“If we have any apprehensions, it’s that there aren’t enough hours in the day, but we make the most of all of them,” he said.
The fall promotion MHAIA had built around the Major League Baseball playoffs will continue, O’Connor said.
“We’re excited, but we’re crafting a lot in a brand-new strategy and execution,” he said.
O’Connor said he will apply much of what he learned in his stint as CEO of the U.S. Potato Board in his new job.
“There is that combination of our grower and importer deep knowledge of the product and their experiences in selling the product for years,” he said.
O’Connor takes up his new job in the same year that Mexico shipped more than 1 billion pounds of avocados to the U.S. for the first time. Final shipments likely will be around 1.2 billion, he said.
“It’s a huge step. The growth in demand is spectacular,” he said.
But there is plenty of room for further growth, he said.
“When you look at per-capita consumption rates, you realize the potential growth is virtually unlimited,” he said.
Avocados from Mexico has no headquarters so O’Connor remains in Denver, and other staffers stay where they have been, O’Connor said.
Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing with Santa Paula, Calif.-based Calavo Growers, said the industry is excited about O’Connor and his new marketing effort.
“It looks promising,” Wedin said.
Ross Wileman, vice president of sales and marketing for Oxnard, Calif.-based Mission Produce Inc., said O’Connor has put together a highly qualified staff.
“I think there’s going to be a learning curve for Tim and his team to understand his commodity, but it’s definitely a great team they put together,” Wileman said.