One of the great traditions of The New York Produce Show and Conference is the announcement of the annual Perishable Pundit’s “Thought Leaders” Panel, which gathers at the Keynote Breakfast of The New York Produce Show and Conference.
The panel provides a unique opportunity to hear what key players in the industry see as the path to business and industry success. Without further ado, we are honored to announce the 2016 Perishable Pundit’s Thought Leaders Panel:
Vice President of Produce
Richard Dachman is a native of Denver and attended Colorado State University. He began his produce career at his family-owned business in Denver.
Following the sale of the family business he and his father opened a new foodservice operation in Denver for Kraft Foods, Inc. before joining Kraft’s corporate office in Chicago as national director of Produce in 1987.
In 1992 Rich joined FreshPoint Inc. and was president of FreshPoint Operating Companies in Houston, Denver, Atlanta and their central procurement office in Salinas, CA.
When Sysco acquired FreshPoint in 2000 he was appointed to the position of senior vice president, Western Region and in 2007 was promoted to vice president of Produce for Sysco Corporation.
Rich was awarded the Foodservice Achievement award by the Packer in 2010, and served as chairman for the Produce Marketing Association in 2012.
He and his wife, Clari, have four sons and reside in to Sugar Land, Texas.
Morton Williams Supermarkets
Marc started his career at Waldbaums in 1978, where he worked for 10 years until opening his own foodservice wholesale business. Eventually, he took a position with Food Emporium, where he worked for three years.
Marc joined Morton Williams for the first time as a produce manager more than 15 years ago. While he briefly left the company to join Shoprite, he returned to his current position at Morton Williams six years ago.
In 1994, Chris was hired as a produce clerk at Albertsons in Boise, ID. He immediately knew the fit was good and decided to earn a degree in Business Management at Boise State University. As a clerk, assistant manager and manager, 14 years at store level was instrumental in developing a full understanding of merchandising, pricing and assortment along with the importance of anticipating customer needs, wants and expectations.
Gaining that experience and insight led him to the next career chapter in September 2010 as a merchandiser at Ahold USA. “I work now as fruit category manager, in which I am responsible for developing plans to profitably drive sales in an ever-changing retail landscape.”
Giving back to the communities is important to Chris professionally and personally. He works with his team and vendor partners to support initiatives through various company-supported charitable programs.
Lead Fresh Merchant
Paul Kneeland is currently Vice President of Fresh Merchandising and Lead Fresh Merchant for Ahold’s Fresh-Formats. Fresh-Formats has begun the small store fresh format revolution in the Northeast United States under the banner bfresh. Prior to that role, he was VP of Produce, Floral, Seafood and Meat at Kings Food Markets in Parsippany, NJ.
He is also the former president of the Eastern Produce Council and current vice-chair of the Produce Marketing Association. An industry veteran for over 35 years, Paul began his career in Boston, where he was born and raised. He holds degrees from Northeastern University and Boston College. Paul is an avid runner and home chef. He loves food. He currently resides in New Jersey with his wife Patricia and has two grown children.
Amy has been working for the past 8 years for UK supermarkets, including Waitrose and Tesco, but currently she is on sabbatical from working as a fruit buyer at Waitrose.
After entering the industry with a Biomedical Science degree, Amy developed a passion for Fresh Produce, Sustainability, and Global Agriculture as she gained a wide experience in the Retail industry by undertaking roles within the Technical and Commercial departments.
Over the past year, Amy has taken a sabbatical from her desk job, spending her time far from the UK and far from her home comforts, working on farms in rural California, Senegal, and South Africa to experience growing Fresh Produce first hand.
Amy follows the fruit that she has been purchasing in the UK, on behalf of Waitrose, back to its source to understand the supply chain in a far greater detail, learning from the farmers, analyzing and investigating opportunities to minimize post-harvest losses, working closely with local communities and helping farms to identify future challenges and opportunