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The Produce Marketing Association announced that Jim Gorny has been named to the new position of vice president of food safety and technology, starting on May 1.

In his role, Dr. Gorny will strengthen PMA's initiatives to build member value in the areas of science and technology, including food-safety research, biotechnology, agricultural innovations, process and packaging technology and environmental sustainability.

In addition, Dr. Gorny will continue his long-standing role with the Center for Produce Safety at the University of California-Davis.

gornyJim Gorny "Since 2008, PMA has been investing resources in the area of science and technology as part of a long-term strategy to provide members with essential value as the industry's needs continue to evolve," Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the California Avocado Commission and chairman of the PMA board of directors, said in a press release. "Jim's passion and industry expertise complements and further strengthens our dynamic, talented, and highly-respected staff team — and his hiring comes at a time when PMA's role of informing and educating diverse audiences, including regulators and researchers, has become increasingly important.

"Jim's established relationship with CPS from his days as the executive director of the Postharvest Technology Research and Information Center at the University of California-Davis, also adds to PMA's continuing commitment to CPS," Ms. DeLyser added in the press release. "Not only has PMA contributed $3 million to CPS over the last six years, but also much of the time of our chief science and technology officer, Dr. Bob Whitaker, who has provided crucial leadership to CPS as chair of its Technical Committee, the committee responsible for directing all critical research activities."

Dr. Gorny joins the team with Johnna Hepner, director of food safety, and Ed Treacy, vice president of supply chain efficiencies, and will report to Dr. Whitaker. After an initial orientation phase at PMA's headquarters in Newark, DE, Dr. Gorny will return to his home base in California.

"Jim's addition to the team is another step in an ongoing effort to respond to the needs of our members with the creation of relevant value," Dr. Whitaker added in the press release. "This is another part of PMA's educational focus, not only in food safety, but in science and technology. It also connects directly to our strategic initiatives to develop industry talent and globalize PMA's science and technology practice. Jim, by nature, is an educator and scientist, making him a natural fit to fulfill this role."

"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to get back to my roots, working directly with the produce industry again, in a field that I'm so passionate about," Dr. Gorny said in the press release. "From my perspective, developing science and technology-related educational programs and advancing industry research by working with the Center for Produce Safety are two areas that are going to be critical to advancing the produce industry. It's an honor to join a team that's already accomplished so much and has the foresight to lay the groundwork for the future."

Most recently, Dr. Gorny was senior adviser for the Office of Food Safety at the Food & Drug Administration, where he advised staff on policies and programs affecting the safety of fresh produce.

Prior to his role at FDA, Dr. Gorny was the executive director of the Postharvest Technology Research and Information Center at the University of California-Davis. He also served as senior vice president of food safety and technology for the United Fresh Produce Association/International Fresh-Cut Produce Association, which merged in 2006. He received his doctorate in plant biology from the University of California-Davis and his bachelor's and master degrees in food science from Louisiana State University.