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Posted September 2, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Proctor takes reins at Bowman Apple

Board reaches outside the family for first time to fill president's post

By James Heffernan -- jheffernan@nvdaily.com

MT. JACKSON -- For the first time in the 70-year history of Bowman Apple Products Co. Inc., a non-family member sits at the helm.

Timothy S. Proctor took over as president of the apple processing company Tuesday morning, succeeding Gordon D. "Sonny" Bowman II, who will stay on as chairman of the board, according to a press release.

"It was time for me to begin the process of making both short and long term changes that would keep the company competitive and [ensure] its position as a major leader in the apple industry nationwide," Bowman states in the release.

Bowman says Proctor has been "my right arm and friend for many years," adding that "his vast knowledge and experience with all areas of the operation is invaluable.

"I will make myself available to him in any way that I can be of assistance."

Proctor said Tuesday the succession plan has been in place for about three years, and he is comfortable in his new role.

"Mr. Bowman had been handing over a lot of the duties to me already, so it's not like falling off a cliff," he said.

Proctor joined Bowman Apple Products in 1987 as personnel director and in 1991 was named director of purchasing. In 1999, he became vice president overseeing procurement, logistics and human resources. He was promoted to executive vice president and chief executive officer in 2004.

Bowman has been with the company since 1954, and in 1974 he replaced his father as president after the elder Bowman became ill.

Bowman's family remains actively involved in the company. His daughter, Lauren, is a secretary and handles insurance matters for the company. His son, Todd, and niece, Pamela Zirkle, both serve on the board of directors.

Bowman Apple Products advertises itself as the largest U.S. producer of applesauce and apple butter for the private-label retail market. It also produces fresh-pressed apple juice, juice from concentrate, juice beverages and organic juices.

Despite increased competition, including from China, which has flooded the U.S. market with cheap apple juice concentrate, Proctor said the industry has been relatively stable, and apple-based products will remain Bowman's core business.

In fact, the company, which owns 4,000 acres of orchards, is considering getting into production of other apple-based products, he said.

Bowman's beverage co-packing business has grown to include eight multinational clients, Proctor said. Until recently, the company had a contract to produce Gatorade for PepsiCo, but Pepsi transferred production of the engineered sports drink in-house in response to softening sales.

Bowman's beverage line also includes teas and waters.

"All the elements of a successful company are still here," Proctor said.

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