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PMA staff changes to help association meet produce industry's changing needs

by | January 03, 2010
NEWARK, DE -- The Produce Marketing Association has announced key personnel changes and additions following a reorganization of staff to help implement the trade association's strategic plan. The plan, adopted in 2008, calls for PMA to align itself to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex and global industry.

Lorna Christie has been promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer, with the responsibility of managing PMA's member service and administrative functions. She joined PMA in 2002 with extensive association, government and corporate experience.

Duane Eaton, a 30-year PMA veteran who has led many successful member and staff functions, manages the association's support services as senior vice president of administration.

Tony Parassio has been promoted to senior vice president of member value. Mr. Parassio, who joined PMA in 2008 with extensive experience managing global corporate business development teams, is responsible for connecting PMA member needs with timely business solutions. Messrs. Eaton and Parassio report to Ms. Christie.

"This new staff structure enhances our ability to better serve our members at a time when they expect even more value from PMA," PMA President Bryan Silbermann said in a Jan. 4 press release announcing the changes. "PMA's senior management team is now organized to provide our members with the unique value they need, today and in the future."

Mr. Silbermann said that these senior staff changes will allow him to focus more on external partnerships and volunteer leadership engagement. PMA's senior management team also includes Chief Financial Officer Yvonne Bull, Chief Science & Technology Officer Bob Whitaker and PMA Foundation for Industry Talent Executive Director Cindy Seel.

Bill Schuler, chairman of the PMA board of directors and president and chief executive officer of Castellini Co. LLC in Wilder, KY, added in the release, "Bryan and his team have realigned resources to match our strategic needs without adding to our staff head count. At a time when our members are watching their own expenses carefully and are relying even more on the association for help, PMA's management has used a highly disciplined approach to focus on adding targeted skills where they are most needed while eliminating areas that are less valuable."

Two promotions have also been made to strengthen PMA's events teams. Kent Allaway is now vice president of meetings and trade show logistics, and Eboni Wall has been named senior director of events. They lead the teams that create PMA's highly rated events, including the annual Leadership Symposium, Fresh Summit and Foodservice Conference, as well as the association's regional Fresh Connections events.

"PMA's events have always been a source of real value to our members," Mr. Silbermann said. "That is why we are strengthening our staff with the promotions of two emerging staff leaders, each of whom have more than a decade of experience building our unparalleled learning and networking events."

To reflect PMA's increasingly global outreach and involvement, 17-year PMA veteran Terry Humfeld is now vice president of chapter relations, a new position. His responsibilities include working with PMA's first international affiliate, PMA Australia-New Zealand Ltd., which was launched Oct. 1, 2009. He joins a strong team under Mr. Parassio's leadership that is focused specifically on PMA's worldwide member involvement.

The association has hired Richard Owen as director of global business development, bringing further expertise and strength to PMA's global efforts. He has extensive international and agriculture industry experience, ranging from director of agricultural affairs for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to association leadership positions. He works closely with 30- year PMA veteran Nancy Tucker, vice president of global business development; both are part of the globally focused team led by Mr. Parassio.

Mr. Silbermann also announced that the association has combined its food safety and traceability teams into a new PMA staff group directed by Dr. Whitaker. This team will be responsible for all food-safety and technology initiatives, including PMA's leadership on the Produce Traceability Initiative.

"Food safety and technology are critical areas in which we can deliver real value to our members right now," Mr. Silbermann said in the release. "Bob's leadership of this new team will be reinforced by his considerable operational experience in the industry as well as his exceptional professional stature and credibility with both industry and government."