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Marty Harris being honored for supporting ag education

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Marty Harris being honored for supporting ag education

Art Perry, left, chats with Marty Harris during a recent fundraiser for the Great Valley Writing Project.

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POSTED May 7, 2012 12:15 a.m.

Marty Harris - a driving force behind support for Manteca Unified’s successful agricultural program - is regarded by many in both South County farming and education circles as an unsung hero.

It is why the chief executive officer of Tuff Boy Sales is being inducted Saturday into the Manteca Hall of Fame in the field of agriculture.

The deadline for the $45 tickets is today at 5 p.m. for the 20th annual dinner and installation ceremonies taking place at the Manteca Senior Center, 295 Cherry Lane. Tickets are available from the Boys & Girls Club, 545 W. Alameda St, or by calling 239-KIDS.

Other members of the Class of 2011 are Carol Davis, at-large; Vern Gebhardt, athletics; John Cambra, art; Mike Dillman, special recognition; Mike Davis, health care; Dave Soeth, education; Les Thomas, community service; Frank Guinta, business; and Joann Tilton, government.

Janet Dyk, a founding member of the MUSD Ag Advisory Committee, credits Harris, with bringing both his business skills and agricultural knowledge to the table to do everything from playing an influential role in making sure the ag shop had all the modern ag equipment that students needed to succeed to recommending ways for the district to educate students and save money at the same time.

An example was the move to lease the future high school site south of the 120 Bypass along Tinnin Road out for farming when the construction was placed on hold. By using it also as a school farm operation it protected it from any potential move by the state to sell it off as “surplus” property. At the same time it is generating funds to help offset budget cuts in the ag department.

Harris is also credited with being behind the rebirth of the Manteca Ag Boosters and providing the seed money to get the program going.

Harris is a consistent and generous of junior livestock sales at the San Joaquin County Fair.

He also has set up a network to make his neighbors in the South County aware of important water and fire protection issues.

Manteca Unified School District Superintendent Jason Messer notes that Harris has also employed many Regional Occupational program students at Tuff Boy to provide mentorship.

Harris was also a major player in Californians Against Lawsuit Abuse that secured tort reform.

The 1970 Manteca High graduate earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo. He then started working at the family business in 1974 and became Tuff Boy CEO in 2004.

He is married to Kerry and has three sons. Josh and Jacob work at Tuff Boy Sales while Robert is a computer programmer in Seattle.

Harris is the son of Bill and Lucille Harris.

 

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