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Industry Leaders To Share Knowledge And Ideas At New York Produce Show Thought-Leadership Panel Keynote Breakfast

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, November 18, 2014

It was just over a half decade ago that we began the establishment of a new industry institution with an announcement:

New York, NY — The Eastern Produce Council and PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine announced today their collaboration to launch The New York Produce Show And Conference….

“New York City is the epicenter of the region that buys more fresh produce than any location in the country,” explains Dean Holmquist, director of produce and floral for Foodtown, Inc., [now Allegiance Retail Services], and president of the Eastern Produce Council. “The extraordinary diversity of the population in this region assures a dynamic market for mainstream, ethnic and specialty produce,” points out John McAleavey, executive director of the Eastern Produce Council.

Paul Kneeland, vice president of produce/floral at Kings Super Markets and vice president of the Eastern Produce Council, indicated that “the sophisticated clientele of the northeast region combines with a plethora of quality retailers, restaurants, foodservice distributors and wholesalers to introduce product from local growers, growers across North America and growers from around the world.”

Jim Prevor, founder and editor-in-chief of PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine and the online PerishablePundit.com, celebrated the establishment of such a high caliber event in a region long lacking its own trade show and conference: “My great grandfather, Jacob Prevor, emigrated to America and established a wholesale facility in the old Wallabout Produce Market in Brooklyn. My grandfather was a wholesaler and auction buyer in the old Washington Street Produce Market in Manhattan. My father, Michael Prevor, was an original tenant when The Hunts Point Market opened in the Bronx. Over the decades we operated farms and had supermarkets in the region and worked hard to make the ports and airports of the region major hubs for the import and export of fresh produce.

“It is an incredibly exciting moment that we should have the opportunity to join together with our friends at the Eastern Produce Council, the preeminent organization in the region, to bring a world-class event to the region, and it is an honor that we can bring the industry together in a city known both as the ‘Capital of the World’ and the ‘Big Apple’.”

“Jim Prevor has built a reputation for industry thought-leadership that is recognized around the world, and PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine was launched on the Hunts Point Market,” said Robert Goldstein, owner/president of Genpro Inc., and secretary of the Eastern Produce Council, “so the board of directors of the Eastern Produce Council voted unanimously to join hands with Jim and his team at PRODUCE BUSINESS and the online Perishable Pundit to better serve this region with a high-end trade show and conference.”

 “The Eastern Produce Council represents the most important players in the region,” said Ken Whitacre, vice president of publishing at PRODUCE BUSINESS and PerishablePundit.com. “Their engagement with the event ensures that exhibitors will encounter a cross section of the movers and shakers that make the industry a vibrant and robust contributor to the national and international industry. We are honored to work together with such an important association and with such an instrumental membership.”

Both PRODUCE BUSINESS and the Eastern Produce Council are committed to enhancing the industry by providing the region with a world-class venue for marketing, education and media exposure. That venue is The New York Produce Show And Conference.

In the end, the event was an extraordinary addition to the pantheon of industry conferences. In the heart of the biggest buying market in the country, we conjured up a substantial trade show, a fantastic conference, a media and “consumer influencer” program, a university student and faculty outreach program, chef demonstrations and recipe development for the trade, plus tours of the industry. It was really something quite extraordinary

In time, we added the Global Trade Symposium and the “Ideation Fresh” Foodservice Forum. And we moved the show, first to a Pier on the Hudson River and, now, this year to a new dedicated facility — the North Hall at the Javits Convention Center.

However we have grown and wherever we have moved, one constant has remained: the support of the community.

Attendees will see this support clearly on Wednesday morning, when we present the Keynote Breakfast, which highlights a selection of buy-side thought-leaders from across the region, interacting with buy-side executives with far different perspectives from across the nation and oceans. Yours truly will engage these thought-leaders from retail, wholesale and foodservice in an invigorating discussion on the state of the industry and how we can work together to enhance our mutual success.

