Melissa Tesche has been chosen to succeed Glen Lucas as general manager of the BC Fruit Growers Association.
Lucas retires March 4, after a 25-year career in the industry.
“We are happy to welcome Melissa to the team,” says BCFGA president Peter Simonsen.
Lucas will support Tesche as she transitions into the new role and away from leading the Okanagan Sterile Insect Release Program (OKSIR) in its battle to control codling moth.
“I’m very excited about what Melissa will be able to add to the BCFGA,” Lucas says. “It will be different, but I think she brings some very interesting experience to the position and her relationships across the industry are a real strength.”
Tesche has led OKSIR since 2015. She says her work with the organization has prepared her for her new role advocating for growers.
“It is an example of the synergy that can happen when the worlds of science, industry and government are willing to work together,” she says. “BCFGA also works in the overlaps between industry, science and government. My experience in the fruit industry, and the relationships I’ve built over the last nine years, will all serve me well in my new position.”
Kelowna apple grower Amarjit Lalli has worked with Tesche both as a director of the BCFGA and a board member of OKSIR.
“Melissa will be a great addition to the BCFGA,” Lalli says. “She is well-equipped to deal with the issues facing the tree fruit industry. She will help to redefine the organization.”
Originally from Alberta, Tesche’s extended family are grain and cattle farmers.
She combined degrees in biology and education to work in environmental education.
Prior to joining OKSIR, she completed a Masters of Science in conservation biology at UBCO while working for the Okanagan Basin Water Board coordinating the milfoil control program.