Produce Marketing Association welcomed six new industry leaders to the PMA Board of Directors on Oct. 22.
The newly elected leaders span the industry supply chain and the global community. PMA’s board is comprised of leaders of the industry who provide a variety of perspectives and experience from across the global produce and floral supply chains. The board works with PMA staff and other industry members to connect, inform and deliver industry solutions to enhance member prosperity.
“I am excited to welcome the six newly elected leaders to the PMA Board of Directors,” said Cathy Burns, PMA CEO. “These volunteers are essential to helping PMA reach the goals set in our strategic plan and realizing our vision to grow a healthier world. They provide strategic guidance, thoughtful leadership and their own unique perspectives to guide the organization’s growth and value to members and industry. It’s a blessing to have their partnership and collaboration in the years ahead.”
PMA 2020 Newly Elected Board of Directors
Alan Aguirre Ibarra
Ibarra is an industry leader with extensive commercial and philanthropic experience. He is the CEO of Grupo Alta and Divine Flavor LLC, an international grower/shipper company, with 29 years of experience in the international produce sector. Ibarra also is the president and founder of Fundación Alta IAP, an organization focused on providing the elements to achieve a dignified and healthy lifestyle for agricultural workers.
He currently is the president of the Hermosillo Food Bank, whose mission is to raise awareness and promote the donation and rescue of food in the community, distributing it efficiently to those who need it most. Lastly, Ibarra is the CEO of Distribuidora de Huevo de Baja California, an egg distribution company located in Tijuana, Baja California and serves on the board of the Citi Banamex Group.
Aust is a co-CEO and second-generation owner at Fall Creek, a blueberry breeding and nursery serving berry companies throughout the Americas, EMEA and soon Asia. She joined the family business in 2008 when it was a U.S.-only operation and has led growth over 10 years with operations now on four continents. While she has been responsible for commercialization of new berry varieties for Fall Creek, Aust’s experience extends into the consumer market, when she launched Brazelberries, a consumer brand in the home garden industry, created to diversify during the 2009 economic crisis.
While earning her master’s degree in intellectual property law in Munich, Germany, Aust was a Fulbright Scholar at the Max Planck Institute. She also serves on the board of Global Women Fresh.
Cossio is the founder and CEO of Measure to Improve. She is a recognized leader in the produce industry, known for building successful sustainability programs and implementing innovative solutions. She is an industry educator and visionary with numerous awards and recognition for leadership and innovation in sustainability. Most recently, she was recognized in the Packer 25 Profiles in Leadership for the agricultural industry.
As a member of a long-standing California farming family, Cossio understands what sustainability means across five generations. Her professional career has always been about building synergy between the three crucial aspects of a successful agriculture business: people, planet and profit. Cossio currently serves on PMA’s sustainability committee and is a member of the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops Coordinating Council supporting the emerging on-farm sustainability metrics for specialty crops. In 2011, Cossio founded the Monterey County Sustainability Working Group, an effort to share current and successful sustainability efforts among agricultural producers and processors on California’s Central Coast.
Amy L. Gates
Gates is the former president of Frontera Produce of Edinburg, Texas. Gates entered the produce industry when she joined the Frontera team in 2004. She began her career with Famous Software and worked with Frontera’s installation of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. She advanced quickly at Frontera, impacting the organization through streamlining and optimizing operations and systems, creating new companies and helping the organization become a leader in traceability and food safety.
She has served on the PTI Joint Industry Leadership Council since 2009.
Mathieson is the chief executive of Zespri, the grower-owned kiwi marketer, since September 2017. Based between Zespri’s head office in New Zealand and its global sales and marketing hub in Singapore, his focus continues to be on developing people and teams who are committed to delivering sustainable value for growers, consumers and all stakeholders that support the healthy growth of Zespri’s eco-system. His career with Zespri has spanned almost 20 years.
In his former role as Zespri’s president of global sales and marketing, he led Zespri’s sales and marketing operations and offshore markets, helping deliver a demand-led strategy that has enabled Zespri to grow mature markets and diversify into new ones. Prior to Zespri, he worked in Tokyo for Omron and NEC.
Richter is the president and CEO of Amerifresh in Scottsdale, Arizona. Amerifresh is a strategic business unit of U.S. Foods and is a shipper, marketer and sourcing company for food service, retail and wholesale customers throughout North America. Prior to joining Amerifresh, Richter spent 10 years at Wilcox Fresh on the grower-shipper side of the industry and held the position of CEO, as well as an owner-partner in Northeast Distribution Services LLC. Additionally, he spent 25 years in retail supermarkets and convenience stores at H.E.B., Marsh, Randalls-Tom Thumb and 7-Eleven in senior leadership roles.
Richter earned his management degree from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. He also completed the Executive Leadership Program at Cornell University. Richter received the International Fresh-Cut Produce Association Fresh-cut Promoter of the Year award in 1999. He has served as a PMA and Center for Growing Talent volunteer for many years in a variety of capacities.
The PMA board will be led by Chairman Dwight Ferguson, president and CEO of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation. In his incoming chair remarks at Fresh Summit 2020, Ferguson detailed the board’s priorities for the year.
“Looking ahead to 2021, there are several areas I will focus on in partnership with the board, our volunteers and staff, the most important of which is the execution of PMA’s new strategic plan. Our vision remains the same – to bring together the global produce and floral communities to grow a healthier world – but we will use some new filters to get there,” said Ferguson, “including a stronger focus on building deeper global connections with produce and floral sectors worldwide; a lens of diversity and inclusion to ensure we do all that we can to welcome new talent and new thinking into our community; and exponentially expanding our reach to include everyone who enjoys the joy of fresh produce and floral.”