International Blueberry Organization (IBO), Argentina

Peter McPherson was appointed new president, succeeding Andres Armstrong, Chilean Blueberry Committee president. Previously, McPherson was general manager of Berry International. Argentinean Blueberry Committee president Carlos Stabile will step into McPherson’s previous role of treasurer, while British and Polish industry representative Stephen Taylor will continue as IBO secretary.

JAXPORT, Jacksonville, Fla.
James Citrano was elected chairman. Citrano is the retired managing director of CBRE Group's Jacksonville, Fla., office. Ed Fleming was elected vice chairman. He is a retired president and CEO of Atlantic Marine Holding Co, LLC. John Falconetti was named treasurer. Falconetti is president of Drummond Press. And, John Baker was elected secretary. Baker is executive chairman of FRP Holdings, Inc. Other members of the JAXPORT board of directors include immediate past chairman Dr. John Newman, senior pastor, The Sanctuary at Mt. Calvary; Jamie Shelton, president, bestbet; and Joe York, chief executive officer of AT&T Florida, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Shelton will also serve as JAXPORT’s liaison with the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization.

Organic Trade Association (OTA), Baltimore, Md.
Melissa Hughes, general counsel and director of government affairs for Organic Valley, was re-elected as president of OTA for the third consecutive year. Other officers include Kim Dietz, senior manager, environmental, natural and organic policy of J.M. Smucker Co., as vice president—USA; Sarah Bird, chief executive officer of Bhakti Chai as secretary; and Tony Bedard, chief executive officer of Frontier Co-op as treasurer. Leslie Zuck, co-founder and executive director of Pennsylvania Certified Organic was also re-elected, while Doug Crabtree, co-owner of Vilicus Farms, was elected to his first term on the board. Meanwhile, Marci Zaroff, founder of Under the Canopy, was tapped to fill an appointed term, and Ryan Benn, president of Alive Publishing Group Inc., was appointed for another year by the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) to represent Canadian interests on the OTA board for a 1-year term. And, Perry Clutts, owner of Pleasantview Farm, will continue to hold the farmer board seat. Rick Collins, director of sales, foodservice and specialty retail of Clif Bar & Co., and Dag Falck, organic program manager of Nature's Path, finished out their final terms.

The Canadian Meat Council, Canada
Troy Warren was elected president and chair of the board for 2016-2018. Warren is currently vice president, product management, planning and procurement for Maple Leaf Foods. During an 18-year career with Maple Leaf Foods, he has held a series of progressively responsible leadership roles. For example, in 2010, Warren launched Maple Leaf Foods Raised Without Antibiotic Pork Production. He has also led the global customer and product portfolio expansion of this category, managing the commercial component of Maple Leaf Foods’ primary pork operations.

Tailor Cut Produce, North Brunswick, N.J.

Mark Pittenger was named food safety manager. Pittenger brings decades of experience to Tailor Cut Produce, who is remodeling its processing environments and updating its food safety protocols. 

DNO Produce, Columbus, Ohio
Alan Hoover was appointed president and COO, responsible for driving the top and bottom line growth of the business. Hoover previously led strategic efforts at Jane’s Dough Foods, a division of Donatos. He also served as president and COO of Kahiki Foods and worked in leadership positions at Pressware International and Sonoco Products Co.

Unified Grocers, Inc., Los Angeles
Michael Henn, executive vice president and CFO, will retire effective Sept. 30.  Effective Oct. 1, Christine Neal will be promoted to executive vice president, CFO and treasurer, responsible for finance, accounting, information systems, internal audit (administrative responsibility) and strategic planning. She is also president of Unified’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Grocers Capital Co. Michael joined Unified last October following the retirement of Richard Martin. Christine agreed to defer her own planned retirement to accept the CFO role while the company commences a search process for the CFO position. She joined Unified in 2003, responsible for finance, treasury, strategic planning and human resources. She also served as chief financial officer for the California Restaurant Association, and was controller for Gelson’s Markets. Christine began her career at Arthur Young & Co., where she worked for eight years as an accountant and audit manager.

Thrive Ice Cream, Orlando, Fla.
Alan Gessel was named president of the healthcare division, responsible for leading and directing marketing, strategic sales, product development, communications and client relations. Gessel maintains more than 20 years of experience in the food and nutrition industry, having held senior executive positions with Aramark, Sodexo, AVI Foodsystems and Target. Most recently, Gessel served as national vice president of sales for North America seniors for Sodexo.

Verde Farms, Woburn, Mass.
Joe Koch joined as vice president of sales, responsible for increasing distribution of the entire portfolio in wholesale and foodservice channels nationwide. Koch maintains more than 20 years' experience in sales, trade marketing and category management with consumer brands. He previously led the sales teams at Harry & David and Dole Fresh Vegetables, along with stints at Frito Lay and Kraft Foods. Meanwhile, Pete Lewis joined as vice president of marketing. Lewis boasts 22 years of experience working with consumer brands. For instance, he spent eight years growing Stonyfield Farms' presence in the organic dairy market. He also led the marketing teams at Lightlife Foods, Backyard Farms and Jasper Wyman & Son.

