U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Washington, D.C.

Twelve members were appointed to the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, with terms ending Oct. 31, 2019. Newly appointed members are Arlene Vander Eyk (Region 2); Stephen Maddox (Region 2); Manuel Caballero (Region 3); Connie Seefeldt (Region 6); Bobby Combs (Region 10); Jennifer Heltzel (Region 11); and Bret Bossard (Region 12). Re-appointed to serve second terms were Brian Medeiros (Region 2); Carol Ahlem (Region 2); Christopher Brazil (Region 2); Eddie Schaap (Region 4); and Cheryl Chapin (Region 9).

Cattlemen's Beef Board, Centennial, Colo.
Cattle producers Brett Morris of Ninnekah, Okla., will serve as chairman; Joan Ruskamp of Dodge, Neb., will serve as vice chairman; and Chuck Coffey of Springer, Okla., will serve as secretary/treasurer for the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion & Research Board (CBB). Morris is a third-generation dairy farmer and runs a dairy, cow/calf and stocker operation and the Washita Fertilizer Co. Morris served as chairman of the Oklahoma Dairy Commission, vice chairman of the Oklahoma Johne's Advisory Committee, as a district voting delegate to Dairy Farmers of America, a director of the Federation of State Beef Councils and as chairman and vice chairman of the Oklahoma Beef Council. Ruskamp operates a feedlot and row-crop farm, and has been active in the beef industry, with service to numerous producer organizations. In addition, she has been a 4-H leader for about 20 years, an EMT for more than a decade and a religious education teacher for nearly 30 years. Coffey is a fifth-generation rancher who grew up on a ranch, and taught agriculture at Murray State College. In 1993, he joined the Noble Foundation as a pasture and range consultant. New to the 2017 Executive committee is Jared Brackett, operator of a cow-calf/stocker operation and past president of the Idaho Cattlemen's Association; Amelia Kent, owner of Kent Farms; Bill King, owner of The Bill King Ranch; Gary Sharp, operator of Sharp's Inc.; Paul Moss of Tennessee; Don Smith of Texas; Richard Winter, in charge of livestock production at Quien Sabe Feeders; and Barbara Jacques, co-owner Seven D Ranch. Immediate past chairman Anne Anderson will serve as an advisor to the committee.

Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, Long Beach, Calif.
Port of Long Beach senior executive Sean Gamette was named managing director of engineering services, replacing Doug Thiessen, who retired earlier this year. Gamette, the port’s program delivery group director and chief harbor engineer, will lead a bureau that oversees and executes engineering and construction projects and maintenance for the harbor department. In his most recent position, Gamette led a team of managers, engineers, inspectors, surveyors, technicians and support staff responsible for the port’s capital investment program. He came to the harbor department in 2003 as a senior program manager, and was promoted to deputy chief harbor engineer in 2009 before assuming duties leading the program delivery group in 2013.


Tanimura & Antle,
Salinas, Calif.
Brian Antle
will lead PlantTape USA, the organization’s automated transplant technology company. Antle began his career at Tanimura & Antle in 1996, harvesting with Dulcinea Farms, and has held a number of positions from the farm to the cooler and harvest operations. Most recently, he served as vice president of harvest, and was instrumental in the development of advanced harvesting technology. Meanwhile, Nick Sgheiza was promoted to senior director of harvest operations. Sgheiza has been with Tanimura & Antle since 1999, serving in a variety of harvest-focused leadership roles. Most recently, he was managing the company’s artisan red onion operations. And, Caesar Romero, who has been with the company since 1987, is now director of onion operations. Romero has held a variety of roles with the company, most recently as manager of the artisan red onion shed operation.

ARYZTA AG, Switzerland
Owen Killian, chief executive officer; Patrick McEniff, chief financial officer and chief operating officer; and John Yamin, CEO Americas, tendered their resignations and intend to step down from their respective roles at the end of the current financial year. As a result, Dermot Murphy was named COO Europe; Ronan Minahan was appointed COO Americas and Robert O’Boyle tapped as COO APMEA, effective immediately. Collectively, these executives boast more than 40 years of combined experience with ARYZTA.

West Pico Food Distributors, Vernon, Calif.
John Jimenez joined as vice president of sales. Jimenez, a former independent sales manager at DPI Specialty Foods, will take on an executive sales role that bridges West Pico with conventional retailers throughout the Southern California marketing area. He maintains more than 26 years of experience in the specialty foods category.

Tyson Foods, Inc., Springdale, Ark.
Members of the new leadership team include Sally Grimes as president, North American retail; Andy Callahan, president, North American foodservice & international; Noel White, chief operations officer; Monica McGurk, chief growth officer; Dennis Leatherby, chief financial officer; Scott Rouse, chief customer officer; David Van Bebber, general counsel; Devin Graham, interim chief technology officer; and Mary Oleksiuk, chief human resources officer. In connection with these appointments, Tyson Foods announced the departure of Donnie King, president North American operations; Sara Lilygren, executive vice president corporate affairs; and Gary Cooper, chief information officer.

