Cold food, beverage industry experiences slew of personnel changes
Southeast Produce Council, Millen, Ga.
Two industry veterans were appointed to serve on the advisory panel known as the board of governors. Garry Bergstrom joined Publix in 1972 as a part-time produce clerk. He was then promoted to produce manager in 1975, produce merchandiser in 1987, produce buyer in 1989 and divisional manager of produce/floral for the Lakeland division in 1999. Bergstrom then rose to corporate produce purchasing manager in 2000, and served as business director of produce/floral from 2005 until his retirement earlier this year. Gordon Hochberg began freelancing for The Produce News in the early 1970s, and quickly moved up the corporate ladder, first as assistant editor, then associate editor, followed by the top editorial position in the summer of 1985. He joined the management side of the company as vice president and co-owner in 1994. He stepped away from day-to-day responsibilities in the summer of 2011, but continues to report on a variety of topics.
National Pork Board, Des Moines, Iowa
Craig Morris was named new vice president of international marketing, effective Oct. 30. Morris has been the deputy administrator over the Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) since 2004. For the past 25 years, Morris has held high-profile strategic leadership roles with the federal government, industry associations and in the private sector. He has extensive experience in international trade, shaping the country’s livestock marketing strategy and building comprehensive export programs that meet the needs of industry stakeholders both here and around the world. Morris’ key achievements include building the export verification programs upon which the livestock industry depends to market products; reaching international consensus on issues such as meat quality, animal welfare and social responsibility; providing consumer assurances for such issues as the responsible use of antibiotics in livestock production through the USDA’s Process Verified Program; and oversight of the USDA’s Country of Origin Labeling Program. Most recently, Morris played a leadership role in the U.S. delegation that re-opened the Chinese market to U.S. beef exports after 14 years of closure. He also was instrumental in the biotechnology rulemaking process, working with Congress and industry leaders to implement a program that is both science-based and consumer focused.
National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), Washington, D.C.
Susan Crystal-Mansour was named vice president of program impact, responsible for leading the implementation and execution of the foundation’s portfolio of programs, including ProStart, Opportunity Youth, Military, Scholarships and Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship. Prior to joining the foundation, Crystal-Mansour served as director of association services at Westat, where she led a team of professionals serving associations and foundations by providing research and analysis, data collection, program design, stakeholder alignment and operation of strategic plans.
J&J Family of Farms, Loxahatchee, Fla.
David Guzi was hired as new senior vice president of sales, responsible for managing the Western division. Guzi brings 35 years of experience in the produce industry. Previously, he was the senior leader of sales teams at Del Monte Fresh Produce, Central American Produce and Rosemont Farms. Most recently, he was general manager, responsible for sales, marketing, logistics and operations of the Del Monte distribution center in South Florida. Also, Mike Strickland was named new director of sales, Western division. Strickland brings over 30 years of experience in international produce sales, having most recently worked at Marengo Foods, Produce Exchange and Mastronardi Produce. Strickland also founded the Nashville Tomato Co. when he was 19 years old, and led the growth of the company to where it was eventually sold to Sysco/Freshpoint in 2011.
G. Willi-Food International Ltd., Israel
Amir Kaplan was appointed chief financial officer, effective immediately. Kaplan has served as chief financial officer of RSL Electronics Ltd. since July 2011. Also, Yitschak Barabi, the former interim chief financial officer, was appointed controller and deputy CFO.
Kroger Co., Cincinnati
Katie Wolfram, Central division president, will retire effective Nov. 4, after 38 years of service. Wolfram was named to her current role in 2016, and has been spearheading an aggressive growth strategy in the Central division since joining the region as the vice president of merchandising in 2014. Wolfram began her career with Kroger in 1979 as an assistant store manager in the Cincinnati-Dayton division. She went on to serve in several leadership positions at Kroger's corporate office and with Kroger's manufacturing division. In 2005, she joined the King Soopers division as vice president of merchandising, before joining the Central division in 2014 to serve in the same role. Wolfram was a leader for the first Cultural Council, a team development and culture building group, and started the Reach Higher initiative in Kroger Manufacturing. Additionally, Wolfram represented Kroger as a leader in the Network of Executive Women. As a result, Pam Matthews was named Central division president, succeeding Wolfram, effective Oct. 23. Currently the QFC division president, Matthews started with the company in 1980 in the Fred Meyer division. She has held a variety of leadership roles in her 25-year career with Fred Meyer, including store management, training, corporate brand development and merchandising for deli-bakery, drug general merchandise and grocery. Matthews also served as director of deli-bakery merchandising and director of floral merchandising and procurement at Kroger's corporate office before being promoted to vice president of merchandising for the Central division in 2006. She moved to the Delta division as vice president of merchandising in 2014, and was named vice president of operations in 2015. She was named president of the QFC division in 2016. Succeeding Matthews is Suzy Monford, who was named president of QFC division, effective Oct. 23. Monford is the former CEO of Andronico's Community Markets, which was acquired by Albertsons in early 2017. Prior to Andronico's, Monford was the head of innovation for Woolworths Supermarkets in Australia, after spending 10 years as an executive for H-E-B Central Market and H-E-B Grocery Co.
