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After three decades in the fruit industry, Steve Terry, general sales manager at Chelan Fresh Marketing, has retired.

According to a March 1 press release, Tom Riggan, former director of export sales and assistant sales manager, has been named to succeed Mr. Terry.

Mr. Terry, who headed sales for the Chelan, WA-based company since 2005, is counted among those who launched the fruit marketing operation in August 2004.

He told The Produce News that his entire career in the fruit industry was rewarding, but he said that being a part of Chelan Fresh's formative group was especially gratifying.

The marketing company was formed through a series of mergers and acquisitions. Today, Chelan Fresh Marketing handles sales and marketing for Gebbers Farms, Chelan Fruit Cooperative, Gold Digger Apples and E. W. Brandt & Sons. In all, the marketing efforts bring sales for more than 400 fresh fruit growers under one roof.

"Since 2004 I have had the opportunity to help put together a very successful operation. I am only one person in a team of many people," he said, noting that Chelan Fresh has come far due to the individuals committed to its success.

Of his 31 years in the fruit industry, Mr. Terry said, “I have a lot of very fond memories. It’s the people associated with the business that have made it most enjoyable for me.”

He added that while marketing techniques have evolved over the years, the industry has always been dynamic.

“The business side changes every day, and certainly I’ve seen the industry change a lot since I started,” he said.

Mr. Terry’s fruit sales career goes back to 1978, when he started with Gold Digger Apples in Oroville, WA. He was named sales manager of that company the following year and remained there until 1985, when he took the job of sales manager with Beebe Orchard Co. in Chelan County. When Beebe was acquired by Dole Food Co. in 1989, Mr. Terry signed on with the national operation. In 1998 he became vice president of sales and marketing for Dole Northwest.

Dole left the Washington tree fruit industry within three years of that move, and Mr. Terry then began working for Trout-Blue Chelan in the city of Chelan as sales manager.

Three years later Chelan Fresh was formed, with Mr. Terry overseeing the sales department.

And about his retirement, Mr. Terry laughed and said, “I am just looking forward to enjoying the next 20 years.”