SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- On Wednesday, November 16, Blue Diamond held their annual growers meeting in Modesto. Chairman of the Board Dan Cummings and President and CEO Mark Jansen addressed an audience of more than 1,300 almond growers and industry professionals to reflect upon the cooperative's strong leadership and resilience over the last year.
Recognized during the meeting for demonstrating a strong commitment to the cooperative were two longstanding members with a combined 48 years of service. The meeting marked their retirement from the board. Elaine Rominger, a grower from Arbuckle, served 15 years on the board and was the only woman in the history of Blue Diamond to hold a seat on the cooperative's board of directors. Both Rominger and her husband, who also served on the board, proved to be steadfast and innovative leaders to the cooperative's board. "Thank you, Gerry and Elaine, for your outstanding commitment to Blue Diamond," said Chairman Cummings. Former Chairman of the Board Clinton Shick, a grower from McFarland, served 33 years on the board. Shick's commitment to Blue Diamond included serving 16 years as vice president and eight years as chairman of the board. His impact during his service spanned the careers of four CEOs and included participating in the development of the cooperative's strategic planning and branded product line. "Clinton's leadership and tenure immeasurably prepared me for this post and I am in humble gratitude to Clinton and his wife, Debbie, for their commitment to Blue Diamond," said Chairman Cummings. The cooperative also announced the results of the recent board election. Current Blue Diamond members Kent Stenderup, a grower from Arvin, and John Monroe, a grower from Arbuckle, were elected to fill the spots left vacant by Rominger and Shick. "Each brings with them not only contributions as growers but a wealth of experience and unique expertise to your Board of Directors," said Chairman Cummings. In addition to the acknowledgement of the members' dedication to Blue Diamond and the cooperative, Jansen addressed the work accomplished over the last year and credits the entire Blue Diamond team for their knowledge, dedication and leadership. Margin enhancement projects for Blue Diamond included realigning the warehouse system and the processes of customer orders, resulting in better customer service and delivering an annual savings of over $4 million. "Last year the Blue Diamond team delivered margin savings of $13 million, which has allowed the cooperative to build new warehouses and factories, grow marketing investments, and develop the talent of the organization," said Jansen. Focused marketing and promotional strategies, including the sponsorship of the USA volleyball and swimming and diving teams during the 2016 Summer Olympics, resulted in the increase of sales. "The quality of our advertising, the power of the Olympics and the synergy of our media buys created tremendous lift in sales. Not only did this increase our business during the games, after the Olympics our sales lift continued," noted Jansen. Concluding the annual meeting, Jansen acknowledged that the power of Blue Diamond is in the cooperative's commitment to partnership. "We are at our strongest as a network of growers, employees and partners. We have grown through investments in innovation and marketing. The result has been increasingly competitive returns." About Blue Diamond Blue Diamond Growers, a grower-owned cooperative representing over 3,000 of California's almond growers, is the world's largest almond marketer and processor. Established in 1910, it created the California almond industry and opened world markets for almonds. Blue Diamond is dedicated to delivering the benefits of almonds around the world and does so by providing high-quality almonds, almond ingredients and branded products. Headquartered in Sacramento, the company employs more than 1,500 people throughout its processing plants, receiving stations and gift shops. To learn more about Blue Diamond Growers, visit www.bluediamond.com and follow the company on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.