Beginning September 28, 2020, the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and North American Blueberry Council (NABC) appointed Jennifer Sparks, a longtime marketing professional for the floral industry, as vice president, marketing and communications.
In her new role as part of the USHBC/NABC executive team, Sparks will manage various advertising agencies and marketing partners, and oversee all aspects of the marketing strategic plan, including branding, merchandising, promotions, advertising, public/media relations, market research and consumer affairs to spotlight the health benefits of blueberries and increase consumption. She will lead the implementation of brand-driven internal and external communications across a range of categories: consumer, retailer, food service and industry relations. She will work with a diverse group of industry stakeholders – growers, handlers, importers and retailers – across two continents.
Sparks brings more than two decades of association management and industry promotion experience, most notably 17 years as vice president of marketing for the Society of American Florists (SAF). There, she spearheaded the floral industry’s public education and media relations campaigns, experiential marketing initiatives, influencer programs, digital content and collateral materials. The SAF program developed strategies, messaging and key tactics inspired by consumer insights and groundbreaking university research to promote the emotional health and well-being benefits of flowers. Sparks also served as the industry spokesperson and trained others in media relations best practices.
Sparks holds a master’s degree in public relations/corporate communications with a specialty in crisis management from Boston University, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Radford University in Virginia.
“We’re thrilled to have Jennifer on board to help direct our marketing and demand-driving efforts,” shared NABC/USHBC President Kasey Cronquist. “She brings a depth of experience and leadership that gives me great confidence in where our blueberry industry can go from here.”
A self-proclaimed blueberry enthusiast since childhood, Sparks says, “I am grateful for the opportunity to join such a dynamic team to help build brand recognition, enhance thought leadership, amplify the value proposition and promote the amazing benefits of blueberries.”
Sparks shared more of her experience and thoughts on the new direction for 2021 in a recent episode of USHBC’s “The Business of Blueberries” podcast.
Adam Winland Joins NABC and USHBC as Financial Controller
Adam Winland has been hired as the financial controller for the North American Blueberry Council (NABC) and the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC), a newly created position that will oversee the councils’ day-to-day accounting and provide strategic financial direction.
Winland brings 15 years of financial management experience to the councils. He most recently spent four years as controller for Ideal Dental Management Partners based in West Sacramento, California. He managed the finances of multiple dental offices and was involved in the acquisitions and sales of dental practices.
He previously spent two years as assistant controller for Easter Seals Bay Area based in Pleasant Hill, California, and six years as vice president of accounting and finance for TKG International, a real estate investment firm based in Livermore, California. At TKG, he was involved in the management of the company’s 100-acre vineyard and helped it transition to organic growing practices and become certified by California Certified Organic Farmers.
He is a native of Michigan and a 2004 graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a master’s degree in accounting and a bachelor’s degree in accounting information systems, with a minor in economics.
Winland will be part of the councils’ executive team and manage an annual budget exceeding $13 million. He will oversee accounting, investments, cash flow management, and short- and long-range financial projections. He will also ensure the accuracy of NABC/USHBC accounting data and financial records, produce annual budgets and financial reports, and oversee financial and regulatory audits. He’ll head up administrative services, which includes human resources, benefits, policies and procedures, and operations.
“We’re excited to have Adam bring his knowledge and expertise to the team,” said Kasey Cronquist, president of NABC and USHBC. “His prior experience in ag and finance make him a perfect fit as we look to grow our program alongside the growing demand for blueberries.”
“I’m thrilled to be part of these organizations and I look forward to helping NABC and USHBC achieve their respective visions,” Winland said. “Coming back to my ag roots is an absolute pleasure, and I’m happy to contribute to the success and sustainability of the councils.”
About the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
Established in 2000, The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) is a federal agriculture research and promotion program with independent oversight from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). USHBC represents blueberry growers and packers in North and South America who market their blueberries in the United States and overseas, and works to promote the growth and well-being of the entire blueberry industry. USHBC was established by blueberry growers and currently has 2,500 growers, packers and importers. USHBC is committed to providing blueberries that are grown, harvested, packed and shipped in clean, safe environments. Learn more at ushbc.org.
About the North American Blueberry Council
Since 1965, the North American Blueberry Council (NABC) has been the voice of the blueberry industry in the U.S. and Canada. NABC’s members represent approximately 70% of the North American highbush blueberry crop. NABC was instrumental in the establishment of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHABC), a federal agriculture research and promotion program with independent oversight from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Learn more at nabcblues.org.