Walter Ram, vice president for food safety at The Giumarra Cos., has been named member of the year by the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.
The trade group’s new chairman is Matt Mandel, vice president of sales and marketing at Rio Rico, Ariz.-based SunFed.
Ram was honored and board members were elected May 6 at the annual membership meeting of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas in Nogales, Ariz.
Gonzalo Avila, chief executive officer for Malena Produce Inc., became chairman-elect.
Lance Jungmeyer, FPAA president, presented the member of the year award to Ram. “Walter Ram has been an invaluable asset to our members and this association, leading our group in the ongoing development of (Food Safety Modernization Act) comments, working on several high-level issues in Washington, D.C., strengthening our ties with national produce associations and generously giving of his time and experience to better our industry,” Jungmeyer said in a news release.
Mandel served on the board for several years before becoming chairman-elect in 2012. As chairman, he will continue to serve as a spokesman for the industry at meetings in Phoenix, Mexico City, and Washington, D.C., as well as lead the board.
Outgoing chairman Alejandro Canelos, director for Apache Produce, recounted work done by the trade group including delegation trips to meet with government officials in the U.S. and Mexico; and steps toward improved trade. He remains on the FPAA board.
Members elected eight distributor directors and two associate directors to the board. Reelected directors include:
- Bobby Astengo, Healthy Trends Produce Co.;
- Ricardo Crisantes, Wholesum Family Farms;
- Bert Monteverde, Jr., H.M. Distributors;
- Jose Luis Obregon, IPR Fresh;
- Rod Sbragia, Tricar Sales Inc.; and
- Leonardo Tarriba, Farmer’s Best International.
New directors, also elected for two years, are Guillermo Martinez, Del Campo Supreme; and Jaime Chamberlain, J-C Distributing Inc.
Completing terms were Bobby Bennen, Jr., of Ta-De Distributing and Martin Ley.
J.J. Badillo of Delta Fresh Sales LLC; Chris Ciruli of Ciruli Bros.; Brent Harrison of Harrison Fresh; Ram; and Scott Vandervoet of Vandervoet & Associates Inc. each have one year remaining in their board terms.
Badillo was reelected chairman of the trade group’s tomato division. Ciruli was elected to chair the mango division. Ciruli succeeds George Mendez, longtime division chairman. John Pandol of Pandol Bros. remains chairman of the grape division.