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PMA FIT Kicks Off New Year
With Leadership Symposium

The newly named Produce Marketing Association Foundation for Industry Talent has a new board of directors:


The board of directors of the Produce Marketing Association’s Foundation for Industry Talent (PMA FIT) took office at the close of PMA’s 2008 Fresh Summit International Convention and Exposition in Orlando, Florida, USA. Chairman of the Board Bill Schuler, president and chief executive officer of Castellini Company, Newport, Kentucky, is joined on the 2008-2009 board by three other officers and 17 directors to lead next year’s foundation activities.

“We have a dynamic team of leaders in place to ensure the produce industry has strong talent and continued leadership long into the future. Bill Schuler’s passion and commitment to the foundation has been a driving force in our success,” said PMA FIT Executive Director Cindy Seel. “He has worked tirelessly with Immediate Past Chairman Steve Barnard, and will continue to help the foundation grow in the year ahead.”

“I’m honored to serve as chairman of this board, and am thankful to those who have helped the foundation raise nearly $3.5 million toward our $5 million goal. I believe young professionals are an integral part of our industry’s future and we need to invest in their development to ensure continued prosperity for our industry and an ROI for the entire supply chain,” said Schuler. “We have seen many successes in attracting new talent, but we still have many opportunities and much more work to do.”

The officers include:

Bill Schuler William M. Schuler
Chairman PMA FIT Board
Preident and Chief Executive Officer
Castellini Company
Newport, Kentucky
Bud Floyd Bud Floyd
Vice Chairman, PMA FIT Board
Vice President
CH Robinson Worldwide
Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Peter Goulet Peter Goulet
Secretary/Treasurer, PMA FIT Board
Pinnacle Sales & Marketing
Saco, Maine
Steve Barnard Steve Barnard
Past Chairman, PMA FIT Board
Mission Produce, Inc.
Oxnard, California

Other PMA FIT board members include:

John Anderson John Anderson
Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer
The Oppenheimer Group
Coquitlam, BC, Canada
DaveCorsi Dave Corsi
Vice President of Produce & Floral Operations
Wegmans Food Markets
Rochester, New York

Jan Delyser Jan DeLyser
Vice President of Marketing
California Avocado Commission
Irvine, California
Duane Eaton Duane Eaton
Senior Vice President of Association Services
Newark, Delaware
Robert Gray Robert Gray
Chief Executive Officer
Duda Farm Fresh Foods
Salinas, California
Gene Harris Gene Harris
Senior Purchasing Manager
Denny’s Corporation
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Lorri Koster Lorri Koster
Mann Packing Company, Inc.
Salinas, California
Jim Leimkuhler Jim Leimkuhler
Progressive Produce Corp.
Los Angeles, California
Ed McLaughlin Dr. Edward W. McLaughlin
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York
Lisa McNeece Lisa McNeece
Vice President of Foodservice & Industrial Sales
Grimmway Farms
Bakersfield, California
Jay Pack Jay Pack
Chief Executive Officer
The Pack Group
Dallas, Texas
Frank Padilla Frank Padilla
Assistant Vice President
General Merchandising Fresh foods
Costco Wholesale
Issaquah, Washington
Bryan Silbermann Bryan Silbermann
Newark, Delaware
Jim Smits Jim Smits
Group Vice President Merchandising & Marketing
Supervalu, Inc.
Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Dick Spezzano Dick Spezzano
Spezzano Consulting Service, Inc.
Monrovia, California
Geoff White Geoff White
Vice President of Produce
Safeway, Inc.
Pleasanton, California
Tim York Tim York
Markon Cooperative
Salinas, California

It is an all-star cast and the very first event of the New Year for the newly named foundation is the annual Leadership Symposium. Yes, after many years under the auspices of PMA, the Leadership Symposium is now being presented by a partnership of Cornell University, Pundit sister publication PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine and the PMA Foundation for Industry Talent.

This makes perfect sense as the trade’s longest running leadership development event belongs as a jewel in the crown of PMA FIT, along with The Pack Family/PMA Career Pathways Fund and the Nucci Scholarship for Culinary Innovation.

The Leadership Symposium, whose curriculum was developed by the much esteemed Professor Edward McLaughlin, the Robert G. Tobin Professor of Marketing and Director, Undergraduate Business Program, Cornell University, is a truly unique event in the annual calendar of the produce industry.

It is the only event at which none of the speakers are selected for their knowledge about the produce industry. As such, it is the only event that solely is devoted to bringing new ideas into the trade.

Conveniently located in Dallas, Texas, the program has won wide acclaim not only for program content but as a first-class networking opportunity — with many attendees coming back time and time again, explaining they make the acquaintance of both new ideas and new people with each visit. Typically the attendance includes representatives of the retail, foodservice operator, wholesaler, grower/shipper and ancillary industry segments.

The speakers are terrific. The schedule jam-packed. The story compelling.

The Leadership Symposium will be held January 14-16, 2009, at the Omni Dallas Park West in Dallas, Texas. You can find out more information here.

And you can register right here.

Good luck to the new PMA FIT board, we look forward to seeing everybody in Dallas.

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