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Ray Gilmer, former director of communications and public affairs at the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA), has joined United Fresh Produce Association (United Fresh) as its new VP/communications.
Bringing more than 20 years of combined experience in agricultural issues management, public relations and crisis management to United’s senior management team, United Fresh president Tom Stenzel said Gilmer’s experience will “quickly become a valued resource to United members, providing direct counsel and support in crisis communications and multiple areas of the business.”
In his new post, Gilmer will lead United’s communications outreach to key news media, underscoring United’s leadership on food safety, nutrition, labor issues, transportation and supply chain and other priority issues.
“Adding Ray to the United team is a great benefit for our members,” noted Jim Lemke, SVP at C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. and chairman-elect of United Fresh. “Ray probably has some of the strongest communications credentials in the produce industry.”
Gilmer joined FFVA in 1994 as director of communications and education, and was named director of public affairs in 2000. While at FFVA, he led communications initiatives on issues such as international trade, farm labor, pest eradication, social responsibility and food safety. Gilmer also worked closely with United and other industry groups on multiple farm bills and country-of-origin labeling initiatives, providing leadership for outreach to key stakeholders such as lawmakers, news media and coalition partners.
Having previously served on the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s board and executive committee, where he contributed to development of the “Fruits and Veggies: More Matters” program, Gilmer has also been president of the Agriculture Institute of Florida and Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, as well as VP of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.
Gilmer’s prior experience additionally includes being group manager of communications for BASF Crop Protection in the United States, where he led marketing and crisis management programs for several business groups, including crop protection and plant biotechnology. His wide-ranging career has also encompassed broadcast journalism and public relations.
Gilmer will join United Fresh April 20 and work at United’s headquarters office in Washington.