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The California Avocado Commission (CAC) board held a well deserved "roast" in honor of Mark Affleck, president and c.e.o., at the organization's most recent meeting that coincided with the very day Affleck marked his 20-year anniversary.
The surprise ceremony featured 17 speakers, including board members, past board chairs and a variety of CAC employees and leaders that have worked with Affleck as he piloted the California avocado industry through a series of challenges and two decades of increased grower value.
Rick Shade, CAC chairman and board member for nearly half of Affleck's tenure, lauded him for his extraordinary vision and decision-making ability. "Many issues have come up through the years that could have easily become crises for our industry," said Shade, "but under Mark's leadership, they were dealt with early and swiftly, ending up as mere blips on the radar."
Tom Bellamore, the Irvine, Calif.-based organization's s.v.p. and corporate counsel who has worked with Affleck for 14 years, referred to him as "a supreme strategist who is also my coach, my mentor and my fellow swordsman." After Affleck took office in 1988, Bellamore said the California avocado crop value doubled within a few years, and then followed with 14 consecutive years valued at $300 million or more.
Sacramento Attorney George Soares, who wrote the original law that created CAC nearly three decades ago, praised Affleck for managing change, what he called "fundamental" for success in agriculture. "With Mark Affleck's leadership, CAC has always and consistently found a way to manage change and stay at the forefront of issues."