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Joe Sbrocchi, a veteran of the Canadian produce industry who has held high- profile retail positions during his career, has joined Mastronardi Produce as vice president of sales and marketing.

Mr. Sbrocchi, who officially joined the Leamington, ON, greenhouse produce marketer seven weeks ago, assumed the duties of Chris Veillon, the previous director of marketing, who recently left the company. Mr. Sbrocchi's duties reach beyond marketing, as he also serves as vice president of sales.

"Chris left the company as of Friday, August 20, to pursue a great opportunity elsewhere," Mr. Sbrocchi told The Produce News Aug. 25. “We wish him the best of luck.”

Mr. Sbrocchi has a long history in the retail produce industry in Canada. “This is a giant leap to the production end,” he said. “I worked in the retail side for 20 years in buying and selling produce. I was with Sobeys for 15 years, working in about nine positions during that time. My role there culminated in leading the produce category nationally for the company.”

After leaving Sobeys, Mr. Sbrocchi worked as a produce consultant for a year- and-a-half. He then took a position with Walmart Canada as country manager for strategic sourcing and supply chain.

“I helped put together Walmart Canada’s supply chain for fresh produce as it was developing across the country,” he said. “I then accepted this position with Mastronardi Produce.”

Mr. Sbrocchi has served on the board of directors of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association for over eight years. He also serves as chairman of the organization’s technology committee.

“It is very important to the well-being of the industry to stay abreast of technology,” he said. “It is integral in leading the industry in the right directions.”

A longtime admirer of Mastronardi Produce, Mr. Sbrocchi said that from a retailer’s perspective, there is not a better company with which to work. “When Paul [Mastronardi, company president] contacted me to propose this opportunity, I was thrilled to be considered,” he said. “I plan to move to the Leamington area in the future. In the meantime, I am commuting from my home in Toronto on weekends and on Wednesdays for my weekly family get- together.

“This is a beautiful area,” he continued. “It’s a closed community, and in fact, much like a terminal market. Produce businesses here support each other in their efforts, and they band together to make the overall greenhouse industry better.”

Mr. Sbrocchi is adapting to his new position quickly. He said that Mr. Veillon left a strong legacy, and that he helped to set up a good system that can be expanded.

“Mastronardi Produce has multiple facilities throughout North America, and it produces year-round,” said Mr. Sbrocchi. “Its strong marketing arm reaches around the world.”

In Leamington, production is currently in full swing and will wind down in November. Production in other areas will ensure a seamless flow of Mastronardi’s products.

“The thing that impresses me most is that I am joining a great team of people,” said Mr. Sbrocchi. “From Paul, who is the brain power, on down the chain, every area has very strong people who know their jobs well and are highly motivated. I’m thrilled to be a part of this outstanding company and to help take it to the next level.”