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Meet Class 21

Gary Beadles Headshot 

Gary Beadles joined RPE in 2002 and currently serves as Sourcing and Sales manager. He oversees and manages the company’s procurement department while maintaining strong sales relationships throughout the produce industry.  Instrumental in developing the company’s Sourcing & Repacking  program that continues to provide  solutions for our vast customer base, he is also active within the National Onion Association (NOA), serving on the promotional committee.

Julie DeWolf

Julie DeWolf is the Director of Retail Marketing for Sunkist Growers. Prior to that, she worked in a variety of industries such as entertainment, CPG and video games and is also a former CPA who started her career in public accounting and corporate finance.  In her current role, Julie is responsible for developing all marketing strategies and programs at grocery retailers across North America and is also a key contributor on the company’s social media strategy and tactics.  She earned a degree from UCLA in Economics/Business and is an active volunteer on multiple committees within the industry.

Justin Heffernan

Justin Heffernan the Director of Produce for Roundy’s Supermarkets where he oversees merchandising and procurement for the chain’s four banners – Mariano’s, Metro Market, Pick n’ Save, and Copps.  He has worked in a number of roles within the retail food and food service industry over the last 20 years, but has been focused primarily on produce merchandising for the past 9 years.  Justin holds a BA in Economics and a BA in Speech Communications from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and earned an MBA from Northern Illinois University. 

Tonya_Hill

Tonya Hill is the Director of Sales for Frontera Produce.  She oversees the daily sales operations, coordinates new customer development, and serves as the Tropicals Category Manager.  Tonya joined Frontera in the fall of 2013.  Prior to joining the Frontera team, she worked 10 years in the Texas citrus industry with Rio Queen Citrus and Paramount Citrus.  Tonya attended Texas A&M University and started her career in the accounting field.  She serves on several 4-H and FFA fundraising and scholarship boards and is heavily involved with the Simbrah cattle breed associations in Texas

robert holthouse_small

Robert Holthouse is a 5th generation family farmer and food safety manager for Holthouse Farms and Doug Walcher Farms. In 2013 he started his own company Orizant, and developed Sapphire Safety, a real time food safety management software. Robert has received the Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship to attend The United Fresh Washington Conference. He was named one of Vance Publishing’s 2014’s 40 Under 40 in Agriculture and currently serves as president of the Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement Board.

Jessica Kerstein

Jessica Kerstein began her career in the produce industry as an intern at Lipman in April 2011, just after completing her masters in business. During her internship, she learned all aspects of the company’s operations – from picking and packing tomatoes, to accounting, operations, transportation and everything in between. She was officially hired in August 2011 as a marketing associate and spent her first few years working in the company’s Florida and North Carolina operations. She moved to Dallas at the beginning of 2014 and is now responsible for Lipman’s marketing and business development activities.

James Martin

James Martin is the Director of Sustainability at Wilson Produce, a fourth-generation grower-distributor based in Nogales, Arizona. He is also a partner in Solar Gain and SolGen International, developing renewble energy in the agricultural sectors of the US and Mexico. He served with the US Peace Corps in the Federated States of Micronesia after studies at universities in Cuba, Denmark and the US and holds BA degrees in Philosophy and Latin American Studies from the University of Arizona.

janine_meyer

Janine Meyer is a National Accounts Division Manager with NatureSweet Tomatoes. She began her career in the meat industry in both corporate marketing and sales capacities.  Janine graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Texas Tech University.  She volunteers at the San Antonio Food Bank, is a Girl Scout leader, serves as the San Antonio Chi Omega Sorority Alumnae Chapter social/recruitment chair and is an Executive PTA Committee Member. 

Greg Ogiba

Greg Ogiba is the General Manager of AMC Direct, Inc. Canada, which is a division of the European-based grower, exporter and juice company best known for citrus & grapes.  Greg and his team’s focus is to seek the most efficient ways to connect AMC’s growers and retailers with new and exciting produce with the aim to provide consumers with healthy choices to increase the consumption of produce.  Greg is experienced in working closely with growers in many key agricultural countries such as Chile, Peru, South Africa, Spain, Morocco, Israel and the USA, as well as with retailers in Canada, the USA and UK.   He also earned his MBA at Queen’s University and is a CPA, CMA.  

Tim Rabon headshot

Tim Rabon grew up in a small farming community in central South Carolina.  He has an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies from Charleston Southern University and a Masters of Human Resources from the University of South Carolina.  Throughout high school and college, he worked for a local peach farmer helping in the field, packing house, and roadside stand.  After college, he worked in the automotive industry and the high tech manufacturing industry primarily in the Human Resources function.  In 2010, he had the opportunity to join Walter P. Rawl & Sons, Inc. as the Sr. HR Manager.  In 2014, he was promoted to his current position of Director of Corporate Strategy & Human Resources. 

Brian Vertrees

Brian Vertrees is a Senior Account Manager at Naturipe Farms. He oversees regional and national accounts, helping to maximize berry sales at retail that drive profitable returns to Naturipe’s grower owners.  He has developed marketing programs with PBH, Sesame Workshop, Radio Disney and others.  In 2010, Brian was named one of  Produce Business’ 40 Under 40 and more recently in 2014 was selected to participate in Naturipe’s internal Cultivate Leadership Program. Graduating from Pacific Lutheran University, Brian holds a degree in business with an emphasis in marketing

Andrew_White

Andrew White is the National Sales Manager for Tosca.  His responsibilities include the sale and management of reusable plastic container programs throughout the supply chain, supporting both grower and retail stakeholders.  He is a 2000 graduate of The Citadel, majoring in Business Administration.  Andrew is very active in his alumni network, serving as a participant in The Citadel’s 4th Class Mentorship Program as well as Company Representative for The Class of 2000’s annual gift campaign. 

For questions about the Produce Industry Leadership Program, contact Jessica Mosley, Director of Education, at 202.303.3417.