James “Jim” Bair will join U.S. Apple Association (USApple) in January as the nonprofit organization’s president and CEO. Bair comes to the association from the North American Millers Association (NAMA), where he worked for almost 25 years, first as director of government relations and then most of those years as vice president.
Chris Britton, chairman of USApple, was on the association’s selection committee and said Bair stood out because of his leadership ability and communication skills. “USApple has a uniquely talented and capable staff, and we feel like we found a person who can lead the association for many years to come,” he says.
NAMA represents millers of wheat, corn, oats and rye in the US and Canada. Bair served as NAMA’s spokesperson with media, government and industry groups and represented member companies on trade, quality, environmental and biotechnology issues. Prior to serving with NAMA, Bair was a White House appointee with USDA’s Federal Grain Inspection Service and Marketing Director for the Kansas Wheat Commission.
“In my discussions with the USApple leaders they impressed me with the depth of their commitment to the apple industry. With their support and the skilled team already in place, I’m very honored to be leading such a first-rate organization,” says Bair.
USApple had been conducting a nationwide search for a president and CEO since August when the previous leader left the organization. Members of the board of directors are optimistic about the current state of the association and its staff who have continued USApple’s mission during the management transition.
USApple has long advocated for American apple growers and their industry partners on national issues in order to promote the profitable production and marketing of apples and apple products.