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People, week of June 13, 2011

West Pak Avocado in Temecula, CA, has hired DAYNA BROWN as the company's sales and marketing assistant.

Dayna Brown
Ms. Brown, a recent graduate of Cal State University-San Marcos with a bachelor's degree in business marketing, is responsible for telephone customer service and a wide variety of support roles within West Pak's sales and marketing department. She also will be responsible for trade show and special events planning.


"Since joining our company earlier this year, Dayna has proven to be a great addition to our team," Doug Meyer, the company's vice president of sales and marketing, said in a May 27 press release. "The future of our company and the fresh produce industry lies with the next generation of talented youth who have a passion for agribusiness, and Dayna is definitely one of those individuals. Additionally, we are thrilled to have found and hired Dayna from a local university."

Ms. Brown began working at West Pak Avocado in February.


Colorful Harvest has added DAVID MANCERA to the produce company's growing

David Mancera
operations team.


Formerly a senior financial analyst with Driscoll Strawberry Associates in Watsonville, CA, Mr. Mancera has a master of science degree in agricultural resource economics from the University of California-Davis, and a bachelor of science degree in agricultural business with a concentration in marketing from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo.

"David brings valuable experience to the team in the areas of solidifying grower relationships, berry business program improvements, finance and market analysis," Doug Ranno, Colorful Harvest's chief operating officer and managing partner, said in a June 1 press release.

Colorful Harvest grows premium-quality strawberries year round, and is also known for its heirloom-style, unusually colorful vegetables including "Ruby Jewel" sweet red corn, "Rainbow Crunch Carrots" and tri-color cauliflower.


Duda Farm Fresh Foods, based in Oviedo, FL, announced the promotion of JOHN ALDERMAN to senior account manager.


John Alderman
Reporting to Jason Bedsole, Eastern vegetable and citrus sales manager, Mr. Alderman will work with Duda Farm Fresh Foods' East Coast vegetable and Florida citrus growers to coordinate harvests, strengthen relations, share commodity market insights, and champion the conventional and organic celery and citrus programs for Duda Farm Fresh Foods' Eastern fresh sales.


Mr. Alderman has worked for Duda Farm Fresh Foods for six years as an account manager.

"John has a proven work ethic and talent for strengthening key relationships with our growers and customers that is invaluable to our organization," Rick Alcocer, senior vice president of fresh sales, said in a June 2 press release. "We are pleased to promote him and look forward to his continued success at Duda Farm Fresh Foods."

Duda also announced that CHRISTINA L. MONNIN has joined the company as

Christina L. Monnin
account manager of Eastern vegetables and citrus, and will be responsible for servicing, strategizing and developing opportunities for the company.


Ms. Monnin, who will also report to Mr. Bedsole, most recently worked at South Florida Produce LLC, where she was involved with marketing, sales, grower relations and logistics.

"We are pleased to welcome Christina to the Duda Farm Fresh Foods team," Mr. Alcocer added in the press release. "She has a reputation for exceptional service, positive energy, and strong values that fit right in with our existing team."


Leer Inc. USA in New Lisbon, WI, a manufacturer of custom walk-in coolers and freezers, has hired SHEILA PALINKAS as national sales manager.

Ms. Palinkas has more than 20 years of industry experience on the end-user, dealer, consultant and manufacturing sides. She will work closely with Leer's manufacturer representatives as well as with affiliated organizations, including Food Service Consultants Society International. "Sheila brings industry and product knowledge to Leer, and we are glad she has joined our team," Scot Harvey, president of Leer, said in a June 3 press release. "She provides an understanding of customers' needs that will help us become a better company and vendor of choice."

Prior to Leer, Ms. Palinkas worked at W.A. Brown as director of specialty markets and as a clean room application consultant at Joe's Refrigeration.

Leer also has appointed PATRICK MCNEELY as customer service manager.

Mr. McNeely will be responsible for managing the current customer service team as well as maintaining his current responsibilities of customer training.

He has worked for Leer Inc. since 2003 as a customer service representative. Prior to working for Leer, he spent 22 years working for Walker Stainless Equipment Co. in the purchasing department.


SUZY FAVOR HAMILTON, a three-time Olympic track star who also won 11 state titles in high school, is the winningest female collegiate athlete at the University of Wisconsin, won nine NCAA championships and was named the Big Ten Athlete of the Decade in the 1990s, is the new spokesperson for Wisconsin potatoes.

Ms. Favor Hamilton, a native of Stevens Point, WI, made her first official appearance as the spokesperson for Wisconsin potatoes at the seventh annual Walk Wisconsin non-competitive event that was held June 4 in Stevens Point. She handed out medals to finishers as they crossed the finish line.

"Suzy is a perfect fit to deliver the message that potatoes are nutritious and fit into an active, healthy lifestyle," Duane Maatz, executive director of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association, said in a press release. "She's accomplished a lot in her lifetime and overcome hurdles as well. She understands the importance of eating right, and she knows how to motivate people. And she's just as busy as the rest of us, and she understands how difficult it can be to find the time to prepare a healthy meal. But this nation is in the midst of an obesity epidemic among children and adults alike, and fresh potatoes and vegetables are one of the keys to a healthier diet. We hope that Suzy will help inspire families to get active, eat better and enjoy a healthier lifestyle."

Mr. Maatz also noted that because Ms. Favor Hamilton grew up in the heart of Wisconsin's potato-production area, she can remind consumers to support Wisconsin farmers and buy locally grown produce.


To announce personnel changes at your company, please contact Assistant Editor Terry Sokol at 201/986-7990, ext. 107, or Photos are encouraged.