The April CPMA Convention and Trade Show in Vancouver, BC, will mark the end of Walt Breeden’s term as chair of the Association, and he’s proud of the accomplishments of his team.
Breeden, director of Canadian sales for The Oppenheimer Group, reflected back on the highlights of his year in the spotlight as he prepares to hand the torch over to Metro’s Bernadette Hamel. “It’s been an outstanding opportunity to be CPMA chair. You don’t realize unless you travel across the country how passionate people are about the produce industry,” he noted.
Breeden himself is passionate about pointing out the link between eating well and good health. “One of my goals this year was to continue to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. Because it’s pretty simple: fruits and vegetables are very good for you,” he said.
Breeden mentioned the CPMA-sponsored Health Summit as an impactful step forward. The summit brought nutrition and health professionals from across Canada together last June to discuss the role of produce in the Canadian diet.
“We agreed about the importance of consistent, effective nutrition messages,” Breeden said. “Consumers are exposed to thousands of messages about nutrition and health, day in and day out. By adding clarity, we can all make better-informed choices.”
He noted he enjoyed interacting with Canadian government officials in his capacity as CPMA chair, having joined other fresh fruit and vegetable industry leaders at the Fall Harvest event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, meeting with parliamentarians to discuss key industry issues.
“I am also proud of the expansion CPMA has made in our education program,” Breedon said. “We are committed to delivering value to our members. Through education, we can grow together as an industry.”
Asked what he personally enjoyed the most about his term as chair, Breeden replied, “For me personally, it’s all about the team. I’m a real team player, and I’m very fortunate the CPMA group are really talented people. I can’t say enough about them, how dedicated they are and just a great bunch to work with.”
He expects delegates to enjoy the upcoming Vancouver convention, to be held in the state-of-the-art new facility built for the Olympics. CPMA will reveal a new marketing plan at the April 3rd lunch session. ”I think it’s going to be one that will be very simple and easy for everybody to understand and use going forward, so that’s exciting,” said Breeden.
He’s grateful to his colleagues at The Oppenheimer Group for giving him the opportunity to take on the role of chair. He’s the sixth person to have held the position from the company, including current Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer John Anderson.
Looking to the future, Breeden said, “I told people that my job right now is CPMA and my hobby is Oppenheimer. After April 4, my job will be Oppenheimer and my hobby will be CPMA. I’m the director of sales in Canada, so I’m responsible for increasing sales in Canada. That’s what I will be focusing on for sure. “
Breeden has been with Oppy since 1987, gaining new sales and grower relations responsibilities in step with the growth of the company over the last 27 years.