U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Washington, D.C.
Heidi Kunka was named director of USGBC Central Pennsylvania, advocating for better buildings, including the expansion of LEED and collaborating with local stakeholders to create a more sustainable-built environment in the state and region. Kunka has spent more than a decade in the environment and sustainability field, most recently serving as energy program specialist for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Energy Assistance. During her tenure, Kunka served as the primary tour guide of the LEED Gold Southeast regional office, where she developed the educational content and secured the majority of building material donations for an award-winning green home exhibit. Kunka also managed various contacts with external partners such as energy-efficient building training experts for government and K–12 school facility managers. Kunka has also held several other positions in various departments in the Pennsylvania Department of Energy, including compliance specialist and water quality specialist for the storage tanks section and energy specialist for the Office of Energy & Technology Deployment. She also served as an environmental scientist for URS Corp.
American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), McLean, Va.
Daniel Rhea was named director of communications, effective Aug. 22, responsible for administering the institute’s suite of communications and digital advocacy programs to educate key influencers about the companies, products and people that comprise the frozen food and beverage community. Rhea most recently served as communications director for Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), and finance and media director for the Congressman Joe Barton Committee. He also previously served as Barton’s press assistant and has held positions at LVH Consulting and Estrella Freight Service.
International Association for Food Protection (IAFP), Des Moines, Iowa
Dr. Linda Harris assumed the role of president. Harris is a specialist in cooperative extension and chair of the department of food science and technology at the University of California – Davis. She also serves as a principal investigator for the Western Center for Food Safety. In these roles, she oversees a research and outreach program on the microbial food safety of fresh fruits and vegetables and tree nuts, from pre-harvest through minimally- and fully-processed products. Harris has been an IAFP member since 1987, and has served on several committees, including the Program and Nomination Committees, as chair of the Elmer Marth Educator Award Selection Committee, as co-chair of two Professional Development Groups and as a judge for the Developing Scientist Awards. Other members of the board include: president-elect, Mickey Parish, senior advisor for microbiology in the FDA’s Office of Food Safety in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN); vice president, Tim Jackson, director of food safety for Nestlé USA; secretary, Kali Kniel, professor in the department of animal and food sciences at the University of Delaware; past president, Alejandro Mazzotta, vice president, global quality, food safety and regulatory affairs for Chobani; and affiliate council chairperson, Neil Bogart, assistant vice president quality forRed Diamond Inc.
Center for Produce Safety (CPS), Woodland, Calif.
Tim York, president of Markon Corp., was elected chairman of the board of directors and as co-chair of the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI). York was integral in the founding of CPS in 2007 and served as the organization’s first chairman, making this his second appointment as chairman of the board of directors; he has served as a member of the board since 2007.
Foster Farms, Livingston, Calif.
Laura Flanagan was appointed president and CEO, effective Aug. 29, succeeding Ron Foster, who announced plans in 2014 to step down. Flanagan most recently served as president of the ConAgra Foods’ snacks division, and from 2008-2011, served as president of ConAgra's convenient meals division, where she revitalized and expanded key brands, led initiatives to promote diversity, developed internal talent and built employees’ skills and capabilities. Before joining ConAgra, she served as vice president and chief marketing officer of PepsiCo’s Tropicana Shelf Stable Juices from 1996-2005, held brand management positions at General Mills and PepsiCo and was a manufacturing engineer at Saturn Corp. Flanagan currently serves on the board of directors at Core-Mark International.
Díaz Foods, Atlanta
Antonio Casas was hired as new vice president of marketing for the company and its private brands, tasked with leading marketing initiatives, brand management online and offline, promotional event programs, loyalty programs for retail and foodservice customers and continuing to build the company’s private brands for Hispanic and non-Hispanic markets. Casas bring over 21 years of high-level experience in strategic thinking, brand building, creative development and team leadership. He held positions at the executive level for large retail companies like The Home Depot and Sears Holdings Corp., with responsibilities for both online and offline channels. He has also led and developed integrated and strategic programs for brands such as Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, Craftsman, Kenmore, Heineken, AT&T, Levis, Coleman, Bayer, Unilever, the United Nations and several private brands for The Home Depot, Target, Sears, Kmart, The Great Indoors, Performance Bicycles and D&M Group.
Benihana Inc., Aventura, Fla.
