Class of 2002
Lobbyist / Partner, DiMare, Brown, Hicks & Kessler, LLC
Dominic F. DiMare, '02, started working in his family's produce company at the age
of 10, sweeping floors and shoveling bad tomatoes. "I picked tomatoes, I drove tractors,
I drove forklifts, I packed boxes," he says.
He is now a lobbyist and partner with the Sacramento firm DiMare, Brown, Hicks & Kessler, LLC, formally DiMare, Van Vleck & Brown. But he still works in the family business, The DiMare Company, as director of government and regulatory affairs.
DiMare went to McGeorge School of Law to fulfill a lifelong ambition of being a lawyer, even though he already had a successful career as a lobbyist. The law, he found, perfectly complements his profession.
During the 1990s recession, he was looking for an entry-level job in advertising or public relations. Through a family connection to the California Assembly, he got a job as a junior consultant to the Assembly Committee on Agriculture. A few years later, DiMare became a lobbyist with a small agricultural association representing agricultural cooperatives.
In 1997, he returned to the Legislature as a senior consultant to the Assembly Committee on Agriculture and later worked as legislative director for then-Assemblyman Dennis Cardoza.
In 2000, DiMare joined the California Chamber of Commerce as a legislative advocate. He represented about 16,000 California businesses to legislators. In 2004, he was promoted to vice president of governmental relations, running the chamber's lobbying unit. After 7 ½ years at the chamber, DiMare took up a colleague's invitation to join his lobbying firm and become partner.
DiMare works in a wide variety of policy areas, including water policy, health care, policy affecting cities and counties, and the LGBT community.
"I'm a big believer in our democracy," he says. "I'm a big believer in our legislative process. I have a lot of respect for it, and I get to participate in it every day."
DiMare also works in his family's produce and distribution company. In November 2012, he became a member of the Western Growers board, serving as a director at large and on the legislative and water committees.
DiMare's grandfather and great uncles started the company in 1923 as pushcart fruit peddlers in Boston. The company now grows and distributes more than 2,000 products nationwide, including tomatoes, citrus, flowers and vegetables. Its customers include the cruise ship industry, fast food chains and supermarkets, which carry its organic line of produce. The company grows tomatoes and citrus but also contracts with growers of other products and distributes them nationwide.
DiMare's grandfather expected him take over the company, and while DiMare initially embarked on a different career, he is increasingly involved.
"There's a tremendous amount of pride wrapped up in it," he says. "Now I find myself coming back around working for the company, and it's a very natural fit."
DiMare also is involved in agriculture in his personal life. He and his wife, lobbyist Rina DiMare, and some friends opened a winery, Elevation Ten, in 2011 in the Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg.