Sep 1, 2022
CMI promotes new leaders, prepares for growth in apple category

CMI Orchards, Wenatchee, Washington, has promoted several positions, with leadership transitions to prepare for a period of tremendous growth.

CMI President Bob Mast said the company continues to “evolve, grow and become ever more complex.

“To meet these exciting challenges, our leaders bring a demonstrated track record of success, as they adapt to the changing needs of our business, growers, and clients and rise above challenges with creative and innovative industry-leading solutions,” Mast said in a news release. “Keeping in line with that charge, I am thrilled to announce the creation of two new positions and two additional promotions that best position the company to navigate our impending growth.”

“The CMI family is thrilled about this latest crop of promotions recognizing the exemplary work of some of our leaders.”

Robb Myers, director of sales, is now vice president of business development, taking a more active role in retail strategy and overall business growth.

“Robb has been a stalwart at CMI for 33 years, his first day of employment coinciding with the day the company was founded back in 1989,” Mast said in the release. “Before joining CMI, Robb arrived from the procurement world. Over the last three decades, he has firmly cemented his industry knowledge through his direct sales experience and retail network.”

Robb helped CMI establish club apple programs, positioning the company as an industry leader for new varietals and standout brands – a position CMI continues to maintain with an extensive manifest that includes Ambrosia Gold, KIKU, Kanzi, Envy, Jazz, Smitten, EverCrisp, Sunrise Magic, Cosmic Crisp and Skylar Rae.

“As CMI’s longest-tenured employee, I’ve been involved in most aspects of our business since day one,” Robb said in the release. “It is incredible to see where we came from and where we are going as we enter this new chapter of CMI’s growth. I couldn’t be more invigorated by the exciting things we’re doing to pave the way for the future.

“In addition to continuing to coach and guide the team through challenges and opportunity ahead of us, I’m eager to dive into big-picture strategies with top-to-top retail partners, bridging internal activities between our sales and marketing departments, and ultimately helping to guide CMI’s business into this exciting next chapter,” he said.

George Harter, vice president of marketing, is shifting to a strategic role with the company, helping to advance new projects as vice president of special projects.

“This position will allow George to advance some of CMI’s key initiatives, guiding strategy with select retail projects and company growth plans,” Mast said in the release.

Harter joined CMI 5 ½ years ago, from Kroger.

“George has done an incredible job leading marketing initiatives helping to build and grow successful programs and innovations using his expansive retail acumen – which includes learnings from his former retail career,” Mast said in the release. “As vice president of special projects, George will lead the company towards new business opportunities building pathways for continued growth.”

Harter said he’s enjoyed directing supply-side marketing since joining CMI, after a career in retail.

“CMI’s dynamic processes and outstanding products, people and services is second to none,” he said in the release. “This opportunity to help drive meaningful initiatives and projects that bring efficiency and value to both CMI and our retail partners is a huge honor.”

CMI’s Brand Manager Rochelle Bohm has taken the reins from Harter as vice president of marketing. Bohm joined CMI in 2013 as creative lead and guided the company through a corporate rebrand in 2016 as she transitioned to brand manager.

“Rochelle is a force of nature with a hunger for innovation,” Mast said in the release. “Over the past 9 years, Bohm has built a portfolio of successful and award-winning marketing programs and brands, producing some of the most innovative packaging and marketing campaigns trailblazing CMI’s path forward toward tremendous growth.”

Bohm grew up in apple country New Zealand, and eventually landed in Alaska where she directed political and Copper River salmon marketing activities for the oldest commercial fishing union in Alaska. Bohm joined CMI Orchards when she moved to Washington State in 2013 trading marketing one healthy food commodity for another – salmon for apples.

Bohm is excited for the future and is looking forward to building off the strong work of her predecessors, which include Harter, Steve Lutz and Mast.

“This is an incredible time to lead CMI’s marketing department towards a future ripe with opportunity,” Bohm said. “Northwest treefruit offers one of the most complex categories in the produce department with so many new brands, packages, and varieties. Understanding how to succeed at retail, how to innovate solutions that are executable and easy to merchandize, developing novel packaging that is sustainable as the need for automation rises, and programs that catch the eye of the consumer and drive consumption, are all key focus areas for CMI’s marketing as we enter this new chapter.”

CMI Marketing Specialist Danelle Huber will be taking on a strategic management role as the new senior marketing manager. She joined CMI in 2017 with an extensive skillset honed by her work at the Washington Apple Commission and Van Doren Sales, and legal experience at Jeffers, Danielson, Sonn and Alyward.

Mast said Huber will continue to advance relationships with retail customers and manage marketing operations such as data reporting, omnichannel solutions, trade visits and shows. “Danelle is a natural project leader who excels at relationship-building and facilitating meaningful programs and retail strategies,” Mast said. “Danelle will continue her excellent work delivering exceptional service and support with a solutions-based approach, energetic spirit and outside-the-box thinking.”

Huber is excited for the opportunity to work more closely with CMI’s retail partners and to focus on creative, data-driven strategies within the category.

“Working alongside of some of the most talented individuals in the industry has given me insight into the many different areas of the produce business world,” she said in the release. “My experiences from representing our Washington growers in export markets to understanding the workings behind creating a world-class packing line, has given me broad and invaluable experience into some of the unique nuances of the treefruit industry. I am anxious and eager to work hand in hand with CMI’s customers to continue keeping the apple, pear and cherry categories exciting and growing.”

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