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Bobbi Ecker-Blatchford, floral industry icon, dies
Barbara (Bobbi) Ann Ecker-Blatchford, 85, died at her home on Paw-Paw Lake near Watervliet, MI, Feb 3. Ms. Ecker-Blatchford devoted 60-plus years of her life to the floral industry, establishing innovative floral techniques and concepts, studying trends and acting as a mentor to many, according to a news release.Bobbi Ecker-Blatchford “Mom’s passing was quick and she was ‘being Bobbi’ right up until the moment she passed,” her daughter... Read more
California Giant hires director of foodservice
California Giant Berry Farms has appointed Tom Smith to the newly created position of director of foodservice, where he will complement the existing sales and marketing team. The company has seen incremental increases over the last few years in its foodservice customer base and realized the need to hire a specialist to provide strategic leadership for the future direction of this very important sales channel. Smith, who was recently with Pro*Act USA, will lead... Read more
McDill Associates has promoted Lisa Hansen to vice president and general manager, and it has added Michael Rosenberg as vice president of strategy. Hansen was formerly director of business development at McDill, while Rosenberg joins the company after serving as vice president of marketing for a number of Silicon Valley technology companies. “We are very excited to have Lisa move into this new role at McDill,” Melissa McDill, agency founder, chief executive... Read more
South Carolina Watermelon Queen crowned at ceremonies in Columbia
COLUMBIA, SC — Blakely Sullivan Johnson, the 19-year-old daughter of Dean and Brent Johnson of Denmark, SC, was crowned South Carolina Watermelon Queen at ceremonies, here, during the 45th annual meeting of the South Carolina Watermelon Association. Laura Schurlknight, the 2016 state watermelon queen, introduced the three queen finalists.Blakely Sullivan Johnson Johnson currently attends Clemson University, where she is majoring in agricultural education. ... Read more
Fusion Marketing president joins KCET community advisory board
Steven Muro, president of Fusion Marketing, has been selected to serve on the KCET Southern California broadcasting station’s Community Advisory Board as the agricultural specialist for the viewing area. Muro has decades of experience in this field as he is the president and founder of Fusion Marketing, an agency specializing in the fresh produce industry that provides customized marketing and sales solutions to a variety of commissions and produce companies.Steven... Read more
TMK-Philadelphia gets new president and COO
Thomas M. Kovacevich has been named president and chief operating officer of T. M. Kovacevich-Philadelphia Inc. George C. Manos, the former president, continues as chairman of the board and chief executive officer. “Tom’s contributions have been invaluable and our shared vision for the future along with his experience and management skills will make him an outstanding president and COO,” Manos said in a press release. Thomas M. Kovacevich... Read more
Brian Antle takes on new leadership role
Tanimura & Antle, leading grower & shipper of premium fresh produce, has announced that Brian Antle is now leading PlantTape USA, the organization’s automated transplant technology company. He will guide the company during this year’s commercial rollout of this innovative equipment. Antle began his career at Tanimura & Antle in 1996 on the East Coast, harvesting with Dulcinea Farms.Brian Antle, president of PlantTape USA Following his graduation... Read more
The Canadian Produce Marketing Association has hired Jeff Hall to the new role of food-safety specialist with the CPMA. Food safety was identified as a top priority area of focus for the CPMA, and members agreed that while many organizations focus on food-safety research, there was very little that specifically addressed the Canadian produce industry. “This position will enable CPMA to provide resources for members to enhance employee and management knowledge... Read more
NAPAR elects new chairman, board members
The board of directors of the National Association of Perishable Agricultural Receivers, a fresh produce association that exclusively represents the interests of produce wholesalers and receivers, has elected a new chairman and first vice chairman of its board. Matthew D’Arrigo, vice president of D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of New York, was elected chairman of NAPAR. D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of New York is a full-line wholesale produce distributor located... Read more
Allison Nepveux joins United Fresh Produce Association
The United Fresh Produce Association in Washington has hired Allison Nepveux as FreshTEC exhibits manager. In her role at United Fresh, Nepveux is the main point of contact for everything related to exhibit space, business opportunities in the tech space of the show floor, and any information regarding United Fresh's new FreshTEC Conference held June 13 at the beginning of the expo.Allison Nepveux A graduate of Texas A&M University who earned a degree in agribusiness,... Read more
IGSA names new president
The board of directors of the Idaho Grower Shipper Association announced the appointment of Shawn Boyle as president, a role he will assume the first week of February. He replaces Mark Klompien, who was named president and chief executive officer of United Potato Growers of America in November.Shawn Boyle Boyle, who was born and raised in Shelley, ID, earned a bachelor's degree in business management from Brigham Young University-Idaho and a law degree from the... Read more
ShopRite names new president
ShopRite Supermarkets, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wakefern Food Corp., with 34 stores in New York and New Jersey, has appointed retail veteran Brett Wing as president. He replaces Dave Figurelli, who retired earlier this month after 15 years with the company. Wing joined ShopRite in 2015 as executive vice president after serving as vice president of Food Maxx, a division of California-based Save Mart Supermarkets. Prior to that, he worked for 25 years at Cub... Read more
Stephan Schmekel joins sales team at Vegpro International Inc.
