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Amanda Knauff
Amanda Knauff

The Ontario Produce Marketing Association (OPMA) appointed its new board chair and three new directors at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on June 11, 2024 in Toronto. The newly elected board chair will serve a one-year term and the new directors will each serve three-year terms from 2024 to 2027.


The members of the Board’s 2024-25 executive include Amanda Knauff (Taylor Farms) as chair, Dan Tukendorf (OFVGA) as vice chair, Steve Moffatt (North American Produce Buyers) as treasurer, and Adam Donikian (Sobeys Ontario) as Immediate past chair.


New board chair Amanda Knauff (Taylor Farms) brings expertise, leadership and energy to the Board. She has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2021 and most recently held the position of vice chair. In addition, she is also the co-chair of the OPMA Women in Produce (WPN) Committee, which she co-founded in 2023 with Leah Hardy (Wonderful Company).


The produce sector has faced multiple challenges during the past years, including a changing economy, and labour and supply chain issues, but has weathered these changes and continues to grow. One of the changes that Amanda Knauff strongly supports is the increase in diversity in the agricultural and produce industries workforce, including on OPMA’s Board and membership.


 “When I think about this coming years’ key strategies, we must continue to encourage diversity across everything we do,” she says. “Great strides have already been made with recent updates to our voting by-laws, and the formation of the OPMA Women’s Produce Network this past year. Let’s stay engaged with both the WPN and the Young Professionals Network. They're vital for our industry's future success, and I'm committed to their growth.”


The OPMA Board thanks retiring directors:  Matt Quiring from Nature Fresh Farms and Marc Wall from Sandy Shore Farms.


The new directors joining the OPMA’s 2024 Board are Eric Biddiscombe from Algoma Orchards, Greg Ogiba from Mike and Mike’s and Frank Spagnuolo from the Burnac Produce Group.


Eric has spent forty years in leadership roles in the produce industry, spending 33 years in the retail side of the business leading teams in distribution center operations, health and safety, process improvement, business systems development, quality assurance, merchandising and procurement and seven years on the supplier side with senior roles in sales and marketing. Eric is a past member of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) and its various working sub committees and has contributed his expertise and time to the CFIA advisory board. Eric currently works with Algoma Orchards -- the largest independent apple grower in Canada -- as director of sales and business development.



Greg Ogiba is the president of Mike and Mike’s, a Toronto-based importer and distributor of fresh produce, healthy snacks and grocery items. HIs experience includes being the past COO of AM Fresh, chair of the CPMA’s Education Committee, and a teacher at the University of Rhode Island (URI). An accredited CPA, Greg earned his undergraduate degree in International Business from URI, and went on to earn an MBA from Queen’s University.


Frank Spagnuolo has more than 30 years of experience in the grocery and produce sector, with the majority of his career spent at Loblaw Company, in numerous roles. Most recently, he served as the grocer’s senior category director, produce procurement, for 14 years. He currently works for Burnac Produce Group as senior VP managing director.


Rebecca Harris president of the OPMA, looks forward to continuing to execute on the Strategic Plan, and helping to foster and build growth and sustainability in the sector.


Source:  Ontario Produce Marketing Association June 19, 2024 news release


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Submitted by Karen Davidson on 20 June 2024