Subscribe to our newsletter



Dr. Randy Ploetz -Professor at the Tropical Research & Education Center, University of Florida

Dr. Ploetz received B.S. (Forestry) and M.Sc. (Pathology of plants) degrees from Purdue University and a Ph.D. (Phytopathology) of the University of Florida (UF). Dr. Ploetz studied the physiological impacts of Phytophthora root rot (PRR, caused by P. cinnamomi) and flooding on avocado, Persea americana, and dissected the deep and rapid detrimental interaction that occurs when trees are exposed to both factors, in half-sib populations of the national germplasm repository of this crop in Miami (USDA-ARS). During the last few years, Dr. Ploetz has been studying Laurel Wilt, a disease that is increasing its impact on avocado crops in the world.


Dr. Elizabeth Dann - Associate Professor at the Centre for Horticultural Science in Queensland University

Dr. Dann obtained her PhD from the University of Sydney, and undertook her post doctoral research at Michigan State University, USA and at the University of Sydney, prior to joining the Plant Pathology (Horticulture) research team within the Queensland Government in 2002. Dr. Dann Current active areas of avocado research include assessment of avocado rootstocks for resistance to Phytophthora cinnamomi, optimizing phosphonate treatments for management of Phytophthora, identification and management of black root rot of avocado and evaluation of new chemistries, soil amendments and “non-traditional” approaches for improved soil health, reversal of tree decline, increased yields and postharvest fruit quality performance. 


Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton – Distinguished Professor of Nutrition Penn State University

Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton is a Distinguished Professor of Nutrition in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University. Her research expertise is cardiovascular nutrition. Dr. Kris-Etherton is Chair of the AHA Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health, and Past Chair of the AHA Nutrition Committee. Dr. Kris-Etherton is a fellow of the American Heart Association, the National Lipid Association (where she served as President), and the American Society for Nutrition. She has published over 360 papers in the peer-reviewed literature and has received numerous awards from the American Society for Nutrition, the American Oil Chemist’s Society, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the International Nut & Dried Fruit Council, and the Northeast Lipid Association Chapter for her contributions to the profession.


Dr. - Hannah Holscher – Professor of nutrition at Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition

Dr. Hannah Holscher received her B.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition and her Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Illinois. She is also a Registered Dietitian, having completed clinical training at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey, Illinois. Dr. Holscher joined the University of Illinois faculty as an Assistant Professor in June 2015. As Director of the Nutrition and the Human Microbiome Laboratory, her research team aims to enhance human health through dietary modulation of the gastrointestinal microbiome.

Dr. Holscher has published in top nutrition journals including the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the Journal of Nutrition. She has also served in leadership roles at both the local and national level, including the FSHN Ambassadors and the American Society for Nutrition, respectively


Dr. Naiman Khan – Professor at College of Applied Health Sciences – University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign

Dr. Naiman Khan is the director of the Body Composition and Nutritional Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a registered dietitian with broad experience assessing cognitive function, diet, and body composition.

Dr. Khan has extensive experience conducting clinical trials investigating the effects of dietary modulation on measures of physical as well cognitive and brain health. He has several research grants currently funded to investigate cognitive function and diet, has more than 50 peer-reviewed research articles, and has presented at several national meetings.


Dr. Britt Burton-Freeman - Director of the Institute for Food Safety and Health’s (IFSH) Center for Nutrition Research and Associate Professor in Food Science and Nutrition with a secondary appointment in Biomedical Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).

Dr. Britt Burton-Freeman, received her BS in Dietetics from the California State University, Chico, a MS and PhD in Nutritional Biology from the University of California, Davis and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Internal Medicine at University of California, Davis. She . has been involved in obesity and metabolic disease research for over 15 years, including basic science and clinical research in academic, biotechnology and drug development settings. Dr. Freeman’s current research interests are in mitigating disease process through dietary approaches focused on the health promoting properties of whole foods. Specific disease targets are vascular disease and obesity, including food intake regulation. In her current appointment, she leads a public health initiative with FDA/CFSAN to develop and provides underpinning science for comprehensive approaches using innovative processing solutions to support the availability of safe food with health opportunities.


