Location: Location flexible; CA preferred, California
Type: Full Time
Required Education: Masters
Please include salary requirements as part of the cover letter
Telecommuting is allowed.
The Director, Food Safety & Quality is the go-to scientific contact for industry members and other stakeholders seeking technical support, education, and insight related to all aspects of produce safety, quality, and related aspects of production, including organic production, indoor production, and pre- and post-harvest quality. The individual serves as the association’s subject matter expert on microbiological aspects of the full produce supply chain, contributing their expertise and perspective in a cross-functional fashion (e.g., as related to technology, sustainability, supply chain, etc.). While this is a highly technical and scientific position, the role requires one to exercise an expansive skill set grounded in communication, knowledge transfer, and customer service, serving the needs of individual members as well as the industry overall. The Director is a trusted source of information in this highly visible role where short-term requests and crises need to be balanced with long term strategies and objectives. The position contributes to the bottom line of the association through member recruitment and retention, and by monetizing technical knowledge and respect through education, training, and other initiatives.
Membership Technical Resource and Training- 60%
Provide direct responses to individual member inquiries on all technical aspects of produce production, processing, and handling throughout the supply chain.
Analyze trends in technical requests to inform the development of strategies to meet members’ food safety, quality, and other technical needs in a way that is efficient and scalable
Establish and implement a mechanism to connect industry members with practical, science-based services and solutions, either at the commercial or developmental phase
Lead the review of members food safety plans (e.g., hazard evaluations, environmental monitoring programs, etc.) and provide technical input
Education and training
Serve as a subject matter expert, providing technical content and review for educational initiatives, in collaboration with the Manager, Food Safety Programs
Deliver training on a variety of technical topics including but not limited to produce safety and quality
Coordinate the development of technical resources, and work with the education, marketing, and analytics teams to evaluate the impact of such programs and resources, leading to the identification and development of derivatives.
Actively cultivate an extensive and diverse network of technical experts and influential stakeholders, using these relationships for the benefit of members, the industry, and the association
Serve as an internal resource across the association, providing prompt and clear responses to inform the associations educational, marketing, technology, and other initiatives.
Act as a mentor to student and entry level produce industry professionals
Serve as an ambassador of the industry and association to academia, government, and the media, including serving as the primary liaison to related coalitions.
Lead the development of practical, science-based “best practice” guidance documents and identify and execute strategies to raise awareness of such resources within the industry as well as other stakeholder communities
Evaluate and comment on the scientific and technical aspects of regulatory policies on behalf of the membership and the industry
Develop and propose to the Chief Food Safety and Regulatory Officer long term strategies for the association’s food safety and quality priorities based on horizon scanning
Maintains network of contacts in produce industry, food industry, scientific community, relevant government agencies, and other related nonprofits
Maintains and advances professional competencies in association management, produce science/safety, government relations and advocacy, and the produce industry.
Support Research and Innovation- 10%
Advocate for the research needs of the produce industry by influencing the development of public and private requests for research proposals (RFPs)
Champion research projects that will improve members produce safety, quality, and overall production/processing/distribution systems, by reviewing and prioritizing requests for research funding (e.g., CPS, SCRI etc.)
Serve as a liaison between the academic research community and the produce industry (e.g., by serving on grant advisory panels)
Provide technical evaluation and insight to service providers
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
Master of Science (or comparable) degree or higher in microbiology, public health, food science, agriculture, or related scientific field with specific course work in food microbiology. Bioinformatics/ biostatistics, molecular biology, post-harvest physiology, organic, are a plus.
At least 5 years relevant experience in produce safety/ quality with at least 3 years working specifically for a produce company in a technical role
Well versed in the hazards and risks associated with various production systems (pre-harvest, post-harvest, organic, controlled environment, etc.)
Comprehensive understanding of the elements of produce production, handling and distribution that impact product quality and safety, such as the role of transportation, organic production, etc.
Recognized by PSA as able to train, and/or recognized as an FSPCA lead trainer for PCQI and/or FSVP, with experience conducting innovative and effective training related to food safety, quality, and related issues (preferred)
Able to translate complex and technical topics into relevant, actionable information in both written and oral form
Direct experience handling recalls, outbreaks, and related crises
Experience establishing common ground and achieving consensus within diverse groups of stakeholders
Media trained is a plus
Bi or multi-lingual, especially Spanish fluency, is a plus
Business related travel required on average 12 times per year.
Measures for Success
Provides accurate, thorough, useful, referenced technical responses to members in a timely manner
Technical acumen and collaborative approach boosts the visibility of and respect for technical resources developed by the association
Recognized by members and produce safety stakeholders as a trusted voice on produce safety and quality, as evidenced by requests to speak, train, publish, and contribute to visible initiatives.
In January 2022 the International Fresh Produce Association will launch, born from the Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Produce Association. The IAFP is the largest and most diverse international association serving the entire fresh produce and floral supply chain and the first to seamlessly integrate world facing advocacy and industry-facing support.