Riveridge staff announcement

Jul 25, 2019
Riveridge announces new hires, promotions

Sparta, Michigan’s Riveridge Produce Marketing recently announced a number of new hires and promotions throughout its vertically-integrated company.

The company is grower, packer, shipper and marketer of produce. It sells about half of Michigan’s fresh apple crop, and also markets fresh Michigan asparagus, sweet cherries and prune plums.

New and veteran Riveridge staff have jumped right into their new roles – gearing up for the fall harvest, according to a press release. This year will be the company’s 30th season. Starting as an apple sales organization in July 1990, Riveridge has vertically expanded over the last 30 years to include growing, packing and a cider operation.

“We have a vision to grow and we have the right people in place to make that happen,” Don Armock, Riveridge president, said in the release.

Here are the new hires and promotions, as announced by Riveridge:

New Hires

R.J. Simons joins Riveridge Produce Marketing as an Account Manager. Simons has focused on apple sales since he started his career nearly 15 years ago. He brings with him years working fresh apple sales for nearby marketing agents and will both expand on his base of customers as well as grow into new markets.

“Joining Riveridge is a great opportunity to grow my career,” said R.J. “We have access to more fruit, and for me, that means additional commodities and the opportunity to market ciders and juice.”

Another ridge veteran, Kevin Rasch, joins Riveridge as a QC/Field Manager. He brings more than 10 years in chemical sales, specializing in the tree side. He’ll be able to take his years of grower relationships and work with them on the end product, the apple.

“I’m looking forward to learning more about the packing side of the business and working with growers in a different capacity,” said Kevin. “Also, I’ll get to learn something entirely new next spring when we start the asparagus season.”

At Riveridge Cider, Kyle Boynton has taken the helm of plant manager. Kyle most recently held the position of plant manager at apple packer, Fruit Ridge Apple Company. Before that, he spent time in Mexico teaching. This unique background in plant management (specifically, apples) coupled with fluency in the Spanish language positons Kyle well for the role.

“Having the opportunity to become bilingual during my time in Mexico has been a great benefit for my roles in the apple industry since coming back to my home of Michigan,” said Kyle. “Knowing the expectations in the industry, being familiar with Riveridge from my time at FRAC and knowing so many of the growers has me ready to get going on the season.”

Promotions

Riveridge Packing Plant Manager Jamie Kober will be taking on a new position, Enhancement Director. In this new role, Jamie will build on his ten-years experience with Riveridge to create packhouse optimization programs, oversee quality and food safety. As the plant manager, Jamie standardized food safety programs across the network of facilities packing for Riveridge Produce Marketing. He will grow that program as well as standardize software across facilities including copackers outside the Michigan region.

Aaron Debski takes on the plant manager role at Riveridge Packing. Aaron, a five-year Riveridge veteran, was most recently in a QC/Field manager role. Before Riveridge, he managed the line at Jack Brown Produce. With his years of experience in the packing line and time in the field working directly with growers and managing quality programs, Aaron is a natural fit for his new role. He will have a base knowledge of the issues that tend to arise from season to season and be prepared to mitigate any risk.

Moving up at Riveridge Packing is five-year Riveridge veteran, Shane Curtis. As a production supervisor previously, Shane ran the line. With his new role as Operations Manager, he will have added responsibilities within the plant including HR, food safety and more all-encompassing needs of the facility.

“I don’t think there is a better place to be than Riveridge right now,” said Shane. “I’m looking forward to learning new things and the opportunity to grow within the company.”

Matt Dykstra is transitioning from his role as a production supervisor at Riveridge Packing to a QC/Field role with Riveridge Produce. Matt has been with Riveridge three years and will take his knowledge from the needs at the packing facility to working with the growers directly. He will train under one of the original Riveridge employees Rick Zemaitis who will return for the upcoming season.

Riveridge Produce Marketing announced a number of promotions and new hires prior to the 2019 apple harvest. Pictured are Kyle Boynton, Shane Curtis, Matt Dykstra, Kevin Rasch, R.J. Simons, Aaron Debski and Jamie Kober. Photo: Riveridge





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