Meet Our Board
Jon Alegria, Chairman
JON ALEGRIA is a second-generation grower for numerous orchard entities and is the owner/president of CPC International Apple Company, a packing warehouse in Tieton, Washington. He has been in the agriculture business for the past 17 years and worked his way up through the family business. He currently sits on the boards for the Yakima Valley Growers & Shippers Association and the Washington Apple Commission.
Alegria holds a degree in business administration from Central Washington University. He and his wife have two children and reside in Yakima, Washington.
Mark Boyer, Vice Chairman
MARK BOYER is a second-generation owner of Ridgetop Orchards LLC, a grower-packer-shipper operation based in Fishertown, Pennsylvania, in the heart of Pennsylvania apple country. The orchard grows 450 acres of apples, 18 acres of “U-Pick” cherries and eight acres of peaches. Boyer’s roles include field monitoring, assisting in devising IPM programs, passing global food safety standards for the orchard and the packing house, and quality control during harvest.
After graduating from Penn State, Boyer returned home to the family farm and made growing apples his life. When not tending the orchards, he enjoys going on IFTA tours and traveling the country to watch baseball.
Kaari Stannard, Secretary
KAARI STANNARD has been in the apple business since 1996 and is the owner of New York Apple Sales, Inc., one of the largest marketers of New York state apples. She is a partner in both Pomona Packing and Lake Ontario Fruit, which are apple packing facilities located in western New York. In addition, Stannard is a partner in Fish Creek Orchards, located in Orleans County. She is treasurer of the US Apple Export Council and a board member of the New York Apple Association. Stannard is currently a member of the grower shipper board for United Fresh and is a graduate of their leadership program. She has and continues to serve on various PMA committees and is currently on the PLU assignment committee.
Stannard is a licensed CPA and holds a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting from the State University at Buffalo. She lives in East Greenbush, NY with her husband and two daughters. She spends her off time in the Adirondacks skiing, snowmobiling and boating, depending on the season.
John Graden, Treasurer
JOHN E. GRADEN is CEO of Crunch Pak, LLC in Cashmere, Washington. Crunch Pak is one of the largest processors of fresh sliced apples in the U.S., with a majority of the fresh sliced apple retail market.
In his community, Graden is affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, youth soccer and the LDS church. He is a CPA and graduated from Brigham Young University with a master’s degree in accounting. Graden and his wife Marlene have six children and several grandchildren. His hobbies include reading, sports and family.
Mike Wade, Immediate Past Chairman
MIKE WADE is the third generation of his family in the agricultural business. His grandfather and great uncle were pioneers in the Wenatchee, Washington, apple industry. Wade serves as general manager of Columbia Fruit Packers, Inc., a company started by his grandfather in 1946.
Wade believes that a strong apple industry and a strong community benefit each other. He has either served on or is currently a member of boards including the Pangborn Airport Board, the Workforce Development Council, NCW Bank and Wenatchee Valley Traffic Association Board. His leadership experience includes past president of the Washington Fruit Commission, past chairman of the Northwest Horticultural Council and past chairman of the Cherry Commodity Committee of the Northwest Fruit Exporters Board.
Chris Alpers, Director
CHRIS ALPERS of Leelanau County, is a third-generation cherry and apple grower. Redpath Orchards and Alpers Farm consist of 1,000 acres on Michigan’s Leelanau peninsula. He also works closely with another family business in a technical role, Alpers Tree Sales. Chris’s degree from Northern Michigan University is in marketing and communications.
Upon graduation, Chris was employed for two years with Wilbur-Ellis as a technical sales representative. Chris returned to the family business shortly thereafter in a management/ownership role. Chris also currently serves on the board of directors for Cherry Growers Processing, LLC.
In his free time, Chris likes to travel with his wife Jessica and attend industry related tours. Chris also enjoys playing hockey and golf.
Dave Benner, Director
DAVE BENNER is a third-generation owner of El Vista Orchards, Inc., in Fairfield, Pennsylvania. El Vista is comprised of 450 acres of apples and 150 acres of peaches. El Vista’s operations include CA storage and a packing house. Benner is past chairman and a board member of both the Adams County Fruit Growers Association and the Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Knouse Foods Co-op, Inc.
