Sep 28, 2018Produce Marketing Association names Estes VP of technology
To better help the fresh produce and floral industry to harness the increasing role of technology, the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) is expanding its technology expertise. Vonnie Estes will join PMA as vice president of technology, starting Oct. 1.
Estes will engage with PMA’s members and industry, coalitions and other stakeholders with the aim to provide the supply chain with science- and technology-specific connections, information and solutions. Specifically, she will help PMA members to gain greater awareness and understanding of emerging science and technologies – particularly science and tech related to labor, food safety and sustainability.
She joins PMA’s Science & Technology team, which is led by Chief Science & Technology Officer Bob Whitaker, Ph.D., and includes Vice President of Supply Chain Efficiencies Ed Treacy, Director of Food Safety & Technology Johnna Hepner, Manager of Content Development Cyndi Neal and Manager of Produce Coding Christina D’Allacco. Trevor Suslow, Ph.D., will also join the PMA staff Oct. 1 as vice president of produce safety.
Estes’ career has involved developing the supply chain connections necessary to bring biotechnology innovations from R&D to real-world commercialization and use. Her experience ranges from agricultural biotechnology including CRISPR Cas9 plant breeding, to artificial intelligence, Big Data, indoor agriculture, precision ag, biofuels, and bio-based chemicals and products. She has also been involved in business strategy, government and public affairs, marketing, business development and finance.
“As technology continues to influence all aspects of the produce and floral supply chains, it made sense to add an expert of Vonnie’s caliber to our team to provide deeper value to PMA members and industry,” said PMA CEO Cathy Burns. “Her expertise and insights will help our global community better understand how to leverage current and emerging technologies to grow their businesses, and ultimately grow a healthier world.”
“I look forward to bringing the expertise and skills I’ve developed working for individual companies in the technology space to bear to help PMA’s members across the supply chain and around the world. Together, we can help capitalize on the opportunities and minimize the challenges of adopting tech,” said Estes. “My personal passions for agriculture and sustainability mesh perfectly with PMA’s mission to connect, inform and deliver industry solutions to enhance members’ prosperity – in a way that sustains both people and the planet.”
“This is an exciting time for our industry,” PMA Chief Science & Technology Officer Bob Whitaker. “Technology development is exploding across our industry, and we have a unique opportunity to help our members become aware of these opportunities and evaluate the value emerging technologies can have for their businesses.”
Estes earned a bachelor of science degree in horticulture from New Mexico State University and a master of science degree in plant pathology from University of California, Davis. The Biotechnology Innovation Organization awarded her with the fourth annual Rosalind Franklin Award for Leadership in Industrial Biotechnology in 2017. That award recognizes women who make lasting contributions in the field of biotechnology.
Estes will be based in Menlo Park, California.