Western Growers welcomes Davis as senior VP, science
IRVINE, Calif. — Western Growers is pleased to announce the addition of De Ann Davis, PhD, as senior vice president, science. Davis brings extensive expertise to the leadership team with more than 25 years of experience in the development and execution of technical global programs, including food safety, quality assurance and regulatory compliance.
“Western Growers has long led our industry’s efforts to develop and embrace food safety best practices based on science,” said Western Growers President and CEO Dave Puglia. “The retirement of Hank Giclas — a pioneering leader in food safety — created a serious challenge for us in finding the right person to continue and enhance our commitment. Fortunately, today we are welcoming De Ann Davis to our team. With her uncommon blend of technical know-how, cross-sector experience, and demonstrated management capacity, De Ann is poised to take this position and drive further value to our members and the broader fresh produce industry.”
“Joining Western Growers is an exciting opportunity for me to really leverage my diverse experiences and technical background to advance food safety and scientific programs across its membership and the produce industry as a whole,” Davis said.
Following an impressive run in consumer products safety, Davis transitioned to packaged and fresh produce safety nearly a decade ago. She most recently served as food safety director for Commercial Food Sanitation, a provider of strategic consulting services, expertise and training that addresses food safety and sanitation challenges for food processing plants.
Previously, Davis was vice president of food safety and quality for both Church Brothers Farms and Earthbound Farm, and earlier as chief food safety officer for Kraft Foods Group, where she was engaged in the development of the regulatory framework for Food Safety Modernization Act.
Davis earned her bachelor of arts degree in biology and chemistry from Point Loma Nazarene University and her PhD in biochemistry from Texas A&M University. She is also a certified diplomat of the American Board of Toxicology, where she has served since 1996.
Davis holds several committee appointments within the produce industry, including having recently served as the chair of the Board of Advisors for the Center for Food Safety, University of Georgia. In 2018, Davis was appointed to the USDA National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Food.
Western Growers’ science division leads the association’s engagement in several issue areas, including food safety, crop protection, sustainability and industry data initiatives.
Top ag educator
Dan Stehlik, a Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture alumni and faculty member, was named a top educator in postsecondary education for his expertise in the classroom and laboratory.
The Nebraska Agricultural Education Association recognized Stehlik for NCTA’s Outstanding Postsecondary Program.
“Dan has done an amazing job building our Agriculture Mechanics program which includes welding, irrigation technology, small engines and agriculture safety courses,” NCTA Dean Larry Gossen wrote in his Dean’s Message.
“He knows NCTA quite well, having graduated in 1975 with an associate degree in production agriculture. Dan farmed for a few years at his hometown near Dorchester, then returned to a college campus to become an agriculture teacher. In 1986, he received a bachelor’s degree in dual programs of agriculture education and general agriculture,” he wrote. “We have another connection as both of us taught in Kansas high school agriculture education programs for many years. NCTA will celebrate Dan’s award when he officially receives the plaque and banner which accompanies the annual award.” ❖
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Mohamed Khalil has been appointed as geoscientist in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Conservation and Survey Division (CSD), based at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff. His start date is Sept. 1.