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    Meet Our Past Chairs

    Greg Golden

    Mullica Hill, New Jersey
    Chair 2016
    Greg graduated from Georgia Tech in engineering and worked in manufacturing with GE. During his MBA program at the University of South Carolina, Greg researched import-export opportunities between Brazil and the USA with friend Gilmar Mello. He discovered mangoes were growing quickly and Gilmar had a family friend who was a grower and wanted to export. This turned into a class project and business plan and then they formed a company in their last semester to import this growers fruit. Since then they have expanded into most major growing regions. His interests and activities outside of work include playing basketball, coaching my kids sports teams, travel and fishing.


    How long have you been in the mango Industry?
    17 years

    What advice would you give a new NMB Board Member?
    Engage in conversations with all your suppliers and customer partners to get their ideas on how to improve our industry and bring those ideas to the NMB. Think way beyond your company’s interest to the final consumer. Learn as much as possible from older board members.

    What is your favorite thing about the mango industry?
    We are learning and getting better every day. We have a natural great product, diverse and universal, that people love deeply and connect with. Mangos = happiness.

    Where do you see the future of the mango industry?
    I believe we will see tremendous growth when/if we unify in our efforts to deliver the best possible eating experience to the consumer by delivering excelling eating varieties, grown, harvested and handled properly throughout the supply chain. The only thing that is holding us back is that so many consumer experiences are not what they should be. Great taste = repeat purchase.

    Click to view the complete Board Member roster for 2016.
     

    Danny Pollak

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida
    Chair 2015

    Danny has been in the produce industry the majority of his life. He got his start in the mango industry, however, in 2004, along with his father and cousin, Danny took over ownership of Carb Americas.

    Danny loves spending time with his family, which includes three kids (ages 3, 5, and 7). He enjoys playing ice hockey, fishing and having a good time with friends.
     
    How long have you been in the mango industry?
    12 years

    What advice would you give a new NMB Board Member?
    Get involved. Voice your opinion and don’t worry about status quo. The board is a dynamic changing environment. If you just want to get along to go along, then it won’t grow and develop. Be creative and think out of the box. Take chances.

    What is your favorite thing about the mango industry?
    The people who make up the industry. Everyone has a love for the fruit, not in the business just to try and make money.

    Where do you see the future of the mango industry?
    The mango industry has unlimited potential here in the U.S. We are just in the infancy stages of this commodity. I’m excited to see how this industry grows and develops into the future.

    Click to view the complete Board Member roster for 2015.
     

    Bill Vogel

    Los Angeles, California
    Chair 2013-2014

    Bill graduated from St. Johns University in Minnesota and taught high school algebra for two years. He then went into sales at CH Robinson since he had experience unloading rail cars of potatoes and vegetables at American Fruit in Minneapolis. His first mango deal was in Florida with Ed Mitchell. He then worked with mangos from southern Nayarit, Mexico in the late 70's. He has been involved in the mango business ever since. He formed Tavilla Sales in 1980 and changed the name in 2012 to Vision Produce. 

    During his spare time, Bill used to play tennis, snow and water ski, jump out of planes and swim in many different beaches. He also became an organic avocado, lime and mango grower in California.
     
    How long have you been in the mango industry?
    40 years

    What advice would you give a new NMB Board Member?
    Always work towards a better eating experience with the consumer. Work long term to promote better varieties and methods of delivery.

    What is your favorite thing about the mango industry?
    Lots of fun people who make something great from so very little.

    Where do you see the future of the mango industry?
    Big potential. However, there is a lack of funding, universal agreement and support to grow it faster than where we are now.

    Click to view the complete Board Member roster for 2013.
    Click to view the complete Board Member roster for 2014.
     

    Ronnie Cohen

    Fort Lee, New Jersey
    Chair 2011-2012

    Ronnie obtained his associates degree in liberal arts from the University of Hartford, and subsequently his bachelor’s in criminal justice from the American University. He left law school to work at the family’s wholesale produce business in New York City in 1989 to 1990. He received his first Kent mangos from Nayarit, Mexico in the Terminal Market around 1991.

    Ronnie likes to ocean fish for large game fish, and enjoys wine tasting and trying different cuisines.
     
    How long have you been in the mango Industry?
    26 years

    What advice would you give a new NMB Board Member?
    Read all materials, stay engaged, do all detailed work at the committee level, and show up to all committee and board meetings. When on the board, try to wear the board hat not the individual business one.

    What is your favorite thing about the mango industry?
    The interaction and engagement between all industry members.

    Where do you see the future of the mango industry?
    I see the future bright as long as the industry stays together. Focus on quality standards that if necessary can be enforced. Research on new and improved varieties to improve yields, taste profiles, and shelf-life while expanding the current varietal offerings.

