Sep 9, 2014
Nicholson named chairman of USApple

Mark Nicholson is the new chairman of the U.S. Apple Association’s board of directors. He was elected in August, during USApple’s annual conference in Chicago, and will serve a one-year term. He received the official “apple gavel” from outgoing chairman Chris Britton of Modesto, California.

Nicholson, executive vice president of Red Jacket Orchards in Geneva, New York, said the apple industry is facing a lot of issues right now, chief among them the failure of Congress to pass immigration reform. That was a “frustrating development,” but resolving the immigration situation remains a top priority for USApple, he said.

Other challenges include trade and regulatory issues, but USApple has a “top-notch” staff right now, especially with the addition of new president Jim Bair, and Nicholson is looking forward to working with them on those challenges, he said.

Nicholson grew up in the apple industry. He earned his bachelor’s degree in pomology from Cornell University in 1994. During college, he was an intern with USDA, and after graduating he worked as a marketing specialist for the department’s Agricultural Marketing Service for about a year. That job gave him insight into how the administrative and regulatory arm works in agriculture. After working for USDA, he served as USApple’s industry information manager for about three years – a job that gave him insight into the association and how it works – before rejoining Red Jacket Orchards, the family business.

Nicholson runs Red Jacket with his twin brother, Brian, and his father, Joe. He has filled several roles for the company over the years, including developing its fruit juice business. Currently, he handles all fresh sales. Even though he lives near Washington, D.C., with his wife and two children, Nicholson gets back to Geneva on a regular basis. And living near the District of Columbia is convenient for his USApple duties, allowing him frequent visits to Capitol Hill.

Joining Nicholson as officers on the USApple board are Vice Chairman Mike Wade of Columbia Fruit Packers, Wenatchee, Washington, and Secretary Jon Alegria of CPC International Apple, Tieton, Washington. John Graden of Crunch Pak, Cashmere, Washington, will remain treasurer, and Britton will serve as immediate past chairman.

Mark Boyer of Ridgetop Orchards, Fishertown, Pennsylvania, has joined USApple’s executive committee. Steve Clement of Sage Fruit, Yakima, Washington, has filled the vacancy of outgoing board member Dale Foreman, a former chairman of both USApple and the Washington Apple Commission (WAC). Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee, has replaced WAC’s Todd Fryhover as USApple’s state association board member.

Matt Milkovich

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