About RDC

We provide opportunities for rural communities.

We take a grassroots approach in responding to community need by connecting with rural leadership, facilitating resources, and providing advocacy.

We are not big city outsiders; we do not come in and take over. We, too, are rural residents. We collaboratively build relationships. We listen first, then exchange ideas to reach long-term solutions. The community dictates the level and speed of services. They control their destiny.

We respect rural community leadership and residents. They are the experts on their community. We’re not going to tell them what to do. We’re looking for them to tell us what we can do for them. We’re here to open doors and make connections. It’s about facilitating information and resources — getting them connected.

RDC is here to serve Valley rural communities

We are here to provide a breadth and depth of expertise through our network of partners to advance rural communities. By collaborating with a wide range of organizations, we give a singular regional voice to rural communities — one strong voice rather than many.

SJVRDC does not provide direct services to residents but rather local governments and organizations that serve rural residents. We offer services to both public and private sector entities serving rural communities. We can expand our services if there are additional needs. We are agile and resourceful.

We are here to help. Let’s create thriving rural communities together.

Learn more from director Ismael Herrera in this segment of Valley Life on KMPH Fox 26.

Valley Life, KMPH Fox 26. Oct 22, 2014


Ismael Herrera

Ismael Diaz Herrera


Ismael is the director of the San Joaquin Valley Rural Development Center. He contributes to the development of university-led community and economic development activities as a member of the OCED team. Ismael serves on the Mendota Unified School District Board of Trustees and is chairman of the Board of Directors for Young Emerging Latino Leaders of the San Joaquin Valley, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing young Latino professionals into regional civic leaders. Ismael is a proud resident of Mendota.

Eduardo Gonzalez

Eduardo Gonzalez

Fresno State Small Business Development Director

Eduardo Gonzalez is the Fresno State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Director. Through Fresno State SBDC, he provides entrepreneurs with consulting and training services. In addition, Eduardo provides support in planning, developing and facilitating OCED's grant-funded projects and various collaboratives including SJVRDC. Prior to SJVRDC, Eduardo was executive director for Youth Centers of America and provided vision and leadership to its programming and staff.

Shelby Gonzalez

Shelby Gonzales

Finance Director

Shelby Gonzales is the finance director for the San Joaquin Valley Rural Development Center (SJVRDC), overseeing the fiscal and technical activities that support all inititaives and sponsored projects. Prior to SJVRDC, Shelby was a grant accountant at the California State University, Fresno Foundation. Previous positions include associate director of Budget and Planning at San Diego State University, and account analyst in the Extramural Funds Department for the University of California, San Diego and the University of California, Los Angeles.

Felipe Perez

Felipe Perez

Project Coordinator

Felipe Perez is a project coordinator for the San Joaquin Valley Rural Development Center (SJVRDC), a Parent University instructor, and a Community Garden/Farmers Market program coordinator. Felipe comes to SJVRDC with many years' experience teaching leadership and program development. Felipe has a passion for teaching Parent University classes and has a desire for developing sustainable community food systems, implementing new community development projects and adhering to new information technology. Felipe currently serves as a council member for the City of Firebaugh. Prior to working at SJVRDC, Felipe was executive director of Los Promotores, a nonprofit organization that serves the community of Firebaugh and neighboring rural communities.

David Vazquez

David Vazquez

Project Assistant

David Vazquez is a project assistant for the San Joaquin Valley Rural Development Center (SJVRDC) and a Parent University Instructor, a program designed to teach and assess basic adult education concepts and skills to San Joaquin Valley adults, with school age children. David graduated in 2013 from California State University, Fresno with a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications. Prior to working at SJVRDC, David was an account coordinator at Univision Communications Inc. assisting account executives in program support. David has extensive experience in leadership development and media production.