RFG promotes Raina Nelson, hires Mark Lodge

Renaissance Food Group, a fresh food company that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Calavo Growers Inc., has announced that Raina Nelson has been promoted to executive vice president of business development, one of two newly created executive vice president positions at the company. Mark Lodge, formerly with Revolution Foods, joins RFG as the new executive vice president of operations.

In her role as RFG’s executive vice president of business development, Nelson will oversee the company’s sales function, product development, quality and food safety, business development, customer service, marketing and communications. As executive vice president of operations, Lodge will oversee operations, product management, procurement and costing for RFG’s nationwide operations. Lodge’s role with RFG begins in mid-October.  Both Nelson and Lodge will report directly to RFG President Jim Gibson.Raina-NelsonRaina Nelson

Nelson has held multiple positions at RFG, most recently serving as senior vice president of supply chain management, where she oversaw all aspects of the company’s large and varied fresh ingredient supply chain. Prior to that she served as RFG’s vice president of sales. Nelson has been a professional in the fresh produce industry for more than 15 years in the areas of food safety and quality systems, new product development, supply chain, import/export management and sales. She serves on the boards of the Southeast Produce Council and United Fresh Produce Association.  Nelson holds a bachelor's degree in food science and human nutrition and a master’s degree in food microbiology from the University of Florida, where she remains involved in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.Mark-LodgeMark Lodge

“Raina has been a valuable member of our management team for many years,” said Gibson. “She has a keen understanding of our customers’ needs; and I’m confident she will help take RFG into its next growth phase.”

Lodge has over 25 years of experience successfully leading large scale manufacturing and logistics operations, attaining success in complex and challenging business environments. Most recently, Lodge served as the executive vice president of operations, innovation and customer experience at Revolution Foods, a leader in providing school lunches out of eight facilities nationwide. He has extensive experience in bringing value-added fresh convenient food solutions to various market channels in the U.S. and U.K. He is accustomed to a fast-paced food manufacturing environment and has a proven track record for developing business opportunities from concept to delivery.

“Mark is known for his leadership, team building, and experience with fast-paced, complex supply chains,” said Gibson. “He has extensive knowledge in the food manufacturing arena and will be a great addition to our management team.”

Gibson will continue to be involved in all aspects of the business, although the two new executive vice presidents will have a hands-on role in the day-to-day business. “Having Raina and Mark in place to oversee the daily details will allow me to more fully engage in strategic planning,” said Gibson. “Our governance structure is simply evolving to reflect the sophisticated, dynamic company we’ve become. For our customers, this means RFG will continue to be a reliable, agile and innovative supply chain partner.”

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