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PMA FIT’s Leadership Symposium Brings Talent And Education To Dallas

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, January 11, 2010

Each year, in addition to the regular attendees who participate in PMA FIT’s Leadership Symposium, a few special attendees also take part in the event due to special scholarship arrangements.

Last year, for the first time, The Tip Murphy Scholarship for Leadership Excellence presented its scholarship to Michael Engeman of La Manna Group Australia, and this year the Tip Murphy Scholarship winner, a little closer to home, is Nichole Towell, marketing development manager for Duda Farm Fresh Foods in Wellington, Florida.

Also each year, Pundit sister publication, PRODUCE BUSINESS, and co-partners, Grimmway Farms and Mann Packing, sponsor a scholarship program that brings retailers and foodservice operators to the event.

For 2008 the winners — Gene Harris of Denny’s, Lynn Moorman of El Pollo Loco, Heather Burley of Kroger and Greg Corrigan of Raley’s — were described here.

Year 2009 brought this list of winners: Robin Fisher of Boston Market, Maurice Totty of Foodbuy, Garry Koppers of Wegman’s and Will Wedge of Hannaford Bros.

Now for 2010, we can announce this year’s winners:

Dean Holmquist
Director of Produce and Floral
Foodtown, Inc.
Avenel, New Jersey
Jeff Ryg
Regional Sales Plan Manager
The Kroger Company
Cincinnati, Ohio
Susan Reimer-Sifford
Director, Produce Purchasing and Distribution
Darden Restaurants
Orlando, Florida
Robert Sorenson
Director — Strategic Sourcing
Sysco Corporation
Houston, Texas

It is a terrific group. Besides operating a high volume independent, Dean also serves as President at the Eastern Produce Council, which, along with PRODUCE BUSINESS, is presenting a new industry event, The New York Produce Show and Conference, which we discussed here.

Jeff just recently transferred to headquarters from King Soopers in Denver, Colorado, where he was Director of Produce and Floral. Jeff was also the recent recipient of the Apple Merchandiser of the Year, presented by National Apple Month and PRODUCE BUSINESS. They don’t call it the Leadership Symposium for nothing and clearly Jeff is pegged for a big future.

Susan is from the “work hard, play hard” school of life and she is both liked and respected by producers for her serious but friendly attitude toward procuring for one of the trade’s leaders in food service.

Robert is an industry veteran with more than 30 years experience under his belt, both in retail and in foodservice. He has been with Sysco since 1993 and has risen the corporate ladder from Produce Category Manager to Regional Operations Manager onto his current position of Director of Strategic Purchasing.

All five of this year’s award recipients are primed both to benefit from the program and, by contributing their diverse experiences, contribute to the program.

The program starts on January 13-16, 2010, so it is coming up quickly. There are a few slots still left. If you can move fast, seize one of the slots available by registering here.

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