International Food Information Council (IFIC) and IFIC Foundation, Washington, D.C.

Alexandra Lewin-Zwerdling was named vice president, responsible for leading the development of IFIC’s consumer insight research agenda and partnerships that support improved understanding of food, nutrition and health. Lewin-Zwerdling previously served as senior advisor for the AARP Foundation’s Hunger Impact Team, where she led nutrition and food security research and outreach efforts to advance the foundation’s role in healthy eating among older adults. She also served as vice president of the food, health and wellness division at Powell Tate/Weber Shandwick, where she managed day-to-day client relations, stakeholder engagement and public affairs strategy for a range of food, nutrition and public health clientele.


SpartanNash, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Brian Holt was named vice president, marketing, effective April 17, responsible for driving customer engagement through marketing and advertising, brand positioning, market research, e-commerce and loyalty programs. Previously, Holt served as the vice president of marketing, advertising and public relations at Weis Markets from 2012-2017, where he led the marketing and consumer communication strategy as well as e-commerce, loyalty marketing and corporate branding initiatives. He also served as the director of marketing for three years, building a strong website and social media presence. Holt has also held various marketing and product management positions with Black & Decker Hardware and Home Improvement, Masco Corp., R&B Inc. and Newell Rubbermaid.  

Hormel Foods, Austin, Minn.
Karen Wiernik was promoted to senior vice president of marketing of CytoSport, which Hormel acquired in July 2014. Wiernik began her career with Hormel Foods in 2004 as a brand manager in meat products marketing at the corporate office. In 2013, she advanced to senior marketing manager for specialty foods. Wiernik was promoted to director of brand marketing for CytoSport in 2014, and assumed her current role as senior director of innovation and business development in 2016.

Tyson Foods, Inc., Springdale, Ark.
Doug Ramsey
was promoted to president of poultry operations, responsible for overseeing the company’s poultry business units. Ramsey succeeds Noel White, who was promoted to chief operations officer in February. Ramsey previously served as a senior vice president in the poultry business unit, servicing key foodservice national accounts, retail fully cooked Tyson branded products and the school lunch program. He joined Tyson Foods in 1992, serving in both domestic and international roles in multiple business units. 

Kroger Co., Cincinnati
Angel Colón
was promoted to senior director of diversity, succeeding Rueben Shaffer, who retired at the end of March. Colón has been serving as the company’s director of multicultural development for merchandising since 2008. Colón has also held a variety of leadership roles in the grocery industry for 27 years, including product management, direct store delivery merchandising, category management, promotions, sales leadership, broker management, regional marketing, customer marketing and ethnic marketing. He joined Kroger in 2008, where he established the company's multicultural department and strategic direction. He’s also a founding member of the KEPASA Associate Resource Group at Kroger's general office.

Otis McAllister, Inc., Oakland, Calif.
Harold "Gene" Russell was named vice president of retail sales, charged with lead the sales development and marketing for the conventional, natural and Hispanic channels of the retail rice division. Russell maintains extensive background in consumer goods, sales and marketing, sales management and strategy and market development. Most recently, he was vice president of sales for Deoleo USA. He also worked at Pepsi, Frito Lay and Snyder's.


Nercon, Neenah, Wis.
Mike Sherwood was named sales manager of the Northeast region. He maintains a background in industrial sales and sales engineering support. And, Phillip Chambers was appointed sales manager of the Southeast region, which includes North Carolina, South Carolina, George, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. Chambers offers an extensive background in conveying systems, beginning his career as a millwright and working up to sales engineer.

tna, Dallas, Texas
Carel Pfaff joined as group product manager – processing, responsible for heading up tna’s processing portfolio, including the company’s FOODesign and Florigo range of frying equipment. Pfaff will also work closely with tna’s engineers and global sales team to further develop the company’s processing portfolio, capabilities and services. He will also be managing new product development processes, training tna’s global sales team and supporting customers with market insights, technical know-how and performance-driven strategies. Having started his career in Florigo’s engineering department, Pfaff previously held positions as sales manager at Kiremko and Haas-Mondomix, providing him with experiences in both the potato snack and baked goods industry.
Fristam Pumps, Middleton, Wis.
Chip Nipps
joined as mixing/blending sales manager, responsible for directing, coordinating and implementing sales and strategies for mixing and blending products sold through the selected regional distribution and OEM network in North, Central and South America. Nipps comes with 25-plus years of sales and engineering experience, including 15-plus years of pump, mixer, blender and process industry experience.

