(Feb. 18) Julia Stewart recently joined the Produce Marketing Association as public relations director, responsible for overseeing all public relations and crisis communications endeavors.

“It’s very difficult to find a public relations, communications strategist,” said Lorna Christie, senior vice president of industry products and services for the Newark, Del.-based PMA. “She has a rare set of talents that already are making her valuable to us and the industry. She’s a communications strategist that understands the produce industry and is very well connected, and that’s a very unique set of attributes.”

Stewart, who succeeds Debra Mitchell, brings more than 15 years of industry experience to the role, most recently as a communications consultant for the company she founded — Ashburn, Va.-based Clarity Communications LLC — in 2004 and previously as vice president of public relations for the U.S. Apple Association, McLean, Va., where she served for 11 years, Stewart said.

The PMA position, which she started in January, was luring for Stewart because it provides an opportunity to deal with a variety of matters that are vital to the industry, she said.

“My consulting experience over the last four years was incredible, so it was really going to take something special to make me change,” Stewart said. “For communications professionals in the produce industry, there aren’t positions that are much more meaty. I have a chance to work on a broad range of issues that are critical to the industry and with an organization and people that I respect.”

PMA public relations coordinator Theresa Zuroick remains on the association’s staff.

PMA names public relations director
Julia Stewart has joined the Produce Marketing Association as public relations director.