WENATCHEE — Brianna Shales is Stemilt Growers’ new marketing director, picking up the reins from Roger Pepperl, who retired in December after two decades on the job in Wenatchee and 40 in the industry.
Pepperl, who joined the Mathison family-owned operation in 2000, helped grow the organization’s marketing staff from one designer to its now seven-member department.
He hired Shales 13 years ago as a communications specialist, her first job after graduating from Washington State University with a communications degree. She was later promoted to senior marketing manager and, in January, named to move into the marketing director post.
She leads a team of six that oversees Stemilt’s World Famous Fruit brand and the company’s marketing efforts.
“Our marketing work includes business-to-business focuses around customer relationships, retail promotions, merchandising strategies, communication, digital marketing, packaging, branding, events/tradeshows and much more,” she said.
Her work also includes consumer marketing strategy which includes digital channels like social media, the website and blog, as well as internal Stemilt branding and special projects.
“Every day is different and that is one of the things I love most about marketing,” she said.
She is still getting a feel for the new job.
“Our marketing team is an incredible group of talented people whom I really enjoy working with. We laugh together often, but also can come together and work through challenging projects to land on incredible results,” she said. “Stemilt is a family-owned company and so we treat each other like family, and that transcends throughout the organization, which I really admire. I also love that I get to help promote healthy products that are grown by farmers and families.”
Pepperl, she said, was a true mentor.
“He had deep retail experience and an incredible ability to create solutions at retail that would work for the grower, the retailer and the consumer. That is no easy feat!” she said. “Roger taught me a lot about leading others, solving problems and work ethic. He is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. He also taught me a lot about humility and to take risks in marketing. He left some huge shoes to fill, but also instilled a fire in myself and our team to work hard and build Stemilt’s World Famous Fruit brand.”