Giving Back To The Industry

We're stronger together as an industry than we are alone.

Four leaders describe the rewards of volunteerism.

Volunteer causes, and leaders the mission are the heart to secure and a soul thriving of many produce industry is no exception.

From around the globe, throughout the produce and floral supply chains, across companies of all sizes and expertise, there's a treasure trove of insight and experience being donated in the name of advancing the produce trade. These diverse, unique leaders unite under the common goal of delivering solutions to increase consumption of fresh produce. In other words, we're stronger together as industry than we are alone.

Many dedicated men and women have defined the Produce Marketing Association's (PMA) success for more than 60 years. These people not only contribute to the industry, but, through their donation of time and energy, they also serve as mentors, setting an example of what leadership means. Following are the thoughts of four volunteer leaders.

Julie Koch is VP of member relations for the Produce Marketing Association.

Tim Gagnon Director, Business Analytics C.H. Robinson Co. Worldwide, Eden Prairie, Minn.

"At C.H. Robinson, volunteering with the industry is an organizational commitment. Our volunteer involvement with the industry is productive in many ways, and the opportunity to share knowledge and participate in creating industry solutions is rewarding and beneficial. Through the years, I have been fortunate to meet great people and develop relationships throughout the industry. These relationships are often leveraged beyond the volunteer forum to coordinate solutions in our day-to-day business activities. Volunteering puts people from all levels in an organization under equal authority, and our collective experience and talents provide a great opportunity to give back to the industry by creating an impact with sustainable solutions."

Paulette E. Pierson, Ph.D. Director, Industry Affairs Monsanto Co., St. Louis

"For me, simply paying membership dues and attending events was not enough. To truly be part of an industry, I believe you need to get involved, and volunteering provided that opportunity. Because Monsanto is new to the produce sector, volunteering has provided the opportunity for greater engagement with the produce industry and the opportunity to better understand the challenges our customers face. Volunteering has given me the opportunity to bring back our customers' thoughts and concerns to Monsanto's leadership, which ultimately helps steer our vegetable seed business in a positive direction."

Loretta Radanovic, CPA VP of Finance & Treasurer Four Seasons Produce Inc., Ephrata, Pa.

"I decided to volunteer so that I could be more involved in the produce industry and to build relationships. I was interested in using my skills as an accountant and leader in my organization to help other companies and to serve on boards. As I learn more about the produce industry and I continue to hone my business skills, it is very rewarding to use this knowledge to help others grow. Serving on boards is a very different experience for me compared to the industries that I have worked in as a controller and CFO, so it is also a learning experience that will help me to serve on other boards in the future. As we mature in our careers, we realize how much we didn't know in our early years, so I hope to help others through sharing my experiences."

Kim St. George Director of Marketing River Ranch Fresh Foods LLC, Salinas, Calif.

"Volunteering over the past decade has been extremely valuable for me, both professionally and personally. Not only have I been able to use my experiences to contribute to important issues, but I have also connected with bright, inspiring and talented people throughout the industry. The produce industry is constantly changing, and the contributions made by companies throughout the many facets of the supply chain only make our industry stronger."

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