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Lutz joins CMI as vice president of marketing

Columbia Marketing International, a grower-shipper of premium quality apples, pears and cherries based in Wenatchee, WA, has named Steve Lutz vice president of marketing. He assumed the role vacated by Bob Mast, who was promoted to president of CMI in April.

Lutz has been with the Nielsen Perishables Group, a Chicago-based marketing and consulting firm, since June of 2000. His primary work involved helping organizations understand LutzSteve Lutzand merge consumer information and supermarket sales data to develop innovative growth strategies.

He has worked for more than 30 years in various areas of marketing and management, and has been a top-rated speaker at the Food Marketing Institute, Produce Marketing Association, Canadian Produce Marketing Association, Boston International Seafood Show and other associations throughout the world.

Prior to his work at the Perishables Group, Lutz served as president and chief executive officer of the Washington Apple Commission. His previous marketing experience also includes Nutri-System as well as The Olgilvy Group, where he was primarily responsible for the development of marketing and advertising programs for key clients.

He currently serves on the Retail/Foodservice Board of United Fresh, and is also the facilitator for the Food Marketing Institute Fresh Foods Executive Committee. He is a past member of the board of directors for the Produce Marketing Association.

"Steve brings a tremendous sense of vision and foresight to the marketing department at CMI," Mast said in a press release. "Steve has been studying consumer buying trends and habits for many years and this insight will be very beneficial to CMI as we assist our retail partners in navigating through some very large national crops in the years ahead. We are fully committed to providing compelling sales building partnerships with our retail partners and Steve understands this philosophy and will bring great leadership to his new role. We look forward to the many contributions Steve will bring to the CMI team and we are very excited to welcome him to the CMI family."

"I'm thrilled to be joining the team at CMI," Lutz said in the press release. "CMI has a legacy of innovation and leadership in the fruit industry which is really exemplified by the success they have had introducing new varieties like Ambrosia, Kiku and Kanzi. I look forward to working with the CMI staff and customers to expand sales and ultimately enhance returns to growers."

Lutz earned an MBA from City University in Seattle and a bachelor's degree in communications and advertising from Washington State University. He also completed the marketing management program in the graduate school of business at Stanford University.