Second Harvest, Canada
Lori Nikkel was appointed chief executive officer, effective July 2, succeeding Debra Lawson, who announced her intent to retire earlier this year following a 5-year tenure as executive director. Nikkel joined Second Harvest in 2014 as director of programs and partnerships, expanding critical Second Harvest programs, creating and directing the implementation of and playing a key role in growing Second Harvest's influence within the environmental sector.

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Juneau, Alaska
Stephen Gerike joined as new foodservice national accounts representative, effective July 1. In his new role, Gerike will lead efforts to partner with foodservice operators to reach seafood “super-consumers” in the foodservice segment/channel. Gerike maintains a 25-year career in foodservice marketing. He has been a guest chef at the James Beard House for the past two years, where he’s worked on menu and recipe development for independent and chain restaurants as well as national food festivals.


Market Fresh Produce, Nixa, Mo.

Kelby Werner was named regional sales specialist, responsible for expanding sales by working closely with key retail and foodservice clients, focusing on client satisfaction and driving sales efforts by promoting branded products. Werner previously spent five years as a sweet onion grower.

Allen Harim, Seaford, Del.
Janet Anderson was hired as senior sales manager, responsible for national accounts. Anderson maintains 32 years of experience in the commercial food industry. Over the last 24 years, her primary focus was development of the Top 500 commercial chain restaurants, helping to improve profit margins at companies such as Michael Foods, ConAgra Foods and Rembrandt Foods. 

Peet's Coffee, Emeryville, Calif.
Kenneth "Casey" Keller Jr. was appointed chief executive officer, effective Aug. 6, succeeding Dave Burwick, who had served as chief executive officer since 2012. Until recently, Keller served as global president of the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., a subsidiary of Mars, Inc., where he was responsible for delivering sales and profit growth across the global gum, mints and candy business. He joined Wrigley in 2011 as president of Wrigley North America, and later assumed responsibility for Wrigley Americas. During the integration of Wrigley into Mars, Keller helped establish the global business units and strategy for the combined Mars-Wrigley confectionery business. Prior to joining Mars, Keller served as president of Alberto Culver USA, held senior roles with Procter & Gamble, HJ Heinz and Motorola and was an officer in the United States Navy. He currently serves on the board of directors for Cott, Inc., Winona Capital and City Year Chicago.

Tanimura & Antle, Salinas, Calif.
Nick Sgheiza was promoted to vice president of harvest. Sgheiza began his career with Tanimura & Antle in 1999 as an intern in the company’s cooler, harvest shop and planting department. After college, he returned to Tanimura & Antle to begin his farming career, working alongside the spinach and spring mix crews, and later working with the romaine, mixed lettuces and celery departments. Sgheiza then managed onion operations, prior to his most recent role as senior director of harvest operations.

SunFed, Rio Rico, Ariz.
Juan Carlos Barrionuevo was promoted to the company’s sales team. Barrionuevo brings six years of experience to his new role in sales, having previously served as facility director in SunFed’s Texas warehouse. Meanwhile, Gil Renteria was named new general manager in Texas.

The Kroger Co., Cincinnati
Bruce Lucia announced plans to retire as president of Atlanta division, effective Sept. 1, after 44 years of service. Lucia began his career with Kroger in Atlanta in 1974 as a clerk. After college graduation, he served as store manager, field specialist and district management in the Atlanta division. From 1987-1996, he went on to hold leadership roles in the company’s Nashville, Central, Columbus and Michigan divisions, before being named Michigan division president in 1996. A year later, he was appointed president of the Columbus division. Lucia returned to Atlanta in his current role in 2000. As a result, Tim Brown, currently president of Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton division, was promoted to president of the Atlanta division, effective Aug. 1. Brown started his career with Kroger as a bagger. In 1981, he joined the company's management training program, and has since served in leadership positions in nine of Kroger's retail divisions. He was promoted to vice president of meat, seafood and deli/bakery operations in general office before being promoted to vice president of merchandising in the Columbus and Atlanta divisions. In 2010, he was named vice president of operations for the Mid-Atlantic division, before being promoted to president of the Delta division in 2012. Brown was named president of the Cincinnati/Dayton division in 2015. Additionally, Scott Hays, president of the Michigan division, was named president of the Cincinnati/Dayton division. Hays joined Kroger in April 2017 as vice president of operations for the Fry's division. He was promoted to his current role in September 2017. Hays began his grocery career with Albertson's in 1983 as a grocery clerk. He was promoted to store director and then held positions of increasing responsibility, including district manager, area vice president and division vice president for the company's San Antonio, Texas, division. Hays played an integral role in the development of the Texas and Louisiana markets for Albertson's. He also served as the vice president of operations for Jewel Osco in the Chicagoland market and division president for Albertson's Dallas-Fort Worth market before joining Kroger.

