The California Citrus Growers Association (CCGA) has named an executive director — Charles “Charlie” H. Matthews Jr.

Matthews was previously executive director of the Eastern Mushroom Marketing Co-op, a marketing cooperative headquartered in Pennsylvania, which represents approximately 50 percent of domestic mushroom production. Matthews, who was selected after a nationwide search by the executive search firm of Kincannon and Reed, will be moving to Visalia, Calif., and will assume his new position in March.

“We're pleased to have someone with Charles' breadth of experience to head our organization,” said Berne Evans of Sun Pacific, CCGA chairman. “His expertise, both from a produce and an organizational standpoint, brings a great deal to the table.”

Formed in May 2003, CCGA is a voluntary association that provides crop and market information to help the California citrus industry improve fruit quality and instill an orderly process into each marketing season. Its members are cooperatives of citrus growers which include Sunkist Growers, the Central California Orange Growers Coop and others such as Sun Pacific, Corona College Heights and Royal Moonlight.

In addition to his strong background in agriculture and cooperative marketing, Matthews also knows the citrus industry. He began his career at the University of Florida as a multi-county citrus specialist with the Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences where he developed and implemented a commercial citrus extension program.

Following the university duties, Matthews worked for 12 years with the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, moving up through the ranks to assistant director, environmental and pest management before serving as director, marketing and membership.

“The cooperation, coordination and communication within the California growing and shipping community have made CCGA a highly successful organization,” said Sunkist President and CEO Jeff Gargiulo. “And based on its growing potential, the CCGA is expanding its mandate to begin promoting the value and quality of California citrus to the public and the trade.”

To this endeavor, Matthews also brings expertise. In addition to working with cooperative supply management, as head of the Eastern Mushroom Marketing Co-op he implemented an extensive annual retail and foodservice promotion program.

A native of South Carolina and graduate of Clemson University, Matthews earned his bachelor of science in horticulture and his masters in plant sciences.