(Jan. 20) SALINAS, Calif. — Tanimura & Antle Inc. has hired a new West Coast director of its value-added operations.

Dan Torres, 42, joined the company from Nogales, Ariz.-based Meyer-Pacific LLC, where he was chief operations officer for five years. He started at Tanimura & Antle Jan. 19.

The position at Tanimura & Antle opened up about eight months ago when the value-added division reorganized, said Rich Gonzales, vice president of value-added operations for the company.

Gonzales said Torres would manage new products, help improve existing lines and help the company’s value-added teams reach their goals.

Torres said he made the decision to leave Meyer-Pacific to be closer to his four children, who live in Salinas. He gained experience with value-added packaging from 1990 to 1994 as an employee at Salinas-based Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc.

Meyer-Pacific will not seek a new employee to fill Torres’ former position during the 2004 West Mexico produce season, said Bob Meyer, co-manager of the company.

For now, Meyer said he would assume the position on an interim basis. However, he said candidates would be considered for the job after the season.