Indoor Farms of America, Las Vegas
Jake Arterbury was named crop scientist and staff biologist, responsible for working on all areas of testing crops grown in the company’s patented aeroponic system. And, world-class, five star executive chef Georg Paulussen was appointed global director of culinary operations, responsible for working with chefs and major hotels from around the world to educate on how they can have an abundant and cost-effective supply of fresh-harvested vegetables. Paulussen has worked around the globe for over 35 years as an executive chef and director of food and beverage for leading five-star resort companies.
Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc., Dallas, Texas
The parent company of the Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana fast-casual restaurant brands announced that Charles Locke joined as Taco Cabana president. Locke maintains more than 20 years of operations, development, marketing and finance experience. Before joining Fiesta, he served as chief operating officer of Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, where he developed and implemented a multi-state strategic growth plan and grew the brand’s footprint from 10 locations to 64 restaurants in seven states. Prior to that, he served as an area developer for Family Sports Concepts and grew its Beef O'Brady's sports-themed concept through franchisees. Locke started his career at S&A Restaurant Group serving various leadership roles for Bennigan’s, most recently as area director, responsible for 15 restaurants in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. Danny Meisenheimer, senior vice president and COO will also assume the additional role of Pollo Tropical president. Both appointments are effective Oct. 16.
FSA Logistix, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Charles Annett will become executive chairman. In January 2014, Anderson was hired as chief operating officer, where he grew the company at a compounded annual rate of +35% per year. Meanwhile, Steve Anderson will take over as president and CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2018.
Kansas City Southern (KCS), Kansas City, Mo.
Kayden Howard was promoted to the newly created position of vice president health, safety and environmental for the company’s newly formed health, safety and environmental group within the operations department. Howard, who has been with the company since 2005, was previously associate general counsel. Prior to joining KCS, she was an attorney practicing labor and employment law with Shook, Hardy & Bacon, and also worked for the U.S. Department of Labor.
TruTag Technologies, Emeryville, Calif.
Les Leff, former co-owner and executive vice president of JWS Delavau Co., Inc., and former president of AccuCorp, joined the board of directors. Prior to leading both JWS Delavau Co. and AccuCorp to a buyout in 2002, Leff served in a variety of senior technical liaison, plant management, union negotiation and FDA negotiation roles. He also directed the design and engineering of a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. He currently leads Polar’s investment in technology, wellness and chemical businesses.
Matrix Technologies, Inc., Maumee, Ohio
Ron England was promoted to vice president. England began his career with Matrix in 1996 as an engineer, and moved through several roles in the corporation, including project manager, senior project manager and director of project management. He has also been a Matrix shareholder since January 2004.
Avmor Ltd., Canada
Brian Walsh was named Ontario - East territory manager. Walsh maintains more than 25 years’ experience working with such companies as Mister Chemical, Bunzl, Morgan Scott and Robinson Solutions. Paul Goldin will be leading Avmor's sales efforts in Western Canada and assume the role of sales force effectiveness and enablement. Goldin is also president elect of ISSA. Tracey Caville will be leading corporate and strategic accounts, as well as the Ontario and Western Canada regions. Mike Watt will be heading Avmor's product development team as well as internal and external product training programs. Watt maintains over 25 years’ experience, including leading the operations of a major building service contractor, a sales leader at Swish and time at Ecolab. Mike Rys will be heading Avmor's sales team in the Ontario region as well as working in the company's foodservice division. Rys previously worked at Betco, Superior Solutions and Ecolab Professional Products. And, Laura Poce will be expanding her role as pricing coordinator by assisting in the processing of specialty sales. All appointments are effective January 2018.
TricorBraun Design & Engineering Group, Oak Brook, Ill.
Eileen Krumm joined as an industrial designer, tasked with designing and developing custom rigid packaging solutions for consumer packaged goods brand owners. Krumm began her career as a design consultant assistant for J.C. Licht. Also, Court Carruthers will become president and CEO, effective Oct. 30, succeeding the company's long-serving president and CEO, Keith Strope, who will become executive chairman. Carruthers has worked with AEA Investors over the last two years and has served on TricorBraun's board of directors since AEA's purchase of the company. He previously spent 13 years with W.W. Grainger Inc., serving in various global leadership roles, most recently as group president, Americas, where he was responsible for the company's $9 billion business across North and South America, including 15,000 team members in more than 500 locations, as well as e-commerce and technology innovation. Carruthers brings public and private board experience with companies such as US Foods, Ryerson Holding Corp. and Follett Corp. Strope has served TricorBraun for 36 years. He was appointed chief operating officer in 1997 and chief executive officer in 2002.
RPC Sæplast, Canada
Chris French was named director of sales – protein, effective Oct. 30, responsible for spearheading the commercial development of the Saeplast PE business into the poultry, pork and beef industries within North America. For the past 16 months, French has been vice president of sales for Kemptville Building Centre, where he was involved in residential development, property acquisition and retail operations. This is French’s second tour with Sæplast; he was previously employed as a territory manager for 4 years. He maintains deep experience in the food, protein and fish markets promoting food safety using the Sæplast PE brand container.