(Sept. 11) Ray Gilmer is leaving the Maitland-based Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association for a position in North Carolina with the Berlin-based chemical company BASF.

Gilmer, FFVA’s director of communications and public affairs for 12 years, said Sept. 6 that he has accepted the position of group communications manager for the Ag Products Division of BASF, which is based in Research Triangle Park, near Raleigh, N.C.

Gilmer will stay with FFVA until after the association’s convention, which runs from Sept. 17-19. He said he expects to begin with BASF by early October.

“It is a good opportunity for Ray, and we are certainly disappointed to lose him,” said Mike Stuart, president of FFVA. “He will do a great job for them.”

Stuart said the association is looking at options to fill Gilmer’s spot, noting that issues management continues to change and become more challenging.

With his new position at BASF, Gilmer said he would manage direct marketing for farm, nursery, landscape and biotech products. The new position will still allow him to work with the produce industry, he said.

“The nice thing about this is that it doesn’t take me away from (agriculture), but it adds a lot more to my areas of expertise and responsibility,” he said.

BASF products for grain and nursery crops, in addition to fruits and vegetables crops, will fall under Gilmer’s direction.

BASF reported sales of $28 billion in 2005, and between 10% and 15% of those sales came from agriculture products, according to the company’s Web site.

Gilmer is the chairman of the marketing and communications committee for the Wilmington, Del.-based Produce for Better Health Foundation.

He said he will continue to serve on the PBH board for the near term, including a meeting that will precede the Washington Public Policy Conference the week of Sept. 11.

Gilmer said he might serve through next spring’s launch of the More Matters campaign, depending on the demands of his job and the wishes of PBH.

FFVA’s P.R. chief leaves for post with BASF
Ray Gilmer