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[WENATCHEE, WASHINGTON, APRIL 12, 2023] International Marketing Director Rebecca Lyons announced her June 30 retirement at the March 30 Washington Apple Commission Board of Directors meeting.  Lyons, who started at the Commission in 1999 as the International Marketing Manager for the Latin American markets, has steered the Commission’s export marketing program through the changes in the industry over the past two decades.

“When I started in 1999, there were over 42 different grower/packer/shipper organizations directly exporting to international markets and the Red Delicious variety made up 46% of the total crop. Now there are half the number of sales organizations and Red Delicious is less than 14%.”

Lyons came to the Commission from the Washington State Department of Agriculture International Marketing Program office in Yakima, WA, where she focused on tree fruit issues and federal financing programs.  “Joining the Commission was an amazing opportunity to market a wholesome product to consumers in over 25 different countries and to leverage federal Market Access Program funding to solidify the Washington Apple brand as the international standard of quality for apples.”

During her tenure at the Commission, Lyons played a significant role in securing over $100 million in USDA Market Access Program funds to promote Washington apples in international markets, as well as almost $10 million in recent Agricultural Trade Promotions funds.  “It’s been a team effort to fund our export programs and we are fortunate to have a fantastic group on the home front, however without our network of international in-market representatives we would not be effective” she stated.

Lyons will be handing the reins of the program to International Marketing Manager Lindsey Huber and International Marketing Specialist Jenny Strong.  “They’ve been doing a great job incorporating digital media into our promotional programs, and I’m confident that they’ll continue to introduce new and innovative marketing into the WAC international promotion efforts.”

Lyons, who has an MBA in International Management from the American Graduate School of International Management (now the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University) and speaks several languages, doesn’t plan to sit still after retirement.  “I credit my interest in international business to my junior high school year abroad as a Rotary International Exchange Student in Essen, West Germany.  I’m currently active in Rotary and plan to increase my involvement now that I’ll have more time!”  Hiking, skiing, gardening, and perhaps not so surprising, international travel will also be on the agenda as she looks forward to a new life chapter.   However, she says “No matter where in the world I am, if I see a supermarket I’ll have to check out the apple display!”

The Washington Apple Commission is a non-profit, promotional organization dedicated to marketing and advertising fresh Washington apples internationally.  For more information on the Washington Apple Commission, visit www.waapple.org.

The Washington Apple Commission is an equal opportunity provider and employer.