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PEOPLE

Century mark approaches for Central American Produce founder
Many notable events occurred in 1916. Woodrow Wilson was elected to his second term as president. The Chicago Cubs played their first game at Weeghman Park (now Wrigley Field). A bill was passed incorporating the Boy Scouts of America. The Professional Golfer Association, or PGA, met for the first time in New York City. Coca-Cola brought its current formula to the market. The cost of a first-class stamp was two cents. The first supermarket,... Read more
Former Giant Eagle exec joins Supervalu board
Supervalu Inc. announced that Mary Winston, an experienced financial executive and corporate board member, has been appointed to Supervalu’s board of directors effective today. Winston joins the board having most recently served from 2012 through August 2015 as the executive vice president and chief financial officer for Family Dollar Stores Inc., a discount retailer with more than 8,300 stores and nearly $11 billion in revenues prior to its acquisition... Read more
T&A’s patriarch George Tanimura dies at 100
On April 15, George Tanimura, the founding co-chairman of the board of Tanimura & Antle, one of the premier West Coast lettuce and vegetable companies, died at the age of 100. Mr. Tanimura was the eldest of 12 children of Eijiro Tanimura, who began farming in the San Juan Bautista area of California about a century ago. Eijiro moved the family farming business to Watsonville and Salinas before he died an untimely death at the age of 46 in 1935. Oldest son George,... Read more
John R. Norton III, a tireless advocate for the fresh produce industry largely credited with establishing the all-important Trust provision of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, died on Sunday, April 17, at the age of 87 at his home in Arizona. Mr. Norton was a third-generation Arizonan whose father was also a well-known farmer and pioneer in the lettuce business.  John Norton III was active in many industry organizations over the years and also... Read more
Mann Packing announced the hiring of Greg Villalobos to the position of account executive and the promotion of Cody Ramsey and Rick Russo to the newly created positions of director of foodservice sales and executive vice president of sales and marketing, respectively. Villalobos brings extensive sales and product management experience to the role of account executive. He has more than 20 years of produce sales experience in the Salinas Valley and has worked for... Read more
Renaissance Food Group expands procurement team
Renaissance Food Group announced that Debbie Vest has joined the company as vice president of procurement.  In this newly created position, Vest will serve as RFG’s primary strategic leader for further developing the company’s vertically integrated supply chain and raw material sourcing programs.  She brings with her more than 24 years of tenure at Safeway, most recently serving as group director overseeing procurement for the entire Safeway company. With... Read more
Patsy Naseman to retire from Freshway after 28 years
Freshway Foods announced that Patsy Naseman, 28-year veteran of the company, is retiring. Naseman was the first associate hired when Freshway Foods was founded in 1988, and she will retire in May 2016. Naseman is originally from Kettlersville, a village in Shelby County, OH. The oldest of 11 chidren, she graduated from Anna High School. Naseman worked for several years in the hospitality industry before joining Freshway Foods.Patsy Naseman “My first... Read more
Smith Packing Inc. adds experienced industry talent
Smith Packing Inc. has added George Semanie Jr. to its national sales team as Northeast sales manager. Semanie was a national buyer for C&S Wholesale Grocers for more than 10 years and has extensive experience in both procurement and retail account management.   Tara Smith Vighetti, president of Smith Packing Inc., emphasized the importance of bringing on the right individual: “We are a family owned and controlled organization with a tight-knit culture.... Read more
Eco Farms hires Gahl Crane as sales director
Avocado grower-shipper Eco Farms has hired Gahl Crane as sales director. While originally incorporated in 1974 as a California avocado and citrus grower-shipper, Eco Farms continues to grow as a fully integrated avocado and citrus handler with avocado programs in California, Mexico, Peru and Chile. Gahl Crane “Gahl, who will report to our co-founder and President Steve Taft, immediately will bring experience, passion, knowledge and leadership," Andy Hamilton, chief... Read more
Market Fresh, a Nixa, MO-based distributor of a full line of produce items, including avocados, peppers, potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes and tomatoes, announced the hiring of Courtney Rivera as a vendor managed inventory specialist, reporting to Brian Morris, director of VMI. In her new role, Rivera will be responsible for ensuring timely and accurate fulfillment of daily replenishment of orders to ensure customer satisfaction. Rivera is due to graduate from... Read more
Oppy promotes Steve Young to sales director
Oppy has announced the promotion of Steve Young, who has been with the company since 2008, to the role of sales director for Canada. Young served as sales manager at the company’s Calgary location for the last four years. Previously, he’d worked as a sales representative at Oppy Vancouver, bringing account management experience with Sunkist with him into the role.Steve Young As sales director for Canada, Young will return to Vancouver in August to oversee... Read more
Generation Next: Matt Hiltner steps into a shadow cast by his father at Babé Farms
When Matt Hiltner graduated from Chatman University in Orange, CA, in May 2015, he had little thought about entering the produce industry. But people have changes of heart, especially at 22 years old. “My bachelor’s degree was in marketing,” explained Hiltner. “Because I am passionate about music, I interned at a record label in Los Angeles, and I had hoped to stay in music. But living in the city is very expensive so I had to work part time to meet my expenses.... Read more
SunFed to sponsor Burdsal and Mandel at Tour de Fresh 2016
As support continues to grow for the popular Tour de Fresh event, Rio Rico, AZ-based SunFed is announcing that the company will sponsor two of its own for the annual ride. Vice President of Marketing Brett Burdsal and Vice President of Operations Matt Mandel are joining the team for the 2016 ride from Napa Valley to Monterey, CA.  Over the three-day challenge, July 26-28, the riders will cover more than 150 miles of ground on their way to the PMA Foodservice... Read more
Index Fresh adds to sales, food-safety teams
Index Fresh, a leading avocado packer and marketer, based in Riverside, CA, announced staff appointments to its sales and food-safety teams. Joseph (Mark) Buhl was recently named director of international sales business development, with responsibility of raising awareness globally about avocados for the company.Joseph (Mark) Buhl Buhl began his career with an international trading company whose main focus was exports to Europe and the United Kingdom. There he... Read more
Kroger names president of Smith's
The Kroger Co. announced the promotion of Kenny Kimball, currently vice president of operations in the company's Smith's division, to serve as president of Smith's, effective April 30. Kimball succeeds Jay Cummins, whose retirement was announced in February. "Kenny's passion for developing associates and his commitment to putting our customers first will further accelerate growth in our important Smith's division markets," Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and... Read more
Ahold names EVP of merchandising
Ahold USA announced that Andrew Iacobucci has been appointed to executive vice president of merchandising effective April 11. In this role, Iacobucci will focus on leading a merchandising team that supports Ahold USA and its four retail divisions, Stop & Shop New England, Stop & Shop New York Metro, Giant Landover and Giant Carlisle.   Iacobucci brings an extensive background in the supermarket industry to his new role with Ahold USA, including a mix... Read more
IFCO, the leading global provider of reusable packaging solutions, announced the appointment of industry veterans Fortunato Martinez and Craig Kelly to its North American business unit. Martinez will serve as vice president of commodity management and Kelly will serve as vice president of grower sales. “I am delighted to welcome these two fresh food supply chain experts to the IFCO team,” Daniel Walsh, president of IFCO North America, said in a press release. “Fortunato... Read more
Locus Traxx Worldwide CEO named 2016 Rock Star of the Supply Chain
Food Logistics announced that David Benjamin, Locus Traxx Worldwide chief executive officer, was a recipient of its second annual Rock Stars of the Supply Chain Award. The award recognizes influential individuals in the food and beverage industry whose achievements, hard work and vision have shaped and continue to attain milestones in safety, efficiency, productivity and innovation throughout the global food supply chain. Benjamin received this award due to... Read more
Acevedo joins GreenFruit as director of business development
GreenFruit Avocados, a fully integrated avocado grower and supplier based in Newport Beach, CA, has named Dan Acevedo as its new director of business and marketing development. Previously, Acevedo held a similar role with West Pak Avocados for more than six years.Dan Acevedo In his new role with GreenFruit, Acevedo will evaluate and create new solutions for current customers and build new customer partnerships. He will also lead marketing development for new innovations... Read more
Former Wilcox CEO tapped for top spot at Amerifresh
Amerifresh, a leading national produce marketer for foodservice and retail grocery operations, has named Jim Richter president and chief executive officer.  Richter has more than 32 years of experience in the produce and grocery industries. He was most recently CEO of Wilcox Fresh in Idaho.Jim Richter “Jim has proven success in all of the areas we know are important to help drive Amerifresh’s business forward, and we are excited to have him join the SGA family... Read more