January 18, 2023
Washington, DC and Newark, DE -- During last October’s International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) Global Produce & Floral Show, Laura Himes, senior merchandising director at Walmart, began her year as Chair of the IFPA Board of Directors where she was also joined by 12 new directors representing a diverse number of market segments and global geographies.
In her remarks to Global Produce & Floral Show guests, Himes outlined her priorities for 2023 which include strengthening the health of consumers worldwide, the health of the produce and floral community, and the health of the planet.
“Our industry faces great challenges around labor, supply chain, food safety, nutrition security, inflation, and climate. There are no simple solutions, but where there are challenges, there are also opportunities,” Himes stated.
Himes urged the audience to continue to expand its boundaries, seek out the best and brightest, and invite others to join our community through continued investment in talent development, and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
“I’m proud to lead an incredibly diverse Board of Directors that includes more than 40% representation from industry leaders who are women. But I also recognize there remains a lot of work to be done to continue creating opportunities across our community for everyone,” she said.
Citing IFPA research from the 2022 State of the Industry, Himes reiterated the importance of sustainability to consumers, who are most concerned about water and energy conservation, healthy soils, waste, and recyclability.
“This creates an opportunity to further strengthen how we are viewed by consumers, as they are demanding that we take action,” Himes remarked. “Grants and programs that focus on climate-smart ag, harmonized sustainability standards, and the tech accelerator, in addition to our work on the ethical charter, show our commitment to finding solutions that will benefit both our industry and the planet and people.”
With consumption of fresh produce lagging globally, Himes shared her intent to bring the IFPA member community and industry to the world in the form of global conversations around health, nutrition, and hunger – be they with the United Nations, the Food and Agricultural Organization, or other influential groups.
“We will grow our presence and relevance on the world stage by getting a seat at the table where food is discussed, so that we can help the consumer by driving consumption of fruits, vegetables, and floral. And if that table doesn’t exist, we’ll build one and invite others to join us,” she said.
New IFPA Board members who will help Himes deliver on these priorities are:
- Australia New Zealand Advisory Board: Richard Byllaardt, Chairman, Citrus Australia - Mildura, Victoria, Australia
- Food Safety Council: Jennifer Pulcipher, Director of Food Safety & Compliance, North Bay Produce – Traverse City, Michigan, USA
- Fresh-Cut Processor Council: Judy Clark, Chief Executive Officer, Fresh Texas – San Antonio, Texas, USA
- Marketing Council: Karen Nardozza, President & Chief Executive Officer, Moxxy Marketing – Miami, Florida, USA
- South Africa Council: Jaco Oosthuizen, Chief Executive Officer, RSA Group – Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
- U.S. Government Relations Council: Bret Erickson, Executive Vice President, Little Bear Produce – Edinburg, Texas, US
- Wholesaler-Distributor Council: Stefanie Katzman, Executive Vice President, S. Katzman Produce – Bronx, New York, USA
- Paulina Criticos, Chief Executive Officer, EMEA, Westfalia Fruit (Pty) Ltd – Randjespark, Midrand, South Africa
- Tammy DeBoer, President, Harris Teeter, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
- Clinton A. Lewis, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, AgroFresh Solutions, Inc. – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
- Elyse Lipman, Chief Executive Officer, Lipman Family Farms – Livermore, California, USA
- John Simko, President & CEO, Sunshine Bouquet Company – Miami, Florida, USA
Additionally, in late December, Himes appointed Naturipe Farms’ Vice President of Finance Aribel Beck to serve as the new Chair of the Finance & Business Management Council. Beck succeeds Michael Castagnetto of Robinson Fresh.
Following Himes in the role of IFPA Chair-Elect is John Anderson who is Chair, CEO and Managing Partner of Oppy. Anderson, who served multiple volunteer leadership positions for the former Produce Marketing Association as well as its Center for Growing Talent, is a widely respected and influential executive who was recently recognized by JA British Columbia as a 2023 Inductee into the Business Laureates of British Columbia (BLBC) Hall of Fame.
“The opportunity to serve our global fresh produce and floral as the 2024 IFPA Chair of the Board is an incredible honor as the organization continues to evolve its diverse portfolio of resources and programs to help our members further expand their business connections,” said Anderson. “I’ve always felt strongly about giving back to the industry that has given me such a rewarding career, and I am excited about collaborating with the Board in the years ahead so that IFPA remains a valuable and trusted source of insights, ideas, and opportunities for the membership and industry.”
IFPA also recognized the following Board directors and officers who completed their volunteer service and contributed their time and talents on the organization’s inaugural Board:
- Tom Brugato, President, Pacific Coast Fruit Company
- Adrielle Dankier, Commercial Director, Nature's Pride
- Trevor Dukes, CEO, The Fruit Farm Group
- Danny Dumas, Senior Vice President, Calavo Growers
- Cheryl Enlow, VP of QA and Food Safety, Renaissance Food Group
- Dwight Ferguson, President/CEO, California Agricultural Leadership Foundation
- Karen Fernald, SVP Category, Merchandising and Pricing, Food Lion
- Ben Hoodless, Director & Business Development Specialist, ElementAG
- Brian Kocher, President and CEO, Calavo Growers
- Jacob Krempel, VP of Operations, HelloFresh
- Raina Nelson, President, US, Westfalia Fruit Marketing USA LLC
- Carlos Oramas, CEO, Gems Group, Inc.
- Michael Simonetta, CEO, Perfection Fresh