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People, week of November 28, 2011

Warkentin-Jeff2011
Jeff Warkentin

On Oct. 4, JEFF WARKENTIN joined the grower relations department of Reedley, CA-based Giumarra Bros. Fruit Co. Inc.

Mr. Warkentin said that in his current position, “I will work together with our sales department in Reedley and our local growers to effectively provide supply-forecast information and data to use in market planning. I will work with our Reedley division handling stone fruit and fall items.”

Mr. Warkentin worked at Dinuba, CA-based Fruit Patch Sales LLC for the past 16 years, but he has been in the produce industry for his whole life. “I grew up working on our family farm and have worked for several fresh produce companies over the past 30 years,” he said.

 

JASON CALDWELL joined the Coosemans Atlanta Inc. sales staff in mid-May. In his current position, Mr. Caldwell handles onions as well as some accounts, including U.S. Foodservice, which requires a lot of off-the-market buying for special orders.

Mr. Caldwell has been in the produce industry and part of the Atlanta State Farmers Market since he was 17 and has developed quite an affinity for the relationships he has formed. “The people I’ve met and worked with have always wished me the best, and I’ve wished them the best,” he said.

In his previous position with Alexander Produce Inc., he dealt with individual accounts and described his position as having more to do with quality control. He also had the opportunity to help out with the sales team from time to time. “When I left Alexander, they gave me a great report and great references. They didn’t need someone in sales, and that can take you a lot further in life.”

In addition to his past work with Alexander and his current position with Coosemans, Mr. Caldwell sells Christmas trees each year from Nov. 17 to Dec. 24 with Andy’s Nursery, which is located on the Atlanta market as well. Last year, about 26,000 trees were moved through wholesale and retail sales.

In his free time, Mr. Caldwell enjoys spending time with Rachel, his wife of seven years, and their two children, Brooklyn (6) and Jacob (2).

 

RYAN GAUDETTE joined West Palm Beach, FL-based Topco Associates. Since September, Mr. Gaudette has been a produce buyer and has handled imported and Florida citrus as well as imported and eastern berries.

Before joining Topco, Mr. Gaudette worked for FreshPoint in Connecticut and Tampa, FL, for five years. He began his career in the produce industry in 1991 when he was bagging groceries with Big Y Foods at the age of 16.

A few years later, he began working in the produce department. He stayed on with the company, working on a part-time basis throughout college. In 1998, he earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Mr. Gaudette stayed with Big Y Foods in various positions, including buyer’s assistant, assistant retail produce manager and retail produce manager, until 2006.

Mr. Gaudette enjoys spending his free time with his wife, Kelly, and their one-year-old daughter, Abby.

 

G. Cefalu & Bro. Inc., a produce wholesaler on the Maryland Wholesale Produce Market, and Capital Seaboard, a Baltimore-based wholesale and foodservice distributor of fresh produce and seafood, announced that MICHAEL DAVIS has been named chief executive officer and will begin to oversee the operations of both companies, according to a Nov. 14 press release.

Mr. Davis brings over 20 years of experience in high-growth foodservice and distribution. Previously, he served as CEO of Cal Atlantic and senior vice president and partner of Coastal Sunbelt Produce. Additionally, he was a member of the Maryland Restaurant Association board of directors.

Most recently, Mr. Davis was the vice president of Capital Seaboard.

“Mike was hired to work for Capital Seaboard to head our national accounts/foodservice division,” said Troy Goeller, company owner. “After working with him for the past year-and-a-half, I had come to recognize that Mike possessed leadership qualities and management skills that far exceeded his position. With the strong growth that Capital Seaboard and G. Cefalu have experienced in the past seven years, we immediately recognized the opportunity for even greater growth and diversification. The need for someone to navigate both companies became consummately apparent.”

The current owners will take positions on the companies’ board of directors. John Cefalu, Sal Cefalu and Mr. Goeller will remain the companies’ owners. The executive team also will become partners through the company’s stock plan.

Sal Cefalu, owner of G. Cefalu & Bro., added, “I am genuinely excited to announce the appointment of Mike Davis as CEO. In the last seven years, John, Troy and I have taken two small but well-established companies and have combined them into a refined, well-fueled operation.”

John Cefalu reflected on the rich tradition of the companies, “Giovanni and Phillipo Cefalu founded the G. Cefalu & Bro. company in 1904, and Capital Seaboard was founded in 1956. Both companies have a tradition of providing high-quality products to our customers.”

John Cefalu continued, “For the first time, both companies are looking outside of the family for new leadership. We were looking for a person with strong industry knowledge and experience in running a large company. We feel that Mike Davis is that person.”

 

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