Steve Grinstead will assume the presidency of Pro*Act, Monterrey, Calif., on June 14.
“I’m getting all of my juices charged and am ready to go,” he said June 2 while vacationing with his family at the beaches of Clearwater, Fla.
Grinstead, 45, said he had been in talks with Pro*Act for a month and a half. The offer to head the 40-member distributor organization came May 31. The Mixtec Group, Pasadena, Calif., was retained to conduct the search for Pro*Act earlier this year.
Pro*Act has been without a leader since its former president and chief executive officer Jim Catchot left Sept. 1 to run a retail produce distribution company with his brother, Ken Catchot, in the Sacramento, Calif., suburb of Rancho Cordova.
“We have certainly been looking for the right person over the last few months,” said Greg Yancey, Pro*Act’s chairman and president of Yancey’s Food Service Inc., Loveland, Colo.
“With all of his produce background, knowledge and business experience, we believe Steve is the ideal person to lead Pro*Act into the future. He has the leadership skills to enhance our organization.”
Being a national distributor, Yancey said Pro*Act requires a unique individual to handle all of the responsibilities associated with its staff and membership.
Grinstead said he plans to work with the individual member companies over the next several months to help determine his leadership goals.
“It all starts with the member companies,” he said. “They are the company, obviously, and are really the catalyst for the business.”
Pro*Act has done a good job assembling a team of buyers and has developed an efficient and effective process, Grinstead said. The organization’s member companies, he said, are among the country’s great produce companies.
“We want to help them continue to grow and expand on the services Pro*Act currently provides,” he said.
The move to Pro*Act is the latest in Grinstead’s long career in produce. He began in 1974 by sacking groceries in a Tampa, Fla., Winn-Dixie store.
In the early 1980s, he worked as director of produce for Super Warehouse Foods in the Houston suburb of Baytown, Texas. From 1982-91, he was general manager of Houston wholesaler Grocers Supply Produce Co.
Grinstead helped found Dallas-based fresh produce distributor and repacker Fresh America Corp., where he served as a director, president, chief operating officer and CEO for nine years before becoming COO of Dallas-based Standard Fruit and Vegetable Co. Inc.
After Fresh Del Monte Inc., Coral Gables, Fla., bought Standard in January 2003, Grinstead assumed the vice presidency of Del Monte’s central operations for North America, which included the company’s fresh-cut and repack operations. Grinstead remained at that post until late April 2003.