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    United Fresh Presents New Board of Directors

    Chiquita's Brian Kocher ascends to chairman

    United Fresh Produce Assoiation has unveiled a new slate of officers and directors, effective at its April 29, 2015 meeting in White Sulphur Springs, W.V.

    “United Fresh has a strong history of bringing together members from all sectors of the industry to lead our association forward,” said United President and CEO Tom Stenzel. “This line-up of nominees for our consolidated board of directors, together with our returning board members and new officers, makes a tremendously impressive slate of leaders who will ensure a powerful voice for our membership and our industry.”

    Ascending to board chairman is Brian W. Kocher, interim CEO, Chiquita. Kocher, who joined Chiquita in 2005 and who became president of its North America division in 2007, has served in several positions since that time. Most recently he was EVP and COO, after his role as CFO, for which he was responsible for all aspects of the company's financial operations worldwide.

    Nominated as chairman-elect is Tony Freytag, SVP, sales & marketing, Crunch Pak. Freytag and his two partners started Crunch Pak with an idea for creating healthy snacking by preserving fresh-cut apples that he tested in his home kitchen. He joined the United Fresh Board in 2011, most recently serving as the chairman of the Fresh-Cut Processor Board. Freytag will assume chairmanship of United Fresh in 2016.

    Nominated to Secretary Treasurer is Lisa Strube, director of finance & administration for Strube Celery & Vegetable Co. Strube joined the United Fresh board in 2011 and most recently served as chair of the Wholesaler Distributor board.

    Current United board chairman Ron Carkoski, president & CEO of Four Seasons Family of Cos., will move to the position of immediate past chairman and will 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 April 2015:

    • Brian Antle, Harvest Manager, Tanimura & Antle, Salinas, Calif.
    • Jackie Caplan Wiggins, VP and COO, Frieda’s, Inc., Los Alamitos, Calif.
    • Suresh DeCosta, manager, quality systems for U.S. Supply Chain Management, McDonald’s Corp., Oakbrook, Ill.
    • Bret Erickson, president and CEO, Texas International Produce Association, Mission, Texas.
    • Bob Mast, president, Columbia Marketing International (CMI), Wenatchee, Wash.
    • Michael Muzyk, president, Baldor Specialty Foods, Inc, Bronx, N.Y.
    • Jason Pounds, partner, Hardie’s Fresh Foods, Dallas, Texas
    • Howard Roeder, president, Dole Fresh Vegetables, Monterey, Calif.
    • Dorn Wenninger, VP, produce and floral, Walmart U.S., Bentonville, Ark.
    • Ross Wileman, SVP of sales and marketing, Mission Produce, Oxnard, Calif.
    • Charles Wingard, VP of Field Operations, Walter P. Rawl & Sons, Inc., Pelion, S.C.

    Current board members nominated to new positions of service on market segment boards and councils include:

    • Chairman, Retail-Foodservice Board – Greg Corrigan, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores
    • Vice Chairman, Retail-Foodservice Board – Susan Reimer Sifford, Darden
    • Chairman, Fresh-Cut Board – Bob Swartwout, Direct Advantage
    • Vice Chairman, Fresh-Cut Processor Board – Jim Catchot, Renaissance Food Group
    • Chairman, Wholesaler Distributor Board – Bob Kirch, Caito Foods Service
    • Chairman, Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council – Cindy Jewell, California Giant Berry Farms

    The following officers of market segment boards and councils will continue their service on the board:

    • Chairman, Supply Chain Logistics Council - Kenny Lund, Allen Lund Company, Inc.
    • Chairman, Grower-Shipper Board – Tom Deardorff II, Deardorff Family Farms
    • Vice Chairman, Grower-Shipper Board - Bob Meek, Wada Farms Marketing Group

    The following at-large board members will continue their service on the board: Bill Brim, PFG Focus; Bill Brooks, Westlake Produce Co.; Mark Campion, Taylor Farms, Inc; Aaron Fox, Fox Packaging; Rudi Groppe, Heinzen Manufacturing International; Fred Heptinstall, IFCO Systems, N.A.; Steve Jarzombek, Roundy's Supermarkets Inc.; Carissa Mace, Fresh Produce & Floral Council; Paul Mastronardi, Mastronardi Produce, Ltd.; Lisa McNeece, Grimmway Enterprises Inc.; Bob Morrissey, National Watermelon Association, Inc.; Mike Orf, Hy-Vee Inc.; Gordon Robertson, Sun World International, LLC; Rob Schrick, Bayer CropScience; Mike Spinazzola, Diversified Restaurant Systems; and Mario Steta, Driscoll's.

    Board members concluding service at the April 2015 meeting include: Immediate Past Chairman Ron Midyett, Apio, Inc.; Scott Danner, Premier Produce, who served as Chairman of the Finance & Business Management Council; Bob Elliott, Sunkist Growers, Inc., who served as Chairman of the Food Safety & Technology Council; David Hille, Cabbage, Inc.; John Keeling, National Potato Council, who served as Chairman of the Government Relations Council; Joe Klare, Castellini Company, LLC; Lorri Koster, Mann Packing Company, who served as Secretary-Treasurer; Angela Nardone, N2N Global; Roger Pepperl, Stemilt Growers, LLC, who served as Chairman of the Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council; Dave Russell, Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc.; Randy Scott, Delhaize America, who served as Chairman of the Retail-Foodservice Board; and Mike Wootton, Sunkist Growers.

    “I’d like to personally thank Immediate Past Chairman Ron Midyett and Secretary-Treasurer Lorri Koster, who served with distinction as officers this year, and all of those board members who are concluding their service at this upcoming meeting,” said Stenzel. “Our industry is ever-changing, and their contributions and thoughtful leadership have positively impacted our industry’s success and advanced our organization in so many ways."

    Stenzel continued: "I’d also like to thank Ron Midyett and board development committee members Ron Carkoski, Greg Corrigan, Brian Kocher, Lorri Koster, Bob Kirch, Bob Meek and Bob Swartwout for their work this year in nominating an impressive slate of officers and board members. Their job is to help develop a strong and representative leadership on the board for the coming years to drive our association forward, and I commend them to developing a slate of impressive industry leaders.”

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