WASHINGTON, D.C. – United Fresh Immediate Past Chair Susan Reimer-Sifford Fresh Connect, LLC, has announced the slate of new officers and directors nominated to serve on the United Fresh Produce Association Board of Directors, effective at its March 25, 2019 meeting in Nashville, TN.
Ascending to Chairman of the Board is Greg Corrigan, Senior Director of Produce and Floral, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Sacramento, CA. Greg began his career in the grocery industry in 1984 working for Bel Air Markets while he attended Sacramento State University where he achieved his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. Greg served as a produce manager at store level for nine years, and in 1998 was promoted to District Produce and Floral Supervisor overseeing the store level operations for produce and floral in the South Division for Raley’s Family of Fine Stores. In 2000, Greg was promoted to Director of Produce and Floral where his responsibilities included overseeing all procurement and merchandising for the four banner companies including Raley’s, Bel Air, Nob Hill and Food Source. Greg has served on many boards and committees for the produce and floral industry including the United Fresh Board from 2012-2016, PMA Retail Board, the Fresh Produce and Floral Council Board and the United Fresh Retail-Foodservice Board. Today Greg continues to oversee all the procurement and merchandising for the 128-store chain operating in Northern California and Northern Nevada.
Nominated as Chairman-Elect is Michael Muzyk, President, Baldor Specialty Foods, Inc., Bronx, NY. Michael spent the first part of his career as a CIA-trained chef. He discovered his love for cooking in high school working in the kitchen of a children’s camp and through the inspiration of a family member, he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. Upon graduating, he worked as a chef in various businesses around the country. In 1991, he made a career change to the supply side of the foodservice business. Four years later, he joined Baldor, quickly advancing through various positions until his present role as President. Michael previously served on United Fresh’s Wholesaler Distributor Board. He is dedicated to giving back to the local community; he and the company are involved with local outreach organizations, such as Edible Schoolyard, City Harvest, City Meals-on-Wheels and NYC Foodbanks. Michael will assume the Chairmanship of United Fresh in 2020.
Continuing service as Secretary-Treasurer is Danny Dumas, Vice President N.A. Sales & Product Management, Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A., Inc., Coral Gables, FL.
Current United Fresh Board Chair Cindy Jewell, Vice President, Marketing, California Giant Berry Farms, Watsonville, CA, will move to the position of Immediate Past Chair and remain on the Board and the Executive Committee.
The following industry leaders have been nominated to serve as new members of the United Fresh Board for a two-year term beginning March 2019:
Jim Bair is President & CEO of the US Apple Association, Falls Church, VA. He is responsible for the overall management of the association, representing growers, packers, shippers, processors and exporters of the $15 billion U.S. apple industry. He has dedicated more than 35 years to the management of food and agriculture organizations, including his time in the Reagan Administration as a White House political appointee in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in agronomy – the science of plant genetics and physiology, soil and weather.
Jeff Church is Vice President of Sales for Church Brothers Farms in Salinas, CA. He has spent his entire career in produce sales, starting at his family’s original agribusiness River Ranch Fresh Foods in the early 1990s and joining Church Brothers at its inception in 1999. Jeff is a graduate of University of California, Davis with a degree in Agricultural and Managerial Economics. He previously served on United Fresh’s Grower-Shipper Board.
Dave Donat is President of ProducePro, Inc. in Woodridge, IL. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, Dave joined Produce Pro in 1991, when the company was still in its infancy, and became its President in 2005. Throughout the decade and a half he’s been involved with produce clientele, he has been one of the chief architects of the Produce Pro system, and still maintains a high-profile presence in software development and account management. Dave previously served on the United Fresh Wholesaler-Distributor Board.
