Mission, Texas; January 4, 2016: The Texas International Produce Association announces a new Advisory Board, made up of 13 retail and foodservice contacts, to assist in guiding the direction of the Viva Fresh Expo in 2017 and beyond. The third annual Viva Fresh Produce Expo returns to Austin, Texas on April 20-22, 2017 at the Austin Convention Center and Hilton Hotel.

Advisory Board members will serve a two-year term and provide input and feedback on educational sessions, keynote speakers, show schedule and more. “Our goal is to continue to deliver on implementing a conference and expo that exceeds expectations and provides innovative programs and services,” stated Bret Erickson, TIPA President and CEO. “In order to accomplish this, we felt it was critical that the retail and foodservice attendees weigh-in and offer their valuable insights and advice.”

The 2017 Advisory Board Members Include:

  • Matt Reeves, Business Development Manager, H-E-B
  • Brian Boutin, Business Development Manager, H-E-B
  • Joseph Bunting, Produce Business Director, United Supermarkets,
  • Keith Durham, Certified Category Manager – Fresh Foods, Brookshire Grocery Company
  • Gary Campisi, Sr. Director, Quality Control, Fresh Grocery Division, Walmart
  • Tony Fisher, Director Sourcing, Walmart
  • Joseph Soe, Manager of Produce Sourcing, Sobeys, Inc.
  • Frank Pagliaro, VP National Produce/Floral Procurement, Loblaw Companies
  • Jessica Johnson, Executive Purchasing Coordinator Produce & Floral Southwest Region, Whole Foods Market
  • Wes Holcomb , Director of Produce & Dairy, Ben E. Keith
  • Greg Rowe, Chief Operating Officer, Hardies Fresh Foods
  • Mark Sanders, Senior Manager Strategic Purchasing, FreshPoint

In just two short years, Viva Fresh Expo has catered to sold out exhibitor space and hotels, and increased buyer attendance by over 70%. Since day one, Viva Fresh has focused on not only networking, but education by tackling critical issues through technology, expert speakers and experiential learning.

Jimmy Bassetti, President of J&D Produce and Chairman of the Viva Fresh Expo Steering Committee remarked, “We’re very excited to make this announcement and have so many be willing to serve. The retail and foodservice attendees are an important component of our event and we want to ensure we’re meeting their needs as well as obtain their guidance to help us grow.”

For more information or to register online, visit VivaFreshExpo.com. Registration for retail and foodservice buyers is free and a travel stipend is provided.

About the Texas International Produce Association

The Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) was created in 1942 to represent the interest of shippers of Texas-grown fruits and vegetables. In 1996, the scope of TIPA was expanded to address the problems and opportunities surrounding the importation and marketing of foreign grown produce. TIPA’s member companies include: growers, domestic shippers, import shippers, specialty shippers, distributors, and material and service providers.