Rich Products Corp., Buffalo, N.Y.
Georgia Dachille, most recently the company’s senior vice president of finance and business development, was promoted to executive vice president, global supply chain and technology, responsible for the development of the vision behind Rich’s supply chain and technology strategies, as well as the development of best practices for accelerating collaboration and innovation across the company’s regional businesses and global functions. Part of her mission will also be to further support growth and expansion of Rich’s toppings, creams and culinary solutions (TCCS) product portfolio. In her previous position, Dachille maintained financial oversight of the company’s five regions around the world, and was responsible for both the international marketing and the new platform acceleration teams. Dachille joined Rich’s in 1991, and was named senior vice president of global finance in 2012. Prior to joining Rich’s, she spent four years with Ernst & Young, serving as a certified public accountant and senior auditor. Meanwhile, Paul Klein, senior vice president and chief process and information officer, was promoted to the new role of executive vice president, chief information and strategy officer, responsible for global strategic planning and information systems. Klein started at Rich’s in 1995 as an information technology director, overseeing application development. He was promoted to senior vice president, chief process and information officer in 1999, taking over responsibility for all activities involving Rich’s information systems, business process and enterprise strategic planning. He’s also held financial and information systems leadership positions with both General Motors and Electronic Data Systems.

Land O'Lakes, Inc., Arden Hills, Mich.
Jason Weller will join as a senior director of sustainability, effective Feb. 27, in charge of developing the conservation portfolio of tools for SUSTAIN, the cooperative's new sustainability business division. Previously, Weller was chief of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), where he led a staff of 10,500 employees across the country working one-one-one with farmers and ranchers to deliver assistance to protect and improve the quality of their operations' natural resources. He also led the effort to significantly expand the agency's partnerships with public and private organizations, including agricultural retailers, agricultural supply chain companies and food companies to provide innovative and effective services for agricultural producers. Prior to NRCS, Weller held various agriculture and natural resource conservation leadership positions, including on the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, where he provided oversight and crafted legislation to fund USDA programs and activities; on the U.S. House Budget Committee, where he helped construct the annual congressional budget for agriculture, environment and energy programs; and in the White House Office of Management and Budget, where he assisted with the development and implementation of the President's budget for USDA conservation programs.

Farmer Bros. Co., Northlake, Texas
David Robson was appointed treasurer and CFO, effective Feb. 20. With over 25 years of experience, Robson maintains experience developing and leading finance teams. Most recently, he served as the chief financial officer at PIRCH, where he developed strategies, processes and operating priorities to upscale a high-growth retailer while building world-class finance and purchasing teams. Robson was also chief financial officer at U.S. AutoParts, and the executive vice president and CFO at Mervyns LLC. Robson began his career in public accounting with Deloitte. Meanwhile, Scott Siers was named senior vice president and general manager of the company’s direct ship business unit. Siers is a highly skilled senior executive with more than 29 years of experience in multiple channels and go-to-market structures. In his current role at Farmer Bros., he manages sales across all channels of trade for the company’s direct ship business, including private label and branded products for large national restaurant, convenience store and grocery chains, manufacturing in a Silver LEED-certified facility and corporate sustainability. Previously, Siers held critical senior roles at a variety of companies, including McLane Co., PepsiCo and Tropicana Products, Inc. And, Barry Fischetto, senior vice president of operations, resigned, effective immediately, to pursue other opportunities.  


Church’s Chicken, Atlanta
Craig Prusher was promoted to executive vice president, chief legal officer and secretary. Prusher has been with Church’s Chicken since 2012, most recently serving as senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, where he led a team of lawyers and other legal professionals in helping grow the brand, mitigate risk and provide business-oriented legal solutions. In his expanded role, Prusher will continue to oversee the management of all domestic and international franchise and corporate legal affairs, as well as lead community, regulatory and industry relations. With over 25 years of corporate legal, franchising and governmental affairs experience in the quick-service restaurant chain industry, Prusher has been instrumental in helping Church’s sales exceed $1 billion and expand to over 1,650 locations in 25 countries and international territories. Prior to joining Church’s Chicken, Prusher served as vice president, assistant general counsel at Burger King Corp., responsible for all legal issues in franchising, real estate and government affairs for more than 8,000 Burger King restaurants in North and South America. Prusher also currently serves as the vice chairman of the board of directors of the National Council of Chain Restaurants.

Sonic Corp., Oklahoma City, Okla.
Todd Smith, president and CMO, will resign from the position, effective March 9. Smith joined SONIC in 2012 as vice president of national marketing, and was promoted to chief marketing officer in 2015, prior to his most recent role.

DineEquity, Inc., Glendale, Calif.
The parent company of Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP restaurants announced that chairman, CEO and interim president of the Applebee's business unit Julia Stewart will resign from the company, effective March 1. Richard Dahl will serve as interim chief executive officer and chairman, effective March 1. Dahl has served on the board of directors since February 2004, and maintains more than 35 years of experience in senior management of public and private companies, including service as chief executive officer, chief operating officer and chief financial officer. Meanwhile, Caroline Nahas was appointed as DineEquity's lead director to replace Dahl, and Douglas Pasquale will succeed Dahl as chairman of the audit and finance committee. 


