Hort Association hires Bruce Grim

Orchardist and attorney Bruce Grim of Entiat, Washington, has been appointed executive director of the Washington State Horticultural Association to succeed Jim Hazen, who left this summer to join Broetje Orchards in Prescott, Washington.

For the past seven years, Grim has managed four fruit-marketing cooperatives (the Washington Apple Growers Marketing Association, Washington Pear Marketing Association, Mid-Columbia Pear Marketing Association, and Northwest Cherry Marketing Association).
He will continue to manage the four cooperatives in addition to serving as executive director of the Hort Association. Association President Mark Holtzinger said that as a voluntary, dues-based organization, the Hort Association must provide value to the tree fruit community and combining the two positions will reduce costs. The Hort Association’s mission is to advance the tree fruit industry through both education and representation in state ­legislative and regulatory affairs.

Grim has been active in the tree fruit industry for more than 25 years. He was a member of the Hort Association’s board of directors from 1987 to 1993. He served on the Washington Apple Commission’s board from 1992 to 2001 and was chair in 2000 to 2001. He is chair of the U.S. Apple Association’s board of trustees.

Grape & Wine Initiative exec named

Jean-Mari Peltier has been selected as the first president of the new National Grape and Wine Initiative based in Dinuba, California. She is currently president of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives in Washington, D.C.

Peltier previously served in the Bush administration as counselor for agriculture policy for the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She has also served as president of the California Citrus Quality Council; chief deputy director in the California Environmental Protection Agency’s department of pesticide regulation; executive director of the California Pear Advisory Board; president of the California Pear Growers; and director of public and government relations for the California Grape and Tree Fruit League.

In her new role at NGWI, Peltier will be charged with increasing industry and government support for grape and vineyard research to strengthen the competitiveness of the U.S. table grape, raisin, juice, and wine industries.

WSU hires apple breeder

Dr. Kate Evans, a senior research leader with East Malling Research in the United Kingdom, has been appointed by Washington State University as a pome fruit breeder and geneticist to succeed research horticulturist and apple breeder Dr. Bruce Barritt, who recently retired. She will begin work at the Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee on October 1. Evans has 15 years of experience in developing new apple and pear varieties and rootstocks for international markets.

Dr. Rick Knowles, interim chair of WSU’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, said East Malling has an international reputation for tree fruit breeding and Evans’s appointment completes the university’s recent efforts to assemble a world-class research and extension team in breeding, genetics, and genomics of rosaceous fruit crops.

Evans’s husband, Dr. Peter Smytheman, an entomologist, has been appointed to a new research associate position at the Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center. He is currently a technical manager for BCP Certis with 19 years of experience in biological control and integrated management of insect pests. Knowles said Smytheman has an extensive background in the area of predator-prey relationships.

CTFA has new VP

The California Tree Fruit Agreement, which administers marketing orders on behalf of 1,100 fresh peach, plum, and nectarine growers, has hired Jeff Smutny as vice president of marketing.
Smutny is a graduate of Fresno State University and has more than 22 years of experience in marketing, advertising and communications. He most recently was vice president of marketing at Digital Communications Group in Charlottesville, Virginia. He was previously advertising director at Geweke Corporation in Lodi, California, where he created an in-house marketing and advertising agency.

New president at Gray
Joshua Reynolds has been named president of Gray and Company of Forest Grove, Oregon, which is the world’s largest producer of maraschino cherries. He succeeds his father, James Reynolds.
Joshua, 38, earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Colby College, Waterville, Maine. He joined the company in 1996 as marketing director and took time out in 1999 to earn a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He returned to the company as vice president and general manager and was promoted to executive vice president in 2006.
He has served on the boards of the Oregon Sweet Cherry Commission and the Northwest Food Processors Association.

Gray and Company celebrates its centennial this year. It has manufacturing operations in Oregon and Michigan and sources cherries from Oregon, Washington, California, Michigan, Europe, and Turkey. James, who lives in Suttons Bay, Michigan, will continue to oversee the ­company’s Michigan operations.

Phillips joins Valent

Byron Phillips of Wenatchee, Washington, has joined Valent U.S.A. Corporation as sales representative for the Pacific Northwest. He previously was an integrated pest management consultant for Columbia Fruit Packers, Wenatchee.

He has an associate degree in agriculture from Wenatchee Valley College and has 27 years of experience in crop protection. He is vice-chair of the Washington State Commission on Pesticide Registration.

Wine Institute staff change

The Wine Institute has appointed Allison Jordan to the new position of director of environmental affairs. She joined the Wine institute in 2004 and was previously ­communications manager. She was also executive director of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, a position she continues to hold.

She has a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California-Davis, and before joining the Wine Institute, was a senior associate at SureHarvest, a sustainable agriculture and natural resources consulting firm. She also was vice president and acting executive director of the Resource Renewal Institute.