Stephan Schmekel, a 30-year veteran of the Canadian produce industry, has joined the sales team at Vegpro International, based in Sherrington, QC. The addition of Schmekel is part of Vegpro International’s ongoing commitment to strategically invest in its relationships with its partners in Canada and the United States, the company said in a press release.  Stephan Schmekel “The repositioning of our sales team over the last 12 months reflects a... Read more
Homegrown Organic Farms announces new grower services manager
Homegrown Organic Farms recently hired Caylan Gingerich, who is now operating as a grower services manager for the company’s organic blueberry category and will be based out of Jefferson, OR. “We are thrilled to have Caylan on board," Chad Hansen, Homegrown Organic Farms’ blueberry category director, said in a press release. "I believe her experience and roots in the industry will be a great addition to the team and will only help further the... Read more
Miles Fraser-Jones joins Seven Seas-New Jersey
Miles Fraser-Jones has joined the Seven Seas-New Jersey office as its director of global business development. He began his new position officially on Monday, Jan. 9. Fraser-Jones brings with him an extensive background of 18 years in the produce and food industry, serving most recently as senior vice president of AMC Direct Inc. “I am extremely excited and am looking forward to the opportunity that the Tom Lange/Seven Seas Family have placed before me as... Read more
Seasoned sales expert joins Oppy
With an extensive background in both the grower and retail spheres, Eric Jones, Oppy’s new senior sales representative, is well prepared to contribute to the leading fresh produce sales, marketing and distribution company’s Newark, DE-based team.Eric Jones Jones, who joined Oppy Dec. 21, was recently employed as domestic sales manager for Sun Pacific Marketing in Pasadena, CA, where he’d started as a sales executive in April 2013. Previously,... Read more
Howard Roeder joins Sunnyside Farms as president
Howard Roeder has joined the Safeway Group of Vineland NJ, which does business as Sunnyside Farms, as the firm’s new president. He began his new job on Tuesday, Jan. 3.  Roeder joins the Safeway team with a decade of fresh food senior leadership experience. He most recently was president of Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc. in Salinas, CA. He previously had top executive positions at Herb Thyme Farms and Ready Pac Produce. The Safeway Group is owned by the... Read more
California fruit grower Cliff Sadoian was 67
Cliff Sadoian, a longtime member of the fruit industry in California’s San Joaquin Valley, died Thursday, Dec. 29, at his home in Dinuba, CA, following a difficult battle with cancer. He was 67. Mr. Sadoian was born on May 24, 1949, one year after his father, George, and his two uncles formed Sadoian Brothers in Sultana, CA.  The company experienced a great deal of success for many decades as a grower-packer-shipper of grapes, stone fruit, figs and other... Read more
Antone V. Zaninovich dies at 88
Antone V. Zaninovich of Delano, CA-based Vincent B. Zaninovich & Sons Inc., died Dec. 5. He was 88 years old. Mr. Zaninovich was instrumental in the growth of the table grape industry for over 70 years. He was a farmer at heart and loved what he did, working tirelessly to grow the best table grapes for his customers, according to his daughter, Vikki Zaninovich. She went on to say that her father remembered the days of sending grapes by railroad in cars full... Read more
Potandon Produce adds new position
Potandon Produce has added another member to the sales team. Dina Boyce joined the Potandon staff as a new business development manager in late October. Boyce brings 20 years of CPG industry experience to Potandon. She previously held positions with Kraft Food and Nielsen. Her most recent position was with IFCO, working with East Coast retailers. She also worked at Frieda's Inc. for over 10 years selling specialty produce to major U.S. and Canadian retailers. Boyce... Read more