Fresh Produce Association of the Americas (FPAA), Nogales, Ariz.
After completing his 2-year term, Gonzalo Avila, chief executive officer of Malena Produce, passed on the chairman position to Scott Vandervoet, chairman of Vandervoet & Associates. Also elected was Leonardo Tarriba, general manager of Farmers Best International, as chairman-elect. FPAA members also elected eight distributor directors, including Bobby Astengo, member director of Peppers Plus; Alejandro Canelos, owner of Apache Produce LLC; Jaime Chamberlain, president of J-C Distributing Inc.; Martin Ley, Shipley Sales; Enrique Gracia, president of Flavor King Farms; Bert Monteverde, vice president and director of sales, H.M. Distributing; Jose Antonio Martinez, financial manager, Divine Flavor LLC; and Matt Mandel, vice president of operations for Sunfed. Sabrina Hallman, president and CEO of Sierra Seed Co. LLP, and Chuck Thomas, owner and president of Thomas Produce, were elected to a 1-year term as associate member director. FPAA members also re-elected Jimmy Munguia, sales manager of Del Campo Supreme, as chairman of the FPAA tomato division. Chris Ciruli, chief operations officer of Ciruli Brothers, continues as chairman of the FPAA mango division. And, John Pandol, director of special projects for Pandol Brothers, continues as chairman of the FPAA grape division.
Lidl US, Arlington, Va.
Johannes Fieber was appointed president and CEO, succeeding Brendan Proctor, who has led the U.S. expansion since June 2015. Fieber maintains extensive retail experience. He’s been with Lidl for about 10 years, serving in multiple countries. Most recently, he has served as chief executive officer of Lidl Sweden for more than two years.
Suzanne Bergeron will take on the role of country president for Canada while continuing her role of vice president of human resources, effective Sept. 1. Bergeron succeeds Barry Telford, who will focus full-time on growing and strengthening the company's education business across Canada and western United States. Bergeron joined Sodexo Canada in 2005, starting out as the office manager for the group CEO, where she coordinated group executive committee activities and played an active part in the creation of the company's global transformation. She then became head of human resources for Sodexo Canada in 2016, responsible for labor relations, operational human resources support, total rewards, payroll, claims, organizational development, training and talent acquisition. Telford joined Sodexo Canada in 2006, leading the Canadian University and healthcare segments before being named country president in 2014. In 2016, he took on the additional responsibilities as CEO, Universities West.
FreshBox Farms, Millis, Mass.
Randy Frederick was appointed national accounts director, tasked with building business partnerships with key customers in the grocery, wholesale produce, foodservice and restaurant retail channels. Frederick most recently served as vice president of national sales for Freight Farms, responsible for account development in the grocery, restaurant and wholesale produce channels. He also served in various capacities with SteadyServ Technologies, where he focused on inventory, order management and business intelligence systems for the beer industry. In addition, he was sales director with MHQ, and served in various sales and marketing positions with MillerCoors.
Oppenheimer Group (Oppy), Canada
Audrey Desnoyers was promoted to office sales manager of the Seattle, Wash., location, taking over for category director Roger Aguirre, who had been wearing the sales manager hat in the Pacific Northwest since 2002. In her new role, Desnoyers will lead Seattle-based sales initiatives and continue to manage Oppy’s business development group. Desnoyers has served as Oppy’s national business development manager since 2015. Desnoyers’ career began with Zespri International, where she helped launch the Zespri brand in the United States and Canada in 1998. In 2000, she became an Oppy business development representative covering the U.S. Midwest, continuing in the same capacity in the Northwest four years later, ultimately adding Northern California to her region. Through a series of territory changes and increased responsibility, Desnoyers has been a key touchpoint between Oppy and the Top 50 U.S. retailers.
Campbell Soup Co., Camden, N.J.
Roberto Leopardi was named president, Campbell meals and beverages, effective June 4, lead the division that includes Campbell’s North American soup, sauces and shelf-stable beverages brands, as well as Pacific Foods and Plum. Leopardi come from SC Johnson, where he spent 24 years leading and transforming SC Johnson operations around the world, including the United States, Europe, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico. He maintains extensive general manager experience, most recently as vice president of North America marketing, where he was responsible for driving sales and market share growth for SC Johnson’s portfolio of brands in the United States and Canada. Under his leadership, his division grew share through effective e-commerce strategies driven by digital activation and new product introductions. Leopardi started his career at Nestlè, where he spent four years working in various marketing roles.
Seafood Harvesters of America, Washington, D.C.
