VANCOUVER, B.C. — Jeff Walker, longtime Houston-based sales manager for Oppy, will retire from the company at the end of this month.
Walker, who started selling produce from his family’s farm when he was eight, joined Oppy in January 1994, opening the company’s fifth US office on Houston’s Produce Row. Walker became fondly known by his colleagues as “The Lone Ranger,” singlehandedly building Oppy’s business with key customers in Texas and the South-Central US. He went on to create a high-performing sales team in Houston which thrives today.
“When Jeff joined us, we were launching the New Zealand Braeburn apple, which he helped establish in the region. From there, he introduced his customers to JAZZ™ and Envy™ apples, along with Zespri green and gold kiwifruit and ultimately the whole Oppy basket,” said Brett Libke, Oppy’s senior vice president of sales. “His leadership in our avocado business over the years enabled us to create a foothold in that key category, too.”
Walker brought a Texas-style Oppy to life through his relationship approach to sales, calm, witty insightfulness and knowledge of produce from the ground up.
Oppy sales manager Jim Leach will take over Walker’s position in Houston. With experience gained at BASF, Taylor Farms and PepsiCo, Leach joined Oppy as a business development representative in California in 2016 and quickly evolved to sales representative in 2017. Known for his energetic approach and solutions focus, Leach is relocating to Texas with a freshly minted MBA from Pepperdine University in hand.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for Jim to lead our South-Central U.S. sales strategy,” Libke said. “He has big shoes to fill with Jeff’s departure, but we are confident that Jim and the team in Texas will continue to deliver on the legacy Jeff established over the years.”