LEAMINGTON, Ontario — A number of new employees are working at greenhouse companies in the Leamington and Kingsville areas of Ontario. Following is a partial listing of recent hires.

Clifford Produce Sales reorganizes, expands

A recent reorganization at grower-owned Clifford Produce Sales Inc. included additional office space and three new managers for the company in Ruthven, Ontario.

Phillip Thornton, sales manager, said in mid-January he is working to increase sales efforts and expand retail market share.

He has 22 years of fresh produce experience that includes work with Loblaw Cos. Ltd., which operates about 1,400 supermarkets in Canada and Sobeys Inc., which operates about 1,300 supermarkets.

Joseph Spano, operations and procurement manager, helped with some aspects of the Clifford reorganization with emphasis on the handling of increasing retail business.

His 18-year fresh produce career is supplemented by his experiences with his family’s seedless English cucumber operation. Spano plans to use his knowledge of growing, shipping and product management to oversee supplier relations and maximize operations while containing costs.

Robert Gentile, account manager, has 17 years of sales and product management experience in retail and food merchandising. He previously worked for Santa Maria Foods LLC. Gentile expects to develop new retail relationships for Clifford.

JemD Farm names U.S. operations director

To help manage the growing North American operations of Kingsville, Ontario-based JemD Farms, the company hired Ernesto Sanabria as its U.S. operations director.

Sanabria has extensive experience as a multinational liaison, and JemD president Jim DiMenna said Sanabria’s bilingual abilities will make him particularly valuable in business involving the company’s operations in Mexico.

With a background in project management and product development, Sanabria has led multinational efforts in a wide variety of sectors.

He has worked with produce management and logistics as well as on projects ranging from household appliance controls to automotive components.

Mucci Farms grows with employees

Mucci Farms and its associated companies in Kingsville, Ontario, hired four staffers.

Michael Meixner, operations director for Mucci Pac Ltd., has 25-plus years experience in engineering, manufacturing, supply chain management and customs brokerage.

He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in engineering management.

As the new health and food safety manager, Megh Bhandari brings a bachelor’s degree in food technology and a doctoral degree in food science to the Mucci greenhouse growing and packing operations.

Emily Murracas, Mucci Farms marketing coordinator, studied sociology at the University of Western Ontario.

Her experience includes management, leadership development, marketing and sales, with 10 years at South Essex Community Council.

Micheline Cornellier, human resources director, has a sociology degree from the University of Ottawa and has worked for the Canadian federal government in policy analysis, national learning consultation and finance and administration.

She was human resources manager for T.J. Enterprises, overseeing all recruitment, training, performance, and health and safety issues for the Tim Horton’s restaurant chain.

Nature Fresh bolsters staff for distribution

In 2011, Pete Quiring, founder and president of Nature Fresh Farms, decided it was time to go to complete vertical integration with his greenhouse vegetable growing operation in Leamington, Ontario.

That meant adding staff to take on the job of distributing Nature Fresh produce, which had previously been handled by outside firms.

Jay Colasanti, of the Nature Fresh sales and marketing department, said in January that the transition has given the company more control and better focus.

“Before we didn’t really know where all of our produce was going,” Colasanti said.

“This year we are more focused on branding and our entire product line.”

Nature Fresh now has more than 10 sales and distribution people and up to another 30 employees are planned to be added this year in the value-added and specialty product areas.

Ontario greenhouse association adds analyst

The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association had added a marketing and economic policy analyst position to help members improve their returns.

Glen Snoek joined the association in December.

In addition to helping growers enhance their revenue, Snoek also assists the association’s board of directors to develop policies regarding economic matters that affect the greenhouse vegetable growers in the province.

An Ontario native, Snoek worked at several growing operations in various capacities. He earned an undergraduate agricultural degree at the University of Guelph that focused on food safety and economics. He continued at Guelph, earning a graduate degree in agribusiness and economics where his thesis examined multiple government-funded value chain projects in Ontario.

Most recently he worked for the Canadian Federation of Agriculture for four years as a farm policy analyst. In that position he was an advocate for Canadian growers in the areas of risk management, taxation and market and credit issues.

Pure Hot House hires procurement director

Pure Hot House Foods Inc. added Marina Davidson as director of procurement, effective Jan. 16.

Davidson has 10 years of greenhouse experience, according to Sandra Dick, assistant director of marketing for the Leamington, Ontario, company.

Most recently Davidson worked as sales manager for Interoceanica, a large box supplier based in Celeya, Mexico.

Previously Davidson worked at Cris-P Sales in Nogales, Ariz. She has also worked in the Romulus, Minn., office of Mastronardi Produce, Kingsville, Ontario.

Jamie Moracci, president of Pure Hot House, said Davidson’s experience developing grower networks in multiple countries would be a benefit to the Ontario company and its customers.

Pure Hot House is a year-round grower, shipper and marketer of the Pure Flavor brand of greenhouse produce.