● Last Wednesday and Thursday the United States Apple Association held its 2013 Apple Crop & Marketing Conference in Chicago. I attended this annual conference and then stayed over for the set of USApple committee and board meetings that followed in its wake on Friday and Saturday.
● At the conference, Tom Stokes, chief executive officer of Tree Top, Inc. was honored as “Apple Man of the Year” by The Packer.
● With the previously announced departure of Nancy Foster as president of the national trade association for the apple industry, people in Chicago were wondering who would be announced as the next leader of USApple. As it turned out, the Search Committee reported that its initial attempt to find a replacement had come to naught, and that more time would be needed to select a new leader. The goal now is to gather additional qualified applications over the next two months and then interview a new set of final candidates in November. In the interim, Diane Kurrle, vice president of public affairs, will serve as the acting president.
● The Public Affairs Committee meeting was routine, with reports on most policy issues–such as immigration reform and the Farm Bill–reflecting more deadlock than progress on Capitol Hill.
● James Olson provided a welcomed deviation from the standard speaker at past USApplePAC luncheons. An often boring office-holder or an often hyped-up political pundit holds forth at the organization’s main political action committee fundraiser. This year Mr. Olson, now retired, spoke with ease about his career as an overseas spy and then top official for the Central Intelligence Agency. Everyone was happy: donors heard an interesting talk and USApplePAC still raised its desired money.
● At the board meeting on Saturday, the gavel of USApple chairman was passed from Bill Dodd of Ohio to Chris Britton of California.