Our Team

See Your Farm in a New Light

Hotspot Ag is a complete farm automation solution. Developed on a third-generation farm in Hanford, CA, Hotspot Ag has developed the tools needed for the next generation of farming. The 5G IIOT network enables growers to visualize farm operations in real-time. From irrigation automation to wind machine to automation, Hotspot Ag has the tools and expertise to simplify farm management. Connect with us today to see your farm in a new light!

Meet the Team


James Nichols


James has always had a passion for agronomy and technology. He participated in a project at Nichols Farms in 2013 aiming to provide better remote monitoring solutions. The project grew from a pure monitoring project into a full farm irrigation automation trial. After several years of development, James saw the potential of the technology and decided to start Hotspot Ag to expand deployments outside of Nichols Farms. He holds a degree from UC Davis in Crop Science and Management and continues to manage the Nichols’ farming operations.


Mary Alice Nichols


Mary Alice was instrumental in developing the name, look and feel of the Hotspot Ag brand. While James and Mary Alice were on their first date, James explained the idea he had of a connected farm with each deployment having it’s own connection to the cloud. She claimed, “Oh! So it’s like each deployment has its own Hotspot!” The name stuck with James and he decided to name the company after Mary Alice’s comment. Also being a talented artist, she drew the first sketch of the Hotspot Ag logo a few weeks after that first date. She holds a Communications and Education BS from UC Santa Barbara and is responsible for marketing, customer outreach, events, and social media.


Kevin Drew

Field Service Manager

Kevin recently joined the HotSpot AG team managing field operations. He oversees field staff and ensures the technical implementation of systems and tools. He is a liaison with customers.

Kevin’s background includes working as a master technician. He’s familiar with the design, modification, installation, maintenance, and repair of CAT Power Generation Systems and industrial engines for Ag applications. His focus is on communicating with customers and exceeding their expectations.

As an off-road adventure enthusiast, Kevin enjoys exploring sand dunes and trails with his family. Connect with Kevin at www.linkedin.com/in/kdrew


Gracie Gray

Accounting Manager

Gracie recently returned to California from North Carolina where she was the Controller for a Bio Medical Products Company, she has various manufacturing and production accounting experience. Gracie holds a B.A. in Accounting from Fresno Pacific University. Gracie has multiple rescued pets and enjoys the country life in the foothills of Exeter California.


Adam Kistler

VP Engineering

Adam combines his understanding of agriculture, engineering, and technology to provide unique and scalable solutions for Hotspot Ag customers. Adam’s roots in agriculture began working on dairy farms in Tulare, CA. and later writing software still used today to help with Veterinary herd management. Adam holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from UC Davis and has prior work experience as a Quality Control Engineer for a local vertical turbine manufacturer. Adam is a lifetime learner passionate about developing tools to help streamline both design and manufacturing processes.


Steven Soares

Customer Success Manager (Central Valley)

Steven is a Central Valley native with a passion for agriculture. This passion started at a young age, while his family was in the dairy and custom farming industry. After college Steven worked in the landscape & commercial irrigation industry, before making the jump to agriculture irrigation. He has spent the last 12 years working in the remote monitoring industry while specializing in soil moisture data, weather data, and remote automation. In this time, he has traveled the country talking to growers about the benefits of Agtech and data driven operational decisions. Starting as an installation/service technician, he has also held the title of Service Manager, Product Manager, Account Manager and now Customer Success Manager. Steven has spent the last 3 years using remote data to consult on irrigation scheduling for farmers throughout the entire state of California.


Jonathan Hornung

Service Technician

Jon was instrumental installing the first commercial deployments of the Hotspot Ag hardware and has continued to expand his understanding of technology and agriculture while in his final year at Fresno State University. Jon joined the Nichols Farm team as an Irrigation Technology intern while in his final year at College of Sequoias. Jon is responsible for providing water budgets, irrigation recommendations, and installing and servicing Hotspot Ag hardware and software.


Tanner Trimm

Service Technician

I was raised in the Bakersfield and started working in the renewal energy industry at 20 years old, traveling the country providing service for wind energy companies. After years of traveling the country, I returned to the Central Valley and pursued a position in the warehouse automation industry, gaining more experience in low voltage communication and system maintenance. At the beginning of 2022 I decided to move to Visalia from Bakersfield pursuing a job opportunity working on dairy farms providing system maintenance for bio-methane digesters. After some time, I made my way to hotspot Ag and haven’t looked back. I am very excited to be a part of hotspot Ag and be the future of automatized irrigation. In my personal life I enjoy barbecuing, running or weight training, going to the lake and spending time with family and friends.


Cassie Braswell

Customer Success Manager (Northern California)

Originally from the Central Valley, Cassie was born and raised in Visalia, California. After falling in love with the region, she relocated to Northern California to further her education. Upon graduating from Sonoma State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art, she secured a position in the Wine Industry servicing over 40 winery accounts in a sales and operations role. Brands included those under Kendall Jackson, Constellation, Treasury Wine Estates and The Wine Group, along with other boutique wineries.

Cassie then pursued higher education and graduated with honors from a Master’s program specializing in Business Administration. She joins the HotSpot Ag team with a sound understanding of business practices. Providing exceptional support to new and existing customers is her focus. Transitioning from her role as Customer Service Manager with an irrigation wholesaler, she is eager to learn more about the benefits of irrigation automation and find solutions to meet client needs.

In her downtime she enjoys preparing new recipes with the fruits and vegetables sourced from her home garden. Cassie and her husband love to travel up and down the state with their three rescue dogs, exploring new hikes, parks, and beaches along the way.


Elfego Orozco

Service Technician

Elfego Orozco joined the HotSpot Ag team in 2020 and made an immediate impact in the quality and speediness of the hardware installations. Elfego or nicknamed “Fuego” has a formal education in microelectronics, and an AS in Computer & Electronics Engineering Technology from ITT Technical Institute. He also has 10+ years of experience in practical microelectronic experience. Fuego’s responsibilities include installing and servicing Hotspot Ag hardware and training both English and Spanish users.


Alex Accardi

Irrigation Technology Technician

Alex started off his journey into technology 25 years ago, by attending ITT Technical Institute, and received his BS in Electronics Engineering Technology.
After graduating, he was hired by Pacific Bell/ AT&T, to help deploy high speed internet to California and Nevada residents. He also worked as a low voltage electrician; installing fire, security, data, and special sound systems, for various school districts in northern California.
Dating back generations, in Sicily, where his family migrated from, agriculture has been a way of life for Alex and his family.To this day, Alex and his family still carry out the same traditions, by cultivating grapes, tomatoes, and olives, at their family ranch.
Since his childhood, he began working at the family’s machine shop and vineyard, in Vacaville, California, until being hired by the phone company’s data department.
He was reintroduced into the agricultural world, by working in the medical and commercial cannabis industry, in Yolo County, for over a decade. He installed and maintained greenhouse and commercial indoor grow room automation systems.
Alex is very passionate about working for HotSpot Ag, whose vision and service align with his own. He believes HotSpot Ag will help fight California’s, as well as other places on the planet, water crisis.
He is proud to be part of a solution to a big problem that can affect our future.
He is a proud father of 2 and cares about what the future holds for them. His daughter, Alexandra is 25, and his son, Emiliano, is 12. He enjoys his free time with them, staying active, and enjoying the great outdoors.

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