Dr. Harley Smith - CSIRO Agriculture & Food

Dr. Smith received his PhD in Genetics from the Department of Energy-Plant Research Laboratory at Michigan State University and did his postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley. During this period, he studied key regulators of meristem function and plant architecture. From 2004 to 2012, Harley joined the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at the University of California, Riverside and developed a project showing that key meristem functioning genes control flower formation by maintaining lateral organ boundaries. In addition, Harley investigated the development basis of biennial bearing in avocado. In 2012, Dr. Smith moved to Adelaide to lead the CSIRO Rootstock Breeding Team aimed at developing new grapevine rootstocks with durable resistance to root knot nematode and phylloxera using marker-assisted selection. Dr. Smith also leads a recently funded Hort Innovation project focused on irregular bearing in avocado.


Dr. Alejandro F. Barrientos – Professor and Researcher, Universidad Autónoma Chapingo

Research professor of the Postgraduate program of Horticulture at the Department of plant breeding of the Universidad Autónoma Chapingo. He has been the coordinator of the Avocado Network of the National Plant Genetic Resources System (SINAREFI) of SAGARPA. He is the principal author of the IPGRI Avocado Descriptors (currently Bioversity). Coordinator of the work for the elaboration of the Guidelines for the Examination of Avocado Varieties and Rootstocks of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). He also participated in the elaboration of the Technical Rule for the Qualification (certification) of seeds (plants) of avocado of the National Service of Inspection and Certification of Seeds (SNICS). Dr. Barrientos has extensive experience in avocado genetic resources, clonal propagation of avocado and has been working on obtaining avocado dwarf rootstocks, as well as selecting clones of this species with resistance to lack of soil moisture, research he developed for several years. On the other hand, he has been involved with the selection of avocado rootstocks resistant to avocado root rot . It also collaborates with other institutions in obtaining new varieties of avocado.


Dr. Zelda Van Rooyen - Westfalia Fruit - Westfalia Technological Services

Zelda van Rooyen obtained her PhD in Agriculture in 2006 from the University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.  Dr. van Rooyen joined Westfalia Technological Services in 2007 and became involved in postharvest storage trials specifically aimed at facilitating market access for South Africa using cold sterilization treatments. She also became involved with screening and testing new rootstock material produced by the rootstock breeding programme. She has conducted postharvest research aimed at evaluating non-destructive quality determination through the use of near infrared. Dr. Van Rooyen have also explored the benefits of growing avocados under shade net and taken an interest in exploring the benefits of Low Flow Drip systems in reducing water use while maintaining fruit quality, tree health, and achieving good yields.


Dr. Mary Lu Arpaia - Postharvest Center at University of California, Riverside

As a statewide extension specialist for subtropical fruit at UC Riverside, Dr. Mary Lu Arpaia has both an educational and research program dealing with all aspects of citrus and avocado production, with an emphasis on postharvest handling. There are two areas related to subtropical fruit postharvest handling in which she conducts research. The first deals with the role of preharvest management on postharvest fruit quality. Secondly, she conducts research that examines the response of subtropical fruit to the postharvest environment including temperature during handling and ethylene exposure. Dr. Arpaia also leads the avocado variety breeding program at UC, Riverside with the aim of selecting new varieties that are precocious, adapted to high density planting and have excellent postharvest quality.



Extensive international experience in the fresh food industry and international trade. Led the international expansion of Camposol group in Europe, USA and China.

Currently serving as Vice Chair in the Peruvian Avocado Commission, Director in the World Avocado Organization and Alt. Director in the Hass Avocado Board. Also serving in United Fresh Produce Association International Advisory Board. Former board member in the Produce Marketing Association (PMA). Previous experience includes senior management positions at Chiquita Brands in the USA , Costa Rica and Europe. Harvard Alumni, INCAE MBA.