NightFood Holdings, Inc., Tarrytown, N.Y.
Lauren Broch
joined the Scientific Advisory Board to oversee development, manufacturing and distribution of the NightFood ice cream line. Broch previously worked as vice president of ice cream sales for Unilever. She’s also an active member of the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine, chairing the training program committee and is certified in behavioral sleep medicine and a diplomate of sleep disorders medicine. She served 9 years as director of education and training at the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Weill Cornell Medical College. In addition to her extensive sleep background, Broch also maintains knowledge and expertise in nutrition and sleep.

Jewel-Osco, Itasca, Ill.
Paul Gossett was appointed president, replacing Doug Cygan, who passed away earlier this month. Gossett will lead the company’s 187 stores throughout Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. Gossett’s retail career began when he was hired in 1977 by Albertsons Cos., the parent of Jewel-Osco. Prior to joining Jewel-Osco, he was president of Shaw’s and Star Market. He also served as vice president of marketing for ACME Markets, held several operational roles for Winn Dixie and was senior director of merchandising for Nash Finch Co.  Gossett currently serves on the Philanthropic Board of Advisors for the Boston Children’s Hospital Trust and the board of the Greater Boston Food Bank and the Massachusetts Food Association.

Butterball Foodservice, Garner, N.C.
Allison Pugina was hired as foodservice data insights manager, responsible for contributing to the company’s decision-making process by using sales results, primary research and other sources to identify trends, draw conclusions and share fact-based action plans with Butterball’s sales, marketing and leadership teams. Pugina previously worked as a senior analyst for Precima, then moved on to become a manager, where she provided data-driven insights to CPG clients and collaborated with Butterball Foodservice while developing what is said to be the first vendor collaboration program in foodservice. Pugina also partnered with Butterball’s retail division when she launched and executed brand development programs as an account manager for Perishables Group.

Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG), Kansas City, Kan.
Scott Welman was named executive vice president and chief development officer, tasked with focusing on all aspects of new store and business development and strategic growth opportunities and continuing to oversee the real estate, engineering and Design & Décor Source Group (DSG) departments. Welman joined AWG in 2004 as vice president of legal affairs, after providing strategic and legal counsel to AWG while he worked at a prominent local law firm. After serving in that role for several years, Welman led Always Fresh, AWG’s military supply subsidiary. He re-joined the corporate staff in 2014 as senior vice president, focusing on business development and other strategic matters. In 2016, he was promoted to executive vice president, real estate, general counsel and corporate secretary. Meanwhile, Stephanie Becker was promoted to senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, succeeding Welman, where she will serve as AWG’s chief legal officer, leading all legal affairs for the company and its subsidiaries. She began with AWG’s legal department in 2005. Prior to joining AWG, Becker spent several years working for a real estate developer in the Czech Republic, as well as a prominent local law firm as a real estate attorney. In 2016, Stephanie was promoted to vice president and deputy general counsel.

Sunkist Growers, Valencia, Calif.
Christian Harris joined as chief operating officer. Previously, Harris served as vice president fresh produce for US Foods, where he oversaw 60 U.S. distribution centers. His career in produce has ranged from growers to retail and foodservice. For example, he began working with lettuce growers and transitioned to management positions in retail with Fresh & Easy and Robinson Fresh.


Back Yard Burgers, Nashville, Tenn.

Scott Shotter was named new chief executive officer. Previously, Shotter served as vice president of operations at Moe's Southwest Grill, where he helped bring about exponential growth for the brand, which expanded from 200 locations to more than 700 locations during his 9-year tenure. Prior to Moe's, Shotter managed operations for more than 30 national and regional brands, including Starbucks, Sbarro, Popeye's, Johnny Rockets and Burger King.     

