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People, week of August 22, 2011

GREG MILLHORN has joined the South San Francisco branch of Coast Tropical, a wholesaler that handles a full line of tropical and domestic fruits. He is currently a buyer and a salesperson.

Greg Millhorn

Mr. Millhorn has held a variety of positions over the course of his 20 years in the produce industry. For five years, he owned and handled export sales for Paradise Fruit Traders LLC. For four years, he handled export sales for Primary Export International Inc. While Mr. Millhorn was at Bengard Marketing Inc., he was the East Coast sales manager. Prior to that, he was with Turbana Fruit as a sales assistant before becoming a sales representative.

A 1986 California State University-Fresno graduate, Mr. Millhorn earned his degree in agricultural business.

In his free time, he enjoys baseball, football, soccer and fly-fishing.

Mr. Millhorn currently lives in San Francisco and is the father of two children.


JIM LEQUIRE joined Grand Forks, ND-based Associated Potato Growers Inc. Aug. 1. Mr. LeQuire is a sales representative who handles red and yellow potatoes.

He came to the company with lifelong experience in the produce industry, including 25 years as a sales representative at Mike Layton Co. in Moorhead, MN.

He is currently living in Minnesota.


Earlier this year, Classic Salads LLC added CASSIE PIEARCY to its staff. She is currently a sales representative for the Salinas, CA-based company, which handles a full line of value-added baby leaf salads for foodservice and retail, both conventional and organic. In addition to her sales duties, Ms. Piearcy manages the daily production schedule.

Prior to joining Classic Salads, she was handling customer service at Incotec, a seed-coating business also located in Salinas.

Ms. Piearcy is a 2009 graduate of Sacramento State University. She majored in journalism, minored in psychology and completed a public relations and marketing internship at Sutter Health Sacramento-Sierra Region during her final semester.

In her free time, she enjoys running, bicycling, golfing and cooking.


ASHLEY ALVAREZ has recently joined the sales team at Coast Tropical’s Los Angeles branch. “Currently, I am starting to become more familiar with the sales aspect of the job -- learning more and more each day,” Ms. Alvarez said.

Alvarez Ashley

Since 2008, she has been handling the logistical elements for the company, including order entering and monitoring loads that arrive at the ports.

Ms. Alvarez handles bananas, mangos and pineapples. “I also work with freighters whenever transportation comes into play, she added.

Before joining the produce industry, Ms. Alvarez was a behavioral therapist for autistic children. She had studied behavioral science and business management at Concordia University-Irvine.

Ms. Alvarez said that she enjoys spending time with her family, going to the beach, listening to country music and she loves sports, especially the San Diego Chargers.

She currently lives in Orange County, CA, with Annie, her Yellow Labrador Retriever.


The American Frozen Food Institute, based in McLean, VA, announced the addition of DONNA GARREN as its new vice president of regulatory and technical affairs.

Donna Garren

“On behalf of the American Frozen Food Institute, I am pleased to welcome Dr. Donna Garren as the new head of AFFI’s regulatory, technical and scientific affairs department,” Kraig R. Naasz, president and chief executive officer of AFFI, said in an Aug. 15 press release. “Donna is a proven food industry leader with an impressive track record of addressing a broad range of key regulatory issues, including food safety and nutrition. [She] has extensive trade association and private sector experience coordinating with government agencies, food companies and public interest groups. Her considerable food policy expertise will help strengthen AFFI’s highly valued scientific and regulatory efforts on behalf of the entire frozen food industry.”

Dr. Garren, who will join AFFI Oct. 3, previously served as president and general manager of NSF International’s Davis Fresh program, where she managed efforts to assist food growers, retailers and processors with regulatory compliance and develop food-safety programs. She has also held senior food-safety and health positions with The Consumer Goods Forum, National Restaurant Association and United Fresh Produce Association.

Dr. Garren earned her doctorate in food science and technology from the University of Georgia and her bachelor of science in food science from Clemson University.


The Produce Marketing Association hired its first in-country representative in Brazil, VALESKA OLIVEIRA CIRÉ, to help expand its reach and impact in South America as part of its strategic growth objective.

Valeska Oliveira Ciré

Ms. Oliveira Ciré will serve as a liaison to help increase association membership and facilitate two-way sharing of information and ideas between industry members in the region and PMA. She will help to develop communications and programs to broaden PMA’s reach in the area.

“Valeska’s long involvement in the Brazilian fruit industry rose to the top when we looked for a qualified individual for the position,” Anthony Barbieri, PMA’s vice president of business development, said in an Aug. 16 press release.

For more than 15 years, Ms. Oliveira Ciré worked for the Brazilian Fruit Institute, a private nonprofit organization promoting agribusiness growth. She worked her way up to executive manager of the organization, where she developed and promoted marketing initiatives for Brazilian fruits in national and international markets.

Most recently, she was business management consultant at Sebrae — the Brazilian service of support for micro and small enterprises and institutional relations from Francal Trade Shows Co.

“Valeska has a wealth of contacts and industry knowledge in Brazil and throughout South America,” Mr. Barbieri added in the press release. “She will be an important link to the region and will quickly raise PMA’s profile, as well as provide valuable two-way conversation for our members.”

Ms. Oliveira Ciré will work from Sao Paulo and report to Nancy Tucker, vice president of global business development for PMA.


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