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People - March 28-April 11, 2011

Pacific Trellis Fruit LLC, headquartered in Reedley, CA, is expanding its team with two new players.

DIRK WINKELMANN signed on March 1 as the company’s international business development director, handling grapes, stone fruit (peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots and cherries), mangos, citrus, apples and pears. He will deal primarily with Chile, Peru, Brazil, Argentina and California in addition to handling sourcing and sales in New Zealand, Australia, Morocco, Europe and various Asian countries.

A 24-year veteran of the produce industry, Mr. Winkelmann most recently was general manager at Safco of America LLC for three years. Prior to that, he was senior vice president of international business development for Sun World International for one year, vice president of global sales and procurement for Vanguard International for 14 years, president of Chiquita Frupac for three years and vice president of operations for Frupac for three years.

“Pacific Trellis has tremendous opportunity and will be on an aggressive yet disciplined growth track over the next five years, and I am honored to be a part of this exciting challenge,” he told The Produce News March 21.

PATTY DENSON joined Pacific Trellis Feb. 16 as a sales representative handling domestic sales of the firm’s full line.

Ms. Denson has worked in the produce industry for 27 years, most recently with Wespak Sales, where she worked in sales for five-and-a-half years. Before that, she was a marketing representative for Gerawan Farming Inc. for 15 years.


TRISTAN KIEVA has begun a new position as director of marketing at Ready Pac Foods Inc. in Irwindale, CA. Ms. Kieva joined the fresh-cut produce supplier in February.

Before coming aboard at Ready Pac, she served as the director of business development and marketing for kievaPandol Bros. Inc. in Delano, CA, from March 2009 through January of this year, when the company restructured. Immediately prior to her tenure with Pandol Bros., she was business development director and senior director of brand marketing for Augustine & Associates, a marketing and advertising agency located in Rocklin, CA, from October 2007 through February 2009.

She has held numerous positions related to the produce industry, including vice president of marketing at Sun Pacific Inc. in Los Angeles from February 2006 through October 2007 and vice president of sales and marketing for Frieda’s Inc. in Los Alamitos, CA, from 1998 through 2005.

Ms. Kieva is a 1992 graduate of the University of California-Irvine, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in English.


Interfresh Inc., a national supplier of fruits and vegetables based in Orange, CA, announced the hiring of DAVID AKAHOSHI to its sales staff.

His primary focus will be in assisting the growth of the company’s berry category by expanding its customer and grower base, and as well as further developing existing relationships.

“Dave grew up in the produce industry with his father and has literally learned the business from the ground up,” Chris Puentes, president of Interfresh, said in a press release. “Dave brings to Interfresh an extensive knowledge of fresh berries, along with some longstanding relationships, and we’re pleased to have him supporting our efforts in that category. We both feel this is a great fit for the long term, and really expect to hit the ground running.”


Greenhouse grower Clifford Produce in Ruthven, ON, named industry veteran ARTHUR O’LEARY as East Coast regional merchandiser. Mr. O’Leary, who will operate from the Boston area, joins Clifford as part of the company’s growth strategy to expand into key markets, including the East Coast. He will provide retailers, as well as foodservice operators, with sales and merchandising support.

“Clifford Produce is thrilled to welcome Arthur to our team,” company President Chris Jacobs said in a Marchaol16 press release. “Arthur has a wealth of industry experience that will be invaluable to our clients as they seek to maximize the effectiveness of their in-store merchandising strategies.”

Mr. O’Leary will be responsible for helping to roll out Clifford’s consumer-focused marketing campaign, initiated last year, to clients on the East Coast. He will introduce retailers to the company’s new “Superseller” merchandising display units — standalone units designed to cross merchandise and demonstrate new products without the need for a full category reset — as well as its new packaging, which includes biodegradable “Eco-Trays” and breathable film.

Mr. O’Leary brings with him more than 30 years of experience in produce merchandising and management for companies in the Northeastern United States and Canada. He is also a co-founder of the New England Produce Council.

Clifford Produce also added another produce veteran, FRANK CARLINI, to the company’s sales team. As a carlinisales representative for Clifford, Mr. Carlini will work with new and existing customers and will be responsible for helping to cultivate relationships in new retail markets, particularly markets on the East Coast where the company hopes to expand its presence.

“We are so pleased to welcome Frank to our team,” Mr. Jacobs said in a March 10 press release. “Frank has a wealth of experience in the greenhouse produce industry that will benefit our clients as we seek to offer a higher level of customer service.”

Mr. Carlini, who will work from Clifford’s home office in Ruthven, has more than 15 years of experience working in fresh produce, holding positions in produce procurement and account management.