A new director for the Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Board signals a change in the organization’s direction, according to growers.

Pennsylvania apple board hires new directorThe Harrisburg-based board has hired Julie Bancroft as its executive director.

Bancroft, who worked more than a decade in marketing for a consumer goods company as well as for a state agency, started in her new role May 2.

She succeeds Karin Rodriguez, who resigned in December for family reasons, said Julie Haller, board chair and credit manager of Adams County Nursery Inc., Aspers, Pa.

“This is really a fresh start (for us),” Haller said. “Julie brings a lot of talent with her and this represents a new opportunity to meet our growers’ needs. Nationwide, the crop could be quite large which increases the challenges of moving our crop here in Pennsylvania. With Julie’s expertise, (the board) will be a big help in moving that crop.”

Pennsylvania apple board hires new directorThough new to the produce industry, Bancroft said she plans to quickly learn the business.

Bancroft worked in various marketing and operations management roles for a Harrisburg manufacturer of laptop carrying cases and mobile accessories and worked in marketing communications for the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

“Though this is a departure, it’s very exciting,” she said. “I’m looking forward to using my marketing background to represent growers and created a strong program from Pennsylvania and Eastern apples. I want to work in conjunction with growers to identify some new market segments as well as new partnerships that may not have been explored before.”

Bancroft helped found SheSays Central PA, a local chapter of the international organization for women in marketing, and serves in various non-profit organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters and the U.S. Green Building Council.