and gardening, and owns a 13 acre avocado ranch that keeps him busy and up to date on farming issues. Bryce Belgum Bryce Belgum grew up in Santa Paula, where he developed his enthusiasm for the vibrant farming culture of the county. After graduating from Santa Paula High School, he went on to receive his Bachelor of Science in Pomology with a concentration in Plant Protection at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. His studies have provided a rich amount of knowledge useful in the fields of Fertilizers, Plant Nutrition, Entomology, Plant Pathogens, Integrated Pest Management, and Biological Control. During his time there he also had the opportunity to work on the diverse school farm, where he managed the fertilizer program and irrigation schedule. Off campus he was able to work in orchards with an experienced Mission Avocado representative who was perfecting the use of specialized software in soil and nutrient monitoring. He spent summers working with various farming operations and companies in the area, including Limoneira Inc. and Associates Insectary in Santa Paula. In 2013, Bryce joined Tri-Tech to work as a PCA, and later acquired his CCA license. For the first year, he also worked as the Grower Liaison for the ACP Task Force, assisting in the prevention of the devastating HLB bacteria that is vectored by Citrus Psyllids. Eryn Wingate Eryn Wingate has always loved learning about the natural sciences. From her first biology class, Eryn wanted to know more about how evolution works, how organisms interact, and how ecosystems develop. After studying at Pasadena City College, Eryn transferred to the University of California, Davis where she majored in Environmental Science and Management with a focus in Soil Science. Eryn is most interested in soil microbiology, and Tri-Tech gives her an outlet to explore the field. Eryn starting working for Tri-Tech in July, 2015 shortly after graduating from UC Davis. At Tri-Tech, Eryn conducts field trials and combs the scientific literature to learn everything she can about nutrient management, beneficial microbiota, and sustainable agriculture. Eryn is a Certified Crop Adviser and makes nutrient management plans for berry and vegetable growers. Ted Swartzbaugh Ted Swartzbaugh was born and raised in inner city San Diego California. While attending San Diego High School, his passion for agriculture was sparked during his many volunteer hours at the school’s Garden Club. This hobby eventually developed into a passion and led him to attend Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Agricultural and Environmental Plant Sciences with a concentration in Fruit Science and a minor in Plant Protection. Ted worked as an irrigator for Cal Poly Agricultural Operations and as a production assistant at the Cal Poly Organic Farm, doing everything from planting, harvesting, processing, and selling produce to the local restaurants and farmer’s markets. He has also interned at Wonderful Farming as a field scout in their pistachio and almond growing operations. Ted has been with Tri-Tech since July 2016 and is a fully licensed PCA and CCA. He is also the current President of the California Association of Pest Control Advisors-Ventura Chapter.