Potandon Produce LLC announced that Kent Romrell, senior vice president of sales, will retire at the end of March after a career in produce spanning over 30 years.
"It's hard to imagine the potato industry without Kent," Jamey Higham, Potandon's vice president of new business and foodservice, said in a press release. "He's been an icon in the business for as long as I can remember.He has been a mentor for so many people in the industry and his influence will be felt for years to come. I'll miss his insights, sense of humor and bulldog work ethic. I hope he enjoys the great retirement he deserves."
After growing up in the grocery business and working as a produce manager in his early years, Mr. Romrell then dedicated over 30 years to the fresh produce industry. He joined the R.T. French Co. in 1983 and continued with Pillsbury after its buyout in 1986.
Mr. Romrell was one of the founding partners of Potandon Produce when it obtained the Green Giant Fresh licensing rights for fresh potatoes and onions from Pillsbury in 1995 and has continued to helm the sales department of the company for the past 18 years.
In speaking about his years in the produce industry, Mr. Romrell said, "I couldn't have found a career better suited to me than the produce industry. I always knew I was in the right business."
"I admire his passion and care in everything he does whether for work, family, grandchildren or his favorite sporting activity -- golf," Potandon Chief Operating Officer Steve Ottum added. "It's rare to see someone in the same industry for over 30 years. He will be missed by many. He has been a great business partner and friend."
Dick Thomas, vice president of sales at Potandon, added, "Since the day I began working with Kent, he has been my mentor both professionally and personally. I will sincerely miss him and wish him the best as he moves into the next phase of his life."
Potandon Produce has been able to incite many changes in the industry with the help of Mr. Romrell, including the introduction of mutually beneficial retail programs and specialty varieties into the marketplace.
"Kent has been an innovator in branded produce sales for over 30 years and has been a leader in producing retail programs that benefit both the retailer and the grower," Mel Davenport, senior vice president of operations at Potandon, added. "As one of the founders of Potandon, Kent has been an integral part of Potandon's success since its inception. He will be sorely missed on both a personal and company level. I wish him all the best in his retirement."
Jeff Sholl, chief executive officer of Potandon, added, "It has been a delight working with Kent and his wife, Deon, during the past 18 years. They have both been an important part of the Potandon story. Building Potandon has been a demanding but rewarding task for management, our employees and owners. Kent has played a critical role in the growth of Potandon and his contributions cannot be overstated. Potandon will carry the institutional memory of Kent for years to come."
Potandon expects a seamless transition as it has planned for this change over the past few years and feels that the company is well positioned to continue its outstanding sales and customer service in the future.