US vertical farming company Freight Farms has appointed Rick Vanzura to the role of CEO, as the company looks to expand its market reach and accelerate innovation.
Vanzura succeeds Brad McNamara, who co-founded Freight Farms with Jon Friedman in 2010 and who will continue to serve as the company’s president.
Vanzura, who will also join the company’s board of directors, has 20 years experience in president and senior executive-level roles and has worked across the technology, restaurant, retail and entertainment sectors.
He has held a number of leadership positions in the foodservice industry, including that of original CEO of Wahlburgers and a role leading strategy for Panera Bread Company.
“What excites me about Freight Farms is the ability to join a passionate, mission-driven business that is already perfectly positioned to address the growing critical need for sustainable, hyper-local food production,” said newly-appointed Vanzura.
“Freight Farms has an incredible technology platform as the originator of container farming, as well as a global footprint driving numerous sources of value.
“Beyond providing a meaningful solution across industries, Freight Farms’ innovation addresses issues like urban land scarcity, traceability and the need for hyper-local solutions with speed to market.
“The current environment demonstrates more than ever the value of Freight Farms’ offerings.”
Commenting on Vanzura’s appointment, McNamara said: “Rick has amplified growth across interconnected industries, and his international experience lends itself to our ongoing global expansion.
“His personal alignment with Freight Farms’ mission was crucial for us as well—he’s a welcomed addition to the team as we scale.”
Automation and robotics specialist Jake Felser has also been named as head of engineering.
Freight Farms, who, a decade ago, pioneered the idea of vertical hydroponic farms built inside intermodal shipping containers, recently launched its next generation container farm.
The company credit the launch of the Greenery with the expansion of their global footprint to more than 300 container farms worldwide, as well as a national partnership with catering and hospitality firm Sodexo and new investment from Ospraie Ag Science.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019