Emiliano Escobedo - Executive Director for the Hass Avocado Board

Emiliano is graduated in Food and Resource Economics from the University of Florida. Currently, Emiliano is the Executive director for the Hass Avocado Board (HAB) which represents nearly 20,000 producers and 100 importers to promote U.S. consumption of fresh domestic and imported Hass Avocados sold in the U.S. market. Prior to his current position, he was director of Global Marketing and U. S. Operations for the Avocado Producer and Exporting Packers Association of Michoacán (APEAM), the largest avocado producer and exporter association in the world. While at APEAM, Emiliano executed strategic marketing initiatives that positioned Avocados from Mexico as the world’s finest in the United States, Canada, Japan, Europe and Mexico.


Dr. Paul Spagnuolo – Professor at Food Science Department – University of Guelph

Paul Spagnuolo, holds a PhD in Applied Health Sciences from the  University of Waterloo. He joined the Department of Food Science in 2016 after holding an Assistant Professor position at the School of Pharmacy, University of Waterloo. Dr. Paul Spagnuolo is an Associate Professor at the Department of Food Science, University of Guelph and Research Program director for the Products and Value Chains theme of the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance.  His research focuses on the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of chronic diseases with specific emphasis on nutraceuticals (i.e., food-derived bioactive compounds).  His lab has discovered 4 novel anti-cancer agents, filed 3 patents and has completed a Phase I Clinical Trial.  He is a member of the Ontario Stem Cell Initiative and the Stem Cell Network and he also sits on the Board of Directors for the Natural Health Products Research Society of Canada.

Iñaki hormaza

Dr. Iñaki Hormaza - Research Professor at CSIC. IHSM La mayora, Malaga

José Ignacio Hormaza graduated in Biological Sciences from the University of Navarra and received his doctorate from the University of California at Davis in 1994. Since 2003 he is responsible for the Department of Subtropical Fruits of the IHSM La Mayora and, since 2007, is Professor of Research of the Council Superior of Scientific Investigations. Dr. Hormaza has worked in the study of genetic diversity, in the characterization and conservation of germplasm and in studies of reproductive biology in subtropical and temperate fruit trees. He is a visiting researcher at Harvard University, coordinator of the Native Fruit Tree Network of CYTED. In 2013 he was honored with the Hans Merensky Fellow award from the South African Merensky Foundation and in 2017 he was named honorary member of the Botanical Society of America. He has published nearly 200 scientific-technical articles, more than 100 of them in impact journals and presented more than 130 papers to scientific conferences.


Giovanni Cavaletto - Vice President, Sourcing For Index Fresh

Giovanni holds an MBA from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, as well as a master of Science in International Agricultural Development from the same university. Giovanni’s great-grandparents came to California at the turn of the twentieth century and farmed in Santa Barbara County. He grew up on an avocado and lemon farm in Nipomo where he also leased and developed orchards.  Giovanni worked as Index’s representative in Uruapan and Michoacán, Mexico during the mid 1990s.  He has served as an Index field representative and currently is Vice-President of Sourcing, traveling throughout the growing regions of California and Latin America.  His practical experience is supported by advanced degrees in both agriculture and business. Giovanni’s understanding of agriculture, grower’s challenges and the greater avocado industry is a tremendous asset to growers and trading partners.


Dr. Mark Hoddle  -  Director of the Center for Invasive Species Research

Mark Hoddle holds a Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst as well as a D.Sc. from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. He has a keen interest in invasive species and the environmental and economic problems that invasions cause in California and globally. As director for the Center for Invasive Species Research he develops research projects that aimed to improve the basic understanding of pest biology and ecology and the natural enemies associated pests. Having as the main goal the development of better pest monitoring and management plans, looking to reduce insecticide use. The most significant achievement so far has been the isolation, identification, and demonstration of field efficacy of the sex pheromone of the avocado seed moth, Stenoma catenifer.


Dr Kerry Everett - Plant & Food Research Science Company

Dr Kerry Everett is a plant pathologist who has specialised in the study of postharvest fruit rots of avocados.  Dr Everett has conducted extensive fungicide spray trials and has examined other orchard based practices for the control of postharvest rots.   Dr Everett has also conducted postharvest trials for rot control, with both fungicides and alternatives, and has assisted Peru and Mexico with understanding the important disease problems for their industries.  She and her team also developed molecular identification tools for avocado scab (Sphaceloma perseae), and used these to prove that scab is not present in New Zealand.  Her current research focuses on investigating the disease cycle for several postharvest rot fungi that infect avocados in the orchard using a combination of molecular and conventional research tools. 

