The California Avocado Commission (CAC) announced Tuesday that produce veteran Connie Stukenberg has returned to the commission staff full-time as retail marketing director.
Stukenberg, who had worked on CAC’s merchandising staff from 2000-09, then continued her affiliation with the commission as part of her own business consultancy, CS Sales and Marketing for Results. She rejoined the CAC staff effective Aug. 31.
“CAC vice president Jan DeLyser and I are thrilled to have Connie’s merchandising and marketing expertise on staff, as well as all that she brings to the table with her retail relationships and passion for California avocados,” said Tom Bellamore, CAC president.
Stukenberg’s expanded responsibility with CAC includes calling on corporate accounts Albertsons, Costco and Safeway. She also has responsibility for retail marketing in Arizona and California, including the Los Angeles wholesale market.
This appointment aligns with commission’s focus on marketing California avocados in the western U.S. and with targeted customers across the country.
“Connie is an expert in avocado merchandising and marketing,” said DeLyser. “The relationships that she has built with retailers and others in the produce industry are invaluable.”
Stukenberg has been affiliated with the produce industry for more than 30 years, beginning in 1979 implementing programs for in-store juice extractors in an era before bottled refrigerated juices were merchandised in produce. She co-founded Citrus Connection in 1987 and built the fresh juice company until it was purchased by California Day Fresh Foods (a Chiquita subsidiary that was later renamed Naked Juice). She stayed on with Naked Juice managing national and regional key retail account sales until 2000 when she joined CAC.
In 2012 the Fresh Produce and Floral Council (FPFC) presented her with the “Buz” Bolstad Produce Achievement Award for meritorious service and outstanding contributions to the produce industry and council. She is currently serving her third term on the board of directors for FPFC and will serve on the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Fresh Summit Committee beginning in 2015.
Created in 1978, the California Avocado Commission strives to increase demand for California avocados through advertising, promotion and public relations, and engages in related industry activities that benefit the state’s nearly 5,000 avocado growers. The CAC serves as the official information source for California avocados and the California avocado industry.