Hall to step down as GFVGA executive director
After 25 years as the executive director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA), Charles Hall will be stepping down to move into a semi-retirement role. Hall announced to association leadership earlier in the year his plans to carry the organization through their 25th anniversary celebration and step down later this year.
Chris Butts, currently the GFVGA director of public affairs, has been named the association’s next executive vice president effective Dec. 1. Butts joined the GFVGA team in 2020 as director of public affairs following 12 years of leadership with the Georgia Green Industry Association where he served as director of legislative affairs and executive director. His roots in agriculture run deep having been raised in a three-generation nursery operation in Athens. Butts is looking forward to his new role. “I am honored to be chosen to lead GFVGA going forward while having the opportunity to celebrate the leadership and build on the legacy that Charles has provided to the industry over the last 25 years,” Butts said.
Hall will continue to serve the association in an advisory role and assist with special projects.
“Our association is extremely grateful for the work that Charles has done on behalf of Georgia growers,” said GFVGA President Drew Echols. “We look forward to continuing to work to better the industry for the next 25 years.”
Hall has been the executive director for GFVGA since the association was organized in August of 1996. At that time, one of the key objectives in GFVGA’s mission statement was for the new association to become the ‘Voice’ of Georgia’s produce industry. Hall took that mission as a personal challenge and, working with the GFVGA Board and industry leaders, the association has been successful in reaching that goal. Today, GFVGA hosts one of the premier regional trade shows in the U.S., boasts a membership of more than 600 growers and business leaders, operates a nationally recognized grower-focused food safety consulting service, and is continuously advocating for Georgia’s fruit and vegetable growers in Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
“It has been an honor to serve GFVGA and this industry,” Hall wrote in a letter to the GFVGA membership. “It is our GFVGA members that have built the fruit and vegetable industry in Georgia and provided me and our staff the opportunity to serve you. Thank you.”
Service and contributions to agriculture have been a hallmark of Hall’s career. He was the second employee hired for the Georgia Agrirama, Georgia’s State Museum of Agriculture, in 1973, serving as director of the museum from 1977 to 1981. He worked in Field Services for Georgia Farm Bureau and later as chief operating officer of a public relations and communications company. In 1995, he founded Association Services Group, an association management company, that currently serves 17 different associations and membership organizations, eight of which are agricultural-related associations. In 1996, the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Association was one of the first clients for Hall’s new company.
Hall has been recognized for his industry and association leadership receiving the Glenn Bostrom Award in 2019 for outstanding career achievement from the Association Management Company Institute, a member of ‘The Packer 25’ in 2018 and the Clifford Clark Award in 2011, as the outstanding association executive in Georgia by the Georgia Society of Association Executives.
He is looking forward to having more family time to spend with his wife (Jan) of 49 years, two children (Emily/Wendell and Tamlin/Esti) and six grandchildren (Bethany, Hannah, Connor, Addison, Brock, Hendrix).