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Prime Time's Mike Aiton to retire after 40-plus years in the produce industry

After nearly five decades in the produce industry, Mike Aiton, director of marketing at Prime Time International, will retire Nov. 1. He has been a valued member of the Prime Time team since 2009 and will be missed by many in the industry. 02-Nogales-PrimeTime-Mike-Aiton

“Mike is very well liked in the agriculture community and he’s known throughout the produce industry as a true professional,” said Mike Way, managing partner of Prime Time International.

Aiton’s expansive career and vast produce marketing experience spans from retail grocery to production agriculture, and everything in between. He began in the produce industry with the Denver-based retail chain King Soopers. Aiton started in the management training program, eventually rising to the top where 14 of his 20-plus years in retail were spent as director of produce and floral. In 1991, Sun World International recruited Aiton to be its director of marketing. He, his wife, Debby, and their seven children left their home in Denver and moved to the Coachella Valley where Aiton went on to spend the majority of his 18 years at Sun World as the senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Prime Time brought Aiton on board in 2009 as director of marketing to promote new business development and strengthen existing customer relationships. Prime Time’s partners all agree that over the past eight years, Aiton’s extensive marketing and industry expertise has proven to be invaluable for the company. “I thought I was a good merchandiser until Mike Aiton joined our team,” said Carl Sam Maggio. Mark Nickerson said, “I not only have found Mike to be an extremely knowledgeable resource of information but more importantly a very reliable, honest and humble person. It's been my sincere pleasure having the opportunity to work with Mike these past years.” Way added, “When Mike came to Prime Time in 2009, he really changed our course. His calm demeanor, tireless work ethic and incredible sense of humor changed Prime Time forever.”
 
Aiton attributes much of his success at Prime Time to the strength and reputation of the company as a whole: “When I made calls, went to meetings and put together deals, I was always backed up 100 percent by the company. I was truly the beneficiary of Prime Time’s accomplishments. The commitment to quality and belief in doing all things right opened up a lot of doors for me when I said, I’m from Prime Time.”
 
For Aiton, the biggest challenge in retirement will be “learning to sleep past 4 a.m. That’s the time I’ve been getting up for the past 40 years,” he said.

“Mike may be done in day to day work, but we will continue to consult with him as needed in the coming years,” Way said.