Kenneth Parker formally started as executive director Aug. 5 at the association’s Agritech education seminar and trade show.
Ted Campbell, the Dover-based organization’s executive director since 2008, formally handed over leadership of the organization to Parker the first day of the Aug. 5-6 show.
“You’ve made this city boy a real advocate of agriculture,” Campbell said. “I have learned so much of what you do and even bought blue jeans for the first time. More importantly, I’ve learned about your many challenges, including fumigation and your labor issues.”
A 40-year produce retail industry veteran, Campbell characterized the association’s financial strength as excellent and said Parker is one of the industry’s brightest stars.
“If this is the way transitions are supposed to work, I couldn’t have a better teacher,” Parker said. “Ted has organizational skills I can only dream of. Looking at what he’s done for this industry, we’re going to be better off for it for a long time.”
“When I began this job, I met with the old order of this industry, the great people and the veterans,” he said. “I am pleased to see the next generation of growers stepping-up into leadership roles. There are many of them out there now that show me you have highly competent and capable people up-and-coming here that will sustain this industry for years to come.”
Working alongside Campbell, Parker started as executive director July 1.
The conference is in its 32nd year and more than 300 growers attended, higher than the more than 200 that participated last year, said Sue Harrell, the association’s director of marketing.