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California Giant announces new staff, new roles

Tom Smith, California Giant Berry Farms's director of foodservice is taking on a new role as director of foodservice and organics. In addition to leading the foodservice team and the company’s expansion in this important segment for the past three years, Smith has been serving as the sales liaison with the company’s organic growers helping to position this growth area behind the scenes for several months.tsTom Smith

“Tom has done a fantastic job leading our foodservice team and growing our foodservice business. He has also been working more closely with our organic growers. With the continued growth of our organic berry offerings, it made logical sense to make him the director of organics as well," said Joe Barsi, chief operating officer of California Giant. Smith’s title change was made effective Sept. 1, now responsible for the future direction of the foodservice and organic sales team in the development of California Giant’s strategic sales plan.ttThomas Taggart

“Foodservice is near and dear to me and we are committed to increase our footprint in this segment. With the addition of organics in my role, I look forward to working more with our retail team and our retail and wholesale customers to target growth of organics. The timing is perfect as I head to Nashville for the SEPC Southern Innovations Organics and Foodservice Conference this week,” said Tom Smith.

A new hire for the company is Thomas Taggart, starting on Sept. 9 as the senior director of operations. Taggart will play a vital role in California Giant’s operations and growth throughout North America, South America and Mexico. Working with the executive team, he will be responsible for quality systems, food safety, and innovation. Taggart will also work with the operations team partnering with the sales, field operations, vendors, and grower partners. Thomas Taggart has been in the produce industry for over 25 years with extensive experience developing and implementing quality systems, food-safety programs, and new technologies both domestically and internationally.tjJuana Ramirez

Thomas will be working closely with Juana Ramirez who was hired earlier this summer as the new director of supply chain management. Both have worked together recently for a packaging company and are looking forward to being on the same team at California Giant as the company continues to expand globally with all four berry types.

“As we plan for the future, we need more experience in our operations team,” said Barsi. “Juana was brought on earlier in the year to assist with some of the succession plans we have in place and will lead our packaging and supply chain initiatives. Thomas has broad berry industry experience from processing, to quality assurance to packaging, which will also fill some of the roles as our leadership transitions in the future.”