(Aug. 13) OXNARD, Calif. — The former California Strawberry Commission merchandising manager, Tim Hallows, has joined Mission Produce Inc. in a newly created position of western region merchandiser.

Hallows will manage Mission’s foodservice and retail avocado accounts in the western region, said Ross Wileman, Mission’s vice president of sales & marketing.

Wileman said Hallows started the first of August and will continue to reside in Salt Lake City.

Hallows’ extensive experience was an ideal fit for the job, Wileman said.

“This is a new position, but this guy is ready to go. We needed someone with experience in retail and merchandising, and he is fully prepared,” Wileman said.

Hallows began working at the Watsonville-based strawberry commission in 1999 with retail and foodservice customers in the Western region. Before that, Hallows worked for the Associated Food Stores Inc., Salt Lake City, as category sales manager. He has more than 20 years’ experience in produce.

Wileman said Hallows is Dave Austin’s counterpart. Austin handles merchandising in the eastern region for the company’s avocado ripe program.

Mission established the position to bring added presence and management to its growing ripe programs, which require a high level of oversight on the handler’s part.

“It includes coming in with a quality control team to train (the retail) personnel,” Wileman said. “Category reviews are every six months and weekly calls are made (to find what adjustments are needed in the program).”

Mission added the position in response to tremendous growth with its six forwarding/ripening centers.

Mission hires ex-strawberry exec