Director of Operations
Croston is responsible for overseeing the operations and maintenance of PE’s plantations as well as fostering relationships with partner communities in Panama. Croston joined the Peace Corps in 2003 working with indigenous communities in Panama’s Darién Province. He provided support for a variety of projects including new business development, the promotion of a regional tourism circuit, the creation of a community-run technology center, and the construction of a local artisan store with overnight lodging for tourists. Upon completion of his service in 2006 he returned to the U.S. and co-founded Planting Empowerment along with his partners. Croston received a BS in Business Administration from The Ohio State University in 2002, and an MA in International Affairs with a concentration in Economic Development from Ohio University in 2009.
Director of Marketing
Andrew entered the Peace Corps in 2004 after completing a B.S. in Product Design from Virginia Tech. Determined to put his problem solving skills to work for worthy causes, Parrucci designed two small aqueducts with local communities, organized community members to lobby for funding, and led construction efforts. He also worked to introduce sustainable technologies such as rainwater collection and solar water purification at the local level. Persistent deforestation and lack of economic opportunities in the area was an ongoing concern during Parrucci's service, but programs to combat them had proven ineffective. Understanding the need to more closely tie local producers to these efforts, Parrucci began to lay the groundwork for Planting Empowerment in 2006.
Wulf arrived to Panama with the Peace Corps in mid-2003. As an economic development volunteer, he worked in rural Panama with farmers in agricultural business development and computer center construction. After spending two years in agribusiness, Wulf spent an extra year training the new class of volunteers as well as working with a microfinance institution to create their first comprehensive poverty impact assessment. Wulf then returned to the States to attend graduate school at Thunderbird School for Global Management in Phoenix, AZ. There he joined the three other Returned Peace Corps/Panama Volunteers to help found Planting Empowerment, their answer to frustrations they encountered with traditional grassroots environmental and social development practices. Wulf graduated from Thunderbird in May and currently works as the Strategic Advisor for PE. He also holds-down a day job with the global berry company Driscoll’s, managing regional production teams throughout Europe and Africa. He will hopefully be working with farmers around the world with both jobs for many years to come.
Mateo is the Field Supervisor for Planting Empowerment, responsible for overseeing the smooth operation of Planting Empowerment's forestry projects in Panama. Originally from California, he has spent 4.5 years working in Darien and Panama Este, first with the Peace Corps as an environmental health volunteer, where he helped his community solicit an aqueduct, then as regional leader, where he fostered relationships between communities, government agencies, and volunteers. He then worked with the NGO Global Brigades, starting their public health program. Prior to his time in Panama, he studied International Studies at The Ohio State University.
Liriano has been Planting Empowerment's Field Administrator since 2009, responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the company's forestry projects in Arimae and Nuevo Paraiso. He is currently studying to receive his professional Forester's degree from the University of Panama in the Darien. Previously, Liriano studies at the Atalaya high school, a leading agricultural school located in Veraguas. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his beautiful daughter, exploring the surrounding ecology and improving his project management skills.