Houchin CEO Greg Gallion to retire Dec. 31

Houchin Community Blood Bank’s longtime Chief Executive Officer and President Greg Gallion has announced he will be retiring on Dec. 31. A nationwide search is underway to recruit Gallion’s replacement.

Gallion plans to remain in Bakersfield and continue his civic involvement. But he says he is looking forward to having more free time to travel with his wife, Sheryl.

“I’m a product of the ’50s, so I’ve always felt driven to hard work,” Gallion said. “I want to know what it feels like to relax and not be in charge of something after 53 years.

When Gallion was named to Houchin’s executive post in 2001, the Bakersfield-based community blood bank had only 40 employees and was in need of restructuring to better focus on the growing community and changing services required of blood suppliers.

Today, Houchin has approximately 90 employees and is dedicated to providing a wide range of blood products, rather than just blood, as part of its lifesaving services. These products and services include collecting and providing blood, plasma, platelets and other blood derivatives.

“A safe and adequate blood supply is essential to patient treatment and recovery when it comes to serious illnesses or accidents,” explained Gallion. “For more than 65 years, Houchin Community Blood Bank has relied on blood donations from generous volunteer donors to maintain that supply.”

Houchin serves 11 hospitals, as well as cancer, burn and transfusion centers in Kern County. More than 18,000 volunteer donors are greeted each year at Houchin’s the donor centers and mobile drives.

Kern repeats as top-grossing farming county

Kern County retained its title as the nation's top-grossing farming county, its 2017 agricultural bounty surpassing its 2016 total by 1 percent.

The gross value of last year's crops totaled $7.25 billion, topping Tulare and Fresno counties, which produced $7.04 billion and $7.03 billion, respectively.

Kern County's top three crops — grapes, almonds and citrus — remained consistent, but milk overtook pistachios as the county's fourth-highest-grossing ag commodity. The five crops accounted for 63 percent of all 2017 ag revenues in Kern.

Kern, Tulare and Fresno counties have led U.S. production values in recent years.

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