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People, week of September 5, 2011

HECTOR LEDEZMA has been in the produce industry since he was 16. Recently, he joined the sales team at L.A. Garlic & Spice Inc. He focuses on corn, but also works with lettuce and broccoli.

Mr. Ledezma said that his slogan, “Honk your horn if you need corn — that’s why I was born,” has helped him since he was a teenager. “It’s brought a lot of business to me.”

In 1979, he started working at Moreno Bros. at the age of 16. He was employed there for 16 years, starting out as a cleaner, and then pushing through the ranks, loading, dispatching and driving before finding himself in sales.

He also spent time working at Cal Fruit, TDI, Borg Produce Sales and 13 years at Francisco Distributors in Norwalk, CA.

After giving his father, a retired buyer for Certified Grocer, Crown Produce and Eagle Produce, credit for giving him direction in his career, Mr. Ledezma noted that his brothers are also in the industry. “We all started young,” he said.

Mr. Ledezma is actively involved with his church and the Whittier Boulevard Food for the Hungry food drive. Additionally, he is a counselor for young adults at California youth facilities in Norwalk and Doughty.

He and his wife, Jenny, have five children.


Sandy Gatanio

Fru-Veg Marketing Inc., a leading importer of fruits and vegetables from South America and Central America has hired SANDY GATANIO as a key account executive, according to an Aug. 24 press release.

Mr. Gatanio started his career at the Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx, NY, working for a family brokerage company that serviced retail and foodservice companies in the New York metropolitan area.

After 22 years as a buyer, he moved to Florida where he began working as a sales representative, specializing in f.o.b. sales of imported products such as asparagus, berries, French beans and tropicals.

Mr. Gatanio brings to Fru-Veg Marketing a wide knowledge of the trade, customer relations, and most important, an excellent record of customer service and satisfaction.


Carmela D'Arrigo

On June 27, CARMELA D’ARRIGO began working at D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of California. She is currently a sales assistant, and said, “I really enjoy the job. There are a lot of new things to learn.” Ms. D’Arrigo also has responsibilities for the transportation side of the business, booking trucks for the New York branch.

Her previous experience includes three years at Charter Marketing LLC, a Tuscon, AZ-based truck broker.

Prior to that, Ms. D’Arrigo worked as a muscle therapist, specializing in the temporomandibular joint disorder commonly known as lockjaw.

A 2005 graduate from North Arizona University-Flagstaff, she was a volunteer during her collegiate experience, giving health education lectures to charter schools and schools for the deaf and blind. Additionally, Ms. D’Arrigo played college softball and worked as a nanny while in school.

She is a fourth-generation member of the produce industry with family involved in New York and Boston. Her father is currently a broker in Nogales, AZ.

In her free time, she enjoys reading, running, working out, hiking and being active.


Effective August 29, CHUCK CURL will join the sales staff at RPE as the new sales operations manager. Former sales operations manager, KEVIN WRIGHT, will shift his focus to the position of director of retail sales. According to an Aug. 26 press release sent by Randy Shell, vice president of marketing, Mr. Curl will be based in RPE’s Wisconsin office and responsible for oversight of RPE’s customer service team, transportation department, and production coordination. He will also serve as the sales and operation liaison.

Mr. Curl’s experience includes over 25 years in the produce industry, the press release stated. In the past, Mr. Curl has worked for Red Book Credit Services and most recently Blue Book Services Inc., where he served as the ratings director, specializing in the produce and lumber sectors.

Of his new position, Mr. Curl said, “I’m very excited about the opportunity to work with the RPE team and help them continue in their efforts to promote the RPE brand. I believe that the experience I’ve gained over the years, along with my business perspectives, will be an asset to the company.”

“We are thrilled to have Chuck join our RPE family,” said Russell Wysocki, president and chief executive officer of RPE. “As our organization grows, it is imperative that we seek out talented individuals from every aspect of the produce industry, allowing us to further serve our customers and continue to be an expert for category potato and onion growth.”

Currently located in the greater Chicago area, Mr. Curl and his wife will soon be relocating to central Wisconsin, where they hope to pursue their hobbies of biking and hiking.


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