Tree fruit marketer picks new president
By DAN WHEAT
WENATCHEE, Wash. -- Bob Mast has been appointed president of Columbia Marketing International, a major tree fruit marketer in Wenatchee.
Mast, 46, joined the company 10 years ago as director of marketing and became vice president of marketing six years ago. He succeeds Glady Bellamy as president. Bellamy, a founding partner, died in 2010. Stuart McDougall, co-president of McDougall & Sons Inc., has been interim CMI president.
Mast said he is humbled and blessed and will build on the legacy of Bellamy and Nick Buak, another founding partner who retired last August.
CMI is owned by the four packer-shipper companies for which it sells fruit. They are: Columbia Fruit Packers Inc. and McDougall & Sons Inc, both of Wenatchee; Double Diamond Fruit, Quincy; and Highland Fruit, Yakima.
CMI markets and sells about 10 percent of Northwest tree fruit and about 13 million boxes annually of Washington tree fruit, California stone fruits, citrus and grapes and fruit imported from Argentina, Chile and New Zealand.
CMI's parent companies are expanding rapidly with new plantings and varieties and updating facilities, Mast said.
A new apple line was built last season at McDougall & Son's Olds Station Wenatchee plant and Double Diamond built a new cherry line in Quincy. McDougall & Sons is building a large, new loading and storage facility at Baker Flats north of East Wenatchee and will open a new apple line there in May of 2014, Mast said.
"CMI is a very progressive company. We focus a great deal of effort on unparalleled service to customers and are constantly searching throughout the world to improve growing techniques and increase production to bring better fruit the marketplace," Mast said. He noted efforts in new Ambrosia, Kiku and Kanzi apple varieties.
Mast was born and raised in Phoenix, Ariz., and graduated from Arizona State University in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in management. He worked for grocery giant Kroger Inc. in Arizona for 20 years, largely in produce buying and management. He was assistant director of produce for the Fry's division of Kroger overseeing sales in more than 100 stores in Arizona before joining CMI in 2003.