MALHEUR MOVERS: For Cruickshank, issues are a call to action

Tiffany Cruickshank. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

NYSSA – When you grow up with strong female role models, you become someone like Tiffany Cruickshank.

The 33-year-old from Willowcreek wears several hats. She’s in her 10th season as transportation manager at Snake River Produce in Nyssa. She’s a mom to two daughters. And when it comes to her community, she’s not one to sit back.

“If I see an issue I’m passionate about I’m going to try to do something about it,” said Cruickshank.

It’s that kind of curiosity that got her nominated for the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Region Board, a local group tasked with improving life for Malheur County residents on the border with Idaho.

In that role, Cruickshank spent a year listening and learning. One issue that came up was childcare.

It’s an issue that hits close to home for the mother of a 5-year-old and a 20-month-old.

At her desk in Nyssa, with a technicolor picture drawn by her oldest daughter pinned behind her, Cruickshank becomes animated when she discusses potential solutions.

It’s clear she’s done her research as she tells what communities across the country are doing to solve their problems, and how Malheur County can do so too. She said she’s the type to show up to things she knows nothing about.

“Get involved,” said Cruickshank. “Go to a meeting, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You can make a change.”

Cruickshank is also involved in the Vale chapter of the Philanthropic Education Organization, a group that helps provide scholarships for women. The local chapter sells nuts each year to help fund the scholarships.

She paid for her studies in marketing and economics at the University of Oregon through scholarships so being able to give back and help other young women, she said, is important to her.

A fourth-generation agriculturalist, Cruickshank said that growing up she never heard she wasn’t capable of doing something.

Her sister Alisha is superintendent of Vale schools. Their mother is in a leadership role at U.S. Bank and her grandmother owned the Malheur Enterprise way back when.

Cruickshank remembers learning to type like the wind at the newspaper.

When Cruickshank got into agriculture – a traditionally male field – she said she was often one of the few young and women attendees at functions.

She was the first woman to serve out an entire term as president of the Idaho-Oregon Fruit and Vegetable Association.

“She’s terrific in all ways,” said her boss Kay Riley, owner of Snake River Produce. Cruickshank earned her MBA while working for Riley. He said she’s always up for helping her friends.

As she walks through the plant it seems Riley isn’t the only one who admires her. Other employees greet her warmly and she’s quick to interrupt her conversation to say hi or ask if they need help.

Outside of work, she also helps out with Future Farmers of America. Her husband Chad is advisor of the Nyssa High School chapter. Together they tend to roughly 130 acres of mostly forage crops.

Cruickshank’s ties to the community mean she wants to see it thrive.

What’s on her wishlist for Malheur County? Continuous improvement.

Have a news tip? Reporter Yadira Lopez: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.

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