Daniel Carrillo

Dr. Daniel Carrillo - , Tropical Research and Education Center, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at University of Florida

Dr. Daniel carrillo holds a Ph.D. in Entomology and Nematology from the University of Florida. Currently he is an assistant professor at the same university at the Tropical Research and Education Center, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. His activities are divided between research and extension. He current research areas include the study of Laurel wilt of avocado: Management of an unusual and lethal disease. USDA-NIFA SCRI, as well as research support for pests of concern to US USDA-APHIS.


Dr. Armando Equihua Martinez – Professor at Colegio de Postgrados, Mexico

Dr. Amando Equihua did a Master of Science with specialistaion in Entomology and holds a Ph.D from Oregon State University. He has been Assistant Research Professor in the mexican institution Colegio de Postgrados since 2001 where he lectures on Forest Phytosanitation and Immature Insect States. Dr. Equihua has participated in research on avocado pests and has published scientific articles on this topic.


Dr. Nikki Ford - Director of Nutrition at the Avocado Nutrition Center

Dr. Ford holds a Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign. She is the director of nutrition at the Avocado Nutrition Center. In this role, she directs a human nutrition research program with a spend of approximately $1M annually, oversees a nutrition affairs program which aims to ensure that avocados can be promoted based upon nutrition research, and co-directs a sustainable diets program. Prior to joining the Avocado Nutrition Center in 2013, Nikki was involved in medical research at the University of Texas at Austin and held an adjunct faculty position at Texas State University.


Futoshi Teshima - International Fruit & Vegetable trade and commercialization expert

Futoshi holds a Master in Language and Culture from the University of Foreign Studies at Osaka, Japan. Futoshi Teshima has over 15 years of experience in Japanis fruit market with an special focus on importations of avocado, mango, table grape, and citrus. He also has been involved in the exportation of Japanis domestic fresh fruits and vegetables. His expertice also includes the development and implementation of sales strategies. He has heen involved in the retail and wholesale market as well.


Dr. Judith Rodriguez – Professor at Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, University of Florida

Dr. Judith Rodriguez is professor in, and past chair of, the Department of Nutrition & Dietetics in the Brooks College of Health at the University of North Florida. She has many peer reviewed and consumer publications, including the Latino Food Lover’s Glossary (Florida Dietetic Association), The Diet Selector (Running Press) and 200 Surefire Ways Eat to Well and Feel Better (Fair Winds Press). Dr. Rodriguez, a Medallion recipient of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the UNF 2013 Distinguished Professor, has received numerous recognitions.

Samuel Salazar

Dr. Samuel Salazar García - Researcher in tropical fruit tres at INIFAP, Mexico

Dr. Samuel Salazar is a Physiological Specialist in Avocado and a Principal Investigator of the Fruit Tree Program of the National Institute of Forestry, Agriculture and Livestock Research (INIFAP, Mexico). He specialized in Fruit Nutrition at the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain and is a Doctor of Fruit Physiology from the University of California at Riverside, USA. Dr. Salazar has been an avocado researcher for 40 years and is the author and co-author of books, chapters, and more than 300 technical and scientific articles on avocado, mango and other fruit trees. He has also been director of more than 60 Theses (undergraduate, Master’s, and PhD). His current lines of research include the ecophysiology of warm climate fruit trees, the physiology of productivity, mineral nutrition and fertilization, rootstocks tolerant to adverse soil factors, the physiological control of diseases and physiopathies of the fruit, the physiology of flowering and the productive alternation. Additionally, he has been a consultant and lecturer in the areas of rootstocks, nutrition, reproductive physiology, orchard management among others.


Dr. Carol J. Lovatt - Professor of Plant Physiology Emerita and Professor in the Graduate Division, Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California-Riverside.

