Katherine Lugar, president and chief executive officer of American Beverage (AB), announced today the appointment of California legislative and political strategist Rick Rivas as the association’s Vice President, California.
Rivas will lead the association’s government and public affairs operations in California on behalf of the non-alcoholic beverage industry’s members and California bottlers. Rivas brings a collaborative, problem-solving approach to public policy that matches American Beverage’s efforts to develop better way solutions that meaningfully address societal challenges and bring people together.
“Our industry has a very strong presence in California and Rick’s extensive experience working with state and local government brings a deep understanding of California public policy,” Lugar said. “Rick will be a tremendous asset to our association and to the many communities in a state where our companies have deep roots. We are excited to welcome Rick to American Beverage.”
Rivas will represent AB member companies, including California bottlers, before lawmakers and regulatory bodies throughout California.
California’s non-alcoholic beverage industry employs 27,000 people and supports about 112,000 more in restaurants, grocery stores and other local businesses whose livelihoods depend in part on beverage sales. The beverage industry has a direct economic impact of more than $18 billion in California. California beverage companies and their employees contribute $266 million to charitable causes across the state.
Rivas will be a senior member of AB’s Department of Government & Public Affairs, reporting to Kevin Keane, executive vice president of American Beverage.
“I’m looking forward to advocating on behalf of a great American industry that has been an integral part of community life in California for generations,” Rivas said. “Our local beverage companies are great providers of good-paying careers and the industry has a solid record of working with leaders in the community and in Sacramento on issues that are important to Californians. I’m eager to be a part of that collaborative effort.”
Rivas has spearheaded efforts to pass major legislation on behalf of local organizations and advocacy groups, working collaboratively with lawmakers in a solutions-oriented manner. He has also led dozens of local and state legislative campaigns in California. Most recently he served as legislative affairs director for Govern for California, where he developed extensive experience and relationships with leaders in government and statewide organizations. Prior to joining GFC, Rivas was director of public affairs at the Civil Justice Association of California. Rivas has also served as legislative aide and communications director to Assemblywoman Anna Caballero, and policy aide to Santa Clara County Supervisor Blanca Alvarado.
Growing up in the rural California community of Hollister, Rivas was inspired to pursue a career in social activism, politics and public service by his grandfather, who was active in the United Farm Workers Union. He served for 10 years on the Equality California Board of Directors.
Rivas holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Santa Clara University in California and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.