Sastre brings world-class customer service and operations experience as Kalera prepares for rapid domestic and international expansion
Kalera (Euronext Growth Oslo ticker KAL, Bloomberg: KSLLF), one of the fastest-growing and largest vertical farming companies in the world and a leader in plant science for producing high-quality produce in controlled environments, today announced the appointment of Maria Sastre to its Board of Directors. A seasoned executive with experience in the food, travel, and tourism industries, Sastre brings with her over 25 years of executive leadership and experience and currently sits on the boards of esteemed, Fortune 500, multibillion dollar public and private companies, including General Mills, O’Reilly Auto Parts and Publix Supermarkets. The addition of Sastre to the board coincides with Kalera’s rapid expansion into several new markets and its acquisition of Vindara Inc., the first company to develop seeds specifically designed for use in vertical indoor farm environments as well as other controlled environment agriculture (CEA) farming methods.
“We are thrilled that someone of Maria’s caliber has chosen to join Kalera’s board,” said Daniel Malechuk, Kalera CEO. “Her resume is beyond impressive, with extensive experience leading highly successful international and growing companies, and is a strong complement to our industry-leading management team and board of directors. She has proven time and again that she is invaluable in helping scale businesses, and will be an incredible asset to Kalera during this time of rapid growth, both domestically and abroad.”
In addition to her aforementioned business experience, Sastre also served on numerous civic and non-profit boards such as the Greater Miami Visitors and Convention Bureau(Chair), the Executive Advisory Board of Florida International University School of Hospitality,and the Executive Board of the United Way of Miami-Dade County. She has been recognized as one of the Top 80 U.S. Hispanics and Top 20 Latinas and has received numerous awards in the travel and hospitality industry sectors. Sastre’s education includes a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s in Business Administration, both from New York Institute of Technology.
“As someone with a passion for optimizing customer experiences, I am proud to join Kalera’s board as I fully believe their product is a category leader,” said Maria Sastre, new Kalera board member. “Kalera has the opportunity to serve diverse customer segments and increase accessibility to a product that is inherently safer, cleaner, fresher, more sustainable, and more nutritious and flavorful. In a world where brands are looking for ways to differentiate their products and services to their discerning customers, the Kalera portfolio is well positioned to offer the best vertical farming product solution. I trust my years of experience in operations and customer service will prove beneficial as Kalera expands into new markets.”
Sastre previously served as the President and Chief Operating Officer for Signature Aviation, the largest worldwide network of fixed-based operations and maintenance centers for private aviation. Before joining Signature, she spent eight years at Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD, where she held the positions of Vice President, International, Latin America, Caribbean and Asia; and Vice President of Hotel Operations. Her roles included strategic growth across emerging markets as well as managing all aspects of operations and the guest experience onboard Royal Caribbean’s fleet of vessels. Previously, Sastre served as Vice President of Worldwide Customer Satisfaction for United Airlines, where she led the newly created customer-satisfaction division charged with refining the customer-service experience.
Kalera currently operates two growing facilities in Orlando, and is building facilities in Atlanta, Houston, Denver, Columbus, Seattle, and Hawaii. Kalera is the only controlled environment agriculture company with coast-to-coast facilities being constructed, offering grocers, restaurants, theme parks, airports and other businesses nationwide reliable access to locally grown clean, safe, nutritious, price-stable, long-lasting greens.Kalera uses a closed-loop irrigation system which enables its plants to grow while consuming 95% less water compared to field farming.
Kalera is a technology driven vertical farming company with unique growing methods combining optimized nutrients and light recipes, precise environmental controls, and clean room standards to produce safe, highly nutritious, pesticide-free, non-GMO vegetables with consistent high quality and longer shelf life year-round. The company’s high-yield, automated, data-driven hydroponic production facilities have been designed for rapid rollout with industry-leading payback times to grow vegetables faster, cleaner, at a lower cost, and with less environmental impact. To learn more visit www.Kalera.com.