Toyota-Lift, Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
Simon Walker was appointed chief operating officer, responsible for overseeing daily operations of the dealership with an emphasis on enhancing customer loyalty, increasing the company’s presence in the logistics industry and growing the overall business in line with Toyota’s Vision 2020 strategy. Walker spent 18 years with various Raymond dealerships in Canada, Southern and Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. He most recently served as vice president of sales and marketing for Raymond Handling Concepts, where his team grew their storage and automated systems business from $2 million in 2013 to $32 million in 2016. Walker also implemented an aggressive new associate recruitment, training and recognition program, as well as an innovative digital marketing strategy, resulting in significant improvements in market share, customer satisfaction and profitability.  

Comark, Milford, Mass.
Veteran communications professional J. Robin Palermo was named director of marketing and communications, tasked with directing and overseeing all aspects of the company's marketing strategies and communication efforts. A marketing professional and creative brand strategist with 25 years’ experience, Palermos is noted for developing integrated marketing and communications plans and product launch programs across a spectrum of international B2B and B2C businesses. She most recently worked at Mahr Federal, Inc. a member of the Mahr Group, as the director of marketing and customer service. Prior to Mahr, she headed her own firm, JRP Marketing Strategies and Communications Consultancy, and has held international positions in senior level marketing positions with ZeeVee, Exigen Services, Instron and DCI Systems, Inc. She also worked for her father Joseph Palermo at DCI for 11 years.

Navistar International Corp., Lisle, Ill.
Jeffrey Dokho was named to the board of directors, effective immediately, replacing Dennis Williams, president of the United Auto Workers (UAW), who is retiring from the Navistar board after serving nearly 11 years as a director. Dokho is currently the assistant director of the UAW's research department, where he directs a group of financial analysts and oversees the union's financial research and analysis. He also worked on many high-profile contract negotiations between the UAW and large, multinational companies, and plays a leading role in the development and implementation of profit sharing plans, including those currently in place for UAW members at General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. Before joining the UAW in 2006, Dokho was a senior analyst at Lear Corp., where he focused on mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures. From 2000-2002, Dokho was at Ernst & Young, providing audit and business risk consulting to clients in a wide range of industries, including defense and manufacturing. Prior to that, Dokho worked at the National Futures Association.



Russell Hanlin Sr., former president and CEO of Sunkist Growers, Valencia, Calif., passed away April 11.

Hanlin served as president and CEO of Sunkist Growers for 20 years, and was elected president emeritus upon his retirement in November 1998. Prior to becoming president, Hanlin served Sunkist in several capacities, including vice president of the products group and international advertising director. 

Hanlin was also appointed to four Presidential Commissions by three U.S. presidents, including President's Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiation by Presidents Carter and Reagan, President's Export Council by President Reagan and President's Commission on Executive Exchange by President George H. W. Bush.

Hanlin was inducted into The World Trade Hall of Fame for his work in opening overseas markets to American products and received the Maple Leaf award for promoting trade and understanding between the United States and Canada. He also served as chairman of the Los Angeles Vancouver Sister City Committee.

Hanlin also served as chairman of The National Council of Agricultural Cooperatives, chairman of United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association, member of The U.S./Hong Kong Economic Council and chairman of Progressive Beverages, Inc. and The Old Pasadena Management District.

Hanlin leaves behind his wife, Norma, and an extended family of three adult children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.