After a long career in the produce business Mike O’Brien, vice president of sales and marketing at Monterey Mushrooms, is retiring to spend more time with his wife Theresa and their three grandchildren.
O’Brien joined the mushroom company in 2014 after a 42-year career with Schnuck Markets, Inc., in St. Louis where he started as a bagger and moved up from clerk to store manager and into senior leadership before holding the position as vice president of produce and floral for 14 years.
Among his career highlights, O’Brien counts receiving the Donald O. Schnuck Award for Customer Service when he was at Schnucks. At Monterey Mushrooms, he said the highlight has been learning a new industry and working with great people, especially CEO Shah Kazemi who O’Brien said is an inspirational leader.
“It’s all about people,” O’Brien said. “No matter what your job: retail, grower-shipper or volunteer. Be humble and show respect for others. Life is short and we all want to accomplish a lot. But none of us accomplish much without the help and support of others.”
O’Brien developed a reputation for excellence in sales, marketing, and consumer trends at Monterey Mushrooms. Under his tenure, the company became one of the largest grower-shippers in North America.
Shah Kazemi, company CEO, said, “Mike is an authentic, strong, committed and compassionate leader who powerfully takes stands on the people and projects with which he is engaged. It’s been a joy to have him be part of our executive team and he will be greatly missed.”
His plans for retirement include volunteering in the produce industry, playing guitar, attending live music events, travel, charity work and spending time with his family.
Brian Jenny joins the company
At Monterey Mushrooms, the company named Brian Jenny as O’Brien’s successor.
Jenny previously worked for Monterey Mushrooms as an account manager and director of sales in the East region. He was most recently the director of business development and the vice-president/general manager of the value-added business at Naturipe Farms. He also spent time at Naturally Fresh.
Jenny is a graduate of Clemson University with a degree in agricultural and applied economics. He is a graduate of the United Fresh Leadership Class of 2017 and is a past member of the United Fresh Leadership Alumni Board and the United Fresh Board of Directors. He is also active in PMA, SEPC and other trade associations.
Shah Kazemi, president and CEO, said, “While it’s hard to see Mike go, we know our customers and team are in good hands with Brian. We are thrilled to have him back part of the Monterey family and look forward to the additional talent he brings to our management team.”