Benner graduated from Delaware Valley College with a BS in horticulture. At that time, he returned home to the family farm with his father and grandfather and has been there since. He and his wife Pam have five children. Benner enjoys hunting, sports, automobile racing and working on the farm.
Tony Blattner, Director
TONY BLATTNER assists in managing his family business, Twin Bee Orchard. The orchard includes 125 acres of various apple varieties and controlled atmosphere storage. Blattner graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor of science in horticulture. In 2010, after spending 19 years in purchasing for Nestle Infant Nutrition and leading their sourcing programs for raw ingredients and produce, he accepted a position as director of field operations for BelleHarvest Sales. In his current position, Blattner oversees all aspects of supply base planting. He currently serves as chair of the Michigan Apple Committee’s board of directors.
Steve Clement, Director
STEVE CLEMENT is the general manager of Sage Fruit Company, a grower/shipper of apples, pears and cherries in Yakima, Washington. Steve has been with Sage for ten years and currently sits on the governing board of NFE. Prior to his tenure with Sage, Steve served as a business consultant doing small-cap mergers and acquisitions, ownership transition and strategic planning work. Steve has a BS in finance from the University of Utah and an MBA from Brigham Young University.
Steve and his wife have four wonderful children. Steve’s community volunteer efforts center in youth programs and his activity with the LDS church. He is an avid scuba diver and loves sailing in the beautiful inland waters of Puget Sound.
Jeff Colombini, Director
JEFF COLOMBINI is president of Lodi Farming, Inc., farming 1800 acres of apples, cherries, olives, walnuts and wine grapes in the northern San Joaquin Valley. He is also involved with Corto Olive Company, which processes and markets olive oil throughout the United Sates. Prior to his work with Lodi Farming, Colombini worked as an operations analyst for a large food processing company and worked as a loan officer for the Farm Credit System.
Colombini serves as chairman of the California Cherry Advisory Board and is a board member of the California Apple Commission. He also serves as a member of the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Ag Business Advisory Council, and is vice-president of the Linden Lions Club. He is a graduate of the California Agricultural Leadership Program.
Colombini earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture business management and a technical degree in fruit science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California.
Mike Dietrich, Director
MIKE DIETRICH is a fifth-generation apple farmer in the fruit ridge region of Western Michigan. He is a partner in Leo Dietrich & Sons, the family apple business, with his brother Jim and three nephews. Together they farm 450 acres of apples and 70 acres of cherries. Leo Dietrich & Sons was featured in a national commercial campaign focused on the apples they supply as packaged slices for a restaurant chain. Dietrich is also a partner in the Dietrich Orchards apple packing facility. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Michigan Apple Committee.
Bill Dodd, Director
BILL DODD is a fourth generation apple grower from Amherst, Ohio. Dodd graduated from Findlay College in 1980 with a degree in business administration. After working for Ford Motor Credit, he returned home to Hillcrest Orchards, his family’s 90-acre family farm.
Dodd served on the board of directors of the Fruit Growers Marketing Association for 17 years and was hired as general manager in 2004. Dodd also heads the Ohio Apple Marketing Program, the state’s apple association. In addition, in June 2012 he assumed the lead role at the Premier Apple Cooperative, an organization of apple packers in eastern states organized under rules governing cooperatives.
David Douglas, Director
DAVID DOUGLAS is a fourth-generation apple farmer and second-generation packer in Pasco, Washington. He is the president of Douglas Fruit Company, which grows apples, cherries and stone fruit. A native of Selah, Douglas graduated from the University of Washington in 1996 with a BA in accounting and in 2007 received his MBA.
Douglas is a past board member and president of the Washington State Horticultural Association and past chairman and current board member of the Washington Apple Commission.
Philip Glaize, III, Director
PHIL GLAIZE, III represents the fourth generation of his family to grow apples in Winchester, Virginia. His parents did not expect, nor force, their children onto the farm. Philip’s return to Fred L. Glaize, LC came naturally in 2012. He studied the international agriculture trade in school and went on to manage logistics for a produce distribution warehouse in Brooklyn, New York. Philip carries with him an intense respect for heritage and an open mind about the future. Simultaneously providing food and living space for the exploding population is a paradox that ignites Philip’s passion for natural resource management and land conservation.