These industry leaders are not required to participate; they don’t have to share their insights and perspectives; they don’t have to engage with the larger industry. Yet they choose to do so, and their companies choose to support them. That is a most incredible statement about their passion for the industry, the value they see in The New York Produce Show and Conference and their willingness to give back and raise up those building careers in the trade today. We all owe these leaders and their companies a hat tip for their willingness to stand up and serve.

We are pleased to announce the 2014 “Thought Leaders” panel for The New York Produce Show and Conference:

Director of Produce & Floral
The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company

Eric started his career in 1973 as a produce clerk with Pathmark Stores Inc. His produce expertise quickly led to several store management positions. In 2011, Eric was named Director of Produce and Floral for Waldbaums, The Food Emporium, A&P, Pathmark, Food Basics, and Superfresh stores. In his current position Eric is responsible for all merchandising, procurement, pricing, and promotion for all of these banners.

Vice President of Produce
Sysco Corporation

Rich Dachman is a native of Denver, CO, and attended Colorado State University. He began his produce career at his family-owned business in Denver. Following the sale of the family business he and his father opened a new foodservice operation in Denver for Kraft Foods, Inc. before Rich joined Kraft's corporate office in Chicago as national director of Produce in 1987. 

In 1992 he joined FreshPoint Inc. and was president of FreshPoint Operating Companies in Houston, Denver, Atlanta and its central procurement office in Salinas, CA. When Sysco acquired FreshPoint in 2000, Rich was appointed to the position of senior vice president, Western Region, and in 2007 was promoted to vice president of produce for Sysco Corporation. Rich was awarded the Foodservice Achievement award by The Packer in 2010, and served as chairman for the Produce Marketing Association in 2012.

Fierman Produce Exchange, Inc.
Hunts Point Produce Market

Joel Fierman is the President of Fierman Produce Exchange, Inc., Bronx, NY and serves as Chairman of the Public Relations Committee of the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative Association, Bronx, NY. The third generation of his family to run the wholesale produce business, Joel has directed the transformation of his family business from that of a traditional potato & onion house into a much larger, modern full line wholesaler. Hunts Point serves as the central distribution center for many of the New York Metro area's independent supermarkets and produce stands, plus many restaurants. It also serves as a marketing arm for growers and shippers, prepared to help them sell the products they need to.

Vice President of Produce & Floral
Wakefern Food Corporation

Starting his career at Wakefern in 1982, Derrick got his first taste of what the world of produce was all about when he worked as a junior accountant reporting to the produce division. From that position, he rose up the ranks to his current position of Vice President of Produce and Floral. Derrick credits his mentors, Herman Fadem and Al Ferri: "They worked with me at the early stages of my career and helped me lay a foundation upon which I could build a successful personal and professional career."

Derrick is a member of the Eastern Produce Council, is 1st vice-chairman of NAPAR and is a member-at-large of the Board of PMA and Secretary/Treasurer of PMA Fit. He is married and has four children.

Category Manager
Ahold USA

In 1994, Chris was hired as a produce clerk at Albertsons in Boise, ID. He immediately knew the fit was good and decided to earn a degree in Business Management at Boise State University.  As a clerk, assistant manager and manager, 14 years at store level was instrumental in developing a full understanding of merchandising, pricing and assortment along with importance of anticipating customer needs, wants and expectations.  

Gaining that experience and insight led him to the next career chapter in September 2010 as a merchandiser at Ahold USA. "I work now as fruit category manager, in which I am responsible for developing plans to profitably drive sales in an ever-changing retail landscape." 

Giving back to the communities is important to Chris professionally and personally. He works with his team and vendor partners to support initiatives through various company-supported charitable programs.

Vice President of Produce & Floral
Kings Food Markets

An industry veteran for more than 30 years, Paul has been in his position at Kings since June 2007. In addition to overseeing produce and floral for Kings Super Markets in New Jersey and in Long Island, Paul also oversees produce and floral for Balducci's Food Lover's Markets with stores in Connecticut, New York, Maryland, and Virginia.

Paul is President of the Eastern Produce Council and chair of its New York Produce Show and Conference committee. 

Managing Director
Reynolds Catering

Tony is a third-generation greengrocer who has been involved with the family business since childhood, initially working the market stall in Ridley Road, Hackney.

