Darigold appoints COO, Foster Farms names new CEO, Litehouse announces new president and other personnel changes
Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative (MLMC), Portland, Maine
Executive director Matt Jacobson announced plans to step down from his position, effective Feb. 25. Prior to his role with the MLMC, where he was the organization’s first executive director, Jacobson’s career spanned 20 years in sales, marketing and politics. He served as president and CEO of the Maine & Co., and helped build Canadian National Railway’s intermodal business into a $1 billion a year enterprise.
Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), Brentwood, Mo.
Katie Toulouse was hired as new director of communications. Toulouse maintains nearly 20 years of experience in public relations, media and influencer relations, as well as consumer food marketing and nutrition education. She most recently served on the board of directors for the Canned Food Alliance (CFA), and represented CFA on the PBH Board of Trustees. Prior to joining CFA, Toulouse built her career in the food industry at Ketchum.
Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA), Antigo, Wis.
Wes Meddaugh of Heartland Farms, was elected president for 2019, succeeding Josh Mattek, manager of J.W. Mattek & Sons, Inc. Rod Gumz, co-owner of Gumz Muck Farms, was elected vice president; Mike Carter, chief executive officer of Bushmans’ Inc., was elected secretary; and Gary Wysocki, co-owner of RPE, Inc., was elected treasurer. The WPVGA associate division board of directors elected Kenton Mehlberg, operations and production manager of T.I.P., Inc./Ag Grow Solutions, as president for 2019, replacing Casey Kedrowski, who left the agriculture industry. The rest of the officers for 2019 include Paul Cieslewicz, owner of Sand County Equipment, as vice president; Sally Surprise, insurance agent at Rural Mutual Insurance, as secretary; and Rich Wilcox, agricultural loan officer at Portage County Bank, as treasurer. Newcomers elected to the board were Julie Cartwright, agronomist of Jay-Mar, Inc.; and Kristi Kulas, account executive at M3 Insurance, replacing Cathy Schommer, senior focused lending specialist for Compeer Financial; and Joel Zalewski, Northern area manager for Insight FS, who completed their second terms on the board. The Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association (WSPIA) elected Dan Kakes, owner of Kakes Farms, as president for 2019, succeeding Charlie Mattek of J.W. Mattek & Sons, Inc. Jeff Fassbender, owner and founder of Seidl Farms, was elected vice president; and Matt Mattek, manager at J.W. Mattek & Sons, Inc., was elected secretary/treasurer.
International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), Washington, D.C.
Chip Walker, president and CEO of Frosty Acres, was named to the board of directors.
The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), Colorado Springs, Colo.
Nicole Johnson-Hoffman was re-elected as president for a second term. Johnson-Hoffman is senior vice president and chief sustainability officer at OSI Group, LLC.
The Southern Hemisphere Association of Fresh Fruit Exporters (SHAFFE), Belgium
Dr. Konanani Liphadzi, chief executive officer of Fruit South Africa, was elected president, taking over for Alan Pollard, chief executive officer of New Zealand Apple and Pears Inc. Liphadzi has been vice president of SHAFFE for the past two years. Ronald Bown, president of Asociación de Exportadores de Frutas de Chile AG, was elected vice president.
Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion & Research Board (CBB), Centennial, Colo.
Cattle producers Chuck Coffey, Jared Brackett and Hugh Sanburg were elected as new leaders of the 2019 term, responsible for guiding the national Beef Checkoff Program. Coffey will serve as chairman, while Brackett will transition from his role as the 2018 secretary/treasurer to vice chair. Sanburg will take on Brackett’s former responsibilities as secretary/treasurer. Coffey operates a cow/calf operation. Previously, he taught agriculture at Murray State College, then went on to chair the department until 1993, when he joined the Noble Foundation as a pasture and range consultant. Brackett operates a cow/calf producer farm, and is a past president of the Idaho Cattlemen’s Association. Sanburg is a managing partner of a Horned Hereford cow-calf operation. For the past 30 years, he’s been an active member of the Colorado Farm Bureau, serving on various boards. He is also a member of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, and serves as chairman of the Gunnison Basin Roundtable.
Whitehall Specialties, Whitehall, Wis.
Steve Snyder was tapped president and CEO. Snyder has served on the company’s board of directors for the last four years, and maintains marketing, innovation and leadership experience in the management and growth of better-for-you, innovative food and nutrition businesses. Previously, he served as an executive at Cargill, where he launched the Truvia brand. He also served as president and COO for Neogen Corp. This appointment follows the retirement of Karl Kramer, who announced plans to devote more time to his family, volunteer work and other life passions.