Cheryl Enlow is Vice President of Quality Assurance & Food Safety for Renaissance Food Group, Rancho Cordova, CA. In her current role, she oversees Quality & Food Safety at the company’s processing facilities. Prior to joining Renaissance, she held positions in production, manufacturing, quality and food safety at Green Giant, Safeway and Fresh Express. She holds a degree in Food Technology from Iowa State University which launched her into production roles beginning at Green Giant’s plant in Le Sueur, MN. Cheryl is nominated to serve as Chairman of the Food Safety & Technology Council.
CJ Given is Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing for Taylor Farms Retail, Inc. in Salinas, CA. A 25-year veteran of the produce industry, CJ’s background in agriculture began in his younger years inspecting produce for his father at Ed Given Inc. in Salinas. He joined Taylor Farms in 2007 as Sales Manager, was promoted to Director of Sales for Taylor Farms Retail in 2009 and then to his current role in 2018, where he now oversees the day-to-day sales operations for the company’s retail segment. Prior to joining Taylor Farms, he was a wholesale buyer for Spokane Produce and Sales Manager for Foxy Foods, which was later acquired by Taylor Farms. CJ has a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Business from Fresno State University.
Roger Harkrider is Director of Produce for Meijer, Inc., Grand Rapids, MI. Roger joined Meijer in this role in January 2018 with more than 30 years of experience with broad consumer products and merchandising. Prior to joining Meijer, Roger spent the bulk of his professional career in various roles at H-E-B, starting as a Produce Manger and ultimately spending 14 years as Director of Produce Procurement. In that role, he was accountable for developing and executing competitive and growth strategies for H-E-B Produce by collaborating with store operations, marketing and regional teams. Additionally, he monitored and developed new industry trends, established relationships with vendors and worked with various business improvement and growth committees.
Jason Hollinger is President & CEO of Four Seasons Family of Companies, Ephrata, PA. Jason began his career at Four Seasons in 1999 as an organic buyer before becoming the Director of Buying, and later General Manager. He has a BA in Business Administration and International Studies from Houghton College and an MBA from INCAE Business School in Costa Rica. Jason is a graduate of United Fresh’s
Produce Industry Leadership Program Class 15. Jason has been nominated to serve as Vice Chairman of the Wholesaler-Distributor Board.
Zak Laffite is Chief Sales Officer for Wonderful Citrus in Delano, CA. During his 15 years at Wonderful Citrus, Zak has held diverse roles including field and packing operations, product management, grower relations, and sales. Most recently, he served as Chief Operating Officer, overseeing citrus operations in California, Texas, and Mexico. In his current role, he leads all sales, commercial, and customer-facing activities. Before joining Wonderful Citrus, Zak worked as a financial analyst for Dole’s Maya Division headquartered in his home country of Honduras, where his family has owned and operated citrus operations for more than 40 years. Zak has a BS in Pomology from Cornell University and an MBA from Tulane University. In addition to serving on the board of California Citrus Mutual, Zak previously served on the United Fresh Grower-Shipper Board and is a graduate of United Fresh’s Produce Industry Leadership Program Class 18.
Paul Lightfoot is Founder and CEO, BrightFarms in Irvington, NY. Paul has been recognized by Chain Store Age magazine as a “Rising Star in Retail” and was featured by Fast Company on its list of “1000 Most Creative People in Business.” He has delivered keynote speeches at a myriad of conferences, such as Forbes AgTech, Groceryshop and the Partnership for a Healthier America Summit, and has been featured multiple times in national publications such as The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and The Washington Post. Paul is an active member of YPO global leadership organization for chief executives and received its CSR Award for Environmental Sustainable Business Practices. He is currently chairman of the Greenwich YPO chapter.
Sparky Locke is Vice President, Western Operations for Curation Foods in Guadalupe, CA. He has been an integral part of building the fresh-cut operations at Curation Foods, formerly Apio Inc. With over 20 years’ experience at every level, he is now leading the company’s strategic growth and capabilities in increasing access to convenient, delicious plant-based foods. He is a graduate of United Fresh’s Produce Industry Leadership Program Class 19. Sparky has been nominated to serve as Vice Chairman of the Fresh-Cut Processor Board.
