Sep 18, 2017Rice Fruit has new leadership, keeps family connection
Ben Rice and Brenda Briggs are the new leaders of Gardners, Pennsylvania-based Rice Fruit Co.
At the company’s Sept. 14 Board of Directors’ meeting, Ben was elected president, succeeding his father, David Rice. Brenda, vice president of sales and marketing, assumed the leadership of sales at the company earlier this year when John Rice stepped back from his duties. They join Ted Rice, company treasurer, as the top leadership in the organization.
Ben joined Rice Fruit in 2009. He graduated from Princeton in 2005 and earned an MBA from Penn State University in 2013. His work at Rice Fruit has focused on the production side of the business. He represents the fourth generation of his family to run Rice Fruit, which was founded in 1913 by his great-grandfather.
Brenda joined Rice Fruit in 1999 as the assistant sales manager after serving as director of the Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program for six years. She earned a bachelor of arts from Dickinson College and an master’s of business adminstration from Mount Saint Mary’s College in Maryland. In addition to running the sales program with John Rice, she has become a recognized leader of the Eastern apple industry in her own right. She was recently asked to rejoin the board of the U.S. Apple Association, after previously serving as chair of U.S. Apple’s State Executive Committee and as chair of the U.S. Apple Export council.
David Rice joined the company in 1973 after graduating from Princeton and serving in the Peace Corps. David’s primary responsibilities have been in production, in addition to his executive role. He was elected president in 1991 with the passing of his father, Arthur E. Rice. He will remain active in the business although he is planning to take some additional time away for travel.
John Rice became head of sales in 1975. He served twice as Chairman of the U.S. Apple Association and the Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Board. He was named Apple Man and Apple Grower of the Year. In 2011, John and David and their two brothers, Ted Rice, and Mark Rice who runs the family’s orchard operations, were named as “Growers of the Year.”
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