The California Tree Fruit Agreement has a new merchandising manager in the southwestern United States.

Mary Lu Waddell has joined CTFA's group of six merchandisers who work with the North American trade to promote California peaches, plums and nectarines.

Waddell currently has her own consulting firm, which has been in business since 1985, with a list of past and current clients that include retail operations like Shop Rite Supermarkets and A&P in addition to over a dozen other commodity boards.

“We are most pleased to have Mary Lu on board. She not only has experience working with commodity groups, but also has an extensive background on the retail side,” said Dave Parker, CTFA merchandising director who noted that from 1974 to 1985, Waddell was director of consumer marketing for Tom Thumb Supermarkets in Dallas (now Safeway) where she launched the company's first consumer affairs program.

In addition to this experience, Waddell also has a media background having worked for Good Housekeeping and as a columnist for Produce Merchandising and California Food magazines.

Waddell is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University where she majored in home economics and journalism.