Claire H. Smith

Well-known Horticulturalist Joins Sunkist’s Fruit Sciences Department

New Position Brings Additional Expertise to the Cooperative’s Expanding Portfolio

January 20, 2009

January 20, 2009, Sherman Oaks, Calif…..Sunkist Growers’ Fruit Sciences Department is expanding with the addition of Resident Horticulturalist Dr. C. Thomas Chao.

“Thomas brings extensive horticultural expertise to assist our growers with cultural issues,” said Sunkist President and CEO Russ Hanlin. “His experience as an extension specialist, researcher, nurseryperson and grower uniquely prepared him for this position.”

Dr. Chao will be a tremendous resource for our growers and packinghouses as Sunkist continues to expand its varietal portfolio, said Hanlin. Dr. Chao can address citrus issues in-depth: new varieties, marketing windows, growing locations, maturities and potential challenges in production.

“Thomas is very familiar with the California citrus industry and the citrus nursery industry and knows well the challenges facing us,” Hanlin added. “He is well known among California citrus growers and has traveled extensively to other citrus-producing countries, interacting with growers, packers and researchers on citrus production issues. He is a resource our growers will no doubt find to be invaluable.”

Dr. Chao has both a Bachelors and Masters of Science in Horticulture, the first from the Chinese Culture University in Taiwan and the second from the University of California-Davis. He earned his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison before returning to UC-Davis as a postdoctoral scholar.

Dr. Chao was recruited as an extension Specialist and Horticulturist in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at the University of California-Riverside in 1998 where his field research and extension work focused on the production issues for mandarins and the evaluation of new varieties. In 2006, he joined Thermal Plaza Nursery in Thermal, California, working on citrus nursery tree production and managing approximately 400 acres of lemon, Minneola and mandarin production.

“I am pleased to be joining one of the world’s leading citrus organizations,” said Dr. Chao. “Sunkist is a strong organization with a large grower base in diverse growing areas and environments, which offers great production and marketing advantages. I look forward to contributing to the talented team that is Sunkist’s Fruit Science Department and working with the growers, packers and marketers who contribute to making the Sunkist name so respected.”



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