Cristel Tufenkjian Appointed as MAGSA Deputy General Manager
The McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA) Board of Directors has appointed Cristel Tufenkjian as the agency’s first Deputy General Manager. Tufenkjian will begin serving MAGSA landowners in the new role on April 3rd.
“It’s a perfect fit,” said General Manager Matt Hurley, “For the 15 years I’ve known Cristel as a professional, she’s done nothing but live out the very approach MAGSA is built on – being landowner-centric, serving people”.
Tufenkjian holds a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business from California State University, Fresno. After earning her degree as a Fresno State Bulldog, Tufenkjian spent 35 years at the Kings River Conservation District (KRCD) ultimately serving as Director of the External Affairs Department where she led award-winning efforts in regional community engagement and outreach, agency management and administration, and legislative advocacy at both the state and federal levels.
Her inherent ability to connect with growers comes from her childhood in rural Fresno County where her family farmed cotton, raisins, and owned a dairy.
Her personal and professional journey have a common thread of serving people with a straightforward, honest, and trustworthy approach – matched with a healthy dose of tenacity and unrivaled work ethic.
“The Board has a bold vision for achieving groundwater sustainability for MAGSA landowners and the Kings Subbasin as a whole. I look forward to working alongside the MAGSA team to make this vision a reality,” said Tufenkjian.
Having been heavily involved with MAGSA during its formation in 2017 and through early Groundwater Sustainability Plan implementation, she understands how important it is to secure success for MAGSA landowners under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
“We are going to get a lot accomplished,” said Tufenkjian.
With major surface water infrastructure projects underway including the McMullin Expansion Project and Aquaterra Water Bank, pursuing grant funds, launching a groundwater data management system, and engaging with landowners on sustainable water practices including On-Farm Recharge University, hiring a Deputy General Manager will elevate MAGSA’s capability to execute with forward progress on behalf of its stakeholders.
Along with a strong background in external affairs and communications, Tufenkjian comes to MAGSA with agency administration experience. Following SGMA’s passage in 2014, she played an active role in the start-up of multiple Groundwater Sustainability Agencies in the Kings and Tulare Lake subbasins. She united local leaders and landowners to catalyze the formation of new entities, secure funding, and build bridges between disparate groups.
Hurley and Tufenkjian will work together as a management team to lead MAGSA’s landowner-focused, collaborative efforts in securing a sustainable groundwater supply for generations to come.