Each year, we gather together a unique group of industry leaders to participate in the Perishable Pundit’s Thought-Leader Breakfast at The New York Produce Show and Conference.
You can review some of the previous year’s participants at these links:
The panel is important in two ways. First, it is a vibrant discussion about industry issues and so helps the industry to move forward. Second, because the breakfast takes place just before the trade show, it serves to open minds and makes attendees more receptive to new products, new packaging and new ideas.
It is with great pride and pleasure that we unveil The Perishable Pundit Thought-Leader Panel for 2019:
Chief Executive Officer
Rich Dachman is the Chief Executive Officer of Brighter Bites. Rich comes to Brighter Bites with more than 40 years of experience in the produce industry, 28 of them at Sysco, the world’s largest broadline food distributor. He retired from Sysco in June of 2019 as Vice President of Produce for the global company. He had been a member of the Brighter Bites Board of Directors for more than three years. Rich was awarded the Foodservice Achievement award by The Packer in 2010, and served as chairman for the Produce Marketing Association in 2012.
Director of Produce & Floral
Allegiance Retail Services
A Produce industry veteran with over 30 years of experience in procurement and category growth within the Supermarket industry. Kelly currently serves as the Director of Produce and Floral for Allegiance Retail Services. Her responsibilities at Allegiance include managing sales, coordinating advertising, merchandising and operations activities, and managing a procurement team and merchandising team. She began her supermarket career at Wakefern Food Corporation where she served 31 years honing her skills in a variety of departments including Grocery, Commercial Bakery and Produce. In her 18 years in the Produce Division, she was a Category Manager and successfully managed a multitude of commodities and was instrumental in the yearly growth of sales for the Division. Kelly was also a Regional Sourcing Category Manager in South America, South Africa and California where she became a seasoned expert in field agriculture.
Kelly is a graduate of the Kean University where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing.
PF Chang’s Bistro
Robin, the Category Manager for PF Chang’s Bistro, is a produce industry veteran with more than 25 years’ experience in purchasing, sales and business development. Her current responsibilities include all Agriculture purchases for both PF Chang’s and Pei Wei brand. Prior to joining PF Chang’s, Robin worked for Boston Market in Golden, CO. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Produce Marketing Association and its Foodservice Committee. Robin is a Colorado native and a graduate of the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Chef & Co-owner
Will Horowitz, is the chef & co-owner of well awarded East Village restaurants Ducks Eatery and Harry & Ida’s meat and supply co. He is the author of the newly released book “Salt Smoke Time” with Harper-Collins and co-founder of seaweed jerky based company Akua Seagreens. He currently runs a small NYC based food innovation lab, focused on working with brands to develop added-value plant forward products using more sustainable practices with more whole ingredients. His culinary background is in studying heritage techniques, ingredients and integrating them into modern renewable ideas and technological advances. His culinary roots run deep, in grandparents on both sides: one a French-trained chef cooking seasonally in the colonial fishing village Orient, Long Island, the other running a traditional Jewish Delicatessen in Harlem. Will attended Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado for Tibetan Buddhism & Permaculture, where he spent extensive time studying off-the-grid living and primitive survival. A big believer in using the natural world as our greatest inspiration, he is an avid forager, fisherman and conservationist.
Produce/Floral Buyer Merchandiser & Procurement
Tony Mirack has been associated with McCaffrey’s Markets as Produce/Floral Merchandiser and Procurement for the past 13 years. His responsibilities are all phases of produce and floral operations including retail merchandising, procurement, advertising, development of new products and sales strategies.
His personal mission is to deliver excitement and enthusiasm to the produce and floral industries and the future directions in his own inspiring way. His expertise is in produce and floral merchandising, motivation, marketing strategies and training.
He was associated with two major produce wholesalers and an independent supermarket as a Buyer, Produce Specialist and Produce Manager for over 26 years.
Starting his produce career at the age of 15 in 1979 with NorthStar Produce as a dock worker on the Eastern Market in Detroit, Steve Oats moved to Phoenix in 1979 and went to work at Smitty’s as a retail produce clerk. He then worked for a small independent IGA retailer for a few years and later worked his way up to Produce Supervisor for Reay’s Ranch Markets. In 1996, Wild Oats Markets purchased Reay’s and promoted Steve to National Director of Merchandising. He left Wild Oats for the opportunity to open Sprouts Farmers Markets as their first Produce Director; then the original founder/owner of Wild Oats founded Phoenix-based Sunflower Markets, and Steve followed him. In 2012, 44 stores later, Sunflower sold to Sprouts and Steve followed the founder again to Lucky’s Markets in 2013. After 44 years in the business, Steve has physically grand-opened over 200 new stores and 5 DC’s. On a personal note, he is married and has 4 adult children, 10 grandchildren and 3 spoiled rotten dogs, all living in and around Goodyear, AZ. Currently he and his wife live in Orlando supporting Lucky’s rapid growth in Florida.
Sr Director Produce
Julie started her produce career with Fresh Choice more than 26 years ago. She began with an entry-level position and worked her way into sales. In 1999, she was recruited by Sysco to be a produce buyer. Since then she has held several roles with Sysco all in the Salinas produce procurement office, including 5 years as Sr. Director. In March of 2019, Julie accepted the role of Vice President of Produce overseeing all produce operations for Sysco. A recipient of the PRODUCE BUSINESS 40-Under-Forty Award, July has served on the board for Ag Against Hunger and the Foodservice committee for PMA. Currently she serves on the board for PMA.
for Produce and Floral
Steve Oroszlany began his produce career at the age of 16 and in 1990 became a produce manager. He left Foodtown to join King’s Supermarkets as a manager in 1996. Steve came to Wakefern as a produce merchandiser in 2006 and joined the procurement staff in 2011 as a category manager. Steve was promoted to Procurement Manager for Produce and Floral at Wakefern in October of 2017. He lives in Bloomingdale NJ with his wife Kristen and daughters kaitlin and Lauren.
Vice President of Produce
Matt Reeves’ roots are firmly grounded in the Grocery retail world, with over 25 years of experience across all levels. Matt started as a carry out for HEB in Texas while attending high school, and soon became a produce manager during college. He spent 21 years in various roles from store leadership to produce procurement with HEB. After leaving HEB, he launched a successful consulting business focused on the supply, buy, and operational sides of retail. In 2019, he joined the Grocery Outlet family as the Vice President of Produce and Floral. Matt is keenly focused on driving produce and floral sales, and is excited to shape the future of fresh in his new role!
Tim York started working in the produce industry more than 35 years ago at H. Hall & Company, a grower/shipper of strawberries and mixed vegetables. In addition to being a founding employee and the current President of Markon, Tim also has held numerous committee and task force positions, including Member, USDA Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Council; Chairman of the Produce Marketing Association (2002); Director of the PMA; Chairman of PMA’s Foodservice Division; Chairman, Center for Produce Safety Advisory Board; and is a founding member of the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops.
This year, while the Javits Center is under construction, the breakfast is back at the Hilton Midtown Hotel in the Trianon Ballroom and the time is from 7 am – 9 am. We have set up special transport to take everyone to the Javits Center right after breakfast to be present for the show ribbon-cutting at 10 am.
We hope you will join us for breakfast, help us cut the ribbon at the show and, in general, help us SOAR to New Heights as individuals and as an industry.
Check out the website here.
Let us know if you need a hotel room here.
And, most importantly, register here.