Fresh Produce Shines as 20K Converge for PMA Confab

Some 20,000 attendees from over 60 countries flocked to the Orlando Convention Center for the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) annual Fresh Summit, where decision makers from every link of the supply chain visited with 1,100+ exhibitors from around the globe to see how today’s bright ideas are reshaping tomorrow’s produce and floral landscape.

Among the highlights of the event is the creation of new award honoring the collaborative leadership style of retiring PMA CEO Bryan Silbermann, whose 33-year career at PMA, including 20 years as its president, will come to a close in early 2017.

“Throughout his career, Bryan brought a collaborative spirit that engaged and motivated industry leaders to work together to create opportunities and solutions to challenges, so much so that collaboration has become a defining characteristic of PMA,” said PMA President Cathy Burns. “We want to honor Bryan with this award as PMA continues to expand its role as a prominent voice for the fresh produce and floral communities worldwide.”

The inaugural award, which will be presented next year at PMA’s Fresh Summit Convention & Expo in New Orleans, will be selected by a five-member panel of judges from nominations submitted by PMA members. The Bryan E. Silbermann award will recognize an individual for working with one or more people or organizations, including those outside the nominee’s own organization, to realize mutually beneficial solutions to an industry issue, per the following criteria:

  • Past or present PMA member
  • Significant collaborative volunteer contributions in service to solutions-based answers to industry issues
  • Conducts business within the global produce and/or floral industry supply chain with integrity, dedication and distinction
  • Provides motivational and inspirational leadership to advance the industry through the use of collaboration

John Oxford to Lead 2016-2017 PMA Board

The 2016-2017 PMA board of directors also officially began their new duties during PMA’s 2016 Fresh Summit Convention & Expo. Led by new board chairman John Oxford, president/CEO, L&M Cos. Inc., Raleigh, N.C., 29 other officers and directors assumed their new roles to provide strategic direction to help fulfill the Newark, Del.-based trade association’s mission to connect, inform and deliver industry solutions, including:

  • Chair-Elect, Jin Ju Wilder, director of marketing, LA & SF Specialty Produce, Los Angeles.
  • Secretary-Treasurer, April Porter, CFO, Noble Produce Imports Inc., Winter Haven, Fla.
  • Immediate Past Chair, Russ Mounce, VP & divisional merchandise manager of produce and floral, Sam's Club, Bentonville, Ark.
  • Vice Chair, Elliott Grant, CEO, ShopWell Labs Inc., San Carlos, Calif.
  • Vice Chair, Paul Kneeland, VP of fresh merchandising, Fresh Formats LLC, Canton, Mass.

New at-large board directors are:

  • Jim Corby, VP of merchandising, produce, floral and gift centers, The Fresh Market, Greensboro, N.C.
  • Dwight Ferguson, president/CEO, Naturipe Farms LLC, Naples, Fla.
  • Bernadette Hamel, VP, national procurement, produce, Metro Richelieu Inc., Montreal
  • Andrew Kennedy, president, FoodLogiQ, Durham, N.C.
  • David Marguleas, EVP of Sun World International LLC and president of Sun World Innovations, Bakersfield, Calif. 
  • Jill Overdorf, director of business and culinary development and corporate executive chef, Coosemans L.A. Shipping Inc., Vernon, Calif.
  • Kurt Vetter, president, Wonderful Sales, Los Angeles
  • Gary Wishnatzki, president/CEO, Wish Farms, Plant City, Fla.
  • Joe Don Zetzsche, director of floral and blooms, H-E-B, San Antonio

Returning board members are:

  • Manuel Alcaino, president, Decofrut, Vitacura, Chile
  • Robby Barkley, CEO, Barkley Ag Enterprises LLP, Yuma, Ariz.
  • Soren Bjorn, EVP, Driscoll's, Watsonville, Calif.
  • Jim DiMenna, CEO, Red Sun Farms, Kingsville, Ontario
  • Robin Fisher, category manager SCM, P.F. Chang's China Bistro Inc., Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Jose Antonio Gomez, chief commercial officer, Camposol S.A., Peru
  • Ana Hooper, VP total quality, Darden Restaurants Inc., Orlando, Fla.
  • Derrick Jenkins, VP produce/floral division, Wakefern Food Corporation, Keasbey, N.J. 
  • David Lake, CEO, 4Earth Farms, Commerce, Calif.
  • Cathy Leffingwell, director, produce, Brinker International, Dallas
  • Lam Lin, fresh foods sourcing & buying general manager, China Resources Vanguard LTD, Shenzhen, China
  • Ines Masallach, marketing director, Serv. De Merc Imalinx, SA de CV, Mexico
  • Irenke Meekma, managing director, Bakker Barendrecht BV, Ridderkerk, Netherlands
  • Cynthia Nunes, VP and co-general manager, fresh fruit North America, Dole Fresh Fruit Co., Parsippany, N.J. 
  • Jamie Peisach, president, Passion Growers LLC, Miami
  • Jim Sarcletti, director of produce and floral, Supervalu, Eden Prairie, Minn.
  • Kent Shoemaker, CEO, Lipman, Immokalee, Fla.
  • Tara Smith-Vighetti, VP, Smith Packing Inc., Hastings, Fla. 
  • Tommie van Zyl, CEO, ZZ2, Polokwane, Limpopo, South Africa
  • Max Yeater, president, Pro*Act LLC, Monterey, Calif.

Retiring from the PMA board are: 

  • Jeff Dunn, CEO, Bolthouse Farms Inc., Bakersfield, Calif.; President, Campbell Fresh, Camden, N.J.
  • Howard Nager, former VP of marketing, Domex Superfresh Growers, Yakima, Wash. 
  • Oleen Smethurst, assistant VP, general merchandise manager, Costco Wholesale, Ottawa, Canada
  • Dan Sutton, VP of produce procurement, Albertsons LLC, Boise, Idaho
  • Thomas Wheeler, director of produce operations, Mollie Stone Markets, San Francisco
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