Produce Marketing Association elects chairman, while Publix, California Giant, and more experience personnel shifts
Produce Marketing Association (PMA), Newark, Del.
David Marguleas, executive vice president of Sun World International, LLC, was elected chairman. Also elected to the 2018-2019 board of directors are Joe Don Zetzsche, director of floral and BLOOMS, H-E-B San Antonio, as chair-elect; Dan Sun, president, HarvestMark, as secretary-treasurer; Jin Ju Wilder, director of marketing, LA & SF Specialty, as past chair; Kurt Vetter, president, Wonderful Sales, as vice chair; Tommie van Zyl, chief executive officer, ZZ2, as vice chair; and Marty Craner, chief executive officer, B&C Fresh Sales, as chair of Center for Growing Talent Board.
National Grocers Association (NGA), Arlington, Va.
Peter Larkin, president and CEO, announced plans to retire from the organization, effective Dec. 31, 2019, following a nearly 40-year career in the supermarket industry. During Larkin's tenure, NGA’s retail and wholesale membership growth has more than doubled, ranging from single-store supermarkets to regional independent supermarket chains. Furthermore, Larkin launched the Grocers Political Action Committee to help support candidates for Congress who champion important policies to Main Street grocers. He also revitalized the NGA Foundation, which has experienced considerable growth.
Foods and Drug Administration (FDA), Washington, D.C.
Stephen Ostroff, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, will retire in January 2019. Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety for Walmart, will take on the new role of deputy commissioner for food policy and response in December. Yiannis, an expert in the use of blockchain technology, will lead the continuing implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and advise FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on food safety and supply chain issues. He will also focus on addressing issues of supply chain security and the use of new tracking technology, recall effectiveness and traceback investigation processes.
Ahold Delhaize, The Netherlands
Marc Croonen, chief sustainability, transformation and communications officer, announced plans to leave the company, effective Nov. 1.
Arbre Farms & Willow Cold Storage, Walkerville, Mich.
Jon Rodacy was appointed president, overseeing both entities. Rodacy maintains expertise in raw agricultural commodities, the required preparation of those goods for introduction into commerce and the priorities of consumer-facing brands and outlets. And, Xendra Gulledge was named to the newly established position of vice president of custom repacking for Arbre Group Holding Corp., the parent company, responsible for streamlining operations. Gulledge began her career with Paris Foods over 20 years ago, and maintains two decades of experience in repackaging and cold storage management.
Publix, Lakeland, Fla.
Kevin Murphy, senior vice president of retail operations, will be promoted to president. Murphy began his career in 1984 as a front service clerk, and then worked in various positions before being promoted to store manager in 1995. He was promoted to Jacksonville division district manager in 2003, Atlanta division regional director in 2009, Miami division vice president in 2014 and to his current position in 2016. Laurie Douglas, senior vice president and chief information officer, will assume additional responsibilities as chief digital officer. Douglas joined the company in 2006. Prior to joining Publix, she was senior vice president/chief information officer of FedEx Kinko’s Office and Print Center Inc., and before that, was vice president of information and e-business technology at The Home Depot. Dale Myers, vice president of retail business development, announced plans to retire after 44 years of service. As a result, Bob Bechtel, Miami division vice president, will be promoted to vice president of customer experience. Bechtel began his career in 1978 as a front service clerk, and worked in various positions before being promoted to store manager in 1991. He was promoted to Lakeland division district manager in 1995, Lakeland division regional director in 2008 and to his current position in 2016. John Goff, Miami division regional director, will be promoted to Miami division vice president. Goff began his career in 1991 as a front service clerk, and worked in various positions before being promoted to store manager in 2005. He was promoted to Jacksonville division district manager in 2010 and to his current position in 2014. Casey Suarez, vice president of distribution, announced plans to retire after 40 years of service. As a result, Mike Lester, director of warehousing, will be promoted to vice president of distribution. Lester began his career in 1983 as a warehouse selector, and worked in various positions before being promoted to warehouse superintendent in 2000. He was promoted to distribution manager in 2008 and to his current position in 2014. All promotions will be effective Jan. 1, 2019.
California Giant, Watsonville, Calif.
Brittany Wang joined as financial sales analyst, effective Oct. 10, supporting the company’s finance department, including supporting sales with forecasting and analyzing data evaluating sales goals and researching and evaluating current economic conditions in various growing regions. David Johnson was hired as logistics specialist, effective Oct. 29, responsible for the transportation and logistical requirements for the movement of all berries throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Markus Duran was promoted from blueberry category specialist to North American blueberry operations manager. Markus has been with the company for five years. Other recent hires include Abelardo Rodriguez as systems coordinator-packaging/track and trace; Wendi Castagnola as staff accountant and Shannon Cotton as sales coordinator.
