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I wasn’t completely forthcoming about my feelings in July when I wrote that Nancy Born was leaving her position as this magazine’s production manager after 30 successful years.

I was happy to celebrate Nancy’s contributions to our magazine. But frankly, I was nervous.

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Jared Johnson

Anyone who runs an organization can understand that when a key employee leaves, finding a good successor is neither easy nor certain. I’m pleased to say my nerves are settled. We found Jared Johnson.

Jared, 42, officially becomes design/production manager on September 1, beginning what I expect will be a long period of distinguished service for readers and advertisers.

When I sought to replace Nancy, I looked for an individual who had the design and production skills needed to produce a magazine known for its graceful covers and elegant page displays.

Most important, we needed someone who embraced the values that shape each issue of Good Fruit Grower that goes to readers in 50 states and 50 nations.

You may not be surprised to learn that the designer who was attracted to Good Fruit Grower comes with deep roots in agriculture. Jared grew up in Idaho Falls, Idaho, as a descendant of a family that homesteaded in the early 1900s, starting with a small apple orchard. The farm remains with the family.

In his youth, Jared spent his summer moving irrigation pipes in potato and wheat fields. He knows the long hours and the hard work of farming.

After graduating from Idaho State University, Jared worked a succession of jobs, including as a reporter, writer and designer for the Post Register in Idaho Falls. In 2000, he moved to Wenatchee, Washington, with his wife, Anna, and son, Aaron (now a Marine stationed on Okinawa), and daughter, Miri (now a student at The Evergreen State College).

Jared served as an editor and designer with The Wenatchee World, for which he designed pages for the daily product as well as the Wenatchee Valley Business World and the glossy Foothills magazine. An avid hiker, he was astounded by the beauty of orchards that blanketed the eastern flanks of the Cascade Mountains.

As our magazine’s design/production manager, Jared will oversee design of print and online editorial products and promotional materials. A gentle personality with an easy laugh and a keen intelligence, he’s been well received by our sales, circulation and editorial staff.  “I want to continue on the path set by Nancy and serve the needs of growers,” he says.

As I write this, Jared is meeting with Nancy Born and page designer Aurora Lee, reviewing images and paintings that are candidates for next year’s magazine covers.

I got a peek. You’re going to like what’s coming. I think the new guy is off to a great start.