Oct 28, 2021
Newly-formed ‘International Fresh Produce Association’ names directors

PMA and United Fresh leaders provided a series of updates Oct. 28 for the newly-formed International Fresh Produce Association.

Co-CEOs of the new association, Cathy Burns and Tom Stenzel, were joined by executive committee members to share details including the board of directors. Selecting and recruiting the board of directors was one of the first responsibilities of the newly announced executive committee.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to lead and collaborate with this Board of Directors,” Bruce Taylor, chair of the new organization and CEO of Taylor Farms, said in a news release. “This group, in partnership with staff, will help set the strategic tone and direction as we deliver against the seven strategic priorities shared when the new organization was announced in March. I can’t wait to get started.”

Building on a combined history of strong volunteer leadership, the Board of Directors will work in partnership with experienced staff at the new association to provide guidance and expertise for industry members across the produce and floral supply chains.

“In assembling this Board of Directors, we sought to strike a balance of those individuals who had strong prior experience from serving on United and PMA volunteer groups as well as emerging leaders who will bring new perspectives and insights to drive the new organization forward and create solutions to address industry challenges,” said Danny Dumas, UFPA Chair and President, of Courchesne Larose USA Inc.

When the new association was announced, PMA and United Fresh also shared the strategic commitments that will be the core priorities of the new association launching in January 2022.  Developed by board leaders from both associations, these priorities include a commitment to all sectors of the fresh produce and floral supply chains; a commitment to growing demand and profitability; and a commitment to global engagement.  These priorities also were key to driving the selection and organization of the new Board.

“Because the new organization will reflect global fresh produce and floral communities, the new Board is organized to represent the many businesses we’ll serve in coming years as we work together to help our members prosper,” said Dwight Ferguson, PMA Chair and President and CEO of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation.

The new association Board of Directors are:

Directors Representing Market Segments

  • Grower-Shipper: Jeff Huckaby, CEO, Grimmway Enterprises, Inc.
  • Foodservice: Melissa Ackerman, President and Operations Director, Produce Alliance
  • Fresh-Cut Processor: Raina Nelson, President US, Westfalia Fruit Marketing USA LLC
  • Wholesaler-Distributor: Tom Brugato, President, Pacific Coast Fruit Company
  • Retail:    Pending

Directors representing Industry Expertise

  • Finance & Business Management: Michael Castagnetto, President, Robinson Fresh
  • Food Safety: Cheryl Enlow, VP of QA and Food Safety, Renaissance Food Group
  • Supply Chain Logistics: Drew Zabrocki, General Manager, Value Chain Insights & Interoperability, Semios
  • Marketing & Merchandising: Abby Prior, SVP Sales & Marketing, Bright Farms
  • Sustainability: Nikki Cossio, Founder & CEO, Measure to Improve LLC.
  • Technology: James Rogers, CEO, Apeel Sciences

U.S. Government Relations Director: 

  • Brian Kocher, President and CEO, Castellini Companies

Directors Representing Global Markets:

  • Australia-New Zealand: Katie De Villers, Head of Sales, One Harvest
  • Brazil: Gilson Lucato, Commercial Director, Citricola Lucato
  • Chile: Cristian Ureta, CEO, Exser
  • Mexico: Ernesto Cardona, President and Operations Director, Australtrading
  • South Africa: Trevor Dukes, CEO, The Fruit Farm Group
  • China: Liu Mau Wah, Chairman of the Group, Joy Wing Mau Group

Directors Representing Floral: 

  • Carlos Oramas, CEO, Gems Group, Inc.
  • Debora Steier, Vice President of Floral, Albertsons Companies

In addition to these leaders, the new association’s Board also includes at-large directors:

  • Amelie Aust, Owner, Board Vice-Chair, Fall Creek Farm & Nursery
  • Erik Brown, Executive Leader – Procurement, Produce, Whole Food
  • Adriëlle Dankier, Chief Commercial Officer, Nature’s Pride
  • Inci Dannenberg, Head of Vegetable Seeds Global Strategic Marketing, Bayer
  • Karen Fernald, SVP Category, Merchandising Pricing, Food Lion
  • Jose Antonio Gomez, CEO, Camposol
  • Candice Herndon, President, North America, IFCO Systems N.A.
  • Jamey Higham, President and CEO, Idaho Potato Commission
  • Jacob Krempel, Vice President, Procurement, HelloFresh
  • Zak Lafitte, President, Wonderful Citrus
  • Dan Mathieson, CEO, Zespri International, LTD.
  • Amy McClellan, Vice President, Fresh Merchandising, SpartanNash
  • Nelson Montoya, President, Fresh Fruit, Dole Food Company
  • Julie Olivarria, Vice President, Produce, Sysco Corporation
  • Mark Powers, President, Northwest Horticultural Council
  • Michael Simonetta, CEO, Perfection Fresh
  • Brie Reiter Smith, VP of Product Leadership, Driscoll’s
  • Debbie Raton Walker, Vice President, Purchasing & Analytics, Darden
  • Dorn Wenniger, SVP Produce, UNFI

As previously announced, the Executive Committee for the new organization includes:

  • Chair: Bruce Taylor, CEO, Taylor Farms
  • Chair-Elect Laura Himes, DMM Produce, Walmart
  • Secretary Treasurer Patrick Vizzone, Head of Food, Beverage & Agribusiness, ANZ Banking
  • Past Chair(s): Danny Dumas, President, of Courchesne Larose USA Inc. and Dwight Ferguson, President and CEO, California Agricultural Leadership Foundation
  • Foundation Chair: Martha Hilton, VP Produce and Floral Merchandising, Wegman’s.

The International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) is the largest and most diverse international association serving the entire fresh produce and floral supply chain and the only to seamlessly integrate world-facing advocacy and industry-facing support. We exist to bring the industry together to create a vibrant future for all. We grow our member’s prosperity by conducting advocacy; connecting people and ideas; and offering guidance that allows us all to take action with purpose and confidence.

While IFPA is built on the legacy of United Fresh and Produce Marketing Association, it is not just a combination. It is transformational. Recognizing the industry required an even more powerful and unified voice, the leaders of the former United Fresh and Produce Marketing Association chose not to merge, but rather to create an entirely new organization to supersede their organizations, effective Jan. 1, 2022.

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