Kelly Henggeler, Director
KELLY HENGGELER is a fourth-generation grower, packer, and marketer in Fruitland, Idaho. Henggeler and his two cousins, Ryan and Chad, operate Henggeler Packing Company, Inc., a family owned business started in 1943. Together they grow, pack and ship plums, peaches, prunes and apples in addition to storing, packing and marketing for 25 other fruit growers in Idaho. Henggeler serves as general manager and markets the fruit handled by the company.
Henggeler is a past chairman of USApple. He also serves on the Advisory Board of Idaho Preferred and was elected to the Fruitland School Board. Henggeler is a past board member and chairman of the Idaho Apple Commission and the Idaho Oregon Fruit and Vegetable Association.
Henggeler received a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from the University of Idaho. He and his wife Holly have twin sons. Henggeler enjoys various sporting activities and the great Idaho outdoors.
Craig Hinkle, Director
CRAIG HINKLE is both vice president of finance and treasurer of Knouse Foods Cooperative, Inc., located in Peach Glen, Pennsylvania. Knouse is owned by more than 150 fruit growers throughout the Appalachian region and Michigan. Knouse is best known to the public by its brand names Lucky Leaf®, Musselman’s®, Apple Time®, Lincoln® and Speas Farm®.
Hinkle started work with Knouse Foods in 1991 and has served in various facets of the operation. He was named treasurer in 2006 and vice president of finance in 2015. He is a member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Financial Executives International and the National Society of Accountants for Cooperatives.
Hinkle earned an accounting degree from Shippensburg University, followed by a master’s of business administration from Pennsylvania State University.
When away from work he enjoys playing golf, travelling and attending Penn State sporting events. He resides in Mechanicsburg, PA with his wife Pam.
Mark Nicholson, Director
MARK NICHOLSON is executive vice president of Red Jacket Orchards, Inc., a third-generation apple and juice company located in Geneva, New York. Although the majority of Red Jacket’s 600 acres are dedicated to apples, the company also grows strawberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries, sweet cherries, sour cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, rhubarb, hot peppers and tomatillos. Nicholson previously served as the industry information manager at USApple, where he was responsible for market analysis and issues management for the apple industry. Prior to his advocacy role on behalf of the industry, Mark was a marketing specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He was Red Jacket’s Farm operations manager in 1995 and the New York metro sales and marketing manager in 1997.
Nicholson is a graduate of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, receiving a BS in pomology. He resides in Alexandria, VA with his wife Laura and their daughter and son.
Ned O'Neill, Director
NED O’NEILL is a partner in Joseph P. Sullivan & Co., Inc., in Ayer, Massachusetts. The company is the largest sales agent for McIntosh growers in New England. It provides growers with assistance in the areas of specifications and pricing, packing and materials, warehousing, delivery, quality control, pest management, industry organization representation and exporting.
O’Neill is a director and former chairman of the New England McIntosh Growers Association, past director of the U.S. Apple Export Council, and a former director of the Massachusetts Fruit
Growers Association. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Boston College Carroll School of Management. He and his wife Liz have two daughters.
Alex Ott, Director
ALEX OTT is the Executive Director for the California Apple Commission. As the Executive Director, Alex manages the state commission that oversees several issues directly impacting the California apple community including: research, trade, promotion, marketing, market development, grades and standards, registration and research for apple pest and disease materials, and educating federal, state and international officials on apple matters.
Alex has an A.A. in Liberal Arts from Victor Valley College, a B.A. in Government from the California State University, Sacramento and a M.A. in International Relations, Political Science from Fresno State. He also is a graduate from the California Agriculture Leadership Foundation. Alex lives in Clovis, CA with his wife Lisa, daughter Regan and son Jordan.
Lee Peters, Director
LEE PETERS has been with Fowler Farms in Wolcott, N.Y., since 1985. As vice president of sales and marketing, he is involved in all facets of the operation. Fowler Farms was established in 1858 by the Fowler family and has grown to become one of the largest apple operations in the United States.
