(UPDATED COVERAGE, JULY 6) Adrian Abbott, former chairman of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, is the new director of operations for Jem-D International Greenhouse Vegetables.

The company, based in Leamington, Ontario, now has The Packer’s two most recent Canadian Produce Men of the Year. Abbott won it last year, and president Jim DiMenna won it this year.

“I’ve known him for about ten years,” Abbott said of DiMenna. “He’s got a highly skilled team here. It was attractive for me.”

Abbott most recently worked as the director of marketing and industry relations for BC Tree Fruits. After working there for more than two decades, the move to a new company meant learning some new ropes.

“It is an opportunity to learn about new commodities,” he said. “I get to learn about a different environment.”

Now, as director of operations, he will be working from the company’s Kingsville, Ontario, office. He will oversee the day-to-day operations of the distribution center, and be responsible for occupational health and safety initiatives, food safety programs, audits and industry relations.

“My early focus will be on fine-tuning  the occupational food safety programs here,” he said, and “we’ll coordinate a lot of the activity between areas of the company.”

DiMenna said in a news release that hiring Abbott was “an achievement” for the company, which will help it continue to expand throughout North America.

“It’s quite a change for me,” Abbott said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

With BC Tree Fruits, Abbott worked as a sales and marketing agent, and with one of the company’s packing operations before returning as a marketing services manager. In his last role, he also took on added responsibilities in food safety, traceability, sales and marketing analysis, production coordination and industry relations.