The United Fresh Produce Association has released the names of the 12 members of the 2015-2016 United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program class. Sponsored by a grant from DuPont Crop Protection, this program was launched in 1995 and has graduated more than 200 program participants.
The Produce Industry Leadership Program welcomes the following professionals to its 21st class:
• Gary Beadles, RPE Inc., Bancroft, Wisconsin
• Julie DeWolf, Sunkist Growers, Valencia, California
• Justin Heffernan, Roundy’s Supermarkets, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
• Tonya Hill, Frontera Produce Ltd., Edinburg, Texas
• Robert Holthouse, Holthouse Farms/DRW Packing, Willard, Ohio
• Jess Kerstein, Lipman, Immokalee, Florida
• James Martin, Wilson Produce LLC, Nogales, Arizona
• Janine Meyer, NatureSweet Tomatoes, San Antonio, Texas
• Greg Ogiba, AMC Direct Inc., Toronto, Ontario
• Tim Rabon, Walter P. Rawl & Sons Inc., Pelion, South Carolina
• Brian Vertrees, Naturipe Farms, Wenatchee, Washington
• Andrew White, Tosca Ltd., Atlanta, Georgia
Beginning in July, the members of Leadership Class 21 will participate in a number of educational events and outings centered on the four core focus areas of the program: leadership development, business relationships, government and public affairs, and media and public communications.
During the year-long fellowship, participants will take part in a series of customized trips that include face-to-face meetings with leading industry players, hands-on training with top industry experts and educators, interactive experiences with influential leaders in Washington and more. This year’s schedule will feature expansive trips to Ohio, Michigan and Ontario; Washington, D.C., and Wilmington, Delaware; Southern California; and Chicago, Illinois, where the class will graduate at the 2016 United Fresh Convention.
“We are proud to extend our congratulations to the newest class of the Produce Industry Leadership Program, and thank all of the candidates who applied for this year’s program,” said Leadership Advisory Committee Chairman Ron Midyett of Apio Inc. “We applaud their commitment to developing themselves into future leaders of the fresh produce industry.”
Added Miriam Wolk, United Fresh’s VP of member services, “We are truly grateful for DuPont Crop Protection’s ongoing support of this program. Their generous investment in the future of our industry leaders has been instrumental to the success of this program. DuPont has been the sole sponsor since the program’s inception in 1995, providing a unique opportunity for our future leaders to grow professionally and personally.”
Candidates for the program submitted an application, including two essays detailing their interest in the program and what they consider the most important challenges affecting the produce industry. Applications were reviewed by the Leadership Advisory Committee, which is comprised of United Fresh board members and program alumni. 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.