Tomlinson succeeds Mark Murai, who left the Watsonville-based commission in February to become vice president of strategy and development at Sunrise Growers Frozsun Foods. In the interim Tomlinson, who was vice president of public policy, and Chris Christian, vice president of marketing, served as co-leaders.
“Tomlinson has a unique grasp of the complex issues facing California’s 400 family strawberry farmers and 70 shippers and processors,” commission chairman Victor Ramirez said in a news release.
Ramirez cited his leadership on immigration reform and global issues.
Tomlinson, 47, has helped steer pesticide reduction efforts. The commission is a recipient of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Stratospheric Ozone Award Protection award. He fostered joint research with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to find alternatives to the fumigant methyl bromide. Recently the commission struck an agreement with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to establish the Strawberry Sustainability & Research Center at the university’s campus.
Before joining the commission, Tomlinson worked for the California Environmental Protection Agency.
Murai was president from 2005 to 2013.