Berry News

Berry grower makes leadership changes

Source: VCSTAR.COM | January 5, 2017

Reiter Affiliated Cos. announces that Hector Lujan has assumed the new role of chief executive officer as co-founder Garland Reiter, who had served in the position, transitions to the role of executive chairman.

Under Reiter’s leadership, the organization grew from a small five-person farmhouse to larger-scale operations in the United States, Mexico, Portugal and Morocco.

“Over the past 40 years, I have had the privilege to work alongside many great individuals and steward the company along the way, guiding, engaging and navigating a path to where we stand today,” Reiter said. “In my new capacity, I will be responsible for leading our board of directors and guiding strategy. I have great confidence in Hector, and the accomplishments that he has achieved have allowed him to establish a great depth of knowledge and business acumen for our diverse international business.”

Lujan joined the company in 2002 as vice president for central Mexico for the company’s Mexican affiliate, BerryMex. By 2005, his role expanded, consolidating all of the company’s Mexico farming operations in Jalisco, Michoacán and Baja California. In 2011, Lujan and his family relocated to the U.S. as he became chief operating officer, a position he held until becoming CEO.

Before joining the company, Lujan worked for Bionova Fresh, a subsidiary of Grupo Pulsar, as operations manager in the group’s farming and marketing companies. He is a graduate of the Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, México, with a degree in business administration.

“I have had the great fortune of working directly with Garland for the last 14 years, and am honored to be his successor as CEO of RAC,” Lujan said. “My goal is to bring renewed growth and excitement into the business so that we can continue on our path of success. With that goal comes great challenges, but I believe we have a strong team here who are ready to drive us forward.”

Reiter Affiliated Cos. is a fresh multi-berry producer growing Driscoll’s proprietary varieties of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries year round in the United States and elsewhere. The Reiter family began farming in the San Francisco Bay Peninsula and by the turn of the century had migrated south into Watsonville and the Santa Clara Valley. By the late 1970s, operations expanded into Southern California, where the company is based now.

Staying at the forefront of innovation and utilizing cultural farming practices allowed Reiter to revolutionize the berry industry, the company said. Reiter established the first U.S. private primary health care clinic, La Clínica FreSalud, exclusively for farmworkers and collaborated with UC Davis and Berkeley to fund and implement an obesity and diabetes prevention program known as Sembrando Salud among Reiter’s ranch communities, the company said.