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People, week of April 30, 2012

MARTIN WEIJTERS joined BrightFarms Inc. as vice president of agriculture on May 1.

In his new position at BrightFarms, Mr. Weijters will be in charge of overseeing current and future greenhouses, which the company finances, builds and operates at or near grocery retailers.

“BrightFarms and MartinMartin WeijtersI are both committed to growing produce that meets the highest standards for quality and environmental performance,” Mr. Weijters said in a company press release. “I’m ready for a challenge and I like to think outside the box.”

Mr. Weijters immigrated to the United States in 1996 from the Netherlands, where he studied and practiced horticulture and greenhouse management. Before joining BrightFarms Inc., Mr. Weijters served as senior grower of Houweling’s Tomatoes in California for 16 years.

“I’m thrilled that Martin will be joining our team,” Paul Lightfoot, BrightFarms CEO, said in the press release. “He’s an entrepreneurial, innovative, world-class grower. He grows to maximize yield and quality and minimize environmental impact, which is exactly what we are looking for.”

Tampa, FL-based Worldwide Produce Direct hired RYAN HARROLLE as its director of food safety in January.

In his new position, Mr. Harrolle is responsible for overseeing all food-safety programs relating to the company, which handles a variety of domestic and imported produce items.

“I am grateful to be in a position that can impactRyan-picRyan Harrolle food safety at the farm level and work closely with a variety of growers,” Mr. Harrolle said.

Before joining the team at Worldwide Produce, Mr. Harrolle worked for OSI Restaurant Partners, LLC, also in Tampa, as a member of the food safety team on the supply side for over seven years. He has worked in the food industry for a total of 15 years, first gaining interest in produce at a commercial food-testing laboratory while in college, where he majored in food science.

Mr. Harrolle is a member of the International Association for Food Protection, Institute for Food Technologists, Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Produce Association.

Outside of work, Mr. Harrolle enjoys spending time with his wife and son, and going hiking.

Chucho Produce hired LUIS M. MORALES as general manager in December 2011.

In his position at Chucho Produce, Mr. Morales is in charge of overall operations for the company, including sales and logistics.

Although this is his first job in the produceLuisMoralesLuis Morales industry, Mr. Morales has plenty of experience as a grower in Rio Rico, AZ, which is what led him to his current position at Chucho Produce. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Morales worked as the supply chain director for BD Medical.

In his spare time, Mr. Morales enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, and “believe it or not, I enjoy working,” he added.

MIKE FLYNN joined Fort Worth, TX-based Premier Produce Services LLC as vice president of operations on April 16.

“It’s great,” he said. “I’m still in shock and awe at the volume that comes into this place. It looks like a great team here.”

In his new role at Premier Produce, Mr. Flynn will be responsible for handling a full line of commodities for the company, which includes all mixed fruit and vegetables, he said.

Mr. Flynn has been working in the produce industry for the past 30 years. He got his start by working for his godfather’s produce company, Jacques Produce, in El Paso, TX. Prior to joining Premier Produce, Mr. Flynn worked for Sun Coast Farms in Dallas.

Mr. Flynn currently resides in Grand Prairie, TX. Outside of work, he is an avid bike rider and loves to play racquetball.

Los Chris-JacobyChris JacobyAngeles-based Progressive Produce Corp. hired CHRIS JACOBY as its sales manager on April 16.

“So far, it’s been great,” Mr. Jacoby said. “Very different from what I’m used to.”

Mr. Jacoby has been involved in the produce industry for 25 years, first getting his start by working part-time as a clerk for a small produce market, which eventually led to his most recent position with Albertsons in Fullerton, CA, where he worked for the past 23 years.

“Doors kept opening and I stayed for the ride,” he said.

Mr. Jacoby is responsible for handling produce sales, which includes a full line of commodities, for Progressive Produce.

Outside of work, Mr. Jacoby enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, ages 11 and 13, in sunny Orange County, CA, where he currently resides. His weekends typically include coaching his son’s Little League team or his daughter’s softball team, and going surfing whenever possible.

To announce personnel changes at your company, please contact Assistant Editor Maggie Giuffrida at 201/986-7990, ext. 110, or giuffrida@theproducenews.com. Photos are encouraged.