Industry Veteran Roger Pepperl Announces Upcoming Retirement from Stemilt
- by Jordan Okumura
WENATCHEE, WA - There are storytellers in our industry that have helped set the bar for how we shape vision and innovation, and Stemilt’s Roger Pepperl is one of those individuals. With 40 years of ingenuity under his belt as well as a passion to rival, the produce marketer and former retail buyer/merchandiser has announced his upcoming retirement. He will officially retire from Stemilt on December 31.
Elevating the shopping experience for treefruit lovers through innovation, branding, and storytelling has always been a mission for Roger and with 20 years as Marketing Director for Stemilt, he has undeniably impacted the fresh produce space. The development of the Lil Snappers® kid-size fruit brand and A Half Mile Closer to the Moon® cherries are just a few of the many accomplishments that detail Roger's success stories and remarkable tenure, according to a press release.
“Roger never ceases to amaze me with his innovative mind and ability to create brands and programs that benefit the grower, the retailer, and the consumer,” said President West Mathison. “My family and I cannot thank him enough for the work he’s done to transform our company into a recognized brand. His retirement is well-deserved, and I can’t wait to hear about his journey in this next chapter.”
While Roger has made the supply-side his home over the last 20 years, the first two decades of his career were marked by a love and passion for retail. Roger joined Stemilt after a 21-year tenure in produce at Meijer in Michigan. During his time at Meijer, Roger bought cherries from Stemilt which allowed him to work alongside Founder Tom Mathison and create the opportunity for Meijer to become an industry-leading retailer on merchandising cherries in catch-weight bags.
“Roger was like my grandfather, Tom, in so many ways,” Mathison expressed. “He wasn’t afraid to try something new at retail, as long as it meant selling more and never sacrificing quality! His gift to see things that others cannot see has been inspiring.”
As the relationship with Stemilt grew, Roger decided to make the jump and joined Stemilt in 2000, moving across the country with his wife, Joni, and son, Alex. He built Stemilt’s marketing department from one designer to the 7-member powerhouse team that succeeds across the company's categories today.
During his time with Stemilt, Roger traveled the global stage on Stemilt’s behalf and volunteered his time and passion on committees and boards for United Fresh, Produce Marketing Association, and the Produce for Better Health Foundation. Roger has many milestones and achievements that have marked his time in the industry as well, one of which includes that he was the first-ever recipient of United Fresh’s FreshMKT Achievement Award in 2017.
“Roger has a brilliance about him. He is practical, functional, and fun. He is going to be greatly missed around here,” said Mathison.
As Roger rounds out his last month with Stemilt, he is looking forward to spending more time with his family, including his new granddaughter. He will also continue his passions of traveling, hiking, gardening, and rooting on the Michigan State Spartans. “Go green!” as you can often hear him say.
Roger, we would love to offer you our congratulations on your upcoming retirement and a huge thank you for all you have done for fresh produce and helped our industry to be!