FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOLSOM, Calif. – June 8, 2022 – The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) today announced the first cohort of fellows accepted into its Blueberry Industry Leadership Program. The program, launched in March, is designed to elevate up-and-coming leaders in the blueberry industry by providing in-depth training, industry education and connection to other ag leaders for passionate blueberry professionals across the supply chain.
“We’re thrilled to welcome this group of leaders as our inaugural class of fellows,” said Amanda Griffin, USHBC’s vice president of engagement and education. “These ag professionals will guide the blueberry industry into a bright future, and we can’t wait to be a part of their journey by helping to add to their knowledge, experience and level of connection.”
Selected as inaugural fellows in the program are:
• Christina Butler, Director of NW and NJ Business Units, MBG Marketing
• Gonzalo de Elizalde, Blueberry Product Leadership Sr. Director, Driscoll’s
• Ernesto Diaz, Director of Operations, Berry Brothers
• Anna Jesse, Vice President, Forest Hills Farms Inc.
• Karan Kohli, Account Manager, Mastronardi Produce
• Scott Mainord, SE Regional Sales Manager, WECO
• Luke McCreesh, N.A. Blueberry Operations Manager, California Giant Berry Farms
• Jennifer Pulcipher, Director of Food Safety & Compliance, North Bay Produce Inc.
• Darren Sinn, Northwest Business Manager, Berry Fresh LLC
• Micah Weiss, Sales and Grower Support, Fall Creek Farm & Nursery Inc.
The Blueberry Industry Leadership Program is the first of its kind in the blueberry industry and will help fellows grow their leadership skill set, learn from decades-long industry leaders and develop their network of connections. Professional development within the industry is a priority as members of the blueberry industry work together to make blueberries the No. 1 berry in sales volume and premium value. Fellows in the new program will lead the industry into its next period of growth.
The fellows will begin their training this summer and continue through next year, taking an interactive approach to leadership development through hands-on training, immersive learning experiences, engagement with key industry players and exposure to the many components of the produce supply chain.
Fellows will participate both virtually and in person, traveling four times over the course of the curriculum through August 2023, with a graduation ceremony taking place at the 2023 USHBC fall meetings.
The second group of fellows to enter the program will be selected in the fall of 2023.
Vice President of Engagement and Education
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About the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
Established in 2000, The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) is a federal agriculture research and promotion program with independent oversight from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). USHBC represents blueberry growers and packers in North and South America who market their blueberries in the United States and overseas, and works to promote the growth and well-being of the entire blueberry industry. USHBC was established by blueberry growers and currently has 2,500 growers, packers and importers. USHBC is committed to providing blueberries that are grown, harvested, packed and shipped in clean, safe environments. Learn more at ushbc.org.