Pro Citrus Network, a global supplier of high-quality fresh citrus in Visalia, CA, announced the addition of two significant positions to their sales and marketing team this week, appointing two industry veterans as vice presidents, including a well-known figure in Southeastern produce.
Kim Flores has joined the company as VP of marketing and business development, effective May 8. She will remain based in the Southeast out of Vero Beach, FL. Christine Raymer will join the team as VP of sales, effective May 22.
“It is an honor to be a member of PCN’s team, which has a fantastic culture, strong values and a great reputation for integrity and quality, especially among the customers and growers it serves,” Flores says.
Flores joins PCN with over 17 years of experience in global fresh produce industry marketing, specializing in the citrus and deciduous categories. Flores will develop and lead the company’s marketing and promotional strategies, to support and advance PCN’s new and existing programs.
“I look forward to serving our customers and growers, while further building upon PCN’s programs, as an integral part of the PCN family. I am excited for the opportunities on the horizon and our continued growth trajectory.”
Raymer joins PCN with tenure of over 21 years in the industry and a wide range of experience and leadership in the global fresh produce arena, including exports and imports of citrus, grapes, stone fruit and other commodities.
As a former client of PCN, Raymer says, “As a customer, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the PCN team for over a decade, while expanding citrus programs. I am incredibly excited to be joining such an exceptional company, dedicated to providing customers with quality, value and great service.”
Raymer will lead PCN’s sales team with focus on growth of the company’s retail, foodservice and export programs of domestic and imported citrus, along with future development of other commodity lines.
PCN’s executive vice president Jacquie Ediger says, “Following our growth and expansion in the last few years, to better serve our customers it was important to take the next step. We are a service-oriented company and continually strive to be the best in all we do. We are excited that Kim and Christine are joining us, bringing a high caliber of leadership, knowledge and skills to our growing organization. They are both great additions to our team, and will be instrumental in achieving our growth objectives, taking our programs and company to the next level.”
Flores is a well-known commodity in the Southeast, a veteran of both the citrus and grape categories.
But citrus is literally in her DNA.
“I am a third generation Florida native better-known as a ‘Florida Cracker’. I grew up in Vero Beach, home of the world famous Indian River citrus. I grew up around citrus groves, some of my earliest memories are playing hide & seek in the groves and eating tangerines straight off of the trees. My mom used to feed us red grapefruit for breakfast and I love grapefruit to this day,” Flores says.
“Recently I started working with my mom on a book about our family, who survived the 1926 hurricane. It really is quite a story. Before they settled in Florida, my great granddaddy, William Daniel, lived in the hills of Kentucky. He was quite a character and quite the writer. Just recently, I stumbled upon this passage he wrote before they settled in Glades County Florida:
“‘When William Daniel was a boy attending school in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, he saw in his geography book a picture that made an impression that still remains, an orange tree laden with golden, tempting fruit nestled among the leaves of lustrous green, a living likeness, a thing of beauty, was shown on that lifeless page. A man in shirt sleeves stood beneath and with his right hand displayed a cluster of oranges. Below the picture was its title, A Winter Scene in Florida.
Who could look upon a scene like this, when the wintry wind whistled in the tops of the oaks, the beeches, and the pines or when the ground was frozen or covered with snow, when to breathe nature’s pure air was to shiver with cold, without yearning to be in that land of sunshine and perpetual spring? William may have a weakness that permits him to be unduly influenced by such entrancing scenes. Anyhow he was possessed of that desire, a desire that grew, one that California’s greatness could not satisfy. He sailed on the great Pacific, twice crossed the Rockies, roamed over the Western plains, plucked ripe apples and pears in the great state of Washington, but still the winter scene in Florida remained fresh on memory’s wall and the desire continued to grow.
And it grew until he too stood beneath a Florida orange tree and plucked with his own hands an orange that had ripened on the tree. Until he had tasted an orange thus ripened he had never known what the word ‘luscious’ meant.”
You can imagine the impact reading that had on a Florida citrus industry veteran like Flores.
“Wow! I didn’t realize the impact Florida citrus had on my roots,” Flores says. “And I love how he used the word ‘luscious’ – one of my all-time favorite words to describe citrus!”
But Florida citrus has suffered hardships over the last decade, most notably the lethal citrus greening disease that is decimating groves across the state.