(Feb. 9, 4:55 p.m.) In a restructuring effort meant to let the association focus more on member relations and advocacy, the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association has promoted two to vice presidents and a director into a new role.

Dan Botts and Walter Kates were both promoted to vice presidents of their divisions.

Kates came on board with the Maitland-based association in 1982 as labor relations assistant. He was director of labor relations for 25 years before his recent promotion to vice president of labor relations.

Botts was director of the environmental and pest management division, a title he held since 1984 when he joined the association. He is now vice president of industry resources.

“The spots that Dan Botts and Walter Kates hold are really focusing on the expert knowledge and advocacy pieces of our strategic plan,” said Mike Stuart, president. “These are the areas that our members have told us are really important.”

Mike Carlton, executive director of the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation, has moved to join Kates’ division as director of labor relations.

“Walter is approaching retirement age, so part of the goal is to provide some continuity of service in that department,” Stuart said.

Carlton will continue to run the foundation until its board names a successor. FFVA has a management contract to run operations of the foundation, so Carlton was already on board.

FFVA also plans to move its director of water and natural resources from its Tallahassee office to its headquarters in Maitland. The position is open, as Alan Peirce left in the fall to work for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Tallahassee. When Peirce was with FFVA his title was manager of regulatory affairs.

“Just because of the nature of the beast with water affairs, it just makes sense for the person responsible to be centrally located,” Stuart said.

Peirce’s successor will report to Botts in the environmental and pest management division to keep the focus on member services.

In addition to recruiting for director of water and natural resources, FFVA is also looking for a director of pest management. Mike Aerts was promoted to director of marketing and membership about four months ago, Stuart said, after Danny Raulerson left to join the Florida Farm Bureau, Gainesville, as director of field services.