Oppy Sales Manager Jeff Walker Announces Retirement; Jim Leach Named as His Successor; Brett Libke and John Anderson Comment
- by Chandler James
HOUSTON, TX - There is something to be said for spending multiple decades with a single company. Jeff Walker is one of those rare breeds, having joined Oppy in 1994 and gone on to lead as the fresh maven’s Sales Manager in its Houston, Texas, office. Walker is now preparing to take the next step in his journey, recently announcing that he will retire at the end of this month.
Walker started selling produce from his family’s farm when he was eight years old, a press release stated. When he joined the company, he aided in opening the company’s fifth U.S. office on Houston’s Produce Row. He became fondly known by his colleagues as “The Lone Ranger,” having built Oppy’s business with key customers in Texas and the South-Central U.S. to create a high-performing sales team in which it thrives today.
The release went on to note that Walker brought the present-day Texas-style Oppy to life through his relationship approach to sales, which is described by Brett Libke, the Senior Vice President of Sales, as calm, witty, and insightful from the ground up.
Furthermore, he served as President of the Houston Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association (HFFVA) in 2004 and 2005. Through programs such as the signature Gift of Produce, HFFVA helps lead the fight against hunger in much of southeast Texas. Blending his passion for golf with his life in produce, Walker headed up or assisted in organizing the HFFVA annual charity golf tournament for many years.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Jeff for nearly three decades. On behalf of everyone at Oppy, we wish him and his wife Mary a long and wonderful retirement,” said Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Managing Partner John Anderson.
Libke went on to detail some of the incredible accomplishments that decorate Walker’s impressive career.
“When Jeff joined us, we were launching the New Zealand Braeburn apple, which he helped establish in the region. From there, he introduced his customers to JAZZ™ and Envy™ apples, along with Zespri green and gold kiwifruit and ultimately the whole Oppy basket,” continued Libke. “His leadership in our avocado business over the years enabled us to create a foothold in that key category, too. Jeff is the ultimate produce professional. We know his customers will miss his great service and relaxed but conscientious style.”
Stepping into his boots as Oppy’s Sales Manager in Houston is Jim Leach.
With experience gained at BASF, Taylor Farms, and PepsiCo, Leach joined Oppy as a business development representative in California in 2016 and quickly evolved to sales representative in 2017. Known for his energetic approach and solutions focus, Leach is relocating to Texas with a freshly minted MBA from Pepperdine University in hand.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for Jim to lead our South-Central U.S. sales strategy,” Libke said. “He has big shoes to fill with Jeff’s departure, but we are confident that Jim and the team in Texas will continue to deliver on the legacy Jeff established over the years.”
Congratulations to Jeff Walker and Jim Leach on these exciting next steps.