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United Fresh Presents New Board Leaders

The United Fresh Produce Association announced a slate of new officers and directors nominated to serve on its board of directors, effective at its April 22 meeting in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Ascending to board chairman is Ron Carkoski, president/CEO, Four Seasons Family of Cos., Ephrata, Pa. Currently serving as chairman-elect, Carkoski joined Four Seasons in 1994 as director of procurement after almost 20 years in the produce business with Gateway Foods/Scrivner, Carpenter Cook Co., and Gamble Robinson Co. He was nominated to his second term on the United Fresh Board in 2010, previously serving from 2003-2007 and most recently as chairman of United's wholesaler-distributor board. Having earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wis., Carkoski is a past board member of the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Philadelphia and Susquehanna Valley, and served as a board member for Graystone Bank in Pennsylvania.

Nominated as chairman-elect is Brian W. Kocher, SVP/COO, Chiquita Brands International, Inc., Charlotte, N.C., where he is responsible for global sales, business unit and food safety capabilities. Kocher has held various senior leadership positions since joining Chiquita in 2005, including SVP and CFO. Previousy, he was president, North America; president, Europe and the Middle East; and VP, among other positions. He has more than 18 years of experience, including senior roles at General Electric, Hill-Rom and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Kocher will assume the Chairmanship of United Fresh in 2015.

Lorri A. Koster, chairman/CEO, Mann Packing Co., will continue to serve in an ongoing term as secretary-treasurer.

Ron Midyett, current United board chairman and CEO, Apio, Inc., will move to the position of immediate past chairman and will remain on the board and the executive committee.

“United has a strong history of bringing together talented members from all sectors of the industry to lead our association forward,” said Tom Stenzel, United president/CEO. “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.”

The following industry leaders have been nominated to serve as new members of the United Fresh Board for a two-year term beginning April 2014:

  • Mark Campion, president, Taylor Farms Retail, Inc.
  • Rudi Groppe, president/CEO, Heinzen Manufacturing, Intl., Gilroy, Calif.
  • Steve Jarzombek, VP, produce procurement/merchandising, Roundy’s Supermarkets, Milwaukee, Wis.
  • Carissa Mace, president, Fresh Produce & Floral Council (FPFC), La Mirada, CA
  • Paul Mastronardi, president/CEO, Mastronardi Produce Ltd., Ontario, Canada
  • Bob Meek, CEO, Wada Farms Marketing Group, Idaho Falls, Ida.
  • Mike Orf, assistant VP, produce operations, Hy-Vee, Inc., West Des Moines, Iowa
  • Susan Reimer-Sifford, director of produce purchasing and distribution, Darden Restaurants, Orlando, Fla.
  • Mario Steta, group VP/GM, Driscoll’s Central Mexico division.
  • Nominated as chairman of the United Fresh Foundation, which holds an ex-officio position on the United Board, Jim Lemke, SVP of C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn.

Current Board members nominated to new positions of service on United’s Market Segment boards and councils include:

  • Chairman, Grower-Shipper board - Tom Deardorff, Deardorff Family Farms
  • Chairman, Retail-Foodservice board - Sean Picquelle, Taco Bell
  • Vice Chairman, Retail-Foodservice board - Greg Corrigan, Raley's Family of Fine Stores
  • 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, Fresh-Cut Processor Board - Tony Freytag, Crunch Pak Sliced Apples
  • Chairman, Wholesaler Distributor Board - Lisa Strube, Strube Celery & Vegetable Co.
  • Vice Chairman, Fresh-Cut Processor Board - Bob Swartwout, VNS Sales
  • Vice Chairman, Wholesaler Distributor Board - Bob Kirch, Caito Foods Service, Inc.
  • Chairman, Finance & Business Management Council - Scott Danner, Liberty Fruit Co., Inc.
  • Chairman, Food Safety & Technology Council - Bob Elliott, Sunkist Growers, Inc.
  • Chairman, Government Relations Council - John Keeling, National Potato Council
  • Chairman, Supply Chain Logistics Council - Kenny Lund, Allen Lund Co., Inc.

The following At-Large Board Members will continue their service on the Board: Bill Brim, Lewis Taylor Farms, Inc.; Bill Brooks, Westlake Produce Company; Jim Catchot, Renaissance Food Group; Aaron Fox, Fox Packaging; Fred Heptinstall, IFCO SYSTEMS, N.A.; David Hille, Cabbage, Inc.; Joe Klare, Castellini Company LLC; Lisa McNeece, Grimmway Enterprises Inc.; Bob Morrissey, National Watermelon Association, Inc.; Angela Nardone, N2N Global; Gordon Robertson, Sun World International, LLC; Dave Russell, Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A., Inc.; Rob Schrick, Bayer CropScience; Mike Spinazzola, Diversified Restaurant Systems; and Mike Wootton, Sunkist Growers, Inc.

Board members concluding service at the April 22 meeting include: David Krause, Paramount Citrus, who served as chairman of the board in 2012-2013, and this past year as immediate past chairman; Paddy Callaghan, Nature's Best Limited, who served as chairman of the Global Advisory Council; Emily Fragoso, MIXTEC Group; Dan'l Mackey Almy, DMA Solutions, Inc. who served as the chairman of the Nutrition & Health Council; Kevin Moffitt, Pear Bureau Northwest; Roger Pepperl, Stemilt Growers, LLC who served as the inaugural chairman of the Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council; Randy Scott, Delhaize America, who served as the chairman of the Retail-Foodservice Board; Will Steele, Frontera Produce, who served as the chairman of the Grower-Shipper Board; Ivan Tarriba, Farmer's Best International, LLC; Greg Wohlleb, Bunzl, Inc.; and Steve Grinstead, Grinstead Enterprises, who served as chairman of the United Fresh Foundation.

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