There are always a lot of reasons to attend these types of events. There are business relationships to make and reinforce, and this event is held in Loveland, Ohio, and so it is nearby Kroger headquarters. Reggie Griffin, Vice President of Produce and Floral Merchandising at Kroger, has been generous in his support of the event.
Yet, even more, there is a kind of spiritual benefit to participation, a way of tipping a glass to those who helped build the industry in which we all toil. For some, the connection to Tip Murphy is personal; others are only remotely familiar with Tip and his contribution to the trade.
When the first iteration of the tournament was held, we wrote a piece titled Tribute To Tip Murphy, and we told a story that, in retrospect, makes the case for participating:
We had known Tip for many years, but our friendship took to a different level when Tip left Chiquita and was looking for a job and reevaluating his life. We spent a few hours together at the PMA convention in 2006 and talked for a long time about what mattered in life, about family and friends and career. After the convention, Tip sent us a note telling us how so many people in the industry had been so kind:
“I wanted to send you a short note to thank you for your comments to me at PMA about my situation. I very much appreciate all of the support in this phenomenal industry… it is truly a testimonial to the great people and great relationships in the Produce Industry!… Thanks again for your interest in me… I truly appreciate it!!”
The little happiness we can share is that we are so glad we spent the time to sit down and try to be a friend to Tip. Concern for another person manifests itself in a richer and more rewarding relationship. We are plenty busy at PMA and really had no time for that discussion yet making the time resulted in an acquaintance becoming a friend and thus was one of the most rewarding decisions one can make in life.
Now here is the sadness. In December of 2006, after Tip had accepted a position with Paganini Foods, Tip invited the Pundit to travel with him to Sicily in January 2007. Nominally the trip was to visit citrus growers, but Tip had laid out a great opportunity to have fun and become better friends.
We didn’t go on the trip. Can’t even remember why — basically there was office stuff and work and not wanting to be away from home. We left it that we would make a point to do it in the future.
We never did. And now we can’t.
There is surely a lesson there for everyone.
So the lesson is to participate when you can.
You can register to play here.
And make a donation here:
The Pundit was honored to be asked to serve on the advisory board along with Todd Melton of Chiquita, Scott Owens of Paramount Citrus, Bruce Peterson of Bland Farms, Bill Schuler of Castellini Company, Bob Spence of Ready Pac, Dick Spezzano of Spezzano Consulting Services, Robert Verloop of NatureRipe Farms and Barbara Gaitan of Emerald Packaging. Facilitation of the event is ably handled by industry veteran Dana Davis on behalf of the Foundation.
If you can come or support the event, please do so. If not, please say a prayer or raise a glass for Tip’s wife, Gretchen, and their daughters. This whole tournament and scholarship program is a way of letting them know that Tip’s accomplishments, both professional and personal, are remembered and honored.