Leigh Habegger was named new executive director, succeeding Kevin Wheeler, who became deputy chief of staff at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Most recently, Habegger served as senior manager of external affairs for Restore America’s Estuaries, where she advocated for policies that conserve the nation’s estuaries and encourage the sustainable use of natural resources. Previously, she worked as a lobbyist on fisheries and maritime policy, facilitated work related to highly migratory species and served as a Knauss Fellow for Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (ME-01) covering oceans, coastal and fisheries issues.
Hormel Foods, Austin, Minn.
Don Kremin, group vice president of specialty foods, announced his retirement after 34 years with the company. During his tenure, Kremin has held various management and leadership positions within the company's grocery products, consumer products sales (CPS) and specialty foods businesses. Kremin joined Hormel Foods in 1984 in grocery products, holding various sales and management positions throughout the Midwest. In 2005, he was named director of the Walmart business team and vice president of CPS. He was promoted to vice president of Hormel Foods, and senior vice president of the CPS division for the Walmart business in 2007. Kremin assumed the leadership role of specialty foods in 2011.
Conagra Brands, Inc., Chicago
Anil Arora was elected director, effective July 17. Arora has served as a director and vice chairman of Envestnet, Inc. since November 2015. He has also served as chief executive of Envestnet | Yodlee, a unit of Envestnet Inc., during this time. Previously, he was president and CEO of Yodlee, Inc. since February 2000. Arora served as the chairman of the board of directors of Yodlee from March 2014 through November 2015. Prior to joining Yodlee, Arora served in various positions with Gateway, Inc., which was acquired by Acer Inc. in 2007. From 1995-1998, Arora served in various positions for The Pillsbury Co., including vice president, strategy and marketing for North America and vice president, general manager for Progresso. Prior to Pillsbury, Arora served for more than a decade in various brand management and corporate strategy and operations roles for Kraft Foods Group, Inc.
Cargill, Wichita, Kan.
Mike Robach, global vice president of food safety, quality and regulatory (FSQR), announced plans to retire Aug. 1 after nearly 15 years with Cargill. Post retirement, Robach will continue his involvement with GFSI as chairman of the board through 2020, and will continue to speak to food safety, quality and regulatory issues across the industry. Sean Leighton, who has served as a food safety and quality leader at Cargill since 2017, will assume the role of global vice president of FSQR upon Robach’s retirement. Robach joined Cargill in 2004 to lead the company’s corporate food safety and regulatory affairs programs, and since that time, has increased the department’s scope to include animal health and quality assurance. Robach is involved in more than a dozen industry organizations, including serving as chairman of the board of directors of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and a founding member of SSAFE. He has also worked closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding food safety policy, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HAACP) and regulatory reform based on science. Leighton began his career with The Pillsbury Co., followed by quality assurance and microbiology leadership roles with Land O’ Lakes Dairy. Leighton then joined The Coca-Cola Co., where held several leadership roles in food safety, including a multi-year assignment in Vienna, Austria. He also represented Coca-Cola on boards, including the UGA Center for Food Safety and the Institute for Thermal Processing Specialists. Before joining Cargill, he served as Coca-Cola’s vice president of quality assurance, safety and environmental sustainability.
SpartanNash Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.
Douglas Hacker was elected lead independent director, succeeding Timothy O’Donovan, who, along with Mickey Foret, retired from the board. Hacker is an independent business executive and retired former executive of United Continental, Inc., the parent company of United Airlines, where he served as executive vice president, strategy; executive vice president, CFO; as well as other executive positions. He has served on the SpartanNash board of directors since 2013, when Spartan Stores merged with Nash-Finch Co. He’s also served as chair of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee since the merger. Hacker previously served on the board of Nash-Finch Co. since 2005, served as chair of the Compensation and the Audit and Finance Committees and served as a director of Aircastle Ltd. and Travelport Worldwide Ltd.
Dematic, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Hasan Dandashly was appointed president and CEO, effective May 21, succeeding John Baysore, who is retiring from his active role to serve as an advisor. Dandashly has served as president and CEO, oil and gas surface for General Electric since 2017, after having served as president and CEO, downstream since 2014. Prior to this, Hasan held various international executive roles at GE's industrial, transportation and power generation businesses, including general management positions at GE's subsidiaries in Italy, UAE, Qatar and the United States. Before joining GE, Hasan led engineering teams at Honeywell Industrial Automation and Honeywell Avionics.
Whole Oceans, Portland, Maine
Jason Mitchell joined as chief operating officer. Mitchell is a seasoned leader in operations and manufacturing, with more than 15 years of experience in shipbuilding operations management. He has held a variety of positions at General Dynamics, most recently as director of ground assembly of Bath Iron Works. Mitchell was also founder and co-owner of Helms Brewing Co., which he sold in 2017, and currently co-owns Delany Arts, which is set to open in the fall. Mitchell is also on the executive board of One Summit.
