June 14, 2021

Pickle Packers International longtime leader Bursiek to retire

Pickle Packers International (PPI) Executive Vice President Brian Bursiek will retire at the end of the year. He’s held the role for 17 years.

“It has been an honor to represent PPI and the pickled vegetable industry with members from 15 countries — a truly global organization,” Bursiek said. “It is a great industry with fun, dedicated people who are very passionate about pickled vegetables. Bringing the industry together for meetings and managing their issues has been extremely rewarding. I am grateful for the personal relationships I have made throughout this industry and proud to have worked with many research leaders, government officials, and other trade association executives. These are people I will consider friends forever!”

Bursiek joined Verto Solutions (then The Roberts Group), an association management company, in November 2004 as PPI’s Executive Vice President – only its third executive in the association’s 128-year history. He immediately relocated PPI’s headquarters from St. Charles, Illinois to Washington, D.C. for improved government and media relations. Bursiek brought an extensive background in association management, regulatory affairs, manufacturing operations, industrial engineering and agriculture.

Bursiek and his leadership has greatly benefited the pickling industry. He implemented a strategic approach toward membership development; enhanced the association’s electronic communications; created and implemented an industry crisis management program; and added lots of buzz and excitement to PPI’s spring and annual meetings. Bursiek increased funding for an aggressive research program; improved relations with USDA ARS and university scientists; organized effective Capitol Hill visits for sustained federal funding in support of vegetable research; and obtained federal grants for GAP certification and marketing programs. He demonstrated fiscal responsibility and significantly grew PPI’s investment reserve for creating new member benefits; and always strived for continuous improvement to make the association better. PPI is positioned to continue representing the pickling industry well into the future.

Bursiek will be celebrated for his dedication and service at PPI’s 2021 annual meeting and product showcase in Austin, Texas, in October.

A native of Ohio, Bursiek is a graduate of Ohio State University with a bachelor’s agricultural engineering. In 2015, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the university’s Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering — then one of only 26 to be so honored in the Department’s 100-plus-year history.

The PPI Board of Directors has a succession plan in place. In 2022, John Cox, Managing Director, Verto Solutions, is set to follow Bursiek as next executive vice president. He served as Executive Director and legal counsel for several Washington D.C.-based associations in food, agriculture, and science-focused industries. Cox has been working closely with Bursiek since January to ensure a smooth transition.

PPI, established in 1893, has served the pickled vegetable industry by sponsoring research, conducting advocacy, producing valuable educational programming, and providing unmatched networking opportunities important to its members. Its membership represents 85% of the cucumber tonnage grown for pickle use in North America, with retail value over $1.7 billion.

PPI’s membership has grown to represent pickles, peppers, sauerkraut, and other pickled vegetables, and includes food processors, growers, green shippers, briners, brokers, seed companies, equipment manufacturers, ingredient and packaging suppliers, and those providing goods and services to the industry.

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