Luby's, Inc., Houston, Texas
Benjamin (Todd) Coutee was named chief operating officer, effective immediately. He most recently served as senior vice president of operations for culinary contract services, as well as senior vice president of operations at Luby's Cafeterias and Fuddruckers. He has served as area leader of the cafeteria segment since rejoining Luby's in 2006, and spent 10 years in the hospitality and restaurant industry in various operational leadership positions, including executive director of operations for Aramark's Educational Food Service Division. He began his career with Luby's Cafeteria in 1989 as an assistant manager, and then spent 10 years in leadership roles in operations and training. He maintains more than 30 years of hospitality and restaurant operations experience. In conjunction with this management change, Peter Tropoli will now assume the role of general counsel for Luby's, Inc. Tropoli has served in various senior executive management positions for more than 18 years, and maintains a broad range of corporate management, restaurant industry and public company legal experience.
Fleet Advantage, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Don Davis joined as vice president, strategic fleet solutions, responsible for advancing the company’s strategic initiatives and enhancing relationships for private fleet and for-hire carrier clients throughout the United States. Davis maintains over 25 years of industry experience signing and retaining business accounts with national fleet and transportation companies. Previously, he served as national accounts sales executive with PACCAR Leasing Co., and has served in executive sales roles with several other fleet truck organizations nationwide.
D&W Fine Pack, Wood Dale, Ill.
Robert Braun was named plant manager of the Elk Grove Village, Ill., facility. Braun maintains a 15-year background in food packaging thermoforming and extrusion and two decades of injection molding experience within the consumer products industry. Robin Guerin was appointed plant manager of the company’s Fountain Inn, S.C., facility. Guerin maintains lean manufacturing and injection molding experience within the consumer goods and automotive industries. Additionally, Joseph Keating was named national account manager, focusing on the Northeast and Texas markets. Keating maintains a strong background in the grocery/foodservice industry, and will manage key grocery/processor accounts. Mark Poelzl joined as regional sales manager, representing the company’s central distribution team. Previously, Poelzl spent 31 years at Bunzl selling food packaging, including D&W products.
Universal Forest Products, Inc. (UFPI), Grand Rapids, Mich.
Kirk Blaha, former president of Pak-Rite, was named general manager of operations, following the acquisition of Pak-Rite, while Rick Blaha, founder and former CEO, will provide consulting services through the transition period.
Dorner, Hartland, Wis.
Darren McKune was named regional sales manager, responsible for working with distributors, integrators, OEMs and end users to grow the company’s industrial and sanitary conveyor business in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. Most recently, McKune served as vertical account manager of the food division at Rexnord. Prior to Rexnord, he worked for several Fortune 500 companies.
LTI, Inc., Jonesboro, Ga.
Brent Myers was tapped as human resources director, responsible for leading the overall direction of the human resources department. He maintains more than 30 years’ experience leading and developing programs to support strategic initiatives involving employee retention, talent acquisition and human resource process automation for healthcare, retail and business process outsourcing companies. He also boasts 15 years of experience in manufacturing in the glass fabrication, metal forming, automotive OEM and temperature control industries.
IN MEMORIUM: RON KLAUSING, I & K DISTRIBUTORS
Ron Klausing, president of I & K Distributors, Delphos, Ohio, passed away Oct. 23 after a battle with cancer.
Klausing also served as president of the Refrigerated Foods Association (RFA), Marietta, Ga., from 1991-1993. Klausing’s son is current RFA board member Don Klausing, president of Hydrofresh HPP.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held Oct. 29 at 10 a.m. at St. Gerard Catholic Church, Lima, Ohio. Burial will be in Gethsemani Cemetery Mausoleum. Friends may call from 2-8 p.m. Oct. 28 at Chiles-Laman Funeral & Cremation Services, Shawnee Chapel, where a wake service will begin at 8 p.m.
IN MEMORIUM: VINCENT FERACHI, CAPITOL CITY PRODUCT CO., LLC
Vincent Anthony "Mr. Vince" Ferachi, son of the founder of Capitol City Produce Co., LLC, Baton Rouge, La., passed away.
"We have lost a kind soul, a generous heart and a gentle giant in our lives," says Darin Arceneaux, president. "Capitol City Produce suffers a great loss of our patriarch, our inspirational mentor, our balance beam in decision making and a reminder of our roots. He can rest assured that we will take care of the team, and build upon generations of hard work, which was one of his last requests."
"His message of what has always been important in the character of Capitol City Produce will forever be in the foundation of his company as encapsulated in our core values—act with integrity always, take care of the team, quality matters and be extraordinary in customer service," adds Paul Ferachi, owner and son. "We will honor his legacy by continuing the great work that he loved with all of his heart and soul, and are looking forward to serving generations to come."