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People, week of October 31, 2011

LeighAnne Thomsen

With the appointment of LEIGHANNE THOMSEN as marketing representative for Oxnard, CA-based Mission Produce Inc., the company continues to grow and develop its sales and marketing department.

In June, Ms. Thomsen graduated from Cal Poly State University where she majored in agribusiness marketing and minored in communication studies, according to an Oct. 25 press release. During her time at Cal Poly, she was a member of the National Agri-Marketing Association 2011 championship team, was president of the Agri-Business Management Club and played lacrosse. In October 2010, she attended the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit as a Career Pathways Scholarship recipient.

In July, Ms. Thomsen began an internship with Mission, at which time she assisted the sales and marketing teams, managed Mission’s social media endeavors and worked on special projects. As marketing representative, Ms. Thomsen is positioned as a liaison between the sales and marketing teams. Her responsibilities include, but are not limited to, merchandising, alternative promotion endeavors, market analysis and new customer development.


Jeff Dlott

JEFF DLOTT has been appointed by California Department of Food & Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross to serve on the Cannella Environmental Farming Act Science Panel. Secretary Ross has made a commitment to invigorate the panel, which was established over a decade ago, and has brought together members with deep experience in environmental farming.

The Cannella Environmental Farming Act (CEFA) requires the Department of Food & Agriculture to establish and oversee an environmental farming program to provide incentives to farmers whose practices promote the well being of ecosystems, air quality and wildlife and their habitat. In addition, the CDFA is required to assist in the compilation of scientific evidence from public and private sources, to serve as a depository of this information, and to provide it to federal, state and local governments as needed.

Dr. Dlott will be serving with Ann Thrupp, manager of sustainability and organic development, Hopland, CA-based Fetzer & Bonterra Vineyards; Don Cameron, vice president and general manager, Fresno, CA-based TerraNova Ranch Inc.; Brian Leahy, Department of Conservation, Resources Agency; Mike Tollstrup, CalEPA, Air Resources Board. Ex Officio members will be Daniel Mountjoy, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Louise Jackson, University of California Cooperative Extension.


Yesenia Forbes

YESENIA FORBES has recently been promoted to sales associate for Wayne E Bailey. In her current position, she handles sweet potatoes.

This comes after Ms. Forbes served as a sales assistant for the past year. Prior to that, she dealt with the processing end of the business at George Foods for three years.

Ms. Forbes worked in customer service at Walmart and held an accounts receivable position at Robeson Community College before joining the produce industry.

Ms. Forbes is the proud mother of three daughters, Damasia (11), Cheyanna (7) and Jayla (5), and son, Dakota (10).

When she is not at work, Ms. Forbes volunteers at her children’s school events, goes to her children’s practices and events, and spends time with her family.


Gary Fleming

In a Sept. 19 press release, RedLine Solutions Inc. announced that GARY L. FLEMING joined the Santa Clara, CA-based company as vice president of strategic services.

Previously, Mr. Fleming served as an architect and spokesperson for the Produce Traceability Initiative as vice president of industry technology and standards at the Produce Marketing Association. Most recently, he has been consulting with leading grower-shippers, retailers and foodservice companies to develop strategies for traceability compliance.

Mr. Fleming will lead RedLine Solutions’ strategic services group, which provides strategic consulting to company leaders who are positioning their organization to meet new traceability requirements. Once the strategic direction is set, Mr. Fleming will work with the management team to translate the high-level plan into an implementation roadmap. He continues to guide clients as they roll out traceability to achieve full compliance across the organization.

“Many produce companies are still wrestling with how to address traceability requirements and move from where they are today to full compliance. Gary Fleming’s experience working at GS1, PMA, and consulting with leading companies uniquely qualifies him to provide strategic direction to grower-packer-shippers, retailers, and foodservice companies as they navigate this new era of traceability,” RedLine Chief Executive Officer Todd Baggett said in the press release. “By adding a strategic-consulting group to RedLine, we are addressing a significant market need. Our consulting services will operate independently of our product-business operations.”

“RedLine Solutions is the gold standard in the fresh-produce industry for traceability solutions,” Mr. Fleming said in the press release. “Their leadership in bringing practical PTI solutions to market has always impressed me.”


Nunhems, Bayer CropScience’s vegetable-seed business, has hired KENT WHITTIG as its onion crop sales manager for North America. In this role, he will oversee the marketing and sales strategies for Nunhems’ onion seed, including managing a team of sales and product specialists, according to a company press release.

Mr. Whittig joins Nunhems after spending nine years with the J.R. Simplot Co., where he developed and managed the marketing plans for fertilizer efficiency products in the U.S., Canada and Mexico markets.

This new role is a homecoming of sorts for Mr. Whittig, whose experience with onions can be traced back to his family’s onion farm in southeastern Idaho. After earning his bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from the University of Idaho, Mr. Whittig worked as a production technician for Sunseeds, which was acquired by Nunhems in 1997.

“I’m thrilled to be on board with Nunhems, and I’m happy to again be working with onions — in my mind, an exciting and dynamic crop,” Mr. Whittig said in the press release.

Mr. Whittig lives in Meridian, ID, with his wife and four-month-old daughter.


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