Calling All Outstanding Produce Managers!

WASHINGTON - The search is on for the Produce Manager of the Year, a new award established by United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association (United) and sponsored by Irwindale, Calif.-based Ready Pac, Inc.

The inaugural award, which will honor the outstanding contributions of two individual retail produce managers, will be selected from 10 semi-finalists at the association's 2005 Produce Expo & Conference, which will take place April 30 to May 3, in conjunction with the FMI Show in Chicago.

"There are thousands of produce managers who work hard every day, and this is a great way both to say thanks and to highlight outstanding performance," said Mike Kemp, produce director of Save-A-Lot, United Board member, and chairman of United's Retail Produce Manager Awards Committee. "This award will honor those individuals who have gone above the call of duty in promoting fresh produce and delivering the highest level of customer satisfaction in their stores. We hope that a number of supermarket chains and independents across the industry will use this program to honor their own outstanding employees," he said.

The 10 award winners will receive complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations, and registrations to the United Produce Show at FMI. The winners will be introduced at the United Awards Breakfast on Monday morning, May 2, where two grand prize winners will be announced as recipients of an additional $1,000 each in cash prizes. The 10 managers will also participate in United's convention education program, and will be available to share their views on increasing produce success at store level.

Applications may be submitted from Nov. 3 to March 1, and will be available online at Candidates will be asked to provide examples of what they've done to increase produce consumption, provide community service, and build customer satisfaction. Applicants will also be asked to explain what they each see as today's challenges and/or opportunities to increase produce sales and consumption. All produce managers from United member retail companies are eligible to apply. A panel of United member representatives will select winners.

United's Retail Produce Manager Awards Program is sponsored by Ready Pac Produce. "Ready Pac is delighted to support this great new program to honor the front-line salespeople for our industry," said Larry Kern, president and c.e.o. of Ready Pac and current chair of United.

"The Produce Manager Award is United's way of recognizing those on the front lines in the supermarket every day, helping to increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables," said Amy Philpott, United's v.p. of marketing and industry relations. "Honoring these produce managers in Chicago at the May 2005 United Produce Show at FMI is an important way to put the produce department front and center for senior retail management, and move ahead of our competition in the center store."

For application materials and more information about the award program, please contact Paget Pizitz, United marketing coordinator, at (202) 303-3400, ext. 420, or [email protected].
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