    Click to view the complete Board Member roster for 2011.
    Click to view the complete Board Member roster for 2012.
     

    Larry Nienkerk

    Burlingame, California
    Chair 2010

    In 1941, Larry was tired of academia after six years of college and answered an ad in the paper. It was then that he began to work for CH Robinson. He moved to San Francisco in 1972 and in 1976 he started Splendid Products Company. He then sold the company on the eve of its 40th anniversary. Currently, he works as a consultant.

    Larry enjoys traveling with his wife, Jennice, as well as reading and hiking.   
    How long have you been in the mango industry?
    44 years

    What advice would you give a new NMB Board Member?
    Learn from your fellow members, they are a collective encyclopedia of knowledge.

    What is your favorite thing about the mango industry?
    The daily surprises, yet the consistency of doing healthy distribution.

    Where do you see the future of the mango industry?
    Our wonderful product becoming a major item in the produce department, ripening rooms much like those used for bananas, and increasing volume in fresh-cut.

    Click to view the complete Board Member roster for 2010.
     

    Isabel Freeland

    San Diego, California
    Chair 2008-2009

    Isabel is a Certified Public Accountant with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the State University of New York. In 1996, after years in public accounting and consulting, she started to work for Coast Tropical with an immediate primary goal of growing the mango commodity.

    Today, Coast Tropical imports over 10,000,000 mangos from Central and South America, has steady supply 52 weeks a year, controls the supply chain of the brand from field to distribution and carries all varieties including organics.
     
    How long have you been in the mango industry?
    Over 20 years

    What advice would you give a new NMB Board Member?
    Serving teaches you about the industry we serve and the people making a difference in our industry. By serving, you are reminded that we are all in this together, as we support each other and look beyond ourselves and the company we work for, for the betterment of the industry. When you serve, you receive much more than what you can ever give.

    What is your favorite thing about the mango industry?
    The network opportunities that are created and last a lifetime.

    Where do you see the future of the mango industry?
    I see a slow but steady increase in supply and demand. I see new cultivars coming into the market increasing consumers’ expectation for new flavors and added quality and value.

     Click to view the complete Board Member roster for 2008.
     Click to view the complete Board Member roster for 2009.
     

    Ismael Diaz

    Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico
    Chair 2007

    Ismael began working at his family’s packing shed in Escuinapa, Sinaloa, Mexico at the age of 14. From then on, every summer he worked there in different positions until he became the manager. He studied agribusiness at Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey, and obtained his master’s degree in finance at Tec Milenio. After graduating, he worked for Chiquita-Frupac as a trainee and six months later his father asked him to open Diazteca Company in Nogales, Arizona.
    Currently, Ismael’s hobbies and activities are related to his kids. He enjoys outdoor activities such as: exploring, hiking, fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, and bodysurfing.
     
    How long have you been in the mango Industry?
    36 years

    What advice would you give a new NMB Board Member?
    Understand the NMB history, strongly participate in the NMB meetings with your knowledge, and understand NMB programs. Promote, promote, and promote mangos.

    What is your favorite thing about the mango industry?
    The increase in mango consumption and the potential it still has. I also enjoy promoting this fun, wonderful, sweet, tasty and nutritious fruit.

    Where do you see the future of the mango industry?
    I see the category growing with an increase in volume, participants, consumers, consumption, mango products, promotions, fresh-cut, and organic supply. In addition, with the helping hand of the NMB, we can continue to create wellness and prosperity to all of its industry members.

     Click to view the complete Board Member roster for 2007.
     

    Chuck Ciruli II

    Tubac, Arizona
    Chair 2005-2006

    Chuck got his start in the produce business when he was a child, working on ranches and packing sheds in Arizona and Colorado. By the time he was in high school, he had already moved up to the sales desk of his father’s business, Ciruli Brothers. By 1967, Chuck formed Ciruli Brokerage Company in Nogales, Arizona. In 1973, he established Amex Distributing Co. Inc.; created to specialize in produce from western Mexico with a special focus on mangos. Chuck merged the two entities in 1986, forming the multi-faceted Amex Distributing Co. Inc.

    As an industry leader, Chuck participates in many national and international agro-marketing events and forums to promote fresh quality produce, especially mangos. Currently, he lives in Tubac, Arizona with his family and enjoys raising funds for the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Cruz County.
     
    How long have you been in the mango Industry?
    30 years

    What advice would you give a new NMB Board Member?
    Your responsi­bility while serving on the board is to serve the good of the mango industry.

    What is your favorite thing about the mango industry?
    We are still in the early stages of developing the mango market in the U.S.

     Click to view the complete Board Member roster for 2005-2006.