Dr. Lovatt recieved her PhD from the University of Rhode Island in Biological Sciences. She is an Emeritus Professor at the University of California-Riverside where she had multiple appointments and teached for 35 years at the department of Botany and Plant Sciences. She has been member of multiple societies and associations, such as the International Society of Citriculture and the Plant Growth Regulation Society of America. She has been invited to multiple international conferencesses and events. She’s also a honorary member of the International Society of Citriculture and recieved the Academic Senate Distinguished Service award. She also has patents related with novel fertilizer, plant growth regulation, and solutions to alternate bearing. Profesor Lovatt reseach topic include regulation of flowering, fruit set and fruit development in avocado, citrus, pistachio and olive, hormone homeostasis and regulation of floral development.  Professor Lovatt also carries research on production management strategies, properly timed foliar-applied fertilizers and plant growth regulators (PGRs). She has advised 16 PhD and 14 Master’s thesis and published more tan 150   technical peer-reviewed articles.


Mónica Castro Valdebenito – Professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso-Chile

Mónica Castro Valdebenito, is an agronomist with a Master’s of Science with mention in fruit production, she is a Full Professor of the School of Agronomy of the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso. Her area of ​​expertise is the propagation of plants, especially subtropical fruit species. Since the beginning of the ‘2000s, Professor Castro has led a program of selection, propagation and evaluation of avocado rootstocks, in different edaphoclimatic conditions of Chile. She has actively participated in the implementation of the ethiolation technology and layering of clonal propagation of avocado trees in Chile. The achievements in his research have allowed her to visit different avocado producing areas of the world where he has presented the progress of the work carried out. In the period between 2007 and 2011 she was president of the International Avocado Society and has integrated the scientific committees of different congresses in her specialty. She has directed more than 60 undergraduate theses and 10 postgraduate theses, which have been published in journals with an editorial committee.


Dr. Alejandro Alberto Navas – Associate Researcher at Agrosavia

Dr. Navas holds a PhD in Plant Breeding from Iowa State University. Hi has over a decade of experience on genetic resources and plant improvement as scientific leader at Agrosavia. Some of the his research areas include the development and supply of certified avocado materials for Antioquia, with genetic, physiological and health quality, sustainable production systems (SGR-Antioquia). He also studies the recovery of improved and regional varieties of corn and conformation of seed-producing cores in different thermal floors of Colombia.


Dr. André Ernst – Director at Allesbeste

Dr. André Alex Ernst have recieved mutliple degrees from the University of Pretoria, South Africa including his BSc (Agric) Horticulture, a BSc (Agric) Hons Horticulture, a Cum Laude Masters degree in (Agric) Horticulture, as well as an DSc (Agric) Horticulture. Dr Ernst dedicated his career to all facets of the avocado industry namely: propagation, breeding, selection and commercialisation of new genetic material, production, production orientated research, packing and marketing of fruit. Through his research a new Hass type cultivar, ‘Maluma’, has been released in 2007 during the VI World Avocado Congress in Viña Del Mar, Chile. ‘Maluma’ has since successfully been commercialised internationally and is gaining market share year-on-year.


Dr. Patricia Manosalva – Director of the UCR Avocado Rootstock Breeding

Dr. Manosalva holds a Ph.D in Plant Pathology from Kansas State University. She is an Assistant Professor in Plant Pathology and director of the UCR Avocado Rootstock Breeding program funded by the CAC. The primary research goal of Dr. Manosalva’s research team at UCR is to elucidate the molecular and genetic basis of plant immunity against oomycete pathogens with an emphasis on Phytophthora cinnamomi (Pc) using molecular, genetic, biochemical, and genomic approaches in model plants and crops.


Dr. Jeremy Burdon - Postharvest specialist at The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Ltd

Dr Jeremy Burdon is a postharvest specialist at The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Ltd, with a BSc (1983) and PhD (1987), both in plant physiology, from the University of Stirling, Scotland.  With 25+ years of avocado experience, Dr Burdon’s fundamental postharvest research supports commercial R&D activity both within New Zealand and globally.  Current research interests within the wider postharvest field include fruit maturity, postharvest handling and controlled atmosphere storage, all with a focus on the final ripe fruit quality.


