The Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum, a consortium of 350 South African growers eligible to export summer citrus to the United States, has announced the appointment of SUHANRA CONRADIE as its new chief executive officer. Ms. Conradie replaced Joretha Geldenhuys, who served as the forum's chief executive officer since August 2009.
"Suhanra brings a wealth of knowledge in dealing with foreign markets, as well as expertise in all aspects of growth, distribution and supply in the fruit-export industry," Gerrit van der Merwe, chairman of the forum, said in a May 25 press release. "With her in place, we expect to continue the development, expansion and success of our position in the U.S. market."
Ms. Conradie most recently directed marketing, finance and sales efforts for Oceanic Fruit Exports in South Africa. Her role focused on bringing fruits from the farm to the packinghouse to the final market destination, with daily interaction in various foreign markets in Europe, the United Kingdom and the Middle East.
Prior to joining Oceanic, Ms. Conradie held marketing and finance roles with Sunny Fruit Export Co. and Kromco. In her role as CEO for the forum, she will be based in Wellington, South Africa.
"I am very excited to accept this role, which will enable me to fulfill a long-held professional desire to market South African citrus fruits in the United States, the most important market in the world," Ms. Conradie said in the press release. "Consumption of South African summer citrus continues to grow as a welcomed category by U.S. consumers - something attributable to the high quality and delicious flavor consistent with fruit produced by our growers."
BILL YOUNG, an experienced Stemilt Growers Inc. sales representative, is returning to the company's export sales department after working in Stemilt's domestic sales department for the past six years. He assumed his new role as export sales representative May 23.
Mr. Young brings more than 27 years of fruit-industry sales experience to the export team, including 20 years serving customers with Stemilt apples, pears, cherries and stone fruit.
He started his career in 1983 in Pennsylvania, and first joined Stemilt's team in 1987. He worked for many years in exports at Stemilt and was instrumental in helping introduce Washington cherries to export markets, including China. More recently, he has managed business on the domestic side with some of the larger retailers in North America.
"I'm excited to have Bill back at the export sales desk," Dave Martin, Stemilt's export sales manager, said in a press release. "He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position and will help us better serve our customers in all markets currently served, as well as help to expand the number of markets where Stemilt fruit may be found in the future."
Pro*Act, a leading distributor of fresh produce to the foodservice industry, has promoted GABE ROMERO to procurement manager.
Mr. Romero has been a product manager for Pro*Act since 2004 and now assumes the shared responsibility for the day-to-day duties and management of the procurement team. He and Mike Gorczyca both hold the position of procurement manager, and they handle commodity purchases along with their management responsibilities.
Soquel, CA-based SureHarvest announced three additions to its sales staff.
SCOTT TURNER, MELISSA McKINSEY and RANDY MILLER are tasked with advancing sales of SureHarvest Farming MIS software and services.
SureHarvest Chief Executive Officer Jeff Dlott cited the new hires' experience, noting in a May 9 press release that "their knowledge, insights and successful track record will enable SureHarvest to meet the increasing demand from growers, farm management companies, wineries and food companies to more effectively capture and analyze farming information to increase efficiencies, meet compliance requirements and drive continuous improvement initiatives."
Mr. Turner, former general manager of operations for John Deere Agri-Services, will lead the team as an executive sales adviser. "I'm looking forward to contributing to the success of SureHarvest," he said in the release. Mr. Turner's career in agricultural technology began in 1980 when he started a company that was sold to AGRIS, and subsequently to John Deere.
Ms. McKinsey and Mr. Miller will work as sales managers.
Ms. McKinsey previously worked for PureSense, an irrigation technology company, and for John Deere Agri-Services as a sales manager selling farm accounting and related systems to California agribusiness firms. She will be based in Modesto, CA, focused on fruit, nut and wine grape growers in California's northern San Joaquin Valley and North Coast regions.
Mr. Miller has over 20 years of sales and business development experience with Silicon Valley technology companies and most recently was director of sales for Aging Vines, a wine distributor. He lives in Templeton, CA, and will work with farming companies in the state's southern San Joaquin Valley, Salinas Valley and Central Coast.
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