The operator of Benihana, RA Sushi and Haru Sushi restaurants named Thomas Baldwin president and CEO, effective immediately, responsible for the company’s 100 restaurants as well as the 10 Benihana franchised restaurants. Baldwin currently serves on the board of directors of Benihana and is an advisor to Angelo, Gordon & Co., Benihana's principal investor. Baldwin brings more than three decades of restaurant industry expertise, having served in senior executive roles at both publicly-listed and privately-held companies. He was chairman, president and CEO of Morton's Restaurant Group for 20 years, where he led the company through two IPOs.
Fleet Advantage, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Jim Griffin will now serve as both chief technology officer and chief operating officer, focusing his efforts on streamlining current processes and implementing data-centric measures. Griffin has already refined many of the company’s processes and systems, and will be working on improving efficiencies and service quality to ensure greater customer satisfaction and more value-added offerings. Griffin will also assume responsibility for executing Fleet Advantage’s long-term corporate strategy initiatives and enhancing workflows among the business development, finance and IT divisions. Previously, Griffin served as chief technology officer, charged with expanded development of the company’s technology programs and its data analytics platform.
Alon Blue Square, Israel
Tal Yeshua resigned as a member of the company's board of directors, effective immediately.
Crowley Maritime Corp., Jacksonville, Fla.
Veteran company executive Eric Evans was promoted to vice president of strategy, a newly-created position that will focus on facilitating long-term growth through external business partnerships, including mergers and acquisitions. Evans most recently served as vice president of finance and planning for several of the company’s business units. Since 2013, Evans has worked to implement Crowley Petroleum Services’ strategic plan for growth and investment, resulting in the purchase of six tankers, the sale of two tankers and the formation of several joint ventures. Evans joined Crowley in 1987 as an accountant and manager of management reporting for 11 years, supporting the West Coast businesses and taking various short-term assignments in Saudi Arabia and Puerto Rico. In 1997, he took an assignment as administrative manager in Caracas, Venezuela, for Crowley’s oilfield logistics company. Two years later, Evans moved to Jacksonville to serve as the projects manager and finance director for Crowley’s contract services and international operations, then moved to Seattle in a similar role. He was promoted to his most recent position in 2010.
LINKFRESH Inc., Ventura, Calif.
Erich Colberg joined as business development executive for North America. Colberg brings good deal of Microsoft Dynamics technology knowledge and food industry expertise to the team. He spent several years working within the dynamics channel at JustFoodERP, working with food manufacturing customers. Previous to this, he worked with QuickBooks re-seller, Intuit, and owned a logistics company. Likewise, Felix Morales came on board as a pre-sales consultant. Morales’ career began as an accountant, but most recently, worked with several Microsoft Dynamics partners in various consultancy and business development roles, including Tectura Corp. and KCP Dynamics.
Food Safety Net Services (FSNS), San Antonio, Texas
Faustine Curry was named director of marketing. Curry joins FSNS after working as director of marketing and talent management for Richworth Hospitality. Previously, she served as chief executive officer of the Mount Pleasant/Titus County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Council, and maintains a number of years of experience in brand development, multi-media marketing, social media and public relations. Curry also brings expertise as an attorney, and boasts an extensive agriculture background.
IN MEMORIUM: MARVIN JOHNSON, HOUSE OF RAEFORD FARMS
Marvin Johnson, chairman of the board emeritus, former CEO and founder of House of Raeford Farms, Rose Hill, N.C.,passed away peacefully at his home.
Johnson was a poultry industry pioneer who started on the streets of downtown Rose Hill selling live turkeys grown in his own backyard. This venture led Johnson and his brother, Bizzell, to the local Sears, where they purchased their first incubator and a few turkey eggs.
After serving overseas during World War II as a merchant marine, Johnson returned to Rose Hill to join his father and brother in building the town’s first feed mill in 1955. This feed mill led the Johnson family to expand their business, adding a chicken hatchery and obtaining ownership interest in Rose Hill Poultry and Raeford Turkey Farms in Raeford, N.C.
Raeford Turkey Farms later became House of Raeford, and the two were joined together as House of Raeford Farms, Inc. under the leadership of the Johnson family, making it what is said to be the first to process turkeys year-round. House of Raeford also invented the retail deli turkey breast and whole cooked turkey, among many other products.
Johnson served as president of the National Turkey Federation, N.C. Poultry Federation and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, and was inducted into the N.C. Poultry Hall of Fame in 1996.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Rose Hill United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 177, Rose Hill, NC 28458, or the House of Raeford Farms FLOCK ministry, P.O. Box 699, Rose Hill, NC 28458.