Mrs. T’s Pierogies, Shenandoah, Pa.
Michael Gross was promoted to vice president of sales, while Nikole Meckley was promoted to foodservice national sales manager.

King Fresh Produce, LLC, Dinuba, Calif.
Drew Clubb joined the sales and marketing team, focusing on supplier and grower affiliations and strategic sales development. Clubb most recently worked in banking and finance, and was a sales representative for King Fresh-KC.

Concord National, Canada
Ken Boychuk was appointed food service territory​ manager for the Prairie division, effective Oct. 3, responsible for the Manitoba and Saskatchewan foodservice trade. Since 2003, Boychuk worked for Riverwood Sales Brokerage, where he managed their Manitoba foodservice trade, calling on distributors and end users as well as managing their principals. Previous to that, he was district sales representative for Sysco Winnipeg and territory manager for Kraft Canada.

Hormel Foods Corp., Austin, Minn.
James Splinter was appointed to group vice president, corporate strategy, effective Oct. 31, responsible for leading the company’s strategic growth areas, including innovation, corporate development and strategy, consumer insights and building the company’s digital and e-commerce capabilities. Splinter maintains more than 30 years of experience with Hormel Foods. He joined the company in 1984 with Dubuque Foods, becoming product manager for retail sausage products in 1990. In 1995, he joined Hormel Foods as product manager for the meat products group, managing the marketing activities of Hormel pepperoni. In 1997, he joined the grocery products division as group product manager for the recipe ingredient group and oversaw the brand revitalization efforts for the SPAM family of products. In 1999, Splinter was promoted to senior vice president, sales and marketing of the retail division at Jennie-O Turkey Store. In 2003, he assumed the role of vice president of marketing for consumer products, refrigerated foods. He was promoted to group vice president, grocery products in 2010, leading the segment to achieve strong growth, both organically and through acquisitions. Luis Marconi will be elevated to group vice president, grocery products, responsible for the leadership of the company’s grocery business. Marconi will also oversee its vast portfolio of branded grocery products, including SPAM, SKIPPY, Hormel, MegaMex and Justin’s. Marconi has provided extensive leadership over the company’s strategic product pillars of global, multicultural, healthy/holistic and on-the-go products. Marconi began his career with Hormel Foods in 2000 as the manager of international sales and marketing in the international division. He advanced in 2006 to a senior role in the grocery products division as manager of international joint ventures. In 2009, Marconi was appointed managing director of the MegaMex Foods joint venture. He was appointed vice president of marketing for grocery products at Hormel Foods in 2012. Steven Venenga was named vice president, grocery products marketing, responsible for driving the segment’s marketing efforts, setting brand strategy and leading the brand and marketing teams. Venenga joined the company in 1996 as a Jennie-O Turkey Store product marketing manager. With more than 20 years of combined experience in food product marketing at both Hormel Foods and Jennie-O Turkey Store, Venenga was involved with the brand integration of the Jennie-O Turkey Store brand and a number of retail product launches, including Jennie-O Oven Ready turkeys and Jennie-O turkey burgers. In 2013, Venenga oversaw the launch of Hormel REV wraps. He was appointed to his current role as vice president of marketing for meat products for Hormel Foods in 2011. Lastly, Swen Neufeldt was named vice president, meat products marketing, tasked with leading the strategic marketing efforts for the company’s meat products business, including Hormel Black Label bacon, Hormel Natural Choice, Hormel REV wraps and Hormel REV Bites. Neufeldt was most recently president, Hormel Foods International, Asia Pacific, where he led the company’s international expansion in China. Neufeldt began his career in 1996 as a grocery products sales representative in Birmingham, Ala., and a year later, became territory manager. That same year he became a grocery products category management specialist. In 1999, he became a product and category development manager, international; in 2002, became senior product manager, international in England and then general manager of Europe in 2005. In 2006, he became group product manager, grocery products, and in 2010, became the director of business development – Asia and vice president of international in Shanghai, China. Two years later, he assumed the role of president Hormel Foods International – Asia Pacific.


Rave Restaurant Group Inc., Dallas, Texas
The parent company of Pie Five Pizza Co. and Pizza Inn named Brett Heinen as new director of franchise development, tasked with maintaining a robust development pipeline for both Pie Five and Pizza Inn, as the brands look to expand in new and existing markets across the country. Previously, Heinen was director of franchise sales at Dickey's Barbecue Pit, where he led the sale of more than 250 units nationwide. He also served as a founding partner and vice president of development for the Golden Chick area developer in the Houston region, where he and his partners opened the brand's first company-owned store and franchised unit.


Danfoss, Bethpage, N.Y.

