The California Strawberry Commission announced the resignation of Commission President Rodger Wasson, effective Sept. 15, 2005.

Wasson joined the California Strawberry Commission in May 2002. Vice Chairman of the Board Tom Jones attributed Wasson with particularly remarkable skill and influence in the political arena. Wasson says he will begin “planning my next challenge of providing strategic counsel to industries, business and government agencies.”

While the rapid expansion of acreage and changes in this dynamic industry are constant, a little over three years ago Wasson was hired to help the commission change as well and re-focus in some new directions.

During Wasson’s tenure the commission 1) created The Red Edge, initiating a solid re-positioning of strawberries based on unique nutritional food attributes that can build year-round demand; 2) preserved adequate availability of methyl bromide through strategic and comprehensive collaboration with the U.S. Department of State, White House Center for Environmental Quality, USDA and EPA; 3) recruited a strong, professional staff; 4) established the industry’s first full-time government affairs office in Sacramento; 5) re-focused from merchandising and sales promotion to category management and research; and 6) implemented a new strategic plan with related changes to committee and staff structure/budgets.

“Although these changes have happened quickly, the positive impact on the industry will be long term and is understandably of little comfort to the many in our industry who have experienced a very tough year,” stated Wasson. “Different stages of change need different styles of leadership. I have done what it is I do best. Now it is right for me to move on and for the commission to seek new leadership that fits the next stage.”

Board Chairman Rich Amirsehhi says an interim appointment will be made right away to allow for the time it may take to find a permanent replacement. Amirsehhi emphasized that the board remains committed to the commission’s strategic plan and expects the momentum established within these programs by Wasson and staff to continue and build without being impacted by the change in leadership. Amirsehhi said, “The board thanks Rodger for his commitment and hard work on behalf of the industry and wishes him all the best in his new ventures.”