The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has hired industry veteran and lifetime Washington state resident Steve Lutz as regional VP of U.S. and Canada West, effective June 2018. The newly created position is designed to increase PMA’s engagement on the West Coast.
In coordination with PMA headquarters staff and volunteers, Lutz will be responsible for interacting with members in the western region to expose them to PMA’s year-round value—including PMA’s and Center for Growing Talent’s portfolio of programs and resources—to help them grow their respective businesses and expand the global produce and floral industry. He will be based in Wenatchee, Wash.
Lutz will report to PMA’s VP of Global Membership & Engagement Richard Owen, and joins Joe Watson, regional VP of U.S. and Canada East. With these regional positions, PMA intends to expand its local presence to better connect, inform and delivery industry solutions to enhance its members’ profitability, the company said in a statement.
Previously, Lutz served on PMA’s board of directors and former Retail Division board of directors, as well as chair of the Fresh Summit Committee.
“Steve’s deep industry knowledge and connections will help us fulfill our ongoing mission and vision to grow a healthier world,” said CEO Cathy Burns. “As PMA strives to turn the global fresh produce and floral supply chains into an interconnected community of people and ideas, Steve’s leadership and strategic insights will help us deliver even more value to members and industry. I am delighted to welcome him to the PMA team.”
With deep roots in the produce industry, Lutz brings with him more than 35 years of industry experience, including product and brand development, retail and foodservice marketing, analysis, promotions and category management. He currently serves as senior strategist for Columbia Marketing International, one of the largest tree fruit growers, packers and shippers in Washington state, where he was also formerly VP of marketing.
Lutz co-founded consumer market research firm The Perishables Group, where he served as EVP after the firm was acquired by Nielsen. He also previously served as president and CEO of Washington Apple Commission.
“My entire career has been devoted to helping produce companies or industry sectors grow their businesses, so I am excited by the opportunity to help PMA achieve its vision of ‘bringing together the global produce and floral community to grow a healthier world,’” said Lutz. “Getting to focus on the entire supply chain appeals tremendously to me. I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Lutz earned an MBA from City University of Seattle and a B.A. in communications studies from Washington State University. He also completed the marketing management executive program at Stanford Graduate School of Business.