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Southern Specialties, a leading importer of specialty produce from South America, Central America and Mexico, announced that Andre Escobar has been named general manager of the company's McAllen, TX, division.

"Andre brings a wealth of experience from both the retail and grower-shipper side of the business," Robert Colescott, chief executive officer and president of Southern Specialties, said in a press release. "I'm excited to have him on our team. His extensive industry knowledge and skills will be a great asset for our company. Andre-EscobarAndre EscobarAndre's experience working at this gateway into the U.S. will add value to our existing programs in the region, which include avocados, limes, mangos, chili peppers, specialty tomatoes and berries."

In his new position, Mr. Escobar will manage accounts in North America loading from the McAllen location. He will also oversee growing operations in Mexico and in the Rio Grande Valley.

Most recently employed by Crescent Fruit & Vegetable, Mr. Escobar has more than 20 years of experience in all aspects of the fruit and vegetable business. The scope of Mr. Escobar's business is expected to go beyond the current product line that Southern Specialties grows and markets.

Charlie Eagle, vice president of business development for the Pompano Beach, FL-based company, told The Produce News that Southern Specialties has maintained a presence in the main gateways into the United States through California, Texas and Florida.

"As a leading grower and importer of products grown in Central America, South America and Mexico, our goal is to be able to service our nationwide customer base from these gateways," said Mr. Eagle. "Andre's deep experience will enable us to provide additional value to our customers thorough the U.S. and Canada by helping us to realize our logistical synergies."