Dec 20, 2023
CMI cites rapid growth with leadership promotions
CMI Orchards, Wenatchee, Washington, is making leadership changes during what it calls an era of major growth.
CMI President Bob Mast said the company has seen a “remarkable upswing” in the past decade, nearly doubling its volume since 2014 with an expanded portfolio allowing year-round shipping.
“Our staff size has grown exponentially, and we have placed a huge focus on staff development and operational improvements,” Mast said in a news release. “As we anticipate further expansion, adding to our top-tier leadership team is absolutely paramount to our continued success.”
Joel Hewitt is shifting from domestic sales and organic manager to vice president of sales. Hewitt will be responsible for leading and managing the sales team and execution overall to drive sales growth and achieve organizational goals, while collaborating closely with other departments to ensure a strategy that remains cohesive and productive across the board.
“My journey over the last thirteen years at CMI has been supported by our team of dedicated leaders and colleagues, and their incredible commitment to the business,” Hewitt said in a news release. “The invaluable guidance and education I’ve received over the years from the CMI executive team, my teammates, the growers, and our business partners is paramount to where I am now, and I’m greatly looking forward to being part of the continual improvements and the evolution of our company for many years to come.”
Garrett Joeckel will be stepping into the role of vice president of operations, overseeing all operational activities supporting the sales, marketing and accounting departments. Joeckel started working at CMI in 2014, primarily focusing on production, and expanded his scope of work to include sales reporting, analytics, and account management.
“Stepping into this new role is an incredible opportunity,” Joeckel said in the release. “The chance to collaborate with our operational support teams to take all phases of our business to the next level, as well as drive value back to our growers, is one I am humbled and extremely grateful for.”
CMI’s new production manager, Wade Baker, joined CMI in 2022 with almost 30 years of industry experience in warehousing, including leadership roles in production planning, quality control, inventory management, and logistics.
“Prior to last year, I had spent my career in the warehouse side of our business,” Baker said in the release. “Getting the chance to work on the sales side, and now in a position where I interact with both sides of the business, feels like it’s really come full-circle for me. I’m thrilled for what’s to come.”
Loren Foss taking on the role of vice president of domestic business strategy, working closely with marketing and sales to coordinate between global brand owners, sales teams and warehouses to ensure effective management across the board. Foss graduated from Washington State University and spent 15 years in the produce industry, with the first half of his career focused on export sales in Asia and the Middle East before managing the sales side of branded varieties for CMI.
“CMI’s retail partners value our branded apple varieties and our ability to execute on sales strategies,” Foss said in the release. “I look forward to joining the management team and creating new paths to driving growth in the marketplace and expanding our retail business while carving out opportunities to grow our premium lineup of branded products.”
CMI’s director of export sales, Scott Agnew, is promoted to the new role of senior director of international sales. Agnew will focus on the company’s international business across import and export channels, overseeing sales goals and execution. Agnew started in the industry at an apple packing warehouse in the 1990s. He said he was mentored by some of the finest people in the industry for eight years, taught himself Spanish, and learned everything he could before an opportunity at CMI arose.
“By joining the team at CMI, I was able to learn from some of the best in the industry, such as Glady Bellamy and Bob Mast,” Agnew said in the release. “It’s only through the strong support from the people around me here at CMI and at the warehouse where I began my career that I’m able to reach this milestone. It’s been 17 years since I started at CMI, and I have fully enjoyed every single one of them — and look forward to the next 17!”
Steve Reinholt will be focusing on export business development, working closely with Scott Agnew and the export team to continue developing business in new and existing export markets. Reinholt ran his family’s farming operations for three years before his career evolved into warehouses, sales and eventually joining Starr Ranch as the export sales manager in 2004.
“Combining Starr and CMI’s product lines and customer bases results in such a well-rounded operation that is nearly limitless,” Reinholt said in the release. “I’m truly energized by the opportunities this union has created.”
Steve Castleman, now senior director of strategy, has been with CMI for 25 years, with his time split between domestic sales followed by vice president of sales.
“I’m enthusiastic about the potential for growth that CMI offers these high-caliber individuals,” Castleman said in the release. “This presents a prime opportunity for them to introduce innovative ideas and propel the company and our business associates to new heights.”
Robb Myers, CMI’s new senior director of business development also expressed optimism about the company’s future.
“CMI is such a forward-thinking organization built by a team full of people who work exceptionally hard for our customers and growers,” Myers said in the release. “These changes are just a small indication of the star-power our team has.”
Myers will continue to work closely with the executive team to shape the company’s growth trajectory, as well as research and develop new market opportunities and increase market presence.
“Each and every one of these team members stepping into their new roles have proven their dedication to excellence across the board, whether it’s leading their colleagues, servicing our customers or supporting our growers,” Mast said in the release.