Falls Church, VA (Jan. 30, 2024) — The U.S. Apple Association (USApple) announces the newest members of its leadership development program, the NextGen Apple Fellowship. Seven fellows from across the country have been selected to participate in the 2024 class.

The 2024 NextGen Apple Fellows include: 

  • Amanda VanBergen
    Laboratory Technician
    Riveridge Produce Marketing, Inc. (Michigan)

  • Austin Benson
    Export Sales
    Chelan Fresh (Washington)

  • Brannon Frankel
    Fixed Asset Manager
    AgriMACS, Inc. (Washington)

  • Joseph Strippoli
    Orchard Manager
    Geig’s Orchard (Ohio)

  • Madison Schaefer
    SafePod Account Manager
    Storage Control Systems, Inc. (Michigan)

  • Max Farrell
    H-2A Account Executive
    Seso Labor (Texas)

  • Shelby Miller
    Marketing & Sales Specialist
    Applewood Fresh (Michigan)

The NextGen Apple Fellowship focuses on hands-on experience with legislative and regulatory issues, professional development, a one-on-one mentorship program, opportunities to network with top industry leaders, community engagement, and more.

“Each member of this new class showed tremendous potential in their profession, enthusiasm and energy for the NextGen program, and a passion for the apple industry,” said USApple Board Member and Chair of the NextGen Advisory Committee, Elizabeth Pauls of Wittenbach Orchards in Michigan. “We are thrilled to see how they develop as a class and as professionals. As the national apple association, we’re looking forward to harnessing their skills and voice for the betterment of the industry.”

The 2024 NextGen program will kick off in Washington, D.C. in March in conjunction with USApple’s Capitol Hill Day. The program will run through December 2024. To learn more about the fellowship, and to see past alumni, click here

USApple will be introducing each member of the class on Instagram over the next month. Follow along here.


USApple is the national trade association representing all segments of the apple industry. Members include 36 state and regional apple associations, representing 26,000 apple growers throughout the country and more than 3,700 apple-related companies. Our members collectively grow more than 10 billion pounds of apples a year on average, supporting about 150,000 jobs and generating more than $8 billion in total wages and almost $23 billion in economic activity.

Contact: Lynsee Gibbons