Hector Lujan is Chief Executive Officer of Reiter Affiliated Companies, Oxnard, CA. Hector oversees business operations in the United States, Mexico, Portugal and Morocco. Prior to being named CEO, he served as the company’s Vice President of Central Mexico Operations and Chief Operating Officer. Hector is a graduate of the Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, México with a degree in Business Administration. In the past, he has served as a board member of the Chapala, Mexico Red Cross, was a founding member of the Mexican Berry Exporters Association, Aneberries, and served on the United Fresh Grower-Shipper Board. He currently serves on the National Processed Raspberry Council, and the boards of the State of Baja California Red Cross as well as Crane Country Day School in Santa Barbara.
Mike McGee is Vice President, Finance for L & M Companies in Raleigh, NC. His primary responsibilities include managing all financial aspects of the company, including receivables, payables, grower accounting, tax and banking. He also oversees the Grower Services Department which handles food safety, grower contracts and materials purchasing. Mike received his BS in Computer Science from North Carolina State University and his MBA from Duke University. He is a graduate of United Fresh’s Produce Industry Leadership Program Class 8. Mike has been nominated to serve as Chairman of the Finance & Business Management Council.
Dave Murray is Vice President of Berry Operations and Business Development, Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce/Good Farms, San Diego, CA. He graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in
agricultural business finance and Pepperdine University with an MBA. Dave has served on the United Fresh Grower-Shipper Board, the California Strawberry Commission, and other industry and community boards. He is a founder of Sundance Berry Farms, which merged with Andrew & Williamson in 2005.
Jim Schallman is co-founder and CEO of Danaco Solutions, LLC, Highland Park, IL. Prior to forming Danaco in 2008, Jim spent 24 years in the fresh processing side of the produce industry. He ultimately led sales and new business initiatives for Redi-Cut Foods/Fresh Express Foodservice. Jim graduated from the University of Illinois with a specialized degree in franchising and business entrepreneurship and he is active with the Multiple Sclerosis Association in the Chicago area.
Kim St George is Director of Sales & Marketing for Mann Packing Company, Salinas, CA. During her tenure, she has led innovation, communication, packaging, brand positioning and national sales responsibilities and works directly with retail and club customers on the company’s value-added private brand and club portfolio. Raised in the Salinas Valley, she has been in the produce industry for over 25 years, including roles at River Ranch Fresh Foods and Taylor Farms Retail. She has a BS in Agricultural & Managerial Economics from University of California, Davis. Kim has been nominated to serve as Chair of the Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council.
Rob Strube III is President of Strube Celery & Vegetable Co. in Chicago, IL. After a five-year minor league career with the Minnesota Twins, he joined his family business as a fourth-generation family member in 1989. After running the company’s tomato department, he was named President in 2013. He is active in the National Association of Perishable Agricultural Receivers and UDC Wholesalers. Rob is a graduate of United Fresh’s Produce Industry Leadership Program Class 5.
Allie Wainer is Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer for Sid Wainer & Son in New Bedford, MA. As the fourth generation of the over hundred-year-old business, Allie brings a passion for food and tradition of providing innovation and service to the food industry. A graduate of the School of Hospitality at Boston University, Allie spent many years in the fine-dining restaurant industry before joining her family business. She previously served on the United Fresh Wholesaler-Distributor Board.
