California Avocado Commission Announces Promotion of Ken Melban; Jeff Oberman Comments
IRVINE, CA - Today we celebrate the accomplishments of a talented produce leader. California Avocado Commission (CAC) has named its newest Vice President of Industry Affairs and Operations, promoting Ken Melban to the central role.
Melban joined the Commission in 2011 as Director, Issue Management, and was later promoted to Vice President, Industry Affairs in 2015. According to a press release, he is responsible for industry advocacy activities, issues management, production research, and grower communications. In his new expanded role, Melban also will manage the financial and administrative operations of the organization.
Melban has played a vital role on the Commission, spearheading the expansion of the California avocado export program and persisting to secure market access to China in 2020 after nine years of process and negotiation. In addition, he helped secure USDA Market Assessment funding and USDA Market Access Program grants to promote California avocados in South Korea, Japan, and China. He has also made several accomplishments including sustainability initiatives, development of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for the California avocado industry, training, and widespread adoption of the program.
“Ken has provided more than a decade of service at the California Avocado Commission, and we are very pleased that he will continue to lead the Commission’s industry affairs programs, while taking on additional responsibilities for operations,” said CAC President, Jeff Oberman. “This expanded position aligns with our mission to maximize California avocado grower returns and to improve grower sustainability.”
In 2014, Melban was appointed by the U.S. Trade Representative and USDA Secretary of Agriculture to the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee in Washington, DC, and was reappointed in 2019, the release went on to note. He currently advocates for California avocado growers, and, after the devastating Thomas fire in 2017, worked to expedite federal funding for impacted industry members.
Prior to joining CAC, Melban gained two decades of produce leadership experience with California commodity Boards and the National Grape & Wine Initiative, in addition to being Manager of the Statewide Spray Safe program. Throughout his career, he has served with various community service organizations as well as with the California Department of Food and Agriculture Climate Change Adaptation Consortium and Ventura AG Futures Alliance.
Congrats to Ken Melban on this promotion!