Columbia Marketing International, an established grower/shipper of premium quality apples, pears and cherries, has hired Steve Lutz as VP of Marketing. Steve replaces Bob Mast, who was promoted to President of CMI in April 2013.
Lutz has been with the Nielsen Perishables Group, a Chicago-based marketing and consulting firm that he cofounded since June of 2000. His primary work involved helping organizations understand and merge consumer information and supermarket sales data to develop innovative growth strategies. He has worked for more than 30 years in various areas of marketing and management.
As a respected industry leader, Steve has been a toprated speaker at the Food Marketing Institute, Produce Marketing Association, Canadian Produce Marketing Association, Boston International Seafood Show and other associations throughout the world. Prior to working with the Perishables Group, Steve served as president and CEO of the Washington Apple Commission. His previous marketing experience includes Nutri-System as well as The Olgilvy Group where he was primarily responsible for the development of marketing and advertising programs for key clients.
Steve holds an MBA from City University in Seattle and a bachelor’s degree in communications/advertising from Washington State University. He also completed the marketing management program in the graduate school of business at Stanford University.
He currently serves on the Retail/Foodservice Board of United Fresh. He is also the facilitator for the Food Marketing Institute Fresh Foods Executive Committee and is a past member of the board of directors for the Produce Marketing Association. He is the immediate past chairman of the Professional Advisory Board of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University.
He has been married for 30 years and has three sons. “Steve brings a tremendous sense of vision and foresight to the marketing department at CMI. Steve has been studying consumer buying trends and habits for many years and this insight will be very beneficial to CMI as we assist our retail partners in navigating through some very large national crops in the years ahead. We are fully committed to providing compelling sales building partnerships with our retail partners and Steve understands this philosophy and will bring great leadership to his new role. We look forward to the many contributions Steve will bring to the CMI team and we are very excited to welcome him to the CMI family,” says Bob Mast, CMI President.
Lutz says, “I’m thrilled to be joining the team at CMI. CMI has a legacy of innovation and leadership in the fruit industry which is really exemplified by the success they have had introducing new varieties like Ambrosia, KIKU and Kanzi. I look forward to working with the CMI staff and customers to expand sales and ultimately enhance returns to growers.”