Ray Gilmer is leaving the United Fresh Produce Association at the end of October to take a post at Montgomery College in Maryland.

Gilmer, who joined United Fresh in 2009, has served as vice president of issues management and communications for the Washington, D.C. based association. His last day will be Oct. 31. He will begin his new position as vice president of communications for Montgomery College in Rockville, Md., on Nov. 3.

Before coming to United Fresh, Gilmer was director of public affairs with the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association from 1994 to 2006, then worked at BASF Crop Protection in North Carolina as national group communications manager for two years before joining United Fresh in April 2009.

“I think being part of the salad bar program when it got started — and when we partnered with the Let’s Move campaign and the first lady — was probably one of the most memorable achievements during my time here,” he said Oct. 7. “Getting to work on the salad bar campaign was one of the most gratifying parts of my career.”

Calling Tom Stenzel a “tremendous mentor,” Gilmer said it was tough to leave the produce industry and United Fresh.

“It is tough to step away from an industry with so many wonderful people, but on the other hand this is an opportunity for me to do something completely different in an academic environment that is very attractive to me,” he said. “It lets me sink my teeth into a brand new endeavor, with a new team and a new set of challenges.”

Tom Stenzel, president of United Fresh, wished Gilmer well in his new job and said the association would is evaluating staffing needs in communications and marketing.

Lisa Hightower, who had been communications manager at United Fresh, joined the American Farm Bureau Federation earlier this year as the director of rural development.