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United Fresh Leadership Class Of 2007-2008

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, May 30, 2007

Among the pieces we have run that elicited a deeply emotional reaction were the pieces, Tim Vaux To Leave Dupont and Tim Vaux Reflects On DuPont, Leadership And Jeff Gordon.

The emotional outpouring was, of course, partly related to Tim and his unique qualities of leadership and friendship. At the same time the unique year-long scope of the United Fresh Produce Association’s Produce Industry Leadership Program allows for the building of bonds that are particularly strong.

With the generous funding of DuPont Crop Protection, United has announced the 13th class:

United Fresh Announces 2007-2008
Leadership Class

Yearlong program to focus on leadership development,
business relationships, public affairs and communications

Washington, D.C. — The United Fresh Produce Association’s Produce Industry Leadership Program has just entered its 13th year. Presented through the United Fresh Research & Education Foundation and sponsored by a generous grant from DuPont Crop Protection, the program has graduated more than 140 program participants since its inception in 1995.

Each year, United Fresh accepts 12 new candidates into the annual program. In addition to the application, candidates must submit two essays detailing why they would like to participate in the program and what they consider the most important challenges affecting the produce industry. The applications are reviewed by an Advisory Committee comprised of United Fresh board members and leadership program alumni. Through the selection process, the committee is responsible for assessing each candidate based on their experience and expertise, as well as developing a class that is balanced and representative of the industry.

"It was exciting to see such a high level of interest in this program" said Advisory Committee Chairman and United Fresh Board Member, Brendan Comito, Capital City Fruit, Class 6 alumnus. "It’s clear that the produce industry has a tremendous pool of talented individuals — which is good for the industry, but made it hard to make our final selections! I’d like to congratulate the 12 new members and thank everyone who submitted an application this year."

United Fresh is pleased to announce the new members of the 13th Produce Industry Leadership Class:

Chris Ciruli
Ciruli Brothers/Amex Distributing Co., Inc.
Tubac, Arizona
Todd Eagan
Costco Wholesale
San Diego, California

Amy Feldman
Pom Wonderful, LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Anthony Gallino
California Giant, Inc.
Watsonville, California
Phil Gilardi
Freshway Foods
Sidney, Ohio
Andy Hamilton
IFCO Systems, N.A.
Bentonville, Arkansas
Erin Hanas Archey
A. Duda & Sons, Inc.
Oviedo, Florida
James Higham
Potandon Produce, LLC
Idaho Falls, Idaho
Ken Holthouse
Doug Walcher Farms
North Fairfield, Ohio
Jennifer Moss
Southern Specialties, Inc.
Pompano Beach, Florida
Gordon Smith
California Tree Fruit Agreement
Reedley, California
Cali Tanguay
Apio, Inc.
Guadalupe, California

Over the upcoming program year, the class members will participate in a number of trips focused on the core goals of the program: leadership development; business relationships; government and public affairs; and media and public communications. Throughout the program, the class also will take part in customized field and facility tours, train with expert educators, and meet with key industry leaders and innovators. The program begins in June with the first trip to Central/Northern California, followed by trips to Washington, DC/Wilmington, DE, Southern Texas, and Las Vegas, Nevada for the 2008 United Fresh Marketplace Show.

“This is going to be a very intense, high impact year for these 12 industry members,” said Victoria Kuhns, United Fresh senior vice president, member services, foundation. “Our goal is to equip them with the tools and skills they need to be successful leaders and help ensure an even stronger produce industry. Special thanks to DuPont for their ongoing support of this program, now in its 13th year!”

This program is unique, and we’ve never heard one participant who didn’t think it worth the not insignificant commitment to participate in the program.

Congratulations to the new class, appreciation to their companies for allowing them to be a part of the program and thanks to both DuPont and United for funding and operating the program.

The individuals who complete the program know that they have benefited, but the whole industry also benefits when members of the trade acquire the skills to become leaders of the trade.

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