NEWARK, DEL. - The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has six newly elected members on the PMA Board of Directors, which works with PMA staff and other industry members to help carry out the PMA mission 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, chief executive officer of PMA. “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, thought 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.”   

The new board members include: 

Alan Aguirre Ibarra - 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. Related to Grupo Alta, he is the president and founder of Fundación Alta IAP, president of the Hermosillo Food Bank, CEO of Distribuidora de Huevo de Baja California, and serves on the board of the Citi Banamex Group.   

Amelie Aust - Co-CEO and second-generation owner at Fall Creek, a blueberry breeding and nursery company serving berry companies throughout the Americas, EMEA and soon Asia. She joined the family business in 2008 when it was a US-only operation and helped lead growth over 10 years with operations now on four continents. 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.   

Nikki Cossio - 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 ag industry. 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. 

Amy L. Gates - 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 with its 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.  

Daniel Mathieson - Chief Executive of Zespri, the grower-owned kiwifruit marketer, since September 2017. His focus continues to be on developing outstanding 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, and 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 which has enabled Zespri to grow mature markets and diversify into new ones. Prior to Zespri, he worked in Tokyo for Omron and NEC.  

Jim Richter - President and CEO of Amerifresh in Scottsdale, Ariz. Amerifresh is a strategic business unit of US 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 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 Chair, 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.  

“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.”