( Courtesy Zespri )

Jason Donaldson, the operations manager for the Americas for Zespri, has died.

Donaldson, who joined the New Zealand kiwifruit marketer in early 2018, died while on a business trip overseas on March 22, according to Zespri. He was 46.

“We are devastated by the unexpected passing of a great colleague and friend,” Ben Hughes, Zespri’s general manager for the Americas, said in a statement. “Jason brought a contagious energy and enthusiasm to work each day and was liked and admired by everyone that worked with him.

“Most importantly, Jason was a devoted husband and very proud father who was very involved in his kids’ lives.”

Donaldson was recruited for the operations manager for Zespri, formed a talented group and made changes in the capability of Zespri operations in the region, according to Zespri.

Before joining Zespri, he had more than 20 years in operations management in food and beverages. His most recent position before Zespri was at Frieda’s Specialty Produce.

Survivors include his wife, Melinda and three children, Jake, Jenna and Hank. Donations to help the family can be made to a GoFundMe page.

Donaldson was based in Newport Beach, Calif.

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