(March 13, 3:05 p.m.) A perishables logistics veteran plans to use his radio frequency identification experience to help further build Naturipe Farms’ produce market presence.

Michael McCartney, who has 30 years of logistics industry experience, is set to become vice president of operations for the Naples, Fla.-based Naturipe Farms LLC on April 1.

McCartney first demonstrated the use of RFID technology to the produce industry at a 1999 Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit convention in Atlanta.

Bruce Peterson, Naturipe’s president and chief executive officer, met McCartney in 1995 when Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bentonville, Ark., launched an RFID program.

McCartney’s experience helps complete Naturipe’s management team, said Peterson, former senior vice president and general merchandise manager of perishables for Wal-Mart.

“I picked his brain constantly while working on RFID with Wal-Mart,” Peterson said. “He’s a great counselor and almost a mentor to me. I’ve trusted his judgment in matters that go beyond his unparalleled operational expertise areas of warehouse management, transportation, food safety and traceability. For the past dozen years, he has really developed a focus in the produce industry. I’ve kind of made a produce industry guy out of him.”

McCartney, who has either worked for or served as a consultant for General Electric, General Motors, ASDA, Safeway, Wal-Mart, IFCO Systems, Hays Container Services, and Container and Pallet Services, has in recent years run his San Francisco-area based Quality Logistics Management Consulting company, an RFID solutions provider.

“During the last five years, we have focused on using the best technology to establish reliable food traceback systems as well as a predictable food supply chain,” McCartney said. “When I look at Naturipe Farms, being under Bruce’s direction, I get excited because I’m joining a team that will really be able to set a world-class standard for food quality and food traceability as well as deliver operational excellence.”

McCartney, who will also head Naturipe’s global food safety and traceback systems, said he plans to spend most of his time working from Naturipe’s Salinas, Calif., office.

McCartney and Peterson in 2007 started a venture to create perishables traceability guidelines. McCartney helped start the first RFID perishables testing center in Salinas in 2005 and the first European RFID testing center in 2006.

McCartney is a board member of the United Fresh Produce Association’s packaging council and is a member of the PMA/United Fresh/Canadian Produce Marketing Association produce traceability initiative joint task force.