Domino's Pizza, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Patricia Lopez
and Corie Barry were elected to the board of directors, effective July 18. Lopez currently serves as chief executive officer of High Ridge Brands Co., a portfolio company of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, a position she has held since July 2017. Prior to joining High Ridge Brands, Lopez was senior vice president of Estée Lauder from 2015-2017, senior vice president of Avon Products Inc. from 2012-2015, and held various general manager and global strategy roles at The Procter & Gamble Co. from 1983-2012, most recently serving as vice president and general manager, overseeing its Eastern Europe business. Barry currently serves as executive vice president and CFO of Best Buy Co., Inc., a position she has held since 2016. Barry joined Best Buy in 1999, and has held a variety of financial and operational roles within the company. Prior to Best Buy, Barry worked at Deloitte & Touche from 1997-1999.


Raymond Handling Concepts Corp. (RHCC), Fremont, Calif.
Steve Raymond, president, announced his retirement after RHCC was acquired by The Raymond Corp. Raymond, the grandson of The Raymond Corp. founder, George Raymond Sr., spent his 42-year career with Raymond in a variety of capacities, including the last 31 years as president.

KHS GmbH, Germany
Dipl.-Ing. Dipl.-Wirtsch.-Ing. Kai Acker was appointed to new executive management board chairman, effective Oct. 15, responsible for technology, development/production and human resources. Acker is currently managing director at LEONI Special Cables GmbH and director of the enterprise and industrial projects segment.

Proprietary Variety Management (PVM), Yakima, Wash.
Jill Burbery joined the marketing team. Burbery is a 25-year veteran of the produce industry, specializing in sales and marketing of Washington State tree fruits worldwide.

Spartan Motors, Inc., Charlotte, Mich.
Jeri Isbell was appointed to the company's board of directors, effective July 13. Isbell is a CHRO and finance executive for Lexmark International, Inc. During her 25-year tenure at Lexmark, she held a variety of senior roles, including chief human resources officer, vice president of compensation and benefits, vice president of finance and division CFO and U.S. controller. Isbell began her career at IBM.  She also currently serves as a director of Atkore International, where she chairs the compensation committee and is a member of the audit committee, as well as SiteOne Landscape Supply Inc., where she chairs the Compensation Committee and serves on the Nominating and Governance Committee. She also serves on The Nature Conservancy (Kentucky Chapter) and the Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science Consortium.  

Menasha Packaging Co., a subsidiary of Menasha Corp., Neenah, Wis.
Michael Riegsecker was named new president, effective Sept. 1, succeeding Michael Waite, who announced his retirement as president. Waite moves into the role of executive vice president of strategy and business development, where he will continue to support various growth and strategic initiatives until his Dec. 31 retirement date. Riegsecker joined the company in 1992, having previously served as chief operating officer. Before that, he held several progressive positions, including general manager, group vice president and senior vice president of sales.

CBRE, Los Angeles
Dave Brown
, a veteran of more than 25 years working for premier firms in the U.S. mall industry, joined to lead the company’s retail specialty leasing and alternative revenue practice. Brown specializes in representing retail-center owners in negotiations and interactions with temporary and pop-up stores, kiosks and retail carts. He also handles alternative-revenue assignments such as vending, mobile marketing, advertising displays and product sampling. Brown maintains more than two decades of experience, most recently as president of Covington Realty Partners. Prior to Covington, he worked for General Growth Properties in specialty leasing and strategic partnerships. He spent the earlier years of his career with Urban Retail Properties, RREEF and The Rouse Co.
Key Technology, a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, Walla Walla, Wash.
Alvaro Nunez was promoted to area sales manager for Central and Northern California, responsible for all walnut processors and Frito-Lay plants throughout California. Nunez has been with Key for 18 years. Prior to this promotion, he was regional manager for Mexico, and previous to that, was applications engineer, working directly with food processors. Before that, he held engineering positions with Key’s research and development team and service department.

Dorner Manufacturing Corp., Hartland, Wis.
Scott Kelley was appointed vice president – sales of U.S. operations, charged with leading outside sales personnel, including strategic account managers and regional and territory sales managers, and will be instrumental in the planning and execution of sales strategies to help grow the company’s industrial and sanitary conveyor business throughout the United States.  Most recently, Kelley served as director of the automotive business at SICK Inc., and before that, held sales and marketing leadership positions at United Technologies, Bose Corp., Access Genetics and 3M.

