(Jan. 9) IRWINDALE, Calif. — With an eye on expanding Ready Pac Produce’s double-digit revenue growth by introducing its products to new markets, Robert Spence has joined the fresh-cut firm as vice president of business development.

Spence, who previously had been general manager of reusable plastic containers and vice president of produce for Orlando, Fla.-based Chep USA, stepped into the newly created position at Ready Pac on Nov. 11.

Spence’s last day at Chep was Nov. 8. He will be succeeded at Chep by Robert Muramatsu, who has been serving as director of business development for Chep Canada, said Deb Spicer, vice president of corporate communications for Chep USA.

Muramatsu, who has worked for Chep for six years, will start in his new position at Chep USA on Feb. 1. He was named Outstanding Employee of the Year in 1998 for Chep Canada and in 2002 was named the Chief Executive Officer Outstanding Award winner.
Before joining Chep Canada, Muramatsu had eight years of sales management experience with Greyhound Canada Transportation Corp. He will move to Orlando, where he will report to Rex Lowe, president of Chep USA.

Spence, who is well known in the produce industry, brings more than 30 years of food industry experience to Ready Pac.

At Chep, Spence was responsible for driving the use of returnable plastic containers in the produce industry. He served as an officer on the board of directors of the Reusable Pallet and Container Coalition, and he has spoken during packaging educational sessions at Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association conventions.

Before working for Chep, Spence spent five years with Chiquita Brands North America, where he had the positions of vice president of national accounts for the U.S., vice president of the western division and packaging design team member in Costa Rica.

Spence serves on the United Logistics Council and was co-chairman of the 2001 United convention.

Spence, who is moving from Florida to Irwindale, was unavailable for comment the second week of January, a spokesman for Ready Pac said.