Litehouse, Inc., Sandpoint, Idaho
Kelly Prior was appointed president, effective immediately. Prior joined Litehouse in 2002, and became chief financial officer in 2005. In 2010, he was appointed executive vice president, and took on the role of interim president in 2018. During his tenure at Litehouse, Prior has led a number of major initiatives within the company, most notably overseeing strategic facility and equipment investments. Prior was also instrumental in orchestrating the process of taking Litehouse from a family owned business to a 100% employee-owned company.
LIDL US, Arlington, Va.
Roman Heini was named chairman, effective March 1, focusing on supporting and optimizing Lidl’s U.S. store operations, its Best Market integration in New York and New Jersey and its expansion into new markets along the East Coast. Heini joined Lidl in October 2018.
Agropur Cooperative, Canada
Roger Massicotte was named president, succeeding René Moreau, who retired. Massicotte has been a member of Agropur's board of directors for 16 years, representing the Mauricie-Portneuf region. He was vice president of the cooperative from 2017-2019, and has chaired the Environment Committee since 2010. He has also been a member of the Human Resources Committee since 2017. Massicotte owns Ferme Massicotte Holstein in Champlain, Quebec, Canada. He also served as a director of Holstein Québec from 2000-2006 and chairman in 2006.
The Oppenheimer Group (Oppy), Canada
David Wazny was promoted to sales manager of the team based in the company’s Vancouver, BC, Canada, headquarters, while Colbert Rahal joined in the newly created role of sales manager of eastern Canada. The pair have followed a parallel career path at Oppy, both being promoted to senior sales representative early last year. Wazny joined Oppy in 2012 as a sales representative for Oppy’s kiwifruit partner Zespri, and before that, worked at Urban Fare and Overwaitea. Rahal will guide the Toronto team, directing strategy and development initiatives to expand retail sales for Canada’s East Coast. First stepping into the industry as produce marketing coordinator at Gordon Food Service, he worked at Costco as inventory control specialist for almost 3 years. He joined Oppy in 2011, and has grown close to Oppy’s vegetable growers such as Divemex, Oceanside Pole and SunSelect.
Foster Farms, Livingston, Calif.
Dan Huber was appointed chief executive officer, effective immediately, replacing Laura Flanagan, who resigned to pursue other opportunities. He maintains over 23 years of agribusiness, supply chain, food production, food safety and branded sales management experience, and has held several leadership positions since joining the company in 1996. He most recently served as chief operations officer. Prior to joining Foster Farms, Huber held sales and management positions with Oscar Mayer and Kraft Foods. He also participated on several industry boards, including the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association (USPOULTRY), National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation.
Vision Import Group, Hackensack, N.J.
Tony Mitchell was hired as vice president of sales and business development, charged with overseeing all aspects of sales, product development and new business. Mitchell previously worked for Caito Foods and SpartanNash for 27 years in various roles, most recently as vice president of produce and floral merchandising.
Future Food, Italy
Valerio Nannini, former senior vice president head of strategies and performance at Nestlé S.A., and Mauro Piloni, chief executive officer of Exever, joined as board of directors, shortly after investing in the company. Nannini maintains an understanding of disruptive technologies, digital environments and their commercial applications. He also holds a track record of engaging with academia, accelerators, venture capitalists and start-ups, as well as with major strategic partnerships and alliances to accelerate growth. Piloni’s company, Exever, owns the patented disruptive “warm preservation” technology. Together, Piloni and Nannini’s international business expertise extends across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia, Oceania, North America and Latin America.
Baljit “Bal” Dail was appointed president of IRI Global, effective April 1, tasked with leading and supporting the company’s go-to market commercial efforts in the United States and internationally.
Dail has worked as a senior advisor at New Mountain Capital since 2012, where he’s has been actively involved in helping IRI maximize the value of its Liquid Data platform. From 2014-2017, Bal served as chairman and CEO of JDA Software, where he developed a new strategy and brand, increased sales, enhanced its partner ecosystem and completed a material investment by Blackstone Group L.P. From 2005-2012, Dail served in a number of executive roles at Aon Corp., including chief executive officer of Aon Hewitt Consulting and co-CEO of Aon Hewitt. Prior to joining Aon, he spent six years in various roles with McKinsey & Co. He began his career in the technology group at Marks & Spencer, and served in various roles at JP Morgan, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Ford Motor Co. Dail joins as Piyush Chaudhari, president of the Americas and strategy, will be departing IRI to pursue a new opportunity as chief executive officer of Sgsco.
Mission Produce, Inc., Oxnard, Calif.
Stephen Fink returned to the company as senior director of sales. He originally served as a sales representative and then director of sales planning in 2017. For the past year, Fink worked as avocado category manager at LGS Specialty Sales, where he sourced, transported and sold avocados in addition to other fruit.
The NPD Group, Port Washington, N.Y.