Eriez, Erie, Pa.
John Blicha was promoted to the newly created position of director of global marketing and communications, tasked with directing Eriez’ global marketing strategy and programs, managing internal and external communication campaigns, designing new product commercialization programs and coordinating marketing objectives with Eriez’ subsidiaries around the world. He will also continue to manage the company’s global website and oversee all direct advertising, public relations and promotional activities. Blicha joined Eriez in 2012 as manager of marketing communications, and most recently served as director of corporate communications.
Extreme Plastics Plus (EPP), New York
Jay Minmier was named chief executive officer. Minmier brings over 26 years of oilfield services experience, having most recently served as president of Nomac Drilling, a position he held from 2011-2017, when Nomac’s parent company, Seventy Seven Energy, was acquired by Patterson-UTI. Minmier also served as an executive officer of Seventy Seven, and has held senior management positions at several drilling service companies, including Grey Wolf Drilling, Precision Drilling and Helmerich & Payne. Before entering the energy industry, Minmier was a captain in the United States Air Force.
Alto-Shaam, Menomonee Falls, Wis.
Brett Freifeld joined the culinary team as corporate executive chef, serving as an application specialist for culinary equipment manufactured and sold by the company. He will work to support the global sales team, marketing, inside sales and other departments, and will be responsible for introducing the voice of the customers to enhance customer experience, product development, on-site consultations, culinary demonstrations and building relationships with customers and sales reps. Prior to joining Alto-Shaam, Freifeld was corporate executive chef/sales with Bauer Marketing and Sales, where he created demos for clients and tradeshows and worked with customers on creating new menu items. His 20-plus years of experience also includes roles in R&D, consulting, management and food and beverage program development for a variety of companies and restaurants, including Kroger and Hard Rock Café International.
Banner-Day, Saginaw, Mich.
Ed Baldwin was named automation controls engineer, responsible for electrical equipment and controls designs, including the company’s UL-listed control panels. Baldwin rejoins Banner-Day after spending several years pursuing other opportunities. He is an active member of the American Society of Baking and the National Fire Protection Association, and contributed to the review and deliberation of changes in the NFPA 86 regulations. Roger Goggans was pronounced TraceFree account manager, responsible for the sales and account management of our TraceFREE electric impedance pipe heating sales and projects. Goggans maintains experience with equipment sales, including pumps (liquid and vacuum), heat exchangers, blowers and related accessories. Goggans came from Kerr Pump & Supply, where he was responsible for a variety of piping-related products sold to chemical, industrial, municipal, OEM, automotive and commercial accounts. He has also spent his career in sales dedicated to the sale of specialty piping, pumps, valves and related accessories. Lastly, Bill Schneider was appointed bakery account manager, responsible for the sales and account management of the company’s SmartBake oven control and modernization system sales and projects. Schneider maintains experience with industrial machine equipment sales and project management. He comes from Monark Equipment Technology, where he was responsible for automation, engineered solutions and project management sold to OEM, automotive and commercial accounts. He has spent his career in sales and sales management dedicated to the sale of complex machinery and highly automated equipment.
Hazel Technologies, Inc., Chicago
Fresh produce industry veteran Mario Cervantes joined as new business development and sales manager. Cervantes maintains more than a decade of experience as an innovator in the fresh produce industry, most recently as a regional sales executive with Compac. Prior to Compac, Cervantes founded and managed a commercial vegetable farm, Tlalli Organics, in Guanajuato, Mexico, and worked for Spectrum Technologies. Meanwhile, Derick Jiwan was appointed senior technical lead, following more than 15 years of experience focusing on the research and development side of commercial agriculture. Most recently, Jiwan spent five years as a genetics researcher at the United States Department of Agriculture, and worked hand-in-hand with growers to develop new crop varieties. Additional personnel announcements include Laura Blaser as operations lead, Ken Kurita as sales and operations analyst, Shriya Subedy as post-harvest scientist, Emily Moy as production scientist and Nick Moore as production scientist.
Koelnmesse GmbH, Germany
Anne Schumacher was named vice president in charge of the company’s food and food technology area, effective July 15, responsible for the Anuga, ISM, Eu’Vend & coffeena, veganfach, Anuga FoodTec and ProSweets Cologne trade fairs. She will also be responsible for the overarching strategy and communication of the entire Koelnmesse segment. Previously, Schumacher was the international trade fair organizer at UBM EMEA, where she gathered extensive experience in the trade fair and event sector.