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Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the appointment of 16 members to serve on the National Watermelon Promotion Board. The appointees will serve three-year terms from Jan. 1, 2019, to Dec. 31, 2021. Members appointed are: Dalton Willis Borders, Edinburg, TX Cody Buckley, San Antonio, TX Jordan Carter, Cordele, GA Richard Chastain, Alva, FL John Gee, Temecula, CA Jose F. Gomez Ph.D., El Paso, TX W. Rodney Jackson, Autryville, NC Michael J. Marks,... Read more
Western Growers mainstay Matthew McInerney to retire
Matt McInerney is clearly a throwback to a different era. He began his produce industry career where he is ending it — at Western Growers Association. He hardly missed a day of work in that 40-plus year career and his plow-horse work ethic is truly emblematic of the industry that he serves.Matthew McInerney After 43 years with the organization — the last 25 as the No. 2 person — McInerney is retiring from his senior executive vice president role in March of... Read more
London Fruit hires Tonya Hill
Tonya Hill has joined London Fruit Inc. as retail development manager in sales. A native Texan, Hill brings over 15 years of produce experience to its program.  The company said her previous roles as Texas regional manager, director of sales and transportation, category manager and director of new customer development have prepared her for her new retail position at London Fruit. Hill attended Texas A&M University and started her career in the accounting... Read more
John Vena Inc. taps industry veteran for sales leadership role
Specialty produce wholesale distributor John Vena Inc. has tapped produce industry veteran Joe Killian for a new role focused on business development. Prior to joining John Vena Inc., Killian worked as director of operations at a leading foodservice distributor in Philadelphia. In his role at John Vena Inc., Killian will be a driving force behind the company’s retail growth strategy and oversee business development efforts in the grocery sector with a focus on... Read more
The Sykes Co. names Lesley Sykes as EVP
The Sykes Co., based in Rio Rio, AZ, has hired Lesley Sykes as executive vice president. Sykes is responsible for identifying and executing growth opportunities by responding to the needs of the evolving industry landscape. She started at the company full-time ahead of the 2018-19 season that began in October and has hit the ground running with the development of the company’s very first organics line, which is set to debut later this month. Sykes has more than... Read more
IPC's Jamie Bowen elected to board of International Foodservice Editorial Council
Members of the International Foodservice Editorial Council recently elected Jamie Bowen, marketing manager for the Idaho Potato Commission, to serve on the board of directors at its 62nd annual conference in Raleigh, NC. Bowen will serve a two-year term on the IFEC Board. “There isn’t another organization where public relations/marketing professionals and editors come together to build professional and personal relationships," said Bowen. "Sure, we all discuss... Read more
Pasculli joins FreshXperts
FreshXperts has welcomed its newest team member, Nick Pasculli, to the group of expert produce industry consultants. Pasculli is well regarded in the fresh produce industry for his expertise in brand strategy, creativity, marketing, business development and leadership development. In addition to his long career in fresh foods, Pasculli has dozens of years of experience in commercial banking and finance. As a first-generation Italian-American born in Hoboken, NJ,... Read more
IFCO names new VP of operations
IFCO, the world’s leading supplier of reusable plastic containers for fresh food packaging, announced the appointment of Jon Heyler as vice president of operations for IFCO North America. “I am pleased Jon has agreed to rejoin the IFCO team,” said Dan Martin, president of IFCO North America. “A strong commitment to food safety and a culture of constant improvement are two of IFCO’s core operating principles, and Jon will provide the leadership, vision and superior... Read more
Zespri chairman announces retirement
Peter McBride, who has chaired the board of Zespri since 2013, will step down as chairman of Zespri in February 2019 and will retire as a director of Zespri at the company’s next Annual Meeting in July 2019. Deputy Chairman Bruce Cameron will become chairman in February 2019. Cameron is a long-time kiwifruit grower and has been a director of Zespri since 2010. The succession provides for continued strong leadership and experience on the board. McBride has been... Read more
Zach O’Keefe of NYAS to run in TCS New York City Marathon
Among the more than 50,000 runners who will take part in the TCS New York City Marathon will be Zach O’Keefe, logistics and production assistant at New York Apple Sales Inc., in Glenmont, NY. O’Keefe has been training for the marathon for a long time. “This is the third marathon I’ve run, and the first in the Big Apple,” said O’Keefe. “Since receiving a guaranteed entry from the New York Apple Association to participate in the race, I’ve been in training... Read more
Western Growers announces Ron Ratto as new chairman of the board
