After nearly three decades of leadership, Jim Lemke, president of Robinson Fresh, a division of C.H. Robinson, announced plans to retire this year. Between now and then, Lemke will focus on ensuring a smooth leadership transition at the Eden Prairie, Minn.-based global fresh produce marketer and distributor of both conventional and organic varieties.
Lemke, who has led Robinson Fresh since 2003, has successfully expanded the division’s services globally, which has since evolved to sell fresh produce and manage its supply and distribution in over 40 countries.
Jim Lemke; Photograph courtesy of C.H. Robinson
“Lemke’s leadership has contributed to the growth of both Robinson Fresh and the produce industry overall. His passion for innovation has driven change, while exhibiting a commitment to serving the customer,” the company said in a statement. “C.H. Robinson is grateful for his many years of service, and the company celebrates his deep involvement in and dedication to both the produce and transportation industries.”
Lemke has been recognized for his leadership in the produce industry with a number of awards and accolades through the years and has been a strong advocate for change in the fresh produce industry, from food safety modernization to federal nutrition funding and numerous other regulatory and commercial initiatives.
Lemke has also played an active role to help increase productivity and produce consumption via his service to the first U.S. Department of Agriculture industry advisory committee and as chairman of both the United Fresh Produce Association Committee and the Food Marketing Institute’s Fresh Executive Committee. He has also been on numerous other committees for the Produce Marketing Association and the Produce for Better Health Foundation.
Lemke was the founding chairperson of the United Fresh Start Foundation, which was created to provide children with greater access to fresh fruits and vegetables. He currently serves on the board of directors for Second Harvest Heartland.