The U.S. Apple Association announced the promotions of Jessa Allen to Vice President of Membership and Events and Tracy Grondine to Vice President of Communications. 

“The USApple staff takes pride in running a lean and flat organization,” said USApple President and CEO Jim Bair. “So while their responsibilities aren’t changing, it’s important the apple industry and the association management community understand how Jessa and Tracy have been critical to our success. They are valuable and I appreciate them.”

Allen joined USApple in 2013 as Director of Membership and Events. While at the organization she has increased membership by 40 percent, strengthened USApple’s sponsors and allied supporters into an impressive industry-wide roster, and successfully grown and implemented USApple’s annual Outlook Conference and Capitol Hill Day meeting. 

Allen received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from McDaniel College. She has been a Certified Association Executive (CAE) since 2010. Prior to joining USApple, Allen had more than a decade of diverse experience with professional and trade associations spanning the healthcare, human resources and affordable housing industries.

“Jessa has consistently executed and grown first-class events, developed new sources of revenue and created our Young Apple Leaders program,” said Bair. “That initiative has been so successful in developing ‘bench strength’ that several members of the Board of Directors got their first exposure to the association through that experience.”

Grondine joined USApple in 2018 as Director of Consumer Health and Media Relations. Under her purview she has refocused USApple’s communications structure from that of recipe and health platforms to supporting the organization’s political advocacy efforts, while raising the industry’s profile through proactive media relations programs and integrated social/digital campaigns. In addition, she oversees USApple’s crisis management program and the association’s signature Apples4Ed grant program.

Grondine has significant experience as a communications leader in agriculture, including her work at the National Grange, National Corn Growers Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and 11 years at the American Farm Bureau Federation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Charleston and a Master of Science in Political Management from The George Washington University.

“Tracy has refined our crisis communication and response platform and amped up our social media presence,” said Bair. “Rebranding our organization put a nice shine on our public image, and the public response to her ongoing FreshPicks series of short videos featuring apple leaders has been wonderful.”