Alvaro Luque - President and CEO of Avocados From Mexico (AFM)

Alvaro holds Marketing degree from University of Costa Rica and Advanced Management Program from INCAE. Alvaro spent 15 years holding marketing leadership positions in multiple countries throughout the U.S. and Latin America. Actually, Alvaro is the president and CEO of Avocados From Mexico (AFM). He has increased AFM’s market share from 60 to over 80% and has grown the overall U.S. avocado household penetration beyond 50% over the last five years, reaching a record consumption of 7 pounds per capita. AFM and has became a pioneer in consumer, shopper, foodservice and digital programs for the industry. Acording to ADWEEK “Avocados From Mexico boasts one of the most dramatic and impressive rises to prominence in recent marketing history”.


Thomas Padilla - Director of Export Sales at Mission

Thomas Padilla is Senior director of Export Sales at Mission Produce; he has over 15 years’ experience in the products and foodservice industry.  For the past nine years he has been with Mission developing Mission’s Avocado Exporting programs. Thomas was part of the team that opened the first Ripe Center in China for Mr. Avocado. He has spent several years traveling throughout Asia and Europe educating wholesalers and retailers on how to manage a successful avocado program.


Luis José Montgomery - Deputy manager of innovation at Camposol

Luis Jose Montgomery holds a Master’s in Fruit and Vegetable Production and is the deputy manager of innovation at Camposol. He has extensive experience in the development of productive processes in fruit crops, such as avocado and tangerine. His main competences are aimed at success, innovation and excellence.


Ken J.  Melban - VP of Industry Affairs of the California Avocado Commission

Ken Melban is vice president of industry affairs for the California Avocado Commission and has been with the Commission since 2011. Ken is responsible for the Commission’s industry affairs programs and staff, which include grower communication, education, and outreach; industry statistics; and, production research. Ken’s efforts have focused on the development of programs that address key industry issues such as food safety, pest prevention and exclusion, water pricing and product registrations. Much of Ken’s time is spent advocating on behalf of California avocado growers at a state and federal level with government officials on matters ranging from free-trade to immigration reform. Prior to joining the Commission, Ken held roles with various California agricultural commodity boards, and was a co-founder of the Spray-Safe program. Spray-Safe began in Kern County and encourages communication between growers and labor contractors prior to and during a pesticide application to ensure the highest level of safety. Spray-Safe now includes the counties of Ventura, Yolo, Stanislaus, Yuba and Sutter. Ken holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Management & Organizational Development and a Master of Arts degree in Leadership and Organizational Studies, both from Fresno Pacific University.


Glenys Parton – New Zealand Avocado - Industry Systems Manager

Glenys has a Post Graduate Diploma in Management Studies from The University of Waikato and a NZCS (Biology). She has had a successful career in science, management, marketing, and communications. For the past six years she has been the sectors Industry Systems Manager in New Zealand. Glenys has recently led the successful implementation of the New Zealand Avocado in the Chinese market, managing the agreed protocols, collecting data, and overseeing auditing of the rules and regulations. Additionally, Glenys promotes very strong communication and consultation activities in the industry.

Bruno De filippi

Dr. Bruno Defilippi Bruzzone – Researcher at the Institute of Agricultural Research, Chile

Dr. Bruno Defilippi is an Agronomist from the University of Chile, and completed his Doctorate studies at the University of California-Davis. Dr. Defilippi is a researcher at the Institute of Agricultural Research at Chile (INIA). He is currently coordinator of the INIA postharvest unit, and his lines of work are focused on studying aspects of postharvest physiology and technology of fruit trees, with an emphasis on cranberry, avocado, and table grapes. His main research topics include: (i) identifying the pre-harvest factors that determine the quality and storage potential, (ii) ethylene metabolism and its effect during maturation and senescence, (iii) developing segregation tools in fruit according to storage potential, and (iv) the development and evaluation of post-harvest technologies to achieve a global quality fruit for target markets, such as controlled and modified atmosphere.


