(Oct. 26) After an absence of 13 years, Keith Mathews has returned to the Yakima Valley Growers-Shippers Association, Yakima, Wash., as executive director.

He succeeds Miles Kohl, who resigned to join Allan Bros. Inc., Naches, Wash., as executive manager.

“I think I bring a quite diverse background to the executive director’s position,” Mathews said.

He returns to a post he vacated in 1994 to become U.S. director of marketing for Rainier Fruit Co., Yakima. He joined Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos. Inc. in 2002 as general manager of Northwest operations and, more recently, was the company’s director of grower development and production in the Northwest.

The Yakima Growers-Shippers Association was originally formed, Mathews said, to provide business services for grower-shippers and to collect data, such as weekly shipments-to-market and monthly inventory of product. Mathews said he returns to an association that is a well-oiled machine.

“The association has been in good hands and has progressed down a natural path of becoming very sophisticated in database compilation and electronic data transfer,” said Mathews who started his new position Oct. 15.

The head of the data department, Autumn Bernier, the association’s interim executive director after Kohl resigned, will remain with the association, Mathews said.