Mads-Peter Clausen was named vice president, oil-free technology development, responsible for the coordination and development of the company’s oil-free technology portfolio. Clausen has spent 14 years with Danfoss in various roles around the world, including vice president of appliance controls and senior associate of mergers and acquisitions. In 2014, he was elected to serve as a member of the Danfoss board of directors, a position he continues to hold.

915 Labs, Centennial, Colo.
Marcia Walker joined as director of food innovation, tasked with leading product development, FDA validation and analytical and training services. Walker maintains significant experience with novel food and beverage processing technologies, including high-pressure processing (HPP). Previously, she worked at Avomex/Fresherized Foods, where she helped build the Wholly Guacamole brand. She also spent time with Starbucks to help establish a new 265,000-square-foot juicery for the newly acquired cold-press juice producer Evolution Fresh. Walker also directed the microbiological lab testing, food safety compliance and process authority activities for Evolution Fresh. Most recently, Walker worked as a technical business scout in global R&D for PepsiCo/Naked Emerging Brands, where she was part of a core team leading the innovation of new products, processes and ingredients.

ESE, Inc., Marshfield, Wis.
Craig Moeller was hired as an inside sales/application specialist. Moeller maintains eight years of experience as an electrical engineer and two years in business development. Previously, he served as an electrical engineer and business development for Jacobs.

Fristam Pumps USA, Middleton, Wis.
Ivan Mendez joined as a regional sales manager, responsible for the company’s sales and distribution network within Central America, Northern South America and the Caribbean. Mendez is bilingual in Spanish and English, and maintains a sales management background in the pumps and processing industries.

Towlift, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio
Jamie Feathers
will serve as product support manager, while Ryan Harmon will serve as general manager for the new Towlift Pittsburgh, Pa., operation.

Norfolk Southern Corp. (NS), Norfolk, Va.
James Hixon, executive vice president of law and corporate relations and chief legal officer, will retire effective Dec. 1.Hixon joined NS in 1985 as a tax attorney, and was named vice president taxation in 1993. He subsequently was promoted to a series of more senior executive positions, including senior vice president administration, and executive vice president finance and public affairs, before being named to his current position in 2005. Having served as chief legal officer for NS for more than a decade, he played a key role in creating the National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust and establishing the trust’s investment policies. William Galanko will take over as senior vice president law and corporate communications, effective Dec. 1. Galanko joined NS in 1990 as a tax attorney, and was named vice president taxation in 1999, vice president financial planning in 2005 and vice president law in 2006. Also effective Dec. 1, John Scheib was named vice president law, replacing Galanko. Since joining NS in 2005, Scheib has held positions of increasing responsibility in the NS law department. He is currently general counsel commerce. Previously, Scheib served as chief of staff and counsel to the chairman of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board and as counsel to the railroad subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Emerson Bearing Boston, Boston, Mass.
Lee Holt was appointed marketing specialist, charged with managing accounts, product recommendations, pricing, purchasing marketing and some light engineering in the company’s food processing division. Holt will also oversee sales of Emerson Bearing's newest line, Stand-Off Series Mounted Bearing Units. Holt has been a key member of Emerson Bearing's team for more than four decades, having been an inside sales representative prior to becoming marketing specialist.

Sprayroq Inc., Irondale, Ala.
Jeremy Huckaby joined as the new director of business development, responsible for addressing the needs of a maturing trenchless technologies market, and helping supply an expanding list of applications for the company’s products. Huckaby maintains a rich background in coatings, including 12 years working with commercial and industrial coatings contractors, architects, engineers, owners and city decision-makers for Sherwin-Williams. He also brings to the table expertise in surface preparation and commercial/industrial coatings recommendations for a variety of substrates.

Flexport, San Francisco
Jan van Casteren has been leading the company’s new Amsterdam office since January, tasked with helping Flexport build a greater network of logistics partners in Europe. van Casteren was most recently a project leader for the Boston Consulting Group, where he worked with the boards of large logistics and transportation companies. Henry Ko leads the new Hong Kong office, working with Chinese brands to move shipments from Greater China and Southeast Asia to the United States and Europe. Ko has held senior positions at DHL and SF Express, and was previously general manager at Li & Fung, making him the youngest person to be made general manager in the firm’s history. And, Justin Schafer leads the new New York office. An early employee and a leader on Flexport’s sales team, Schafer already manages some of the company’s biggest client relationships on the East Coast.

Pacific Packaging Machinery, San Clemente, Calif.
Pete Carpino
, president, will join Pro Mach, Inc. as vice president and general manager, amid the recent acquisition.

Flexicon Corp., Bethlehem, Pa.
Christian Löchler was named regional sales manager of the company’s new Aschaffenburg, Germany, office, responsible for building relationships with plant engineers, managers and other equipment specifiers.  He possesses 20 years of experience in plastics processing, compounding and recycling, most recently as sales/project engineer for a consultancy specializing in gravimetric and volumetric dosing for granulates, powders and liquids.