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Mann Packing hires director of food safety and product quality
Mann Packing announced the hiring of Greg Komar to the position of director of food safety and product quality. Komar will be responsible for all food-safety and product quality systems for the company. “His work experience in dealing with our produce food-safety and quality requirements in this ever-changing regulatory environment makes him a very welcome addition to the Mann’s team,” Lorri Koster, chairman and chief executive officer, said in... Read more
PRO*ACT names new VP of client development
PRO*ACT has announced that Kristie Waters joined the company as vice president of client development. Waters is a produce industry veteran with experience in sales, marketing and business development. She will work with the client development team to achieve its goal of ensuring awareness of the benefits of PRO*ACT and strengthen strategic relationships with existing and prospective clients.Kristie Waters “We needed someone to fill this role who understands... Read more
Bedwell takes reins at California Agricultural Leadership Foundation
Barry Bedwell, former president of the California Fresh Fruit Association, moved into the position of president of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation, effective Aug. 1. Bedwell told The Produce News there are challenges in store, and he looks forward to rising to the occasion.Barry Bedwell The nonprofit association, headquartered in Salinas, CA, is considered to be one of the premier leadership development programs in the United States. Since it... Read more
West Pak Avocado adds two to sales team
Two produce industry sales veterans were recently added to the sales desk of West Pak Avocado Inc., signaling that company’s continued volume growth in the avocado sector. Susie Rea, who was previously with Ayco Farms, and Marlon Abarca, who came over from The Giumarra Cos. berry division, have joined the avocado company’s sales team. West Pak Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing Doug Meyer said the two hires will both be involved in sales... Read more
Hy-Vee promotes two EVPs
Hy-Vee Inc. has promoted two senior leaders — Jeremy Gosch and Donna Tweeten — to the title of executive vice president, and they join only six others selected to help guide the regional supermarket chain. Gosch, formerly senior vice president and chief merchandising officer, was named executive vice president strategy and chief merchandising officer. Tweeten, formerly senior vice president and chief marketing officer, was promoted to executive vice... Read more
Dan Matrazzo awarded Account Executive of the Year by Fresh Gourmet
JOH Produce Account Manager, Dan Matrazzo, has been named the 2015 Account Executive of the Year by Fresh Gourmet Co., LLC., one of the leading brands of croutons and salad toppings in the world. Dan MatrazzoDan was awarded the 2015 Account Executive of the Year due to his efforts in growing the Fresh Gourmet business through promotional activity and developing, as well as maintaining, great relationships. Additionally, he streamlined distribution and transitioned... Read more
Veg production manager turns into ‘pyro chef’ every year
Mark Baudour spends most of the year patrolling vegetable fields as director of production for Coastline Family Farms, based in Salinas, CA. It’s a job that suits the Salinas native well, as he grew up in the farming business and cut his teeth riding his bike to his first field job when he was 15 years old. But one weekend a year for the past 31 years, he sheds his farm gear, dons an apron and becomes a “pyro chef” at the world-famous Gilroy Garlic... Read more
Michael Napolitano of HLB has  produce running through his veins
At the ripe old age of 13, Michael Napolitano got his start in the produce industry by working under the supervision of his grandfather, who owned Samuel S. Napolitano Produce in Englewood, NJ. During his senior year of high school, Napolitano’s grandfather suffered a stroke and was no longer able to operate the business, leaving him with no other choice but to take on a much larger leadership role, often times running the company as a one-man (or one-kid)... Read more
George Sibley emerges from retirement
Five years after retirement, George Sibley is back in business. Popular, highly respected and honored by the trade, the soft-spoken Sibley is working on a part-time basis at J&K Fresh East, which is a division of 721 Logistics. “George is onboard for however many hours he wants to work in a week. He is providing insight into things the industry is trying to understand,” said Larry Antonucci, the company president. “George has the time to... Read more
Don Soderquist, who joined Walmart in 1980 and ascended to the role of chief operating officer before retiring in 2002, died July 21 from complications related to heart surgery. He was 82. During his tenure, the company’s revenue increased from $1 billion to more than $200 billion. When Mr. Soderquist first joined Walmart in 1980 he was the executive vice president of administration and logistics, "and was a driving force behind our company’s growth,”... Read more
