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People, week of July 25, 2011

Grow My Profits LLC, a Lee’s Summit, MO-based produce consultancy, announced that ARYN WHITEHEAD has been named director of public relations. Ms. Whitehead will handle public relations for Grow My Profits and provide services for the company’s clients.

Aryn Whitehead

“Grow My Profits provides a comprehensive approach to maximizing grower profitability that looks at everything from the seed varieties that a grower uses to its shipping methods to its marketing plan,” Anthony Totta, founder and chief executive officer of Grow My Profits, said in a July 15 press release. “Public relations often becomes a natural extension of everything else that we’re doing to get a business on the right path.

“I have worked with Aryn on various projects over a number of years, and I look forward to continuing to work with her to help our clients enhance communication and increase visibility with potential customers and within the industry,” Mr. Totta added in the press release.

Ms. Whitehead has been working in public relations since 2003 and has four years of experience working with clients in the produce industry. In addition to her work with growers, she has represented clients in travel and tourism, transportation and logistics, hospitality, manufacturing, aviation, fashion, telecommunications, pet products, nutraceuticals and education. She has also represented grassroots and charitable organizations.

Prior to launching her own public relations consultancy in 2007, she held positions with Nation Ranch Marketing in Kansas City, MO, and PR21 in London.

Ms. Whitehead earned a master’s degree in public relations from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in communication and Spanish from Southwest Baptist University.


Interfresh Inc., a national supplier of fruits and vegetables based in Orange, CA, announced that ERNIE COLTON has joined the company.

Mr. Colton, formerly of Western Onion Sales, will be responsible for growing the onion category across Interfresh’s customer base.

In addition to decades of experience in the produce industry, Mr. Colton also brings to Interfresh the sales agent responsibility for Doug Kophamer Farms, a large grower-packer of onions based in Bakersfield, CA. Kophamer Farms grows, packs and ships yellow, red and white onions from June to December.

“We’re very pleased to have both Ernie and Kophamer Farms on board with us,” Chris Puentes, president of Interfresh, said in a press release. “Ernie brings to us a wealth of industry experience, and we’re lucky to have his expertise. In addition, the Kophamer deal moves the company into the onion category in a big way. As the sales agent for Doug Kophamer Farms, we’re able to provide a greater depth of service and supply to our extensive customer base, and that’s something we’re always striving for.”

“I’m thrilled with this new venture with Interfresh,” Mr. Colton added in the press release. “I’ve represented Doug Kophamer Farms for a couple of seasons now, and partnering with the Interfresh sales staff will enable us to do a great job for both Kophamer and our customers. It’s a great fit.”


Greatwide Logistics Services, a nationwide provider of transportation and third-party logistics services based in Dallas, has appointed JOHN F. TAGUE chief executive officer. Mr. Tague succeeds Leo Suggs, who is retiring from the chief executive position but will continue to serve as chairman of Greatwide.

Mr. Tague, 49, formerly served as president of United Airlines, where he had responsibility for all airline management functions. In his eight years with United Airlines, Mr. Tague also held other senior leadership positions including chief operating officer and chief revenue officer.

“It is a great honor to have been selected to succeed Leo Suggs upon his retirement from the CEO position,” Mr. Tague said in a July 11 press release.

Mr. Suggs, 71, joined Greatwide as executive chairman in 2009 and assumed the role of chief executive officer a year later.


United Fresh announces retirement of Claudia Wenzing

 By Joan Murphy

Claudia Wenzing, who is well known for her work in forging partnerships with produce companies at the United Fresh Produce Association and, before that, the Produce for Better Health Foundation, retired July 15.

Claudia Wenzing
Ms. Wenzing left her post after three years serving as United Fresh’s vice president of business development, and the association has yet to make a final decision on restaffing the position, said Ray Gilmer, United Fresh’s vice president of communications.

“She saw this as an opportunity to spend time with a new grandchild,” he said.

“In a very short period of time, Claudia has become a friend to everyone here, which those of us who have known her for many more years were certain to be the case,” United Fresh President Tom Stenzel said in a July 15 statement to members. “Her impact on our association and the produce industry overall will be long-lasting both for accomplishments raising funds for important efforts of PBH and the United Fresh Foundation, but also for the personal friendships and relationships established.”

Ms. Wenzing was in charge of business development and fostered partnerships with produce companies and firms outside the industry, Mr. Gilmer said.

For example, she played a key role in Bayer CropScience’s move to fund the Center for Global Produce Sustainability in 2009, he said.

“Her role was to find opportunities for synergy with other companies,” Mr. Gilmer explained.

Previously, she served as development director for the Produce for Better Health Foundation from 1996-2000, and then as vice president of development for the foundation until 2008. She was responsible for fund-raising campaigns and working with industry members to support the foundation.

United Fresh also announced the hiring of Shannon Young as education manager. She will work with Victoria Backer, senior vice president of member services, on the industry’s leadership program.

Ms. Young came to United from the Council on Social Work Education, where she worked on the group’s educational programs. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Radford University.


To announce personnel changes at your company, please contact Assistant Editor Ryan Beckman at 201/986-7990, ext. 109, or Photos are encouraged.