Current Board members nominated to new positions of service on Market Segment Boards and Councils include:
* Chair, Wholesaler Distributor Board – Tom Brugato, President/Chief Operating Officer, Pacific Coast Fruit Company, Portland, OR
* Chair, Fresh-Cut Processor Board – Raina Nelson, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain, Renaissance Food Group, Rancho Cordova, CA
* Chair, Government Relations Council – Mark Klompien, President/CEO, United Potato Growers of America, Salt Lake City, UT
The following officers of Market Segment Boards and Councils will continue their service on the Board:
* Chair, Grower-Shipper Board – John Jackson, Chief Executive Officer, Beachside Produce, LLC, Guadalupe, CA
* Vice Chair, Grower-Shipper Board – Eric Halverson, Chief Executive Officer, Black Gold Farms, Grand Forks, ND
* Chair, Retail-Foodservice Board – Jeff Cady, Director of Produce & Floral, Tops Friendly Markets, Buffalo, NY
* Vice Chair, Retail-Foodservice Board – Sarah Grady, Manager, U.S. Strategic Supply Chain, McDonalds Corporation, Chicago, IL
The following At-Large Board Members will continue their service on the Board: Mason Arnold, Cece’s Veggie Co.; Luca Ascari, ABL SpA; Michael Castagnetto, Robinson Fresh; Chris Ciruli, Ciruli Brothers, LLC; John Gates, Lancaster Foods; Mark Girardin, North Bay Produce; Rich Gonzales, Walmart; Jim Hay, CORTEVA Agriscience; Jeff Huckaby, Grimmway Enterprises; Doug Kling, Kling Strategic Partners; Jeff Moore, The Tom Lange Company; John Newell, Windset Farms; Ramon Paz-Vega, APEAM, A.C.; Brent Scattini, Seven Seas Fruit; and Mayda Sotomayor-Kirk, Seald Sweet International/Greenyard USA.
“Our organization thrives on the strength and diversity of the leadership on the United Fresh Board of Directors,” said President & CEO Tom Stenzel. “This slate of new Board members, along with those returning to the Board, will provide a strong representation and leadership of our industry.”
Board members concluding service at the March 2019 meeting include: Immediate Past Chairman Susan-Reimer Sifford; Brian Antle, Plant Tape; Jerry Callahan, Albertsons Companies; Jackie Caplan Wiggins, Frieda’s Inc., who served as Chair, Wholesaler-Distributor Board; Bret Erickson, J & D Produce; Sarah Frey-Talley, Frey Farms, LLC; Brian Jenny, Castellini Companies, who served as Chair, Fresh-Cut Processor Board; Bob Mast, CMI Orchards; Drew McDonald, Taylor Farms, who served as Chair, Food Safety & Technology Council; Mark Munger, 4EARTH Farms, who served as Chair, Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council; Jason Pounds, Hardie’s Fruit & Vegetable, who served as Chair, Finance & Business Management Council; Howard Roeder, World Wide Farms and Charles Wingard, Walter P. Rawl, who served as Chair, Government Relations Council.
“I’d like to extend a personal thanks to all of the Board members who are concluding their service at this upcoming meeting, including our Immediate Past Chair Susan Reimer-Sifford who provided exceptional leadership to our organization during her years of service,” said Stenzel. “With an industry as diverse and complex as ours, we are grateful to the dedicated members of our Board who have helped navigate the challenges in our industry and further advance our organization. We appreciate the time and service they have dedicated to United and the industry.
“I’d also like to personally thank Susan and Board Development Committee members Cindy Jewell, Greg Corrigan, Danny Dumas, Eric Halverson, Raina Nelson, Tom Brugato and Sarah Grady for their work this year in nominating an impressive slate of officers and Board members. Their job was to help develop a strong and representative leadership on the Board for the coming years to drive our association forward, and I commend them for developing this strong slate of industry leaders,” Stenzel said.
About United Fresh Produce Association
Founded in 1904, the United Fresh Produce Association brings together companies across every segment of the fresh produce supply chain, including growers, shippers, fresh cut processors, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, foodservice operators, industry suppliers and allied associations. We empower industry leaders to shape sound government policy. We deliver the resources and expertise companies need to succeed in managing complex business and technical issues. We provide the training and development individuals need to advance their careers in produce. Through these endeavors, we unite our industry with a common purpose – to build long-term value for our members and grow produce consumption.