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PORTLAND, OR -- As of Jan. 28, Dennis James will leave his post as director of marketing at the Pear Bureau Northwest in order to take a brief break in his career so that he can focus on his personal life.

Since joining the Pear Bureau Northwest staff in the fall of 2001, Mr. James has been instrumental in modernizing the domestic marketing program for Northwest pears. During his tenure, he instituted a state-of-the-art, in- house data system that provides deep category analysis. This data system is the backbone of customized retail programs that allow methodical growth of Northwest pear profits season over season, the organization noted..

In addition, under his leadership, the average number of varieties on display have expanded, and nearly 50 percent of Northwest pear displays are now positioned in the highly sought-after front of the produce department. With these advancements, along with many others, Mr. James has increased the domestic market share for Northwest pears to 68 percent from 61 percent of the total pear crop.

"Dennis led the domestic pear program for 10 seasons, transitioning the program in dramatic ways," Pear Bureau Northwest President Kevin Moffitt said in a Jan. 14 press release. "Under his direction, our regional marketing managers have been able to supply retailers with meaningful, actionable data and information. Dennis has instituted many changes that will be beneficial to the industry in the years to come, and we wish him well in his new endeavors."

Mr. James added in the release, "It has been an honor to be associated with the Northwest pear community. I want to take a break at this moment in time as I prepare to seek new challenges on the horizon."