An executive committee to serve as officers for the combined organization of the Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh was announced this week by the new body’s co-CEOs, Cathy Burns of PMA and Tom Stenzel of United Fresh.
The merger of the existing associations was announced in March of this year.
An industry press release on Aug. 27 said, “Bruce Taylor, CEO of Taylor Farms, will serve as the first Chair of the new association. Taylor is also a past chair of the Produce Marketing Association and has served in several leadership roles across the industry associations and organizations. A graduate of UC Berkley and Harvard Business School, he joined the industry in 1981. Over the next several months, he and his fellow Executive Committee members will begin work with Burns and Stenzel in preparation to launch the new association in January 2022.
“I am humbled and honored to serve as Chair of the new organization and consider it a privilege to count this group of highly respected industry leaders as my fellow Board Officers,” Taylor said. “PMA and United Fresh have benefited tremendously thanks to the support of their highly engaged and passionate volunteers, and I am confident that trend will continue to accelerate impact across our global community.”
The Executive Committee will also include current PMA chair, Dwight Ferguson, and current Chairman of the Board at United Fresh, Danny Dumas.
Ferguson is the president and CEO of California Agricultural Leadership Foundation. He joined the organization in October 2020 following more than 30 years in senior leadership positions in both produce and floral companies.
Dumas, President of Couchesne Larose USA, was sworn in as United Fresh chair on June 1st of 2021. Dumas is a native of Montreal, Canada, and joined the Canadian-based wholesaler Couchesne Larose Ltd. in 2021 to oversee the company’s interests in the U.S. and abroad. Dumas started his career in produce in 1989.
Laura Himes, Senior Merchandising Director at Walmart, is the Chair-elect. Himes joined Walmart in 2013 and has more than 25 years in the produce industry. Her background, encompassing all areas from farm to fork, includes global leadership across Europe, the U.S., and Central America.
Patrick Vizzone is the Head of Food, Beverage & Agribusiness, International and Head of Hong Kong Coverage for ANZ Banking Group. Vizzone, who has resided in Greater China for over 25 years, will serve as the committee’s Secretary-Treasurer. His professional career started in China’s fresh produce industry. Vizzone has over 20 years of banking and financial services experience and has held numerous senior corporate and investment banking leadership roles.
Martha Hilton, Vice President of Produce and Floral Merchandising for Wegmans Food Markets will serve as the Foundation’s Chair and will serve as a member of the executive committee. Hilton grew up in the produce business and graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Agriculture Business. She has been with Wegmans Food Markets for 12 years.
“Our staff team is honored that these highly respected industry leaders have stepped up to help forge our new association,” said Stenzel. We have big aspirations, which are clearly matched by the new association’s officers who will guide us into the future.”
“Since joining this industry, I have continually found myself in awe of the indomitable spirit of volunteer leadership,” said Burns. “We are blessed to partner with these distinguished thought leaders as we embark on this incredible journey together.”
Both Burns and Stenzel will be on stage at Fresh Summit on Oct. 29 for a keynote session that promises to provide an exciting update to the association’s progress.