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Jeannine Martin, a sales and marketing professional with 35 years of experience in the produce industry, most recently as sales manager of Fowler, CA-based Simonian Fruit Co., has joined Fruit Patch in Dinuba, CA, on the sales desk.

An announcement of the appointment was made March 5 in a Fruit Patch press release.

"Jeannine's passion for developing business relationships focused on the customer's needs mirrors the philosophy of Fruit Patch," Sheri Mierau, vice president of sales and marketing, said in the release. "Jeannine's track record of using a service-oriented approach in her transactions with her co-workers and customers is an asset, and we are fortunate to have her as part of the team."

Ms. Martin told The Produce News that she spent the first 17 years of her career on the transportation side of the business, working in sales and as a dispatcher with her family's trucking company. She then worked "both in sales and operations" for about nine years with Sanger, CA-based Ballantine Produce Co. Inc.

Then, in 2001, "I went to Simonian to work on the sales desk, and in 2005, I became sales manager," she said.

In her sales role at Fruit Patch, Ms. Martin will report to Sheri Mierau. The press release stated, "According to Ms. Mierau, 'Jeannine is highly respected in the industry, and her team-building skills will strengthen the existing members' collaborative efforts. Her established work ethic and positive outlook [are] contagious."

The release quoted Scott Wallace, president of Fruit Patch, as saying, "We have quality people at Fruit Patch, and Jeannine fits right in."

It was, in fact, the quality of the people at Fruit Patch that attracted Ms. Martin to the company. She said March 8 that after resigning from Simonian, she "made some phone calls" to various companies, and Fruit Patch had the profile "I thought I fit the best." When asked what appealed to her about the company, she said, without hesitation, "Oh, the quality of the people here, absolutely. I had some familiarity with the salespeople in this office already, just because we had a friendly relationship between us. I had a lot of respect and still do have a lot of respect for everyone that sits in this office. When Sheri Mierau came on, I really thought that was a positive thing for the company. And then when they hired Sabrina [Mak], that really caused me to take a look at what was happening over here."

Ms. Mak was hired in late January as trade marketing manager.

Ms. Martin said that she has served on industry committees and boards with Ms. Mak, "but I haven't ever been able to directly work with her" before joining Fruit Patch. "And from day one, it has been a complete pleasure. I really like her disposition. I like her hard work ethic. I love the thinking cap that girl has on her."

So it "really was the quality of people," she reiterated. "They are good, they are honest, they do what they say they are going to do. That is really what attracted me here."