TricorBraun Design & Engineering Group, Oak Brook, Ill.

Jay Lee and Jeff Bersch were appointed new product design engineers, effective November 2016 and January, respectively. Lee and Bersch will work with the industrial design team to transform 2D or 3D concepts into production-ready solutions and engage with TricorBraun's in-house mold development center and/or outside development partners. Lee began his career as a design engineer at SRJ Inc., where he was responsible for new product design development of reverse engineering of existing products, specifically construction equipment attachments. He also worked as a concept designer at Almost Home Foundation building dog park expansions. Lee previously worked as an engineer for The Carlson Group. Bersch previously served as a mechanical design engineer for HealthPostures, designing ergonomic sit/stand office furniture. While in college, he was a lab-teaching assistant for a 3D printing and additive manufacturing course.

A M King, Charlotte, N.C.
Tim Gause was tapped as an electrical engineer, responsible for all aspects of electrical design as it relates to A M King projects, including in-house engineering and overseeing work done by outsourced engineering firms. Gause maintains 6 years of industry experience.

Choptank Transport, Preston, Md.
Steve Covey, executive vice president, was appointed president of the Caroline County’s Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Covey joined the chamber in 2011 and the board of directors in 2012.

Nook Industries, Cleveland, Ohio
Jim Rowell was named new chief operations officer, responsible for overseeing Nook’s leadership initiatives, driving operational strategy and supporting employee development. Rowell maintains more than 25 years of industry experience. Prior to joining Nook, he held roles such as territory manager, product manager, business unit manager, manufacturing manager, general manager and vice president of operations for Parker Hannifin’s fluid connectors and automation groups

Winpak Ltd., Canada
Olivier Muggli was appointed executive vice president and COO. Muggli has been with Winpak for six years in the capacity of corporate vice president of technology and innovation. Prior to joining Winpak, his career encompassed various senior management roles, both in Europe and North America, including vice president and managing director of Alcan's food packaging division. 

Gilles Bergerard was named area sales manager Asia Pacific. Bergerard has been with MECATHERM since 2010, maintaining knowledge of the industrial bakery market. He’s also held several sales manager positions with industrial equipment companies.

Big-D Construction, Salt Lake City, Utah
Forrest McNabb was promoted to president of the Mountain West group. McNabb was previously executive vice president, and maintains 35 years of experience, 28 with Big-D.



Mike Ilitch, founder of Little Caesars Pizza, owner of the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings, chairman of Ilitch Holdings, and champion for Detroit, Mich., passed away Feb. 10.

“My father was a once-in-a-generation entrepreneur, visionary and leader, setting the tone for our organization and our family,” said Christopher Ilitch, President and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. “He made such a positive impact in the world of sports, in business and in the community, and we will remember him for his unwavering commitment to his employees, his passion for Detroit, his generosity to others and his devotion to his family and friends. Together my family and the company celebrate the tremendous man he was, and we will continue to work hard to uphold his remarkable legacy. I’m honored to have had the opportunity to work with him to nurture and grow our businesses, but mostly, I’m grateful to have called him my Dad, and I know my siblings feel the same.”
After being discharged from the Marines, Ilitch later worked as a door-to-door salesman until he and his wife Marian saved enough money to open the first Little Caesars in Garden City, Mich., on May 8, 1959.

That single mom-and-pop pizza shop grew to become what is said to be the world’s largest carryout pizza chain, with restaurants in 20 countries and territories throughout the world. Success in the pizza business enabled Ilitch to invest in other businesses in food, sports and entertainment, including Ilitch Holdings, Inc., which is led by his son, president and CEO Christopher Ilitch.

Today, Ilitch Holdings provides professional services to the companies owned by Mike and/or Marian Ilitch, including Ilitch Holdings, Little Caesars Pizza, Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, the Detroit Red Wings, the Detroit Tigers, Olympia Entertainment, Olympia Development, Little Caesars Pizza Kits Fundraising Program and Champion Foods. Marian owns the MotorCity Casino Hotel.

Among his many contributions, Ilitch established the Little Caesars Love Kitchen in 1985. With two trucks on the road to serve those in need, these restaurants on wheels have served more than 3 million people. Additionally, inspired by the story of a veteran returning to civilian life, Ilitch founded the Little Caesars Veterans Program in 2006, which provides honorably discharged veterans with financial incentives and other support to help them open a franchise with Little Caesars. Further, Ilitch established the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey Program in 1968, which has provided opportunities for youngsters to play hockey.

Ilitch is survived by his wife Marian, his partner in life and business for 61 years, along with seven children Denise (Jim Scalici), Ron, Michael Jr. (Noelle), Lisa (Glenn Murray), Atanas (Patty), Christopher (Kelle), Carole, 22 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

The family will honor Ilitch at a private funeral service. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Ilitch Charities, The Detroit Red Wings Foundation or The Detroit Tigers Foundation.