Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), Hockessin, Del.

Elizabeth Pivonka announced her retirement from as president and CEO, effective Feb. 28, 2017, to spend more time with her family. Pivonka has served on PBH’s staff since its inception in 1991, more than 25 years ago, and as president for the past 20 years. Kristen Stevens will serve as acting president.

National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA), Harrisburg, Pa.
Joy Sgro, vice president of merchandising and marketing for C&S Wholesale Grocers, was elected chairman of the board. Sgro has served on the board of directors since 2011. She served as secretary from 2014-2015, and chairman-elect from 2015-2016. Other officers sworn in were John Farmer, Dairy Farmers of America, chairman-elect; Dave Jones, Kellogg Co., secretary; Ray Tarnowski, Philadelphia Warehouse & Cold Storage, treasurer; Tony Hatok, Giant Eagle, vice chairman-frozen; and Kristina Cole, WhiteWave Foods, vice chairman-refrigerated. Newly elected to the board of directors were Curtis Bolden, ConAgra Foods; David Bray, Tyson Foods; Diana Curtis; Grocery Outlet; Todd Patti, Ahold USA Retail; Marcelle Smalley, Kemps; and Joe Tuza, T. Marzetti Co. Elected for a second term on the board of directors were Bob Dernbach, Southeast Food Distribution; Tim Heil, Schwan’s Consumer Brands; Mark Meyer, Wells Enterprises; Dan Nolan, Stremick’s Heritage Foods; Phil Payment, Homeland Stores; Paul Peterson, Lactalis American Group; and Trenton Potts, Daisy Brand.


General Mills, Minneapolis
Alicia Boler Davis joined the board of directors. Boler Davis currently serves as executive vice president, global manufacturing at General Motors, where she leads approximately 180,000 employees in more than 30 countries. Prior to her current position, Boler Davis was senior vice president, global connected customer experience at General Motors, and has served in various positions of increasing responsibility in manufacturing, engineering and product development at General Motors. Furthermore, she has held a number of plant manager roles in the United States, and is said to be the first African-American woman to be a plant manager at a General Motors vehicle manufacturing facility. In February 2012, she was promoted to vice president, U.S. customer experience, where she implemented a customer-centric focus on quality and established processes across the enterprise. Prior to joining General Motors, Boler Davis held engineering positions at The Upjohn Co. and PepsiCo, Inc.

Veg-Fresh Farms, Corona, Calif.
Industry veteran Norwin Wong joined as director of grower relations, specializing in conventional and organic brussels sprouts, green beans and peas, and in charge of handling crop planning and program development with growers. Alongside Wong will also be his assistant, Gina Lozano, who has worked with Wong for the past 10 years.

AdvancePierre Foods, Cincinnati
Christopher Sliva was appointed president, effective Nov. 14, taking over for CEO John Simons, who will retire March 31, 2017. Sliva is a recognized leader and operator with over a decade of experience as a public food company executive. Before joining AdvancePierre, Sliva was president and COO of TreeHouse Foods, Inc. He joined TreeHouse in July 2012 as senior vice president and COO of its Bay Valley Foods operating unit and also served as executive vice president and COO of TreeHouse and president of Bay Valley. Before that, Sliva spent six years as an executive at Dean Foods, including as chief commercial officer of Dean’s subsidiary Fresh Dairy Direct-Morningstar, chief customer officer for Dean's WhiteWave Foods division and president and COO of the Morningstar division. Previously, Sliva held various leadership roles and sales and marketing positions with Eastman Kodak Co., Fort James Corp. and Procter & Gamble Distributing Co. Additionally, George Chappelle, previously senior vice president, supply chain and corporate development, was appointed chief operating officer, responsible for overseeing the company’s manufacturing operations and supply chain as well as all business development activities, including acquisitions, divestitures and other strategic projects. Jim Clough, currently president of the foodservice business unit, will expand his role and become the company’s first chief commercial officer in charge of the company’s customer-centric efforts.

Tanimura & Antle, Salinas, Calif.
Jeff Jackson was named senior vice president of sales and marketing, succeeding Mike Antle, who will continue as an executive director of the board. Jackson began his produce career in 1983 with Fresh Express. From there, he served as president for Club Chef, followed by 20 years with Chiquita in global senior management roles. Jackson then spent eight years as the chief executive officer of the Moraitis Co., then later joined Earthbound Farm as vice president and general manager.  



Absolute Worldwide Logistics, Baltimore, Wash.
Robin Crawford
was named branch manager of the company’s new Waycross, Ga., operation. Crawford was previously the branch manager of a competitor. Meanwhile, Keshia Hodgkin was hired to help fulfill truckload opportunities as well as other duties within the logistics office. And, Rick Waldeck joined as business development manager for the Georgia and Northern Florida markets.

OFD Foods, Albany, Ore.
President Jim Merryman was promoted to president and CEO, following the completion of a capital investment from Endeavour Capital. Merryman joined OFD Foods in 1974, and has managed the company’s distribution, production, maintenance, purchasing, sales and marketing departments. He was appointed president and COO in 2011.




Vance Larson, former chairman of National Turkey Federation, Washington, D.C., passed away Oct. 25 at The Bluffs of Lake City Assisted Living in Lake City, Minn. 

Larson served on several boards within the turkey industry, including the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association for eight years and the Midwest Poultry Federation for six years, including serving as president in 1981. He received the Ranelius Award in 1986-1987 for outstanding service to the turkey industry of Minnesota. He was on the National Turkey Federation Board for eight years, serving as president in 1986. He also presented the pardoned Thanksgiving Day Turkey, whose name was Benjamin, to President Ronald Reagan in 1986. In February 2012, Larson received the Lifetime Achievement Award for the National Turkey Federation.

The family wishes that memorials be dedicated to Evanger Lutheran Church, Sargeant, Minn.



Theodore “Ted” Twardzik, Sr., founder of Mrs. T’s Pierogies, Shenandoah, Pa., passed away Nov. 10 with his loving family by his side.

Twardzik founded the company that bears his mother’s name in 1952, upon returning home from New York City, where he worked as a staff accountant at Arthur Anderson & Co. He was inspired by the long lines of people at church fairs clamoring to buy his mother’s homemade pierogis. In 2000, he co-founded Lee’s Oriental Gourmet Foods, which is still operating today in Shenandoah, Pa., employing 30 people.

Twardzik is credited with bringing a completely new category to the frozen food aisle, even inventing and developing Mrs. T’s proprietary pierogy-making equipment.

Today, T’s Pierogies employs more than 240 associates.

“Today my family lost a husband, father, grandfather and uncle. Our community lost a tireless advocate for its citizens, and the industry lost a pioneer. We will miss his indomitable spirit, unique sense of humor and tireless work ethic,” says Tom Twardzik, Ted’s son and current president of Mrs. T’s Pierogies. “We are humbled to know that his legacy will live on every day in the countless people he touched and the millions of Americans who love Mrs. T’s Pierogies.”