Before joining the Fowler organization, Peters was the merchandising director for both the Western New York Apple Growers Association and the New York Cherry Growers Association. He has been a member of the New York Apple Marketing Order Advisory Board since 1987. In addition, he has served on several committees for the Produce Marketing Association.
As a lifelong member of the Reformed Church in America, he has served on local, regional, and denominational boards for many years. When not marketing apples, apple cider or sweet cherries, Peters can be found mowing the lawn, playing golf or driving fast cars. When his wife Sharon has her way, he can be found visiting their three sons and their grandchildren.
Mike Preacher, Director
MIKE PREACHER is the Director of Marketing and Customer Relations for Domex Superfresh Growers, a Northwest grower, packer and shipper of apples, pears and cherries, and part of the Kershaw Companies. Mike has been involved in the produce industry for more than 10 years, and was raised in the fertile Yakima Valley. Prior to his tenure with Superfresh Growers, Mike worked for several years at Starbucks Coffee Company in various roles, including category manager and business sales manager for the Starbucks Card. Mike currently chairs USApple’s Industry Information Committee, and is active in several fruit industry and philanthropic organizations.
Mike holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA. In his free time he enjoys fly fishing, skiing and playing tennis (marginally) with his wife, Kristin, and their two pre-teen sons.
Bob Price, Director
BOB PRICE is the third generation of his family to work in the fruit industry. His grandfather began as an office manager with a fruit company in 1935 before going into business for himself. Price now serves as president of Price Cold Storage and Packing Company, Inc., a position he has held since 1980.
Price is a past chairman of the Northwest Horticultural Council. In addition to serving on numerous committees focusing on fruit issues, including one with United Fresh Produce Association, Price is also active in his community. He is a member of the East Valley School Board and is involved with other district committees. Price previously served on the Yakima County United Way of America and also chaired the Washington Apple Education Foundation’s charity golf tournament for five years.
Price received his BS degree in botany from the University of Washington in 1975. He has a son and a daughter.
Steve Smith, Director
STEVE SMITH was raised on an apple orchard in Yakima, Washington, and is now a partner with two others in Yakima Fruit & Cold Storage, a grower/packer/shipper established in Yakima in 1949. His current responsibility is to manage Yakima Fresh, LLC, a marketing partnership formed in 2005 by Yakima Fruit and two other Yakima shippers, Roche Fruit Ltd. and Stadelman Fruit, LLC. Steve currently serves on the Northwest Fruit Exporters Apple Commodity Committee and the Northwest Horticultural Council’s Foreign Trade Committee.
Steve has a BA in business administration from the University of Washington. A resident of Yakima, where he raised his three children with his wife Kirsten, his passion outside of work is skiing.
Jaime Williams, Director
JAIME WILLIAMS is general manager of Bowman Fruit Sales, LLC, a family owned produce operation headquartered in Timberville, Virginia. Bowman Fruit Sales is a fresh apple packing operation that sells the Turkey Knob Apples brand to retailers and brokers across the Eastern seaboard. Williams also manages related companies that operate over 3,800 acres of apple orchards in Virginia’s Shenandoah and Rockingham counties.
Williams is currently a member of the Virginia Apple Board. He is a 1992 graduate of Virginia Tech University with a degree in liberal arts. Leisure activities include coaching his son’s soccer team and traveling with his family.
Jon Wyss, Director
JON WYSS is an analyst and the government affairs director for Gebbers Farms in Brewster, Washington. Prior to joining the company, which has been in his wife’s family for generations, Wyss served as the chief deputy assessor for Spokane County and temporarily served as a Washington state senator for the 6th Legislative District. He has been elected or appointed to serve as an advisor to various political campaigns at the local, state and national level since 2000.
Wyss serves on the Washington Farm Bureau Labor Committee, the Okanogan County Horticultural Association Board and various legislative committees throughout Washington State. He attended Texas Tech University and Lubbock Christian University in Lubbock, Texas, completing a degree in business administration. Jon and his wife Melanie have three children.