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Build Careers, Companies And The Industry By Setting The Foundation At The New York Produce Show And Conference

As The New York Produce Show and Conference has grown over the years, we have added a series of specialized programs to better serve the industry.

On Monday, December 11, 2017, we begin a week-long series of events and programs with our Foundational Excellence  program. This unique program, done in conjunction with Cornell University, serves a specific need. It is an incredible program for people with less than five years’ experience in the produce industry.

Participants may be younger people, just starting in their careers, or they may be more senior executives making a move into produce — say an expert on marketing or food safety now moving to apply these skills in the produce field. In any case, the program is designed to jump-start the careers of those who attend while also giving a hyper boost to the contributions these attendees can make to their companies and to the industry.

Ed McLaughlin, Robert G. Tobin Professor of Marketing and Director of the Food Industry Management Program at Cornell, did an excellent job explaining the program when we first launched it:

Preview of Foundational Excellence Program: Cornell’s Ed McLaughlin Leads Blockbuster Academic Cast To Elevate Knowledge Base of New Produce industry Professionals

For 2017, this is the program:

Cornell Produce Industry
Future-Leaders-in-Produce Program at the New York Produce Show and Conference

Monday, December 11, 2017 • New York Hilton

8:00 – 8:45 a.m. Welcome and Introductory Comments

Jim Prevor, Founder, PRODUCE BUSINESS/ New York Produce Show and Conference

Widely recognized as a leader in assessing the state of the perishable food industries, Jim Prevor has transformed real-world produce buying and selling experience into passionate articles that “initiate industry improvement” in every word.

Representing the fourth generation of his family to be active in the food business in the United States, Jim served as a director of his family’s New York-based import, export and wholesale produce company. At various times, the business also owned supermarkets and convenience stores, a restaurant chain and various farming operations. Jim combines the real-world experience of one who has worked in the trade with the analytical perspective of an editor and analyst.

8:45 – 9:45 a.m.  The U.S. Food System:
                            The Role of Fresh Produce

Kristen Park, Extension Associate

With an M.S. in Animal Science, Michigan State University and an M.S. in Agricultural, Resource, and Managerial Economics, Cornell University, Park conducts applied research on a variety of food marketing issues, most notably for the fresh produce distribution system.

She, with the Food Industry Management team, recently completed a study of produce procurement offices. Park also recently authored two chapters in the book, Growing Local: Case Studies on Local Food Supply Chains. In addition, she is a member of a multi-state team, funded by USDA, which is assessing benefits of regionally produced foods for retailers and consumers located in low income communities. She is leading the development of over ten supply chain case studies for the team.

9:45 – 10:00 a.m.   Break

10:00 – 11:00 a.m. The Global Produce Industry —                                               Implications for the U.S.

Miguel Gomez, Associate Professor

Earning both his PhD and Master’s degrees at the University of Illinois, Miguel’s areas of expertise are Applied Industrial Organization, Food Supply Chains, and Quantitative Marketing.

Gomez heads the Food Marketing and Distribution Program at Cornell University, where research efforts are applied both locally and abroad in Latin America and the Caribbean. Overseeing a team of approximately ten researchers, study topics include East Coast Broccoli Production, Soil-Based Sustainable Specialty Crop Greenhouse Industry in the Northeast, and Increasing the Competitiveness of the NY Grape Nursery Industry.

11:00 – 12:00 p.m.   Key Consumer Trends and Issues for 
                                 Food Retailers

Brad Rickard, Associate Professor

Brad Rickard is the Ruth and William Morgan Associate Professor of Applied Economics and Management. His teaching and research focus is on the economic implications of policies, innovation, and industry-led initiatives in food and beverage markets.

Professor Rickard’s research program examines issues at the intersection of agricultural markets, food policy, and international trade. His research has assessed how markets for specialty crops respond to changes in nutrition and health information, food labeling practices, promotional efforts, agricultural policy reform, trade liberalization, and the introduction of new technologies. Current work is studying the economics of food waste and the effects of policy initiatives that might be used to mitigate food waste.

12:00 – 1:15 p.m.  Lunch: Jim Prevor’s Produce-Industry
                              Professionals Panel

Gabriela D’Arrigo
D’Arrigo Bros Of NY
Reggie Griffin
Griffin Strategies
Amy Lance
HelloFresh UK
John Pandol
Pandol Bros.
Dick Spezzano 
Spezzano Consulting Services
Tim York

1:15 – 2:30 p.m.    The Big Picture: Implications for Produce

Rod Hawkes, Senior Extension Associate

Rod Hawkes focuses on the food marketing and distribution industries in the U.S. and around the world to understand the economics, opportunities, and trends impacting the safe delivery of food to consumers. This knowledge is extended to industry audiences ranging from front line level managers to senior executives in companies and organizations operating throughout the food system.

Hawkes’ focus is applied research regarding current or looming food industry issues. The result of these projects is output that food industry practitioners and managers can use to directly improve their practices or operations. A recent example is an investigation of the changes affecting the fresh fruit and vegetable procurement practices of supermarket buyers and category managers. This project was a collaboration with Edward McLaughlin and Kristen Park.

2:30 – 2:45 p.m.  Break

2:45 – 4:00 p.m. Career Development: Key Success Factors

Bill Drake, Senior Extension Associate

Bill Drake is a former food industry executive (20 years) and is now responsible for development and execution of food industry executive education programming for the Food Industry Management Program.

Drake’s responsibilities center around the development and execution of executive education programs for the food industry. The audience consists of retailers, manufacturers, and service providers. In general, the programs are designed to improve the competitive viability of firms and the industry as a whole. 

4:00 – 4:30 p.m.  Q&A and Suggestions for Further
                            Professional Development

Cornell Professors and Jim Prevor

4:30 – 4:45 p.m.  Closing Comments and Observations

Jim Prevor, Founder, PRODUCE BUSINESS/ York Produce Show and Conference


The program has been valued extremely highly by past attendees. In fact, most companies have sent someone back year after year. It is not too late to send someone to the program. In fact, we have learned in fast-paced New York, a lot of people make decisions at the last possible moment, so we even accept walk-in registrations

The program takes place at the Midtown Hilton on 6th Avenue and 53rd Street in Manhattan.

Here is the website:

You can register here

And if you need a last-minute hotel room, just let us know here.

And any questions about the program just let us know right here!

A strong foundation is the base to build a career, a company and an industry. Join us for the Foundational Excellence program!

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