(CORRECTED) SAN DIEGO — After a five-year hiatus from the produce industry, Dale Liefer is back.
Liefer, who retired from Los Angeles-based Westlake Produce after 40 years in the industry, joined son Wes Liefer’s Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Pura Vida Farms this spring. He’s working in a training and mentorship role, in addition to other duties, said Wes Liefer, chief executive officer.
“I wanted to take the opportunity to come back into the business, and the opportunity to work with my two sons,” Dale Liefer said. “I’m sharing what I learned in the business.”
Wes Liefer said it was an easy decision to bring his father aboard, with his extensive knowledge of the produce industry. Jeff Liefer also is a salesman for the company.
“He’s here to educate our sales staff internally,” Wes Liefer said. “You don’t really find that many experienced people willing to move from company to company. This way we can train entry-level people. For us, his experience is invaluable.”
Pura Vida Farms experienced rapid growth over the past year, prompting several promotions and additions to staff, in addition to a new office in Moultrie, Ga., last fall.
The company increased production and volume of watermelons, cantaloupes and pineapples.
New staffers include Mike Martori, vice president of East Coast sales, Blaine Willis, sales assistant, and Jake Erickson, director of food safety, in the company’s Arizona office. Kristina Jennings was promoted from accounting to sales, and Bobby Van Ligten was promoted to a full-time salesman in the company’s California office.
Note on correction: Bobby Van Ligten was misidentified in the original article.