J&J Family of Farms welcomes Bob Ziel as director of food safety and social responsibility
J&J Family of Farms recently hired Bob Ziel as its new director of food safety and social responsibility. Ziel brings more than 30 years of food-safety experience to J&J, having held key food-safety roles with McEntire Produce, The Kraft Heinz Co. and ConAgra Foods, among others. His most-recent role was director of food safety for McEntire Produce. Bob Ziel His experience includes multiple certifications, including HAACP and Six Sigma Green Belt. Ziel... Read more
Peter J. Levantino dies at 63
Following a prolonged illness, Peter J. Levantino of Cove Neck, NY, died on July 26 at age 63. Levantino was familiar with the produce industry from an early age. His father, Joe Levantino, was one of the founding partners of A&J Produce located on Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx, NY. For over 35 years, Mr. Levantino and Philip Giunta worked together in the food industry, ultimately building Giunta’s Meat Farms, headquartered in Oakdale, NY.... Read more
Grape commission hires director of advertising and digital media
The California Table Grape Commission, based in Fresno, recently hired Alyson Dias as the director of advertising and digital media to handle the commission’s global brand message development and oversee its use throughout the organization’s communication tools. “We are very excited to welcome Alyson to the team,” Kathleen Nave, president of the commission, said in a press release. “Alyson brings to the commission more than a decade... Read more
Oppy strengthens sales and grower relations approach
Strategic realignments within The Oppenheimer Group were announced earlier this month, bolstering the leading sales, marketing and distribution company’s pursuit of growth and delivery of its Expect the World from Us promise.  Former Director of West Coast Sales Eric Coty was named executive director of South American imports, where he will oversee Oppy’s procurement strategy for all South America-grown items. With this promotion, Coty will work... Read more
The board of directors of the Canadian Horticultural Council recently announced that Rebecca Lee has accepted the position of executive director. Lee has significant experience in the industry. She obtained her bachelor's degree from McGill University, her master's degree from the University of Guelph and her doctorate from Wageningen University in The Netherlands. Lee’s most recent position was as technical director with the North American Plant Protection... Read more
J&J Family of Farms adds Clayton Amestoy as senior farm manager
J&J Family of Farms, based in Loxahatchee, FL, has named Clayton Amestoy its senior farm manager. Amestoy is a fourth-generation farmer who brings a lifetime of farming leadership to J&J. He grew up on the Amestoy family farm in Boynton Beach, FL, where he learned the value of dedication and hard work at an early age. His professional agricultural career includes district farm manager at Pero Family Farms and farm manager of R&A Farms Inc. in Boynton... Read more
The Vision Cos. has promoted two employees: Lance Nichols to director of sales and operations in its Phoenix branch and John Caldwell to vice president and general manager Arizona. "As our Phoenix and Nogales divisions continue to grow, we are fortunate to have Lance at the helm of our sales and operations in Phoenix," Caldwell said in a press release. "He is an asset to our team and we look forward to him applying his wealth of knowledge to our Phoenix branch." "John... Read more
Talley Farms, a vegetable and fruit grower located Arroyo Grande, CA, announced it has expanded its presence in the Midwest and appointed Anthony Totta as director of marketing and business development.  Totta, an industry veteran with more than 35 years of experience, will lead Talley Farms’ new Midwest office from the Kansas City area, and will be responsible for developing Talley’s Bell pepper offerings. “Anthony understands produce and... Read more
A week after Empire Co. Ltd., parent company of Canadian retailer Sobeys, reported a $2 billion net loss for its 2016 financial year, it was announced that Marc Poulin, president and chief executive officer, has left the companies effective immediately.   “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Marc for his efforts and leadership as CEO over the past four years and, prior to that, for the important role he played in developing our Quebec business,”... Read more
Guadalupe, CA-based grower-shipper, Beachside Produce LLC has promoted Danny Fleming to export manager and Gilbert Hinojosa to organic sales commodity manager. Fleming has been with Beachside Produce since the company began in 2005. He came to Beachside directly from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo and has been working in sales where he has managed various commodities.   Fleming will continue working with domestic sales as well as expanding the Beachside Sales Export... Read more