Michigan apple shipper strengthens staff, adds new faces

Sparta, Mich.  In the face of a USDA-estimated 30 million bushel apple crop, Riveridge Produce has brought additional strength to its vertically-integrated business model with the addition of key personnel.

We were fortunate to hang onto almost all of our talent during a very challenging 2012 season, said Don Armock, CEO of Riveridge Produce Marketing, Inc. Now we are making some adjustments to best address the needs of our grower-partners and the marketplace.

Jamie Kober, of Sparta, has been promoted from line manager to overall plant manager of Riveridges new state-of-the-art packing plant. He has been with Riveridge since 2010. Kober has a strong background in technology, and was a key employee in bringing the Riveridge packing plant on-line three years ago. He is experienced in computerized quality systems including near-infrared (NIR) internal and external defect sorting technology.

New as Riveridge Land Companys production manager is Washington state native Ian Mortensen. Mortensen, of Rockford, was active in his familys fruit and asparagus farm in the Yakima Valley of Washington, before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force and ultimately settling in West Michigan.

Mortensens responsibilities include managing all aspects of fruit production from orchard establishment through harvest on Riveridge-owned and -leased properties.

Also new to Riveridge as marketing manager is Denise Donohue, former executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee. Donohue is working on marketing initiatives and new product development to strengthen the Riveridge brand, and working to grow market share and consumer loyalty.

Riveridge Produce Marketing, Inc., is a vertically integrated apple grower/packer/shipper headquartered in Sparta, Mich., selling apples in up to 26 states and a dozen foreign countries.