( Courtesy Brighter Bites )

Rich Dachman, former vice president of produce for Sysco Corp., is now the CEO of the nonprofit Brighter Bites.

Dachman retired from Sysco in June after 28 years, according to a news release, and he has more than 40 years of experience in the industry. He has been a board member of Brighter Bites for three years.

“I look forward to assisting Brighter Bites expand the impact of a program that is increasing produce consumption by teaching families how to change their eating habits for improved health,” he said in the release. “In my new role, I will be able to continue working with my colleagues in the produce industry, but in a way that enriches underserved communities around the country. Who could ask for a better job?”

Brighter Bites uses access to fresh produce, nutrition education and exposure to recipes and messages featuring fresh food to boost consumption. The evidence-based program in elementary schools, pre-schools and summer camps gives families and teacher two bags of about 50 servings of eight to 12 different produce items and nutrition education materials.

Research from the University of Texas’ UTHealth School of Public Health shows that 98% of parents report their children eat more fruit and vegetables while in the program, and of those, 74% maintained increased levels of consumption after the program.

“Rich has been an integral part of our organization for so long, and we could not be more pleased to have someone with his passion leading the way," Brighter Bites founder and chairwoman Lisa Helfman said in the release. “Rich’s guidance will take Brighter Bites to a new level of impact. The Brighter Bites staff will benefit from Rich's authentic leadership style and mentorship, and the communities they serve will benefit from Rich’s relationships in the produce industry.”

Dachman began his career at his father’s produce distribution company, Perry Produce Co., in Denver, and they later opened foodservice broadliner Westman Commission Co., a Kraft company. Dachman joined Kraft’s corporate office in Chicago in 1987 as national director of produce, joining FreshPoint Inc. after five years.

He was president of FreshPoint Operating Cos. in Houston, Denver, Atlanta and the company’s central procurement office in Salinas, Calif., according to the release. Sysco acquired FreshPoint in 2000, and he was appointed senior vice president of the western region. He was promoted to vice president of produce in 2007.

In 2010, The Packer named Dachman as its Foodservice Achievement Award recipient. He was the inaugural recipient of the Produce Marketing Association Center for Growing Talent’s Jay Pack Cultivating Our Future Award in 2018. He has also received the Produce for Better Health’s Excellence Award. He was the PMA chairman in 2012 and has had more than 10 years of service at PMA.

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