SUN Automation Group, Glen Arm, Md.
Greg Jones, formerly director of sales and marketing for SUN Automation, was promoted to vice president of global sales and aftermarket, where he will oversee SUN’s international sales teams as well as operations of its Guangzhou, China, and Bristol, UK, locations. His focus will also be on identifying strategic acquisitions and maintaining strong relationships with global OEM partners to further support customer aftermarket needs worldwide. Prior to joining SUN in 2012, he spent over 15 years in the manufacturing and packaging sector, focused on delivering equipment and material load containment solutions to clients across various sectors. He’s also an active member of TAPPI, Fibre Box Association and AICC, the Independent Packaging Association.

ESE, Inc., Marshfield, Wis.
Trever Deedon and Jacob Colby joined as process controls engineers. Prior to joining ESE, Deedon worked as a welder/fabricator at Badger State Fruit Processing and as an electrician at Merit Electric. Previously, Colby worked on electrical instrumentation at the Verso Corp.

YourEncore, Indianapolis, Ind.
Jane Wood joined as lead for the Center of Excellence, focused on quality assurance in the life sciences industry. Wood maintains 40 years of experience serving major life sciences organizations, such as Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, and has been involved in all regulated quality areas with numerous health authorities.

Sodexo, Gaithersburg, Md.
Brett Ladd will serve as new CEO of the government for North America. Previously, Ladd served as senior vice president of sales for government North America for Sodexo, where he led growth and client retention initiatives. Ladd maintains over 30 years of global leadership experience. He started his career as a production manager with Marriott Management Services, and has held positions in Sodexo's universities and schools segments as an in-unit general manager, district manager and operations vice president.

Demand Trans, O’Fallon, Ill.
Sarah Boden was promoted to president and COO, tasked with overseeing day-to-day operations of the company and continuing to drive the technology strategy. Boden previously served as DemandTrans' chief technology officer. Boden maintains deep experience in the transportation industry, as the president of the transit division of DDS Wireless and deputy executive director and COO of Access Services. In addition to her transit experience, she has led early stage technology companies in the business services space and drove the sale of Print Inc. to Pitney Bowes. Sarah began her career in public accounting at Deloitte.

Twinlode Automation, South Bend, Ind.
John Rizzo joined as manager of automation sales, working to grow the company’s automation focus, including conveyors and advanced automation systems. Rizzo maintains more than 30 plus-years’ experience in sales and warehouse planning. Rizzo previously worked at Pak West.



Rob O’Rourke, vice president of RJO Produce Marketing, Fresno, Calif., passed away July 12 after a 5-year battle with prostate cancer. 

O’Rourke spent nearly 40 years working in procurement, inspection and sales and marketing in all major produce categories. 

His career began in 1979 when, at age 16, a neighbor asked him drive to Bakersfield to pick up a box of grapes.

O’Rourke worked for Produce West and Sterling Oak, and started RJO Produce Marketing in 1993 with his brother, John. In 2004, O’Rourke left RJO to become vice president of produce and floral for Topco associates. He reunited with RJO in 2007 as vice president of business development.

“Rob would constantly challenge us to think differently, yet he insisted we never compromised our core values,” says Fred Valentino, East Coast operations director. 

“Rob understood the importance and value of ‘the people’ in every aspect of our business,” adds Scott Zeier, produce marketing. 

“We will honor Rob’s legacy of high standards of professionalism and customer service. Those are things we worked hard to establish, and we will most assuredly uphold those going forward,” says John O’Rourke, president.

O’Rourke was involved with and supported Catholic Charities, Boys Scouts of America, Knights of Columbus, Fresno State University, San Joaquin Country Club and served on the membership committee for the Produce Marketing Association.

He is survived by his wife, Monica; children Katie, Megan, Ryan and Kevin; parents, Ron and Kathi O’Rourke; brothers, Rick, Michael and John; and many in-laws, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts and cousins.

Remembrances may be sent to Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fresno, 149 N. Fulton Street, Fresno, CA 93701 or the Ag One Foundation at 2910 East Barstow MS OF 115, Fresno, CA 93740 to establish an RJO scholarship in his honor.