NYAA’s Jim Allen announces retirement

headshot jimallenThe apple industry is losing one of its top leaders and favorite personalities.

Jim Allen will retire as president and CEO of New York Apple Association, Inc., on Jan. 2, 2017, he announced with NYAA Board of Directors outgoing Chairman Will Gunnison. Allen has headed the apple industry’s second-largest state marketing order since 2000. During his tenure, Allen earned a reputation as a passionate industry supporter who advocated for nationwide industry cooperation rather than regional competition.

Allen joined NYAA in 1996 as retail program director, and was named to the association’s top job four years later. As NYAA’s senior executive, he represents over 675 apple growers across New York state, overseeing all promotional, grower education, communications, market research, and public and government affairs activities.

Within NYAA’s home state, Allen formed alliances with New York Farm Bureau and New York Horticultural Society to best serve the industry. Under his leadership, NYAA secured state funding at record levels in at least 15 annual budgets. He ushered in consumer advertising to the organization’s crop-marketing mix, and founded the Core Report grower newspaper.

Nationally and internationally, Allen represents the New York industry on U.S. Apple Association committees and to that group’s board, he has served three times as chair of the U.S. Apple Export Council, and he currently serves on numerous committees working to advance New York and U.S. apple industry and agriculture.

Prior to joining NYAA, Allen led export sales and procurement for Sun Orchard Fruit Company, Burt, N.Y., and worked in procurement and sales for Keystone Fruit Marketing, Greencastle, Pa.

Allen was awarded “Apple Person of the Year” honors in 2002 by The Packer; the newspaper also named him to the Top 25 Agricultural Leaders in the United States in 2008. United Fresh Produce Association named Allen “Produce Industry Advocate of the Year” in 2007.

“It has been privilege and pleasure to serve such a great industry for so many years. I have been fortunate to work with many dedicated people, from the growing communities to the board room,” said Allen. “As I look back on my career, one of my greatest satisfactions has been working with industry from across the country, on topics ranging from production and marketing to politics and international trade, all working together for the good of our industry overall.”

Apple and produce industry leaders lauded Allen’s longtime service and contributions.

“Jim has been a valuable asset in so many ways, he has become the backbone of the New York apple industry and is recognized worldwide for his leadership,” said Gunnison. “His 20 years of service is greatly appreciated by the New York industry, and he will be greatly missed. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

‘It has truly been an honor to work in unison with Jim over the years – the U.S. apple industry is losing a great asset,” said Todd Fryhover, president of Washington Apple Commission. “In a competitive U.S. apple industry, Jim has always been able to see the bigger picture and promote consensus amongst differing geographic apple-growing states for the greater good of all apple producers. Washington state leadership will miss Jim’s enthusiasm and dedication to the industry.”

“Jim’s tireless advocacy for the apple industry, and his fellowship, will be missed,” said Jim Bair, president & CEO of U.S. Apple Association (USApple). “USApple has frequently leaned on Jim in legislative matters because of his credibility with New York members of Congress – of every stripe – who all like him so much. Of course, on a personal level we are all very happy for him, and wish him well in whatever opportunities he pursues next.”

Search Committee formed
NYAA board Immediate Past Chairman Gunnison also announced that a Search Committee has been established to find NYAA’s next president and CEO. The committee will engage a search firm to assist them.

“Jim will be a tough act to follow, and our industry is facing numerous challenges and opportunities ahead,” said Gunnison. “We will be looking for a diverse set of skills to lead this organization and industry into the future.”

Note to editors:
• Jim’s full NYAA biography can be viewed here. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed here.
• Need a photo of Jim? Download one from NYAA’s Flickr site here.