Feb 15, 2024
Stemilt’s West Mathison named Apple Citizen of the Year

West Mathison, president and CEO of Stemilt Growers for 19 years, is the 2024 Apple Citizen of the Year.

The Washington State Apple Blossom Festival awarded Mathison the honor on Feb. 10 at the Performing Arts Center in Wenatchee, Washington. Past recipients and apple industry leaders choose the Apple Citizen of the Year award to recognize an individual who contributes to improving the Washington State tree fruit industry.


“Thank you for this award and all the kind words,” Mathison said in a news release from Stemilt. “For me, it’s really about celebrating the legacy of my grandfather Tom. (He) and my grandmother packed a few hundred boxes of cherries on Stemilt Hill years ago, and this year, we’ll have over 20 million boxes of fruit all over the world. It’s really a testament to this community to support not only Stemilt, but other leaders and growers of the fruit industry.”

During his tenure, Stemilt has grown its footprint in apples, pears, cherries and organic tree fruits, solidifying and solidified its position as a tree fruit leader focused on “cultivating people and delighting consumers through excellence with World Famous Fruit.”

Stemilt celebrates its 60th anniversary in business in 2024. Other milestones during Mathison’s tenure as president and CEO include the construction of buildings in the Olds Station area of Wenatchee, including Stemilt’s headquarters, Fresh Cube Distribution Center and a soon-to-open pear packing facility.

Mathison credited the “amazing people” at Stemilt and in the industry who work to keep Wenatchee a competitive fruit-growing area.

“I’m thankful for all the great leaders and congratulations to all the families here tonight,” he said at the Feb. 10 event.

Under Mathison’s leadership, Stemilt established long-term marketing partnerships with Douglas Fruit and Hansen Fruit, helping grow its position in apples, pears and organics. Stemilt also partnered with Confluence Health to offer employees and their dependents access to a free, on-site health clinic. In addition, Mathison was honored for his participation in industry organizations and his service on multiple committees for the improvement and advancement of the industry. He has continued a legacy of giving at Stemilt by supporting the Washington Apple Education Foundation with over $100,000 in scholarships annually, including a full-ride scholarship that honors his late grandfather.

“It’s truly an honor and a blessing to receive such an award and I look to my family and Stemilt to thank,” he said. “I’m grateful we’re able to continue on a legacy of innovation and freshness as Stemilt celebrates 60 years of World Famous Fruit.”

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