NEWARK, Del. — Produce industry veteran Steve Lutz will expand Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) West Coast presence when he joins the association’s staff next month as regional vice president — U.S. and Canada West. In this newly created senior-level position, Lutz will engage with members in the region to help them make the most of PMA’s year-round value, to grow their respective businesses and the global produce and floral industry, according to a press release.
Lutz will work closely with PMA headquarters staff and volunteer leaders to meet local members’ needs, according to the release. He will also ensure Western region members know the full suite of resources available to them through PMA’s and Center for Growing Talent’s (CGT) portfolio of programs and services.
Lutz joins Joe Watson, regional vice president — U.S. and Canada East, in serving the United States and Canada. This regional focus and local presence helps achieve PMA’s mission to connect, inform and deliver industry solutions to enhance members’ prosperity. Lutz will report to Richard Owen, PMA’s vice president of global membership & engagement.
“Steve’s deep industry knowledge and connections will help us fulfill our ongoing mission and vision to grow a healthier world,” said Cathy Burns, PMA CEO. “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.”
“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’,” Lutz said. “Getting to focus on the entire supply chain appeals tremendously to me. I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Lutz brings more than 35 years of industry experience to this new PMA position. His expertise includes product and brand development, retail and foodservice marketing, analysis, promotions and category management. He is currently senior strategist and was formerly vice president of marketing for Columbia Marketing International, one of Washington state’s largest tree fruit growers, packers and shippers. Lutz co-founded the consumer market research firm The Perishables Group and served as executive vice president after the firm was acquired by Nielsen. He also previously served as president and CEO of Washington Apple Commission, then the tree fruit industry’s largest domestic and international marketing order.
Lutz earned a master’s degree in business administration from City University of Seattle and a bachelor of arts degree in communications studies from Washington State University. He also completed Stanford Graduate School of Business’ marketing management executive program. Considered an industry thought leader on topics from marketing to future trends, he is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and commentator in industry trade press coverage.
Lutz is no stranger to PMA, having previously served on the association’s Board of Directors, on PMA’s former Retail Division Board of Directors, and as chair of the Fresh Summit Committee.
The lifetime Washington state resident will continue to be based in Wenatchee, Washington.