Gina Pingitore joined as senior vice president, research and innovation, responsible for leading research solutions, methodologies and applications for NPD’s Checkout service. She will also work to leverage new technologies and shifting retail and consumer trends to drive continued innovation. Previously, Pingitore worked as managing director of Deloitte’s Center for Industry Insights, where she provided executive direction for the research initiatives across the firm’s consumer and industrial product sectors. Before that, she was chief research officer at J.D. Power, where she was responsible for the research and statistical quality of more than 250 studies per year. She also played a key role in J.D. Power’s expansion of new products into new industries, including financial services, insurance, telecom and utilities, both domestically and internationally. Earlier in her career, Pingitore served as director of research and planning for Publicis Worldwide, North America. She was also an assistant research professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and a visiting professor at the University of Akureyri in Iceland.
Darigold, Seattle, Wash.
Grant Kadavy was named chief operating officer, effective immediately, responsible for strategic development, innovation, supply chain and all day-to-day commercial operations. Additionally, he will assume more responsibilities in representing the co-op externally in the industry, such as by advocating on the co-op’s behalf in the public policy arena. Kadavy has served as chief commercial officer for Darigold since May 2016, and maintains leadership and business experience in the global food and agribusiness industry.
Golbon, Boise, Idaho
Dave Myers was promoted to president, taking over for Tim Power, who will be leaving the company to pursue a personal business opportunity. Myers maintains 28 years’ industry experience, encompassing foodservice procurement, sales and marketing, operations and overall leadership in the foodservice industry. Previously, he served as executive vice president at Golbon.
CBRE, Los Angeles
Branson Edwards joined as executive vice president and leader of integrated retail accounts in the Americas. Edwards has participated in, managed and led notable retail initiatives, from strategic and business planning to implementation, for clients such as T-Mobile, Harbor Freight Tools, Sprint, Kendra Scott Jewelers and more. He previously worked at Newmark Knight Frank, where he built and managed the firm’s national retail occupier services business. Prior to that, Edwards led the same practice at JLL after it purchased The Standard Group, which Edwards formed in 1999. Earlier in his career, Edwards was part of the retail real estate teams that managed rollouts of Hollywood Video, Boston Market and Blinds to Go. Also, Mike Chisholm joined as senior vice president of the integrated retail accounts practice. Chisholm maintains 22 years’ experience in the mobile telecommunications industry. He developed retail channel and store development practices for VoiceStream, T-Mobile and AT&T Mobility, where he was responsible for the design, placement and expansion of the retail portfolio.
Beckhoff Automation LLC, Savage, Minn.
Kevin Barker was appointed president, succeeding Aurelio Banda, who has served as president for the past 4 years, where the company experienced revenue growth and business developments, new field offices and more employees than ever. Barker will oversee all sales, engineering, marketing and administrative operations. Prior to joining Beckhoff, Barker worked as director of sales for Yaskawa America’s motion division for 8 years, where he led multi-national sales teams to develop complex industrial markets, large sales channels and advanced motion control offerings. He’s also held director-level positions at Mitsubishi Electric Automation and Omron Electronics.
MonarchFx, a Tompkins International company, Raleigh, N.C.
Chris Talley was named vice president of product development and deployment to assist with the development, procurement, integration, implementation, enhancement and maintenance of a suite of integrated, best-of-breed applications. Talley maintains 20 years of supply chain management experience in process improvement and cost reduction, along with in-depth knowledge of international supply chains, including transportation and distribution operations. Previously, Talley was senior director at Kuehne + Nagel Integrated Logistics.
Northrop Grumman Corp., Falls Church, Va.
Chris Deeble was appointed chief executive of Northrop Grumman Australia, responsible for supporting the company’s longstanding programs in Australia, as well as exploring new business pursuits. Previously, Deeble worked for Airservices Australia as the program executive for OneSKY, responsible for delivering the Civil Military Air Traffic Management System for Australia. Before that, he spent 37 years in the Australian Defence Force, most notably as an Air Vice-Marshal leading some of Defence’s most complex programs. He also oversaw multiple programs such as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control, Multi Role Tanker Transport and the Navy Collins Class Submarine. During his time as JSF program manager, Deeble led the program through its final development phase, drove Australian industry outcomes and established the principles for the JSF global support solution. Deeble replaces Warren King, interim chief executive, who will continue his role as chairman of Northrop Grumman Australia’s Advisory Board.
Smart Vision Lights (SVL), Muskegon, Mich.
Steve Kinney joined as sales manager for the Western Americas. Kinney maintains more than 20 years of machine vision knowledge and experience in everything from cameras to software and lighting. He’s chaired AIA Vision Online’s Camera Link Committee since its inception, and is a contributor to and instructor with AIA’s basic and advanced certified vision professional (CVP) training program.