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Tom Lange announces three retirements and four promotions
The Tom Lange Family of Cos., headquartered in Springfield, IL, recently celebrated several veteran careers as they entered retirement and announced the promotions of four into leadership roles. AtlantaEric Hoffmann, vice president of sales and a Tom Lange board member, retired from the company after 42 years. Hoffmann started his career in Indianapolis and transferred to Atlanta in 1982 to expand the Tom Lange presence and was instrumental in building the... Read more
Javier Usabiaga, Mexico ag leader, dies at age 79
Javier Bernardo Usabiaga, a leader in Mexican agriculture, died Sept. 9 after a long battle with cancer. From December 2000 to September 2005 he served as Mexico’s national secretary of agriculture under President Vincente Fox. He was the president of the Guanajuato vegetable grower-packer-exporter Comercializadora GAB. The firm is best-known for its Mr. Lucky label. Mr. Lucky is based in Irapuato, Guanajuato.Javier Bernardo Usabiaga Mr. Usabiaga was a businessman... Read more
Russ Davis Wholesale hires head of food-safety quality assurance
Russ Davis Wholesale, a leading fresh produce processor and distributer, has tapped Lavonne Kucera to head its product quality initiatives. In this role, Kucera will oversee food safety and quality assurance for the company. Kucera joins RDW after most recently serving as senior director of food safety and quality assurance for Caribou Coffee Co. Kucera’s hiring further cements RDW’s demonstrated commitment to providing retail customers and produce consumers throughout... Read more
Starr Ranch Growers’ Dalton Thomas given inaugural Impact Award from Asiafruit Congress
Dalton Thomas, who retired from his position as president of Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers in 2017 after 52 years in the fruit business, was the recipient of Asiafruit Congress’ first-ever Impact Award for “pioneering contribution to developing Washington/U.S. fresh fruit exports to Asia” at a Sept. 4 ceremony in Hong Kong. Hosted by the Asiafruit Congress, the event honored four recipients: the Chilean Cherry Committee/ASOEX, Indian importer IG International, Indonesian... Read more
Vince Ferrante joins Southern Belle Organics
Southern Belle Organics has hired 30-year produce veteran Vince Ferrante as executive vice president to help facilitate its expansion to organic and conventional vegetables and provide valuable insight into the company's large organic berry farm, packing and cooling facility expansions. Ferrante worked for 20 years helping to manage Teixeira Farms, his wife’s family business, before moving to Dole Fresh Vegetables and later to manage Dole Berry Cos. West Coast... Read more
Alisha Albinder Camac appointed to USApple board of directors
Hudson River Fruit Distributors headquartered in Milton, NY, announced that fourth-generation owner-operator family member Alisha Albinder Camac was appointed to the USApple board of directors at the 2018 Apple Crop Outlook & Marketing Conference Aug. 23-24 in Chicago. Albinder Camac is a recent graduate from the United Fresh Leadership Program, Class 23. She also sits on the board of the New York Apple Association and the New York State Horticultural Society... Read more
Sun Pacific promotes Brano Popovac to director of sales
Sun Pacific has promoted senior sales executive Brano Popovac to director of sales. Popovac has more than 15 years in the produce industry and has spent the last six years with Sun Pacific as a senior sales executive. He has been responsible for growing partnerships, increasing sales, and expanding national distribution of all Sun Pacific’s products. Barney Evans, president of Sun Pacific, said it’s important to promote talent from within the organization and to... Read more
Mart Group appoints new chief executive officer
The Mart Group has named Jason Allen as its chief executive officer replacing Brian Hansen who has acted as the interim CEO since July 2017.  Hansen will continue with the Mart Group for a period of time as chief transition officer. Allen is a highly experienced, successful and well-regarded business leader who, since 2011, has gained experience in the potato industry in leadership roles with Lamb Weston, serving most recently as the marketing director of... Read more
Stannard named new USApple chair
The U.S. Apple Association has named a new chair to lead its board of directors. Kaari Stannard, a New York marketer, packer and grower, will serve the 2018-19 term.   Stannard, owner of New York Apple Sales Inc., one of the largest marketers of New York state apples, has been in the apple business since 1996. She is a partner in both Pomona Packing and Lake Ontario Fruit, which are apple packing facilities located in western New York. Stannard is also a partner... Read more
Avocados from Chile partners with PGA golfer
The Chilean Avocado Importers Association announced that professional golfer Joaquin Niemann has signed a partnership with Avocados from Chile in an ambassador role that will focus on celebrating the decorated golfer’s Chilean roots to speak to avocado consumers through the company’s U.S. marketing program.  “This partnership is an exciting milestone for the Chilean Avocado Importers Association and we’re thrilled to bring on Joaquin as part of our mission... Read more
Okanagan adds to management team as co-founder retires
Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc., the developer of nonbrowning Arctic apple varieties, has made several significant hires that will be key to the company’s continued growth.  JF Gamelin joined OSF’s senior management team as director of sales and is responsible for leading sales operations for Arctic apples and ApBitz dried apple snacks. Gamelin’s keen vision to drive sales while strategically aligning with OSF’s innovative product development and rapidly expanding... Read more
Lusk pumpkin expansion brings new staff
A large pumpkin acreage increase over the past several years has led Lusk Onion Co. to expand its sales and marketing staff. Angela Lusk, the daughter-in-law of owner-partner Terry Lusk, is now working on the firm’s sales desk. In the last 10 years, Lusk’s pumpkin acreage has expanded from 240 acres to 1,335 acres. This fall it has added pie pumpkins as well as a few other edible varieties. They are expected to be harvested a few days after Halloween. Lusk Onion... Read more
Pete’s Living Greens names new president
Pete’s Living Greens, a leading grower of hydroponically grown greenhouse lettuce and leafy greens, announced Brian Cook as its new president. “I feel very blessed and excited about this new opportunity. I hold our board members in high regard, so to get the nod from them was very humbling,” said Cook. “We have a wonderful team dedicated to giving consumers what they want. Pair that with great partners in the sales channels we serve, and the future is bright for... Read more
Honeybear Brands selects Pazazz brand manager
Honeybear Brands has appointed the company’s first Pazazz-specific brand manager, following runaway sales success of the variety across North American retailers. Kristi Harris, a produce industry veteran, joins the company’s Eden Prairie, MN-based marketing team, effective immediately. “Sales of Pazazz grew by around 300 percent in the 2017-2018 sales season,” said Don Roper, vice president, sales and marketing for Honeybear Brands. “As a brand we’re entering more... Read more
Produce for Better Health Foundation's new chair of the board
Produce for Better Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase Americans’ daily consumption of fruits and vegetables for better health, announced Patricia (Trish) Zecca will take over as chair of the board of directors. Zecca leads global nutrition for the Americas business of the Campbell Soup Co. She brings more than 20 years of experience in nutrition science, influencer engagement and consumer education to this role. Zecca and the... Read more
Kayla Dome joins Potatoes USA as a global marketing manager
Potatoes USA has hired Kayla Dome as its staff as a global marketing manager for itss retail sector. Dome comes to Potatoes USA with a background in merchandising and sales. She spent the last several years working in the produce industry for Grimmway Farms where she managed sales and merchandising for the fresh produce category. Most recently she was the regional manager at Grimmway Farms responsible for developing integrated programs in the U.S. and Canada to... Read more
United Fresh Leadership Class 24 kicks off in Ohio
The 12 new members of United Fresh’s Produce Industry Leadership Class 24 kicked off their yearlong program in Ohio this week. Throughout the week, the class has engaged in leadership development opportunities and meetings with industry members throughout different facilities in Ohio, Michigan and Canada, including DNO Inc.; Buurma Farms; Wiers Farm/Dutch Maid Logistics; Holthouse Farms; Detroit Produce Terminal; Fair Food Network; Mucci Farms; Red Sun Farms and... Read more
Sun World promotes three executives in sales, marketing and operations
Grape category leader Sun World International has promoted three executives within the company. Jason Fuller has been promoted to vice president of domestic sales and grower relations, Julie Escobar has been promoted to vice president of international sales and marketing, and Kris Long has been promoted to vice president of operations and technology. “These promotions reflect our commitment to empower our people and accelerate innovation,” Sun World... Read more
Earthbound elevates company veterans to leadership roles
A resurgent Earthbound Farm has named two longtime veterans of the company to lead its sales team. Dave Moore has been named division vice president, west sales, and Glenn Daniels has rejoined the team as division vice president, east sales. Moore and Daniels have dedicated the bulk of their very successful careers to Earthbound Farm, playing key roles in the company’s dynamic growth over the years, as well as the expansion of organic in retail. Moore joined Earthbound... Read more
Castellini Group of Cos. hires two new executives
The Castellini Group of Cos. has announced the addition of two executives critical to the growth strategies of the group. Brian Jenny joins CC Kitchens LLC as vice president and general manager in charge of both plant locations in Sharonville, OH, and Atlanta. He will have total P&L responsibilities including operations and sales.Brian Jenny "We are fortunate to have Brian Jenny become a leader at the Castellini Group of Companies," said Brian Kocher, president... Read more