MISSION VIEJO, CALIF. – The Hass Avocado Board has added four new staff members to keep up with surging demand for avocados.

The board’s research projects have nearly doubled in the past five years, and promotion has been proven to play a fundamental role in expanding demand, according to the board.

“As HAB enters its 20th year, we have invested in developing our organizational structure,” said Emiliano Escobedo, the board’s executive director. “To maximize our impact, we have expanded the roles and responsibilities of our current staff based on their strengths and added new positions for strategic support. As a team, we are now poised to work more effectively and more efficiently to reach our long-term program goals.” 

The new staff members include: 

Feon Cheng, PhD, MPH, RDN, CHTS-CP, Nutrition Epidemiologist, is a nutrition scientist with a passion for evidence-based research. After four years with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dr. Cheng will individually contribute to research that aligns with the board-approved long-term nutrition research strategy and manage external epidemiology studies. Leveraging her expertise in managing analysis of large datasets, specifically in older adults with obesity, she will also oversee a fellowship program to support secondary analysis and publication of the ground-breaking Habitual diet and Avocado Trial (HAT) study findings. 

Ella Bauer, PhD, Nutrition Research Associate Manager, will manage the day-to-day monitoring of clinical research being conducted at universities and other prestigious research institutions. She will leverage her diverse background in research and organizational skills to help grow the contracted projects and subject participation each year. Additionally, her training in neuroscience will be utilized in developing the healthy living pillar, one of the program’s primary focuses of investment for the next ten years.  

Amanda Izquierdo, MPH, RD, LDN, Public Relations and Advertising Manager, is an experienced communicator responsible for helping ensure strategic alignment on messaging, outreach, and organization goals. She is the day-to-day point for multiple agency teams, leveraging her experience as a health professional as well as marketer to set and promote new context for the nutritional benefits of fresh avocados. Through the diverse touchpoints of Fresh Avocados – Love One Today®, Izquierdo will strengthen engagement with health professionals and consumer audiences.   

Pam Ortega serves as the Executive Assistant of Operations, a new role to help organize and assist the active leaders holding HAB’s 12 board positions. Ortega will support the current leadership as they map the vision for the future as well as help coordinate the annual board nominations process which just opened.