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Dan Vache Joins United Staff

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, January 7, 2009

There was a time in the industry in which the word “Ryan” had become synonymous with a temperature-recording device and every bad arrival instantly led to the question: “What does the Ryan say?” Working as a youth on the Hunts Point Market loading vans for export, the Pundit learned that there were few sins greater than to forget to put the Ryan in the van.

It was during this moment in produce history that we first met Dan Vache as he was climbing the rungs toward VP of sales. In time Ryan Instruments was sold and Dan went along for the ride with Sensitech, going on to bigger and better things, such as RFID and serving on all kinds of industry boards and committees.

Dan has kept himself young by frequently running the Boston Marathon and by typically traveling with his bride, Carolyn, to events most industry members attend solo. So with a lifetime of experience and a still youthful exuberance, Dan has signed on for a new career:

Industry Leader Joins United Fresh Staff
As Vice President, Supply Chain Management

United Fresh Produce Association President and CEO Tom Stenzel has announced the appointment of Dan Vache, formerly vice president of sales-food division at Sensitech Inc., as head of its new Supply Chain Logistics and Technology Program. Vache will fill the newly established position of vice president, supply chain management, leading the association’s effort to deliver education, hands-on tools and direct services to assist companies throughout the fresh produce supply chain in meeting challenges in transportation, cold chain management, information technologies, traceability, facilities management, energy efficiency, packing and packaging needs and related areas.

“We are indeed fortunate to have someone of Dan’s experience join the association to lead our supply chain efforts,” said United Fresh Chairman Tom Lovelace, McEntire Produce. “Dan has been a key player for more than 30 years in helping companies throughout the produce industry in managing cold chain issues to maximize product quality all the way to the consumer,” Lovelace said.

Vache will be responsible for leading United’s new Supply Chain Logistics and Technology Program, which is funded in part by a generous grant from C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. “All of us at Robinson are thrilled with Dan’s selection,” said Jim Lemke, CHR senior vice president, and chairman-elect of United Fresh. “Adding someone of Dan’s stature will provide the means for our association to help all players in the produce industry — shippers, transportation partners, and receivers alike — address costs, efficiency and productivity in tackling some of their greatest challenges,” Lemke said. Vache will also serve as primary staff liaison to United’s new Supply Chain Logistics Council, chaired by Dave Dever, president and CEO, Pandol Brothers Inc.

Vache joined Ryan Instruments in 1971, and was promoted to vice president of sales in 1984. Since that time, he has walked the fields working with grower-shipper-packers in a majority of the production areas of North America, assisted companies within all of the major produce terminal markets, and has worked directly with most of the major produce, transportation and retail companies in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

In 1998 and 1999 Vache was chosen to serve on U.S. Department of Agriculture–Foreign Agricultural Service Cold Chain Market Assessment teams traveling to Thailand, The Philippines and Brazil, working on methods to improve sales of U.S. agricultural products by addressing constraints in the cold chain.

In 1999, Ryan Instruments was sold to Sensitech Inc., where Dan continued to lead the company’s food division sales. In 2006, Dan headed up the company’s entry into the RF (Radio Frequency) arena, leading successful systems implementations in the U.S. and Chilean perishable markets in addition to numerous pilot programs around the globe.

Vache has served on numerous boards, committees, and task forces for the United Fresh Produce Association, Produce Marketing Association, International Fresh-Cut Produce Association, and the California Grape and Tree Fruit League. He served for eight years as a member of the United Fresh Board of Directors, including four years as Secretary-Treasurer of the Board.

Vache is a 1976 graduate of Eastern Washington University, as well as a graduate of Leadership Institute, a nationally recognized leadership program in Redmond, WA. Dan lives in Redmond, Washington with his wife, Carolyn, and two daughters.

Vache will join United Fresh on January 19, and will be based in a new United Fresh office to be established in the Pacific Northwest.

With so extensive an industry effort on issues such as traceability, United is smart to invest in this area. The industry owes a hat tip to C.H. Robinson for helping to fund United’s new Supply Chain Logistics and Technology Program. Jim Lemke, a Senior Vice President at C.H. Robinson and the United’s incoming Chairman, has really shown himself to be exactly the kind of guy one wants on one’s team. He doesn’t over-commit but when he commits, he is in it to make a difference. That has been a big win for CHR and is becoming a big win for United and the industry at large.

Best of luck to Dan Vache on his new position.

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