John B. McGuigan.-. Director of Industry Affairs

Mr. McGuigan obtained a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing from St. Bonaventure University, NY. He has a long and multi-faceted career in the fresh fruit and vegetable industry for well over 30 years. He was vice president of West Coast operations for Florida-based Ayco Farms and expanded the company’s footprint in the west while managing all supply chain and sales efforts. He worked for Dulcinea Farms LLC, a business unit of Syngenta AG, first as vice president of sales and marketing and then as general manager. He also was vice president of fresh fruit sales at Sunkist Growers Inc. Among a number of industry board positions, McGuigan was a founding member of the California Citrus Growers Association board of directors. He participated with the Produce Marketing Association for over eight years in multiple capacities, including produce electronic identification board, the retail board and on the organization’s main board of directors. Mr. McGuigan is currently serving the Hass Avocado Board (HAB) as Director of Industry Affairs and has been working in that capacity for the past 18 months.


Dr. Ricardo Cautín – Professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso

Dr. Ricardo Cautín is an Agronomist from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso and a doctor from the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain. At the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso he teaches the subjects of persistent leaf fruit, fruit physiology, olive growing, summer practice, foundations of fruit growing, persistent leaf fruit, practitioners of fruit growing, and physiology of woody fruit species. He has participated in multiple international conferences and has authored multiple scientific articles, book chapters, and manuals. His lines of research include the fruit growing of subtropical species, the ecophysiology of subtropical fruit species: avocado, cherimoya, citrus fruits, medlars and productive management and the use of growth regulators. Dr. Ricardo Cautín has contributed to impart knowledge about the avocado in different countries on topics such as the effect of plant cover on the dynamics of soil moisture and temperature variables, planting distances, pruning and other concepts of crop management in seminars and avocado congresses in Peru, Costa Rica, Colombia and Chile.


Richard Nelson - Tropical Fruit Quality Assessor and Consultant. Agricultural Advisor

Richard Nelson is a European-based Tropical Fruit Post-harvest Consultant and Agricultural Advisor specialized in Avocados. He has more than 20 years of experience with extensive in-depth knowledge of pre-harvest and post-harvest factors influencing avocado quality. He provides guidance on growing and harvesting avocados as well as in preparation of fruits for export to distant markets aiming for optimal arriving in a good condition and ripening into a fruit focused towards final consumers. He identifies fruit quality defects, and together with suppliers, determines probable causes and make recommendations for corrective actions. He travels world wide to avocado production areas to providing advice and detailed follow-up consultations.


Adriëlle Dankier - Chief Commercial Officer of Nature's Pride  

As Chief Commercial Officer of Nature’s Pride Adriëlle Dankier is responsible for all commercial activities and the sustainability department of this leading importing & exporting company. She has been in the fruit and vegetable industry since 1995 and started in Nature’s Pride in 2001 the starting year of the company. In 2005 Nature’s Pride started ripening avocado in the Netherlands and created consumption of Hass avocado throughout Northern Europe. At this moment Nature’s Pride has the largest ripening facility for predominantly avocado in Europe. The company currently employs 500 FTE (full time equivalent). Adrielle is driven by close partnerships with growers and customers, high quality focus, has  attention for detail and strive for continuous improvement and innovation. She is director at the World Avocado Organization and a member of the Global development committee and the Sustainability committee of the PMA.


Dr. Tony Salas

Dr. Tony Salas – has been active in the area of agribusiness startups, mergers, and acquisitions. He was instrumental in directing technical, commercial, environmental and socio-economic evaluations of over 400 medium and large size projects and companies in the food and agribusiness sector in the world. He is considered a very influential person in modern Latin American sustainable agricultural trends and has been former Director General of the National Ag-R&D Institute (ranked as Vice-Minister of Agriculture). Dr. Salas has served in many national and international Committees and Boards, gathering professional experience in over 30 countries, for large private companies and public project sponsored by international donors and funding. As part of the consulting team at ACM, in avocado he has participated as a technical advisor in over 5,000 ha of plantations. He has launched an “Impact Farming” company in Silicon Valley and founded an accelerator company in Agtech (ACM Ventures). Dr. Salas is a Biologist, and holds an MS and a PhD in Crop Science, both degrees from North Carolina State University and a joint MBA from the University of Wageningen – Netherlands and the Krannet School at Purdue University in Food and Agribusiness Management. He has been the founder and currently serves as the President of ACM.
Close Menu