Western Growers announced that Ron Ratto, president of Ratto Bros. Inc., has been elected as chairman of the board of directors. Taking over volunteer leadership responsibilities from outgoing Chairman Craig Reade, partner at Bonipak Produce, Ratto will serve as chairman for a one-year term. He joined Western Growers’ board in 2013 and has served numerous roles, including senior vice chairman and political action committee chairman.Outgoing Chairman Craig Reade... Read more
ReedTMS appoints Bryan McDonald as CFO
ReedTMS, a leading asset-based third-party logistics provider, announced the appointment of Bryan McDonald as chief financial officer. He is a seasoned CFO and has over 20 years of varied accounting and finance experience. McDonald has spent the past 14 years as the CFO of Lifelink Foundation Inc., where he was responsible for growth, business development, and the financial results of five clinical operating divisions as well as five shared service departments... Read more
Generation Next: CAC’s Monica Arnett enters NYC Marathon
On Nov. 4, Monica Arnett, director of finance and accounting for the California Avocado Commission, will attempt to break the very-respectable four-hour mark in the New York City Marathon. That is the goal she has set for herself in an attempt to best her previous fastest time. While Arnett wants to reach her goal, she admitted that she is going to run the race like a tourist would with an iPhone in tow looking for the perfect picture. “I’m going to take advantage... Read more
Lundstrom joins Divine Flavor sales staff
David Lundstrom has become the national sales manager for the vegetable category of Divine Flavor LLC. He is a native of Nogales and will be working from the firm’s Nogales sales office. Pedro Batiz Sr., vice president of sales, told The Produce News that he has known Lundstrom for 40 years. Their varied relationships included school, work, family and family-business relationships.David Lundstrom and his wife, Bobbie Lundstrom. “He has a good track record,” in... Read more
Naturipe's new value-added fresh VP and general manager
Produce industry veteran Steven Ware has joined Naturipe as vice president and general manager of Value-Added Fresh. In this role, Ware will be responsible for pursuing growth and business expansion opportunities, as well as leading the development and management of the value-added fresh division. “I am excited to join an organization with a remarkable history, business model and strong core company vales,” said Ware. “The prospect to steward the value-added fresh... Read more
Marketing VP Jessie Gunn leaves Wholesum
Jessie Gunn, the dynamic and enthusiastic vice president of marketing for Wholesum Family Farms Inc., is leaving the firm. Ricardo Crisantes Sr., chief commercial officer for the Nogales-based firm, told The Produce News that Gunn had been very helpful in conveying Wholesum’s message on organic produce, “and we wish her the best.” Gunn said her responsibilities will be assumed by “Joanna Jaramillo, an amazing recent addition to Wholesum, our marketing coordinator.”... Read more
C.H. Robinson's Stenderup Scales K2
At 6:40 a.m. on July 22, John Stenderup became the 21st American to step foot atop K2, the second-tallest mountain in the world behind Mount Everest, which he scaled last year. Stenderup, manager of cold chain solutions for C.H. Robinson in its Robinson Fresh office in Monterey, CA, had been in training for the ambitious mountain climb for many months. He officially began the assault on June 20 with a flight from California to Islamabad, Pakistan. Eleven days later,... Read more
Apeel Sciences hires new director of trade and retail marketing
California-based Apeel Sciences — the company that’s using food to preserve food with its thin “peel” of edible plant material applied to the surface of fruits and vegetables, thereby slowing down spoilage and increasing shelf life — has hired Natalie Shuman as its director of trade and retail marketing. Shuman’s appointment comes as Apeel, which was recently named as one of Time magazine’s 50 Most Genius Companies of 2018, accelerates its industry talent acquisition... Read more
Sunkist welcomes Christina Ward as director of communications
Sunkist Growers announced that Christina Ward has joined the marketing team as director of communications. “We are thrilled for Christina to join the Sunkist family and lead our global communications efforts,” said Mark Madden, vice president of marketing and global licensing. “Her 15 years of communications experience on the agency side and in-house — along with more than a decade working directly on lifestyle and foodservice brands across the U.S. — is a tremendous... Read more
Pacific AgPak promotes two, hires sales manager
Pacific AgPak has made some changes to its staff: Brian Harris was hired as its new sales manager; Sara Gillogley has been promoted to finance director/sales; and Maria Anaya will be handling customer service as well as heading up sales for the Southwest. Harris comes over from Peninsula Packaging/Sonoco Packaging handling various accounts.Brian Harris "His knowledge and experience in the packaging industry will help in discussing and explaining the company’s newest... Read more