Edinburg, Texas-based J&D Produce has hired Bret Erickson, former CEO for Mission-based Texas International Produce Association, as director of business development.

During his time at the association, from 2012-17, Erickson had worked with J&D president Jimmy Bassetti, who is chairman of the association, on numerous initiatives.

“We are thrilled to have Bret Erickson join the J&D family,” Bassetti said. “He understands the challenges that face our business, including a growing shortage of labor, the need for mechanization, water availability, food safety, and changing retail and consumer trends.

“Bret brings a valuable mix of knowledge and experience that will help position J&D for future growth and success,” Bassetti said.

Erickson said his role will include some operational responsibilities and work on special projects, but in general he will be tasked with studying long-term challenges and changes in the industry and determining how J&D can best prepare for those.

After leaving the Texas International Produce Association, Erickson accepted a position as general manager of a ScanTech Sciences facility being built in McAllen, Texas. ScanTech uses irradiation as an alternative to fumigation, methyl bromide or hot water treatments on fruits and vegetables.

Though he will not be working for ScanTech anymore, Erickson remains hugely confident in the company’s technology and direction.

“I suspect that I’ll be working with them on the customer side,” Erickson said, noting that he plans to steer potential customers and people looking for work to ScanTech when those chances arise.

Despite his enthusiasm for ScanTech, he wanted to be able to work with Bassetti and J&D.

“It was kind of like a brother asking me to come work with him,” Erickson said. “It was impossible for me not to take the opportunity to work for J&D.”

His first day J&D Produce was July 31.