Priority One has announced the appointment of Western Bay of Plenty entrepreneur Steve Saunders to its board.
Mr Saunders is the owner of the Plus Group of companies, specialising in horticulture management/consultancy, global pollen production, robotics development, international JVs, tech R&D/innovation and science.
The appointment follows the resignation from the board of Graeme Boyd, who has stepped down due to other commitments.
Priority One's activities cover Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty.
The organisation was established by the business community and receives a significant part of its funding from business membership, making it a unique structure for an economic development organisation in New Zealand.
It is also contracted to deliver economic outcomes by Tauranga City and Western Bay of Plenty District councils.
Priority One Chair, Murray Denyer, said "Steve brings a real depth of knowledge and experience around innovation and export in our key sectors, including horticulture. He will complement current board members who have expertise across a range of industries that are a focus for us in growing the region's economy."
Mr Saunders is also a major stakeholder in the kiwifruit postharvest sector and an active Angel investor and has won a number of innovation and export awards, as well as government and Zespri / KVH funded technology projects.
He is the co-founder of Newnham Park Horticulture Innovation Centre at Te Puna, which hosts five local export award winning independent companies.
Mr Saunders said "I am passionate about economic development in the Bay of Plenty and believe I can add real value to Priority One."
Mr Saunders joins current board members Murray Denyer (Cooney Lees Morgan), Bill Holland (Holland Beckett), Sara Lunham (Port of Tauranga), Simon Clarke (TrustPower), Antoine Coffin (iwi business interests), Glenn Keaney (KPMG), Simon Limmer (Zespri International), Alister Jones (University of Waikato), Fraser Lellman (BDO), Hemi Rolleston (Te Awanui Huka Pak), Glenn Snelgrove (Western Bay of Plenty District Council), and Garry Poole (Tauranga City Council).