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American Pecan Council names new executive director

Alexander J. Ott, an agriculture industry leader with more than a decade of experience leading category organizations, will join the American Pecan Council as its new executive director beginning July 1. Ott currently serves as executive director of the California Apple Commission, the California Olive Committee and the California Blueberry Commission, and will relocate from California to Texas to lead the APC.pec

The APC’s mission is to help build demand for pecans, America’s native nut. The council recently launched the pecan industry’s first-ever consumer campaign: American Pecans, The Original Supernut, a brand positioning and education initiative to get Americans to think about pecans in a new way. In addition to overseeing the domestic marketing for pecans, Ott will work in close partnership with the council to conduct research, gather industry data, assessments, oversee grades, standards and packaging — which are enabled by the recent passage of the Federal Marketing Order for pecans.

“I’m excited to join an organization that has built such strong momentum in such a short time, thanks to the dedication and passion of the people behind it,” said Ott. “I’m humbled to be able to work on behalf of the thousands of American pecan growers, shellers and handlers across the entire pecan belt to help drive production, support research, educate trade and ultimately grow consumer demand for the American Pecan.”

Ott brings 14 years of experience working with federal and state marketing orders and various export programs to support California’s apple, olive, kiwifruit and blueberry industries. Prior to his work with commissions, Ott served on the staffs of California state assemblymen and U.S. Congressman John T. Doolittle, focusing on agriculture and natural resource issues.

Ott earned a bachelor's degree in government from California State University-Sacramento and a master's degree in international relations and political science from California State University-Fresno. Ott also graduated from the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation.

“Alex Ott has the experience, the education and the vision to lead APC well into the future,” said Mike Adams, chairperson of the American Pecan Council. “An 11-member working group was charged with selecting the new executive director and unanimously chose Alex — a true testament to our collective confidence in what he brings to this organization and industry.”