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People, week of February 13, 2012

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GARY CALOROSO, a veteran public relations executive with longtime ties to the produce industry, has joined GolinHarris as executive director, a new position at the Los Angeles-based communications firm. He will lead and manage several client accounts in the practice’s growing food and beverage arena, and will report to Samantha Sackin, executive director and leader of the office’s consumer practice.

“Gary offers our food clients deep expertise in digital and social media, public affairs, issues and crisis management, brand and multicultural marketing and community relations,” Judy Johnson, regional managing director, said in a Jan. 30 press release. “His strategic insights and skills will provide immediate value and impact to our clients, and his expertise and capabilities will enhance the agency’s food, commodities and agricultural practices and profile in new and significant ways.”

Prior to rejoining GolinHarris, Mr. Caloroso served as vice president at Augustine Ideas, a marketing communications agency specializing in commodity boards and trade associations, produce companies and supermarket chains. He also held positions with Sahlman Williams Public Relations & Marketing and Porter Novelli. Among his previous clients were the Chilean Avocado Importers Association, the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, the Georgia Blueberry Commission, the Georgia Pecan Commission, the Almond Board of California, Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Farmer’s Best, the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas and Sweetbay Supermarket.

 

PRO*ACT announced Feb. 7 the addition of KATHLEEN PHILLIPS as sustainability coordinator. In this newly created position, Ms. Phillips will work collaboratively with all levels of the supply chain to enhance and further develop the PRO*ACT sustainability initiative. That initiative’s goals are twofold: to create and commit to continuous sustainability improvements at each touch point in the produce supply chain, and to promote the availability and safety of local produce for operators in all market segments.

Ms. Phillips was most recently the sustainability consultant for Trebol Consulting in Laguna Beach, CA, where she led projects, including corporate sustainability and carbon-footprint analyses and strategic planning for sustainable business growth. In 2010, she earned her MBA in sustainable business management from the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, and in July she completed the LEED Green Associate program.

“We are very excited to have Kathleen join our team and to have formalized this very targeted position within our infrastructure,” Max Yeater, company president said in a press release. “PRO*ACT has long been a leader in sustainability, we’re fully committed to our sustainability initiative, and Kathleen will help us to raise the bar even higher going forward.”

 

READE SIEVERT joined Liberty Fruit Co. late in 2011. He is currently the vice president of sales, responsible for building foodservice, wholesale and retail sales.

Mr. Sievert has been involved in the produce industry for 18 years, most recently with Nash Finch Co. in  Minneapolis.

He and his wife, Debbie, are the proud parents of three children: Austin, Morgan and Alec.

 

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Victor Lopez

Thomson International Inc. added VICTOR LOPEZ to its Bakersfield, CA, staff. In his new position, Mr. Lopez handles grower relations for Southern California and Mexico. “With Mexican growers, I assist in setting up programs, harvest schedules, seed recommendations,” as well as logistics, including border crossings and transportation, he said.

Watermelon and Bell peppers are the two commodities Mr. Lopez focuses on, but he also handles hot peppers and some sales of cabbage, onions and hard squashes.

With over 10 years of experience in the vegetable seed industry in both the United States and Mexico, Mr. Lopez was developing and promoting seed varieties prior to joining Thomson. He also traveled to Europe and Asia to evaluate seed material.

While Mr. Lopez has only been in the produce industry for three years, his experience and exposure go beyond that. “Because of the hands-on approach of my seed years, I always sold seed thinking on the end product, always saw the seed for the produce it was going to be. So for several years, I’ve had a chance to visit with my clients at events, such as PMA’s Fresh Summit, Fruit Logistica and Expo Agro-Almería in Spain. I became very interested in the way different markets operate.”

Mr. Lopez has a master’s degree in international business from National University in San Diego, and he earned his bachelor’s degree in ag business with an emphasis on marketing from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo.

While he has plenty of academic experience, Mr. Lopez said that his greatest source of education has been several industry professionals, including Kelly Keithly, Charley Kemp, Steve Slocum, Jon Jessen, Bill Vogel and Jeff Thomson.

Currently, Mr. Lopez resides in Southern California with his wife and three children. He is a student pilot of single-engine airplanes, and enjoys cycling and endurance running.

 

JEFF PATTERSON, sales manager of L&M Cos. Inc in McAllen, TX, joined the company last October.

Mr. Patterson is the sales manager of the company’s Texas office, which handles a variety of commodities, including limes, Persian limes, honeydew, papaya, tangerine, mango, lemon, pineapple, watermelon, onions, cabbage, broccoli, carrots and tomatoes.

Prior to joining L&M, he was the director of produce and floral for three years at Nash Finch Cos. in Edina, MN, but Mr. Patterson has been in the produce industry for 38 years. In that time, he has served on the retail board and the board of directors for the Produce Marketing Association.

In addition to the new job, Mr. Patterson said that the move to Texas from Minnesota brought his and his wife’s “first home with a swimming pool. We are very happy to get out of the cold north.”

Mr. Patterson’s three children, Chris, Whitnee and Tyler, will have to travel to enjoy the pool as they live in Boston, Hollywood, CA, and Chicago, respectively.

 

SHERRI VESCO joined Alderman Farms in November. She is the account manager specialist and handles both organic and conventional items as well as herbs.

Ms. Vesco has been in the produce industry for 12 years.

Prior to joining Alderman, she was part owner of Culinary Produce & Dairy; held a variety of positions with South Florida’s Choice, including marketing, sales, HACCP coordinator, safety program manager and supervisor of accounting; and marketing director of A-One-A Produce & Dairy.

 

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