(Dec. 4, 5:00 p.m.) A Washington apple industry veteran with 16 years’ experience in international sales will be the new president of the Wenatchee-based Washington State Apple Commission.

Todd Fryhover, 46, the commission’s export operations director, was selected unanimously by the organization’s board of directors Dec. 4 and officially begins his new position Jan. 1.

“This is a tremendous opportunity and an honor to have this bestowed on me by 14 hard-working board members,” Fryhover said. “It’s a big job, and a great industry.”

Fryhover succeeds Dave Carlson, who was placed on administrative leave by the board in July. Since July, Ken Severn has served as interim president.

Robert Kershaw, president of Yakima-based Domex Superfresh Growers, said the board couldn’t have made a better pick.

“I thought while he was at the helm of the export side he did a tremendous job, and I was quietly hoping he would get the job,” he said.

Kershaw said Fryhover, a 23-year industry veteran, is probably the most experienced marketer of Washington apples the commission has ever had.

“He’s someone who can relate to us,” he said. “If I call him with a concern, I know he understands it.”

Severn called Fryhover the “perfect choice” for the job.

“We think he’ll add a lot of value to the Washington industry going forward,” he said. “He’s dynamic, he brings a lot of experience and we’re absolutely delighted to have him on board as our new president.”

The selection of Fryhover, who owned his own apple export business for a decade and before that ran the export desk for Wenatchee-based Dovex Export Co., reflects the commission’s focus on export sales.

Fryhover estimated that about 80% of his time will be spent on the international side.

He said he would like to see 35 million boxes of Washington apples exported in 2008-2009. That would be 15% more than last season’s total.

Mexico, Indonesia, India, Vietnam and China are expected to be among the markets the commission will target for that growth, Fryhover said.

For the time being, Fryhover’s duties as export operations director will be absorbed into the president’s role, though the commission could choose to hire a new export director in the future, Fryhover said.

Fryhover joined the commission in 2006 as project manager. He was promoted to export operations director in September.

Leading the search for the new president were board members Dalton Thomas, owner of Wenatchee-based Oneonta Trading Corp.; and Mark Zirkle, president of Rainier Fruit Co., Selah, Wash.

Fryhover to lead Washington Apple Commission