Incoming Produce Marketing Association chairman Joe Don Zetzsche, floral director for H-E-B, arrives in the role at an important time for the organization.

By the end of 2020, PMA will have closed the book on its current three-year strategic plan and opened the book on a new plan for 2021-23. 

Zetzsche, who has been a volunteer leader for the organization for more than a decade, sees a number of big-picture topics for PMA to tackle during his tenure as chairman.

“We will of course continue to enhance the global daily value we give to our members, through new reports and data delivered daily electronically, through better regional events, as well as of course through continuing to refresh and grow the value of the Fresh Summit,” Zetzsche said. 

“We also have a lot of work to activate the scientific expertise of the PMA to urgently shift to a proactive produce safety culture. 

“In addition, we are in an incredible position to help our industry understand the opportunities around technology and talent, because technology will help generate data and become more efficient, but we certainly need the right people to analyze and act upon that data to meet consumer demands,” Zetzsche said. 

“We can do that this year and we will. We also need to continue to scan the horizon and continue to teach ourselves what future challenges we will be facing and build them into our next strategic plan.”

Another element that continues to be a hallmark for PMA is its research, Zetzsche noted in a call during which he previewed Fresh Summit along with CEO Cathy Burns and outgoing chairman David Marguleas.

Zetzsche expressed particular excitement about the new PMA floral report that will debut at Fresh Summit.

“This floral study is something that we’ve been begging for as an industry,” Zetzsche said. “ ... I’m so excited to take three or four hours and dive into it because I believe for every member of the floral industry, from growers globally all the way through retail, from all segments of floral retail, can learn a lot about our consumers — the types of consumers that are purchasing by occasion and the opportunities that we have against the competitors in the floral gift space that our consumers will give us, based on the research.”

In the call previewing Fresh Summit and PMA’s priorities heading into next year, Zetzsche also mentioned the organization’s Center for Growing Talent.

“With the changes we’re seeing across the world, it’s more important than ever to remember that our greatest asset as an industry is our people, and so the Center for Growing Talent will be essential in the coming year as we look to attract new and high quality talent to continue to allow us to grow and thrive,” he said. 

Zetzsche first got involved in industry leadership about 10 years ago, when Schnucks floral director Michael Schrader — then the chairman of the PMA Floral Council — encouraged him to join the group. 

Zetzsche progressed from being a member of the floral council to serving as chairman of that group.

After winning the Floral Marketer of the Year award, he joined PMA’s strategic planning task force and then the PMA board.

“I am so excited to facilitate strategic conversations and leverage the collective wisdom of our outstanding board of directors,” Zetzsche said. 

“Leading discussions with such talented people who run businesses of all sizes in the global produce and floral community, around the critical strategic issues we all face, is such a humbling yet amazing opportunity for me in my personal leadership journey.” 

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