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Fishers, N.Y. – New York Apple Association, Inc. (NYAA) President and CEO Cynthia Haskins will direct the association’s activities to market and promote the 2017 New York state apple crop, and has assembled an experienced staff team of both new and familiar faces to assist her, the association announced today.

“I am very excited to have our ‘Team 2017’ in place and ready to make the case to retailers, foodservice and consumers alike that New York state is their Big Apple,” said Haskins. “In the weeks and months ahead, we’ll be letting them know the many reasons why they don’t need to look any further this fall than their backyard for delicious, nutritious, local apples, cider and other apple products.”

Hoard and McClurg join Haskins and Sarlund on marketing staff
Haskins will lead NYAA’s marketing team, working with Michele Hoard as NYAA’s new retail and foodservice account manager and Susan Sarlund, NYAA’s longtime Northeast account manager. Hoard and Sarlund will call on retailers and other buyer partners. Haskins has also tapped NYAA alumnus David McClurg to support the association’s 2017 retail promotional activities, and to implement a foodservice market development grant project.

Hoard’s marketing skills include category management, program launches, customer marketing, and consumer promotions at the retail level including demos. She brings a wealth of industry experience to her new NYAA role. As senior marketing manager for Zespri, she helped establish the New Zealand kiwi brand as one of the dominant produce brands in North America. She previously served as national marketing representative for Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onions, where she called on retailers and foodservice distributors across the country. Hoard also worked as regional account manager for Frieda’s Specialty Produce, a leader in new product introduction. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from University of Wisconsin, and an MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

Sarlund worked alongside her father John McAleavey, Sr. on NYAA’s Northeast retail account management team for several years until his death in 2015. At that time she also succeeded him as executive director of Eastern Produce Council, a relationship that comes in handy in getting Sarlund into retailers’ offices, notes Haskins. After earning a bachelor’s degree in communications from Boston College, and a master’s degree in marketing from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Sarlund held various sales and marketing positions before joining the NYAA team as a contractor.

McClurg rejoins NYAA as a contractor to support the association’s retail promotion activities, and to fulfill a foodservice market development grant project targeting New York state schools and correctional facilities. NYAA received a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant from New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to explore foodservice market opportunities within the state.

NYAA’s former vice president of marketing, McClurg worked for the association from early 2001 to late 2011. His business development role included helping New York apple shippers and processors to find, develop or grow markets, designing retail promotions, and marketing the state’s apple crop each year. Most recently, he worked as director of sales for Appeeling Fruit Inc., the East Coast’s largest fresh-cut apple slice producer.

“This is an exciting time, there are many opportunities for our industry at retail and in foodservice, and now we have a strong team in place to realize those opportunities,” said Haskins.

Haskins also reported that Molly Zingler has resigned as NYAA’s marketing director. Zingler helped NYAA add digital marketing tools including digital coupons and social media to its traditional marketing toolbox. “We thank Molly for all her contributions over the last five years, and wish her much success in her new endeavors,” said Haskins.

Bacon joins Stewart on public relations team
Haskins welcomed Tami Bacon as NYAA’s new administrative and public relations assistant. Bacon’s administrative duties include orchestrating NYAA’s annual presence at the Great New York State Fair, and fulfilling industry and retailer requests for marketing collateral. Bacon will also work with NYAA public relations director Julia Stewart on consumer and trade media relations, and to maintain NYAA’s two websites. In addition, she will serve as editor of NYAA’s grower newspaper, Core Report.

Bacon grew up around fruit trees. Both of her parents worked in the nursery business in Dansville for many years, and she and her sisters spent summers in high school budding fruit trees. She brings many years of food industry experience to her new position, having worked for AgriLink Foods and Constellation Wines U.S. As corporate communications manager at AgriLink, she assisted in the re-launch of the iconic Birds Eye brand, and provided marketing support for the Comstock brand and AgriLink’s foodservice and private label business. Most recently, she was marketing coordinator for a B2B specialty printing company. Bacon has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from St. John Fisher College, and is a graduate of LEAD NY, Cornell University's food and agriculture leadership program.

Stewart has served as NYAA’s public relations director since 2012, directing the association’s consumer and trade media relations, issues/crisis communications and websites. Previously, she directed public relations and issues and crisis communications for U.S. Apple Association and for Produce Marketing Association. Stewart works for NYAA on a contract, part-time basis.

Haskins herself joined NYAA as president and CEO on Jan. 3, following the retirement of longtime NYAA senior executive Jim Allen.

Note to editors: Download photos of NYAA’s 2017 staff team via the association’s Flickr photo-sharing site. NYAA grants permission for use of our photos in editorial coverage.

About New York Apple Association, Inc.
A nonprofit agricultural trade association based in Fishers, N.Y., NYAA represents the state’s commercial apple growers. The association supports profitable growing and marketing of New York apples through increasing demand for apples and apple products, representing the industry at state and federal levels, and serving as the primary information source on New York apple-related matters. For more information, visit www.nyapplecountry.com.