(Jan. 30) After five months as interim president for the California Strawberry Commission, Watsonville, Mark Murai accepted the role as a permanent, full-time position Jan. 19.

Murai, a third-generation grower and former president at Murai Farms, Santa Ana, Calif., began his interim presidency Aug. 29 after former president Rodger Wasson announced his departure from the commission Aug. 11.

The decision was made by the group’s chairman of the board, Rich Amirsehhi, and its search committee.

Murai served on the commission’s board of directors for 17 years and was chairman from 2002-04.

Though he’ll continue to split his time among Watsonville, other regions that represent growers and his Orange County farm, which grows 65-75 acres of strawberries, most of his time will be spent in Watsonville, Murai said.

The commission represents more than 600 Californian strawberry growers, shippers and processors.