Produce Marketing Association Welcomes Six New Members to Its Board of Directors
- by Lilian Diep
NEWARK, DE - What’s better than one new industry leader, you ask? The answer is six new leaders, all of whom have been recently appointed to the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Board of Directors. Today, October 22, the Board meets for the first time since electing the new members who span the industry supply chain and global community to provide a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives to evolve PMA and its mission.
“I am excited to welcome the six newly elected leaders to the PMA Board of Directors,” said CEO Cathy Burns. “These volunteers are essential to helping PMA reach the goals set in our strategic plan and realizing our vision to grow a healthier world. They provide strategic guidance, thoughtful leadership, and their own unique perspectives to guide the organization’s growth and value to members and industry. It’s a blessing to have their partnership and collaboration in the years ahead.”
The Board of Directors now includes Alan Aguirre Ibarra, an industry vet with an extensive knowledge of the International produce sector as well as commercial and philanthropic experience. Ibarra is the CEO of Grupo Alta and Divince Flavor LLC and offers up 29 years of service within the international produce world. In addition to his role as CEO of Grupo Alta, Ibarra is the President and Founder of Fundación Alta IAP, an organization that provides the necessary means to give agricultural workers a healthy and dignified lifestyle. He is also the current President of the Hermosillo Food Bank and CEO of Distribuidora de Huevo de Baja California, an egg distribution company. He also serves on the Board of the Citi Banamex Group.
Joining Ibarra is Amelie Aust, the Co-CEO and second-generation Owner of Fall Creek, a soon to be multi-national blueberry breeding and nursery company. Over the past 10 years she has grown her family business to operate on four continents and is responsible for the commercialization of new berry varieties for the company, extending to the consumer market as she helped launch Brazelberries® in 2009. Aust currently serves on the Board of Global Women Fresh.
Nikki Cossio will also be joining the Board as the Founder and CEO of Measure to Improve. Cossio is recognized by her peers in the produce industry as a leader, and is known for her success in building sustainability programs and innovative industry solutions, for which she has won numerous awards. She currently serves on PMA’s Sustainability Committee and is a member of the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops Coordinating Council.
Amongst the six stand Amy L. Gates, the former President of Frontera, first entering the produce industry in 2004 as she started with the company. She began her career at Famous Software helping Frontera install its Enterprise Resource Planning software, before making her way up the ranks. In her time with Frontera, Gates streamlined and optimized its operation, helped create new companies, and led the company to being a stand out in traceability and food safety. Gates has also served on the PTI Joint Industry Leadership Council since 2009.
Daniel Mathieson is the Chief Executive of Zespri and will also be joining the Board. Mathieson has knowledge of international produce operations as he spends his time traveling between the New Zealand offices of Zespri and its global sales and marketing hub in Singapore. Mathieson's focus is on supporting a healthy ecosystem while also developing a teams and strategies for the company. He has worked for Zespri for over two decades, holding a variety of positions across several different divisions.
Rounding out the six new members is Jim Richter, the President and CEO of Amerifresh, the strategic business arm of US Foods. Richter has served across retail and the supply chain for over 35 years, spending 10 of those years at Wilcox Fresh as CEO and 25 year working at retail and supermarket chains like at H-E-B, Marsh, Randalls-Tom Thumb, and 7-Eleven in various leadership roles. He has received the International Fresh-cut Produce Association Fresh-cut Promoter of the Year in 1999 and has served as a PMA and Center for Growing Talent volunteer in different capacities over the years.
Dwight Ferguson, President and CEO of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation, will lead as Chair of the PMA Board, focusing on looking ahead to 2021 and implementing PMA’s strategic new plans.
“Our vision remains the same—to bring together the global produce and floral communities to grow a healthier world—but we will use some new filters to get there,” said Ferguson, “including: a stronger focus on building deeper global connections with produce and floral sectors worldwide; a lens of diversity and inclusion to ensure we do all that we can to welcome new talent and new thinking into our community; and exponentially expanding our reach to include everyone who enjoys the joy of fresh produce and floral.”
As six new members step into their roles as part of PMA’s Board of Directors, we wish all of them the best of luck and offer congratulations. Here at ANUK we look forward to seeing the impact that each of new leaders brings to PMA and its missioin.