Meet the 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!
Santa Rosa Team
Customer Success Manager (Northern California)
Cassie Braswell - Customer Success Manager (Northern California)
Bio: 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.
Irrigation Technology Technician
Elfego Orozco - Service Technician
Bio: Elfego Orozco joined the HotSpot Ag team in 2020 and made an immediate impact on the quality and speed of the hardware installations. Elfego, also nicknamed “Fuego,” has a formal education in microelectronics and an AS in Computer & Electronics Engineering Technology from ITT Technical Institute. He also has over 10 years of practical experience in microelectronics. Fuego’s responsibilities include installing and servicing HotSpot Ag hardware and training both English and Spanish users.
Irrigation Technology Technician
Alex Accardi - Irrigation Technology Technician
Bio: Alex started off his journey into technology 25 years ago by attending ITT Technical Institute and receiving his BS in Electronics Engineering Technology. After graduating, he was hired by Pacific Bell/AT&T to help deploy high-speed internet to residents of California and Nevada. 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 from when his family migrated from Sicily, 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 has been 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 to the agricultural world by working in the medical and commercial cannabis industry in Yolo County for over a decade, where 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 water crisis, as well as similar challenges in other places on the planet. He is proud to be part of a solution to a significant problem that can affect our future.
He is a proud father of two 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.
James Nichols - President
Bio: 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 Nichols - Marketing
Bio: 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 its own connection to the cloud. She exclaimed, “Oh! So it’s like each deployment has its own hotspot!” The name resonated with James, and he decided to name the company after Mary Alice’s comment. Being a talented artist as well, she sketched the first HotSpot Ag logo a few weeks after that first date. She holds a BS in Communications and Education from UC Santa Barbara and is responsible for marketing, customer outreach, events and social media.
Gracie Gray - Accounting Manager
Bio: Gracie recently returned to California from North Carolina, where she was the Controller for a Biomedical Products Company. She has extensive experience in manufacturing and production accounting. Gracie holds a B.A. in Accounting from Fresno Pacific University. She has multiple rescued pets and enjoys the country life in the foothills of Exeter, California.