United Fresh Presents Top Retail Produce Managers

Marking its 11th year of recognizing exceptional retail produce managers, United Fresh has revealed its slate of honorees for its 2015 Retail Produce Manager awards program. The group of 25 produce managers, which represent 23 different supermarket banners, commissaries and independent retail stores in 19 states, will be the honored guests at the United Fresh 2015 convention and trade show, June 8-10 in Chicago.

Sponsored this year for the first time by Dole Food Co., the program pays special recognition to produce mangers working to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Over the course of the 11 years of the program, more than 280 retail managers, representing more than 80 retail banners, have been honored for their contributions to fresh produce merchandising.

“Produce managers are on the front lines, educating consumers in the produce department – a critical touch point for the fresh produce industry,” said United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel. “We are grateful to Dole Food Co. for their sponsorship of this program and partnership in recognizing these 25 deserving honorees.”                                                                                                                                               

The 2015 United Fresh Retail Produce Manager award winners are:

  • Scott Baker, Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • Mario Branco, Lucky Supermarkets, Oakley, Calif.
  • Tom Dubrowski, King’s Food Markets, Cresskill, N.J.
  • Tony Gilliam, K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc., Weber City, Vir.
  • Gary Gillispie, Altus AFB Commissary, Altus, Okla.
  • Bernadine Godeck, Pick’N Save, Eagle River, Wis.
  • Martin Gomez, Grocery Outlet, Chehalis, Wash.
  • Esteban Gonzalez, Rouses Supermarkets, Gretna, La.
  • Juan Graciano, Safeway, Inc., Redding, Calif.
  • Tom Johnson, Hannaford Bros., Taunton, Mass.
  • Brad Johnston, Brookshire Grocery Co., Shreveport, La.
  • Chuck Kauffman, Andronico's Community Markets, San Francisco, Calif.
  • Sue Knop, Food Pride, Ida Grove, Iowa
  • Henry Kryeski, River Valley Market, Northampton, Mass.
  • Michelle Lee, Ball Foods, Ball, La.
  • Justin Lorson, Weis Markets, Inc., Lewisburg, Pa.
  • Anthony Machado, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Granite Bay, Calif.
  • Cedric Patrick, The Kroger Company, Atlanta, Ga.
  • Dale Schoenefeld, Hy-Vee, Inc., Watertown, S.D.
  • AJ Sleasman, Price Chopper, Clifton Park, N.Y.
  • Ryan Tanner, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Reno, N.V.
  • Ron Tarini, Big Y Foods, Inc., Brandford, Ct.
  • Josh Teifel, Food Maxx, Concord, Calif.
  • Kevin Thalken, Hy-Vee, Inc., Blue Springs, Mo.
  • Mike Underwood, Coborn’s Inc., New Prague, Minn.

“Dole is proud to honor produce managers across this country, who are making a daily commitment to the success of our industry,” said Howard Roeder, president of Dole Fresh Vegetables. “These men and women work to ensure the best presentation through produce merchandising and engage and educate their consumers at every turn. They truly are the face of our industry and we’re honored to recognize them with this achievement.”

The winners were selected from hundreds of nominations submitted by retailers and produce suppliers across the industry. Nominations were evaluated on a number of criteria, including efforts to increase produce consumption through excellence in merchandising, special displays and promotions, community service and commitment to customer satisfaction.

All winners, along with their corporate produce directors, will be honored at United Fresh 2015 during the Retail-Foodservice Celebration Dinner on June 10 at the Sheraton Chicago. In addition to their awards, five grand-prize recipients will receive an additional $1,000 cash prize. 

The Produce Retail Manager Award winners will be featured in a panel discussion on the United Fresh 2015 trade show floor in the Fresh Marketplace Learning Center on June 10 from 1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. A panel of the winners will share their perspectives on creative produce merchandising strategies during this special education session.

Co-located with FMI Connect 2015 and the International Floriculture Expo, United Fresh 2015 will bring together retail, fresh produce and floral leaders who are searching for unique products and looking to enhance relationships with valuable business partners. Registration is available at www.unitedfreshshow.org.


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