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FPFC Names 2023 Apprentice Program Class

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Last updated on May 1st, 2023 at 09:23 am

The Fresh Produce and Floral Council has selected 12 people to participate in its 10th FPFC Apprentice Program.

The participants are Dan Addiego, FreshSource; Shane Aldrich, D. Gardikas Produce; Morgan Bahri; Jake Beggin, Local Bounti; Noah Lines, Westlake Produce Co.; Courtney Ludford, Wonderful Citrus; Abby McPherson, Frieda’s; Jackie Nakashian, Trinity Fruit; Nick Schiavo, Allen Lund Co.; Elyse Seiler, Monterey Mushrooms; Alexis Storm, JLZ Produce; and Fernando Tellez, Veg-Fresh Farms.

As a board member and co-chair of the apprentice task force, I was very pleased to see that this year the FPFC had the most applicants ever to this program. Our apprentice task force had a lot of hard decisions to make,” said Michelle Allen- Ziegler, FPFC apprentice program co-chair.

I am very excited to watch the class of 2023 learn and grow together and share their successes as they continue throughout this year.” 

The Apprentice Program is sponsored by Dennis and Susie Gertmenian, founder and retired CEO of Ready Pac and Bounduelle Fresh Americas, and Grimmway Farms.

The program prepares participants for leadership roles in their companies and in the industry. It consists of education sessions, facility and field tours, and group and team-building projects. Each apprentice is also paired with an industry mentor who acts as a guide and makes introductions at networking events.

“This class will mark the 10th anniversary of the apprentice program, with 100 graduates that have completed this program, we are excited to have had the largest number of applicants this year to date,” said Don Gann, FPFC president.  

“The applicants are chosen from a wide range of companies and positions in the produce industry to participate in this elite 9-month program; candidates, viewed by their employers as having great leadership potential, are screened through a competitive selection process. Participation in this program adds tremendous value to the produce industry through programming designed to provide a holistic view of the industry and instill leadership skills in each apprentice.”

The 2023 FPFC Apprentice Program began at the FPFC Expo on April 27, in conjunction with the IFPA Career Pathways Program, where apprentices met each other in person, attended two facility tours, an educational session and walked the show floor with its mentors. 

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