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


Val King

Customer Success Manager

Val is a California native with a background in industrial computers and electronic repair. Val’s unique skill set of agriculture, technology, and putting customer’s needs first has propelled Hotspot Ag’s deployments throughout California and Arizona. He has developed relationships across numerous growing regions. Experienced in the irrigation practices of orchards, vines and vegetables; collaborative in helping growers develop technology capabilities to solve challenges with labor, regulation, and irrigation execution. A resident of Santa Rosa, his hobbies are vegetable growing and vacuum tube electronics. Always open to conversation— reach out via linkedin.com/in/vwking3.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Steven Soares

Hanford Customer Success Manager

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.

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