UPDATED: Curry & Co. hires Vidalia veteran

01/16/2013 09:33:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Michael HivelyHively(UPDATED COVERAGE, Jan. 17) Vidalia onion veteran Michael Hively’s joining Curry & Co. as chief financial officer and chief operating officer helps transition the company into a year-round sweet onion shipper.

Brooks, Ore.-based Curry & Co. is also planning to expand blueberry and carrot volumes.

Hively said Curry & Co. plans to harvest 750 acres of Vidalias this season, from its own acreage and from other growers. That’s up from 350 acres it sold last year through a former partnership with Statesboro, Ga.-based Gerrald’s Vidalia Sweet Onion Inc.

Hively said he possesses an ownership interest in Curry’s Georgia operation but declined to elaborate on the partnership.

“I had a lot of job offers from quite a few different companies,” Hively said. “What finally made me choose Curry was not only the opportunity to grow the company with Curry but also be personally involved. ... I foresee us taking Curry from a $60 million business to $90 million in a few short years.”

Curry & Co.Curry & Co. plans to expand its 450 acres of carrots, and add to an Oregon blueberry program with berries from Georgia and other eastern states.

Other personnel additions include Adam Blocker, who started with the company in May, and Jamie Brannen, former partner in Gerrald’s Vidalia Sweet Onion. Brannen, who joined Curry & Co. in late 2012, will manage Georgia sales from Curry & Co.’s Statesboro office, Hively said.

Hively said Curry plans to pack in a new facility in Collins, Ga.

“We are really excited about having Jamie on board,” president Matt Curry said in December. “We’ve worked together a long time but Jamie’s a class act and why we decided to have him on board.”

After nine years at Bland Farms, where he worked several roles, including chief financial officer, chief operating officer, and most recently director of operations, Hively left the grower-shipper in November 2011.

For a decade, Hively managed Del Monte Fresh’s finance administration and was also southeast general manager, leading Del Monte’s Vidalia division in McRae, Ga. He worked in accounting and operations for Pacific Tomato Growers Ltd., Palmetto, Fla., and also worked for Palmetto-based Roger Harloff Packing Inc.

In addition to sweet onions, carrots and blueberries, Curry & Co. also grows and ships storage onions and West Coast blackberries.



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