After an early career in banking at Barclays, Tony joined the family business alongside his father Dave in 1988. Since then, he has driven the rapid expansion of Reynolds to the multi-million-pound company it is today. 

He retains his passion for fresh produce and is often spotted on the warehouse floor checking out the evolving variety of fresh fruit and veg coming through the doors.

Tony is married with two sons and, when not spending time with them, he enjoys keeping fit — particularly cycling and running.

Director of Produce and Floral
Allegiance Retail Services

Vic has more than 35 years experience in the Supermarket industry. His responsibilities at Allegiance include managing sales, coordinating advertising, merchandising, operational activities and managing the procurement of product for more than 85 member stores under the Foodtown and D'Agostinos banners in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Previous to Allegiance, Vic was employed for more than 22 years at Wakefern Food Corporation, where he served most recently as a Category Manager during his last 15 years of service.

Vic is currently 1st Vice President of the Eastern Produce Council, and he serves on the Expo Committee, Membership Committee, Strategic Planning Committee and is Co-Chairman of the Eastern Produce Council Golf Outing Committee. Vic is a graduate of William Paterson University and resides in West Caldwell, New Jersey, with his wife Maria, their son Dante and daughter Mia.

Produce/Floral Produce Lead

Acme Markets

Jay started his career in 1983 as a clerk and has over 25 years of produce experience with Acme Markets. He has held various positions within the company such as Produce/Floral Operational Specialist, Imported Field Buyer/Inspector, then moved up to assistant produce lead, and has occupied his current role of Produce/Floral Lead since 2010.

He is responsible for sales and merchandising for all 110 stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland.r.

Buying Manager

Alistair Stone started his buying career at Sainsbury's nearly 20 years ago looking after various fruit categories in what was then the biggest UK supermarket. He left Sainsburys in the beginning of 1999 to work in the channel marketing department of Walkers Snack Foods (part of PepsiCo). Following two successful years there, an opportunity to return to the fresh produce industry arose at Waitrose and he joined the company 12 years ago. During this time, he has worked across all parts of its produce department, overseeing significant change in how Waitrose sources product and being responsible for setting the commercial direction for his team of buyers.

Produce Merchant
Fresh Direct

Eric Stone is the Produce Merchant at popular online grocer FreshDirect. He spends about half of his time traveling the country, developing relationships with farmers to source produce that is differentiating and of the highest quality. He joined FreshDirect after graduating college in 2008, working his way up in the department during  the past 6+ years. During that time, he has doubled the department’s sales and transformed FreshDirect’s supply chain to a direct-from-the-source model, improving quality and reducing cost. 

Eric earned his degree in Finance and Philosophy from the University of Maryland and currently lives in Manhattan with his girlfriend enjoying everything the NYC food scene has to offe

Director of Corporate Strategy

Valley Fruit & Produce

Jin Ju Wilder is Director of Corporate Strategy for Valley Fruit & Produce, a Los Angeles, California-based, full-line, full-service wholesaler/distributor of fresh fruits and vegetables supplying a diverse customer base in the U.S. and overseas. A former recipient of the PRODUCE BUSINESS "40 Under 40” award, she is serving a second term on the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee. 

Jin Ju currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Produce Marketing Association and has served on the Board of Directors for the Fresh Produce & Floral Council. She was also recognized as an industry leader as one of The Packer 25. 


All of us at the Eastern Produce Council and PRODUCE BUSINESS are deeply appreciative that these buy-side executives, whose time is always in such demand, have made The New York Produce Show and Conference a priority.

We hope you will as well.

If you would like some additional information, here is a small brochure we prepared.

Attendees can register here.

There is a spouse/companion program you can find out about by emailing us here.

Let us know your hotel needs here.

We have exactly three booths still available, so if you are interested let us know here.

Finally we will soon be announcing our list of valued sponsors, without whom the event would not be possible. We still have some wonderful opportunities for companies to step in and become sponsors. If you would like to receive more information on how your organization can be part of this great industry institution, please let us know here.

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