“I was the mechanic, the admin guy who knew how to do contracts, knew who to call, figure out how to hire people how to bring people on board, how to schedule things out, how to organize meetings, all the understated and underappreciated, even to this day, admin stuff that has to happen in order to make an organization work…I think on every initiative we tried we moved the ball forward. We made a huge impact on encouraging minority farmers to be involved with the programs at the agency. John (Vlcek) was phenomenal at going out and meeting people and getting involved with local groups, farmer associations, and minority groups. They’re out there – you just have to go looking for them. He would set things up and then we would come in and talk to them. The main thing was getting their perspective on how policies would affect them.”
Ben Delgado served as Associate Commissioner for Administration at TDA. He worked closely with Mike Moeller, the Deputy Commissioner, and Dudley Harrison, the Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, to protect TDA’s budget. Ben recalls that he wasn’t Hightower’s favorite person because the things that he did in his realm were things Hightower wanted done without having to bother with them.