PEOPLE

Target has named Anne Dament its senior vice president of merchandising. In this role, she will be responsible for leading the strategic repositioning of Target’s food business. Dament brings more than 19 years of grocery and consumer packaged goods experience to the role. She started her career in food, as a buyer at SUPERVALU and then at Safeway where she held various category and sales management positions. Later she led Safeway’s homecare and general merchandising... Read more
Oppy loads up on veteran sales talent
Mike (Hatch) Hatcher and James Galindo are the latest additions to Oppy’s sales force, each bringing expertise in a wide range of fresh produce items to the full-service marketer’s California-based team. Both joined the company April 6 in the role of senior sales representative. “We are excited to have a couple of professionals like Hatch and James join us,” Eric Coty, Oppy’s West Coast sales director, said in a press release. “Both have experience that aligns... Read more
AB Acquisition LLC, parent company of Albertson’s LLC, New Albertson’s Inc., and Safeway Inc. announced that Bob Miller, the company’s current executive chairman, will assume the additional role of chief executive officer, effective immediately. Robert Edwards, who had been appointed CEO, will continue on with the company as vice chairman providing counsel to the board and the organization on key strategic and integration matters. “As CEO of Safeway, Robert made... Read more
Weis names Brent Mertes regional VP
Weis Markets has promoted Brent Mertes, formerly with Safeway, to regional vice president. He will oversee the day-to-day operations of 51 stores located in south central Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia. Mertes will report to David Gose, senior vice president of operations.Brent Mertes Prior to his promotion, Mertes worked as district manager in and around York, PA. During his 24-year food retail career, he worked in store, district and corporate... Read more
Giant Berry Farms promotes Kristin Kleiber
Watsonville, CA-based Giant Berry Farms announced the promotion of Kristin Kleiber to marketing and sales analyst on April 6. Prior to her promotion, Kleiber was a sales coordinator supporting the blueberry category manager. In addition to her duties in sales support, she showed significant interest and talent in marketing efforts. As a result, she began blogging for the company, participating in recipe development, managing all in-house photography and assisting... Read more
Ray Ortega joins Braga Fresh
Soledad, CA-based Braga Fresh announced the hire of Ray Ortega as senior sales manager. In his new position, Ortega will be responsible for developing key customer relationships with a focus on continuing to expand distribution of the Josie’s Organic line of fresh organic vegetables into retailers and distributors throughout North America. Ortega has nearly 30 years of experience in the fresh produce industry, most recently with Driscoll’s as regional retail sales... Read more
Geena Davis to deliver Women's Fresh Perspectives keynote address
Multifaceted actress/athlete/advocate Geena Davis will keynote at the PMA Foundation Women's Fresh Perspectives Conference in Loews Coronado Bay in San Diego at the April 28 closing session with an address entitled “Geena Takes Aim: Empowering Women.” Recently Davis took time to answer questions posed by The Produce News in advance of her Women's Fresh Perspectives address, looking specifically at how she's achieved personal goals and also the importance she places... Read more
Dole names new president and COO
Dole Food Co. Inc. has named Johan Linden as its new president and chief operating officer. The company also announced the retirement of C. Michael Carter, the company’s former president and COO. “Over the past decade, Johan has proven his leadership in successively broader management roles with the company," David H. Murdock, Dole’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a press release. "He has a breadth of global and day-to-day operational experience... Read more
Weis Markets Inc. announced that Robert F. Weis, currently the chairman of the board, will not stand for re-election to its board of directors at the company's annual meeting of shareholders, scheduled to be held April 23. He indicated that his decision not to stand for re-election was motivated by his desire to focus on his health.  Weis has served as an employee, director or officer since 1946 and was appointed chairman of the board in April 2002. On... Read more
Ruby Fresh welcomes new marketing representative
Ruby Fresh has hired Natalie King as the newest member of its marketing team. King will be handling trade shows, advertising and marketing projects for Ruby Fresh. She graduated cum laude from Jacksonville University in Florida with a degree in finance. After her graduation, King moved to Los Angeles to work in the entertainment field, where she gathered her strong skills in organization, business development and creative marketing.  She worked with... Read more
DJ Forry Co. expands sales team
DJ Forry Co. has expanded its sales team through the addition of Jeff Weaver and Hunter Teafatiller, both of whom will utilize their produce backgrounds to develop new customer relationships and enhance current long-term partnerships. “I’ve known Hunter and Jeff for some time, they’re both Central Valley natives and have been around the produce business for their entire lives," Mike Forry, general manager of DJ Forry Co., said in a press release.Jeff Weaver "Hunter... Read more
Family business inspires Joe Fierman to succeed even greater than generations he succeeds
Joe Fierman and fiancée Casey Smith, one minute before he proposed marriage under the Broken Arch at Arches National Park in Moab, UT. Joe Fierman believes that a family produce business chooses you for a career, you don’t necessarily choose it. At age 26, the multi-talented fourth-generation family member of Fierman Produce Exchange Inc., located on the Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx, NY, said no one wakes up one morning and suddenly says to himself,... Read more
Veg-Fresh Farms hires new vegetable commodity manager
Veg-Fresh Farms has hired Barry Parisotto as a vegetable commodity manager. For more than 18 years, Parisotto has served the fresh produce industry in a multitude of capacities, including sales, procurement, retail and organics. In his new role, he’ll be responsible for developing retail business across all Veg-Fresh Farms categories, including organics, tropical produce, vegetables and berries. “I am very excited about the opportunity to work for a company with... Read more
Allegiance announces two new field merchandisers
Allegiance Retail Services LLC has announced the addition of two new field merchandisers to its team: Angel Perez and Brendan Keating. Keating has joined Allegiance Retail Services as produce field merchandiser. He will provide direction and produce merchandising recommendations to the Allegiance members.Brendan Keating Keating began his career as a produce manager for Kings, where he was named Department Manager of the Year. He then worked five years as a... Read more
Mike Reed to lead business development at SunSelect
With greenhouses in California and British Columbia nearing peak production — and significant expansion on the horizon — SunSelect Produce has strengthened its team with the expertise of industry veteran Mike Reed. Reed brings 18 years of experience spanning virtually all aspects of the greenhouse category into the newly created role of chief business development officer and executive vice president of sales and marketing for SunSelect.Mike Reed Most recently, Reed... Read more
The National Watermelon Association recently elected a new slate of officers for the 2015-16 year that will serve through the conclusion of the association’s national convention in February 2016 in New Orleans. The officers will serve in various roles throughout the year to support the efforts of the association. They are Chairman Don Hiller of Class Produce Group in Baltimore; President Dennis Mouzin of Mouzin Bros. Farms in Vincennes, IN; First Vice President... Read more
James Wood, the former chief executive officer credited with the turnaround of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., died Thursday, March 26 after a long illness. He was 85.  Mr. Wood was born in 1930 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom, which is where he began a storied career in food retailing. From 1965 to 1980, he was a senior executive at Cavenham Foods and the CEO of Cavenham’s international retail operations.   In 1973, Cavenham acquired... Read more
Grow Farms Texas names director of business development
Grow Farms Texas, a joint venture between the Horton Fruit Co. and Ciruli Bros. LLC, based in Donna, TX, has named Gretchen Kreidler director of business development.   Kreidler will work alongside Tommy Wilkins and will represent the Horton and Ciruli family of companies, which includes Grow Farms, the Horton Fruit Co., Ciruli Bros. and Sunnyside Packing Co.Gretchen Kreidler Drawing from the combined assets of Horton and Ciruli, Grow Farms Texas provides... Read more
Dave Hewitt promoted to 4EARTH FARMS director of national sales
4EARTH FARMS, grower and packer of conventional, organic and specialty produce, announced that  industry veteran Dave Hewitt has been promoted to director of national sales. “Dave has been at 4EARTH for over 12 years and is one of our most experienced and engaged leaders," Mark Munger, vice president of sales and marketing, said in a press release. "While the title may be new, Dave has always been a strong leader and team builder in our sales department. He... Read more
Riverside, CA-based Index Fresh, a grower-owned packing, marketing and shipping company, recently added Bill Frank and Jessica Chavez as account managers. Frank previously worked for a southern California produce wholesaler, pack and distribution company, offering a wide-range of fruits and vegetables. He has extensive experience as a regional produce field merchandiser, and a field buyer for a major, national grocery chain. “As a previous produce buyer,... Read more