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RJO Strengthens Retail Engagement and Grower/Shipper Connection With Addition to Its Staff

Allan O’Donoghue joins the RJO team as retail/grower strategist

Allan O'Donoghue, a longtime retail produce expert, has joined RJO Produce as its first-ever retail/grower strategist. The addition of O’Donoghue strengthens RJO’s retail engagement and gives the firm’s grower customers additional insight into the retail sector.

In this new role, O’Donoghue will be a liaison between retailers and growers/shippers, helping retailers make better buying decisions that recognize market realities, while boosting their bottom lines.

O’Donoghue is based in the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology in Salinas – in the heart of the growing area. An ag industry veteran, he has his finger on the pulse of business and brings a strong, grower-focused background and extensive connections in the retail and grower spaces.

Raised on a farm and relationship driven, O’Donoghue has previous experience as the category manager for Dole Fresh Vegetables, regional sourcing manager for Sprouts Farmers Market and senior produce buyer for C&S Wholesale Grocers.

“By providing critical intel, we’re creating that sweet spot for growers and retailers. Growers benefit from being able to let retailers know what’s happening in the fields, and we’re able to help retailers be more nimble with buying decisions,” O’Donoghue said. “This approach will create a two-way street that benefits our customers, retailers and consumers. I grew up in the ag industry and in this role, I feel like I’m doing what I was born to do!”

Fred Valentino, RJO’s vice president of sales, noted that O’Donoghue brings a deep buying and growing background to the job, and has recent experience in retail. “Post-COVID, the connection between growers and retailers is more important than ever. Allan brings a unique perspective that will help us deepen those connections, while ensuring RJO continues to sharpen our skills in retail.”

“Allan is a great addition to the RJO team as we continue to evolve our go-to-market strategies and options,” said RJO President John O’Rourke. “He has a wealth of retail experience, and as a Salinas native with boots-on-the-ground experience, he brings a unique and valuable perspective to the RJO team.”

In another staffing change, Scott Zeier, vice president of retail services, recently retired after over 20 years with RJO Produce, Zeier helped drive RJO’s retail mission and guided customers with a wide range of planning services.

With over 40 years in the business, Zeier plans to stay connected to the produce marketing industry he loves, maintaining ties with RJO and leading special projects as they arise.

“My over two decades with RJO have been a fantastic experience, and I’m grateful to have been able to support our customers, many of whom have become friends. I look forward to working with RJO as needed to continue to support the entire team and our outstanding customers,” Zeier said.

RJO President O’Rourke noted that Zeier had an amazing ability to keep the RJO team focused on critical retail strategies. “We appreciate Scott’s dedication and professionalism, two traits that exemplified his career at RJO and that made a lasting impact.”

Valentino added, “Scott gave us that cutting edge that separates RJO from the pack as far as being able to speak retail. We’ll be eternally grateful for his knowledge and expertise.”

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About RJO Produce

Located in the heart of Central California, in the nation's largest and most fertile agricultural growing region, RJO Produce is an innovator in the ag commodity brokerage industry. RJO offers a wide variety of services to help clients work smart and maximize profitability, including comprehensive on-ground representation with quality assurance inspections, in-depth market analysis, and category management services for key perishable commodities. RJO Produce has earned the Red Book Business Character Award and Blue Book Trading Member status. Learn more at


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