( Courtesy of Produce Alliance )

From its annual conference hosted in Austin, Texas, Produce Alliance announced Joe Collier’s retirement and Melissa Ackerman’s transition to president of the Chicago-based produce management company.

“The potential we have as (a group) today would not have been possible without Joe’s many contributions from the very start of this business,” Produce Alliance CEO George Melshenker said in a news release.

Collier joined Produce Alliance during its 1996 founding year and served as its first business development officer, helping to grow and sustain the national network. 

Ackerman enters her new leadership role after supporting the business as associate general counsel, vice president of sales and executive vice president of sales. Her work has been central to business growth since 2012, adding more than 100 employees and enhancing the synergies among customers, distributors and the management expertise of Produce Alliance, according to the release.

“It’s a privilege to step into this role at this time because we have achieved so much, and I feel confident we can continue to transform and lead by helping our clients navigate in an industry encountering a lot of change,” Ackerman said in the release.