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Conor Leach joins Oakes Farms as Midwest regional sales specialist and account manager
Immokalee, FL-based Oakes Farms has experienced a year of profound growth and expansion. In its need for qualified staff to help keep the momentum going, the company has hired Conor Leach as its new Midwest regional sales specialist and account manager. He joined the company March 15. Leach previously worked as account manager for Tom Lange Missouri in St. Louis. He joined the company as an intern when he was a sophomore at the University of Missouri studying business... Read more
Jim Allen named VP of marketing at New York Apple Sales
New York Apple Sales Inc. has announced that Jim Allen and Matt Wells have joined the Glenmont, NY-based company. Allen, who served for 17 years as president and chief executive officer of the New York Apple Association, is now vice president of marketing at New York Apple Sales, while Wells, previously a procurement manager for Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, team leader of Cornell’s Lake Ontario fruit team and orchard supervisor for Maple Ridge Fruit Farm, has... Read more
Mann Packing announced the hiring of Tim Short, Jim Rodger and Josh Campo to the positions of senior director of strategic vegetable operations, safety supervisor and crop production manager, respectively. Short will be responsible for maintaining relationships and a flow of communication with grower communities, primarily in California and Arizona, and will also track developments and opportunities in Mexico with Mann’s director of international supply... Read more
California Giant Berry Farms adds to sales team
As California Giant continues to grow in fresh berry volume so does the sales team. The company recently hired Jonathan Sparks bringing strong sales experience to the existing team in preparation for the berry season ahead. Sparks brings almost 20 years of produce industry experience into California Giant and will be managing existing trading partner accounts as well as developing new business relationships for the company. Most recently Sparks was the... Read more
DiPiazza transitioning to senior advisor for Sun Pacific
After nearly 10 years with Sun Pacific, first as managing consultant and then as president of sales and marketing, Bob DiPiazza will be transitioning to a consulting role of senior advisor to Berne Evans, chairman of Sun Pacific, and the company's leadership team, effective April 1.  “I’ve had a very rewarding 40-year career in the retail grocery industry, and working with Berne Evans and the team at Sun Pacific for the past 10 years has been very... Read more
Katiana Valdes joins Crystal Valley Foods
Crystal Valley Foods, a leading importer and distributor of fresh asparagus, French beans, baby vegetables and other specialty fresh produce items, has hired Katiana Valdes as its new marketing director. In her new role Valdes will be responsible for developing and implementing the company’s marketing, branding, social media and public relations programs. She will also support sales efforts by developing promotional programs tied into both the foodservice... Read more
Pacific International Marketing names sales manager for Salinas office
Pacific International Marketing has promoted Jeff Hyosaka to sales manager of the Salinas, CA, sales office. He will be responsible for the sales team leadership and growing sales throughout the company. Hyosaka has been a key member of the Pacific team for over 30 years. He joined the company when it was a small sales operation and has been a key figure in its growth into the multifaceted growing and sales operation that exists today. “Jeff is a natural... Read more
Brian Miller joins Prime Time as business development director
Brian Miller has been named director of business development for Prime Time International, based in Coachella, CA. Miller’s longtime management career in the produce industry enabled him to gain a broad perspective in sourcing, sales, marketing and management. He spent 15 years with Gourmet Produce in Los Angeles, rising to president, a position he held for many years. For the past two years, he was vice president of sales and marketing at Mission Produce. At... Read more
Lutz changing role at CMI
CMI Orchards announced that Steve Lutz, vice president of marketing, will end his service in his current position effective March 31, beginning a new role with the company. “I fully appreciate the contributions Steve has made to marketing excellence at CMI,” Bob Mast, president of CMI, said in a press release. “Under Steve’s leadership, the marketing team has taken our programs to the next level. His strategic and analytical skills are unmatched... Read more
Giumarra bolsters sales efforts in the East
The Giumarra Cos., based in Los Angeles, announced the addition of Stu Monaghan and Rob Campbell to bolster its sales efforts in the East. Monaghan joins as division manager of Giumarra Southeast and Campbell joins as director of sales for the Giumarra International Berry East Coast operation.Stu Monaghan “We are pleased to bring Stu and Rob on board to help develop our East Coast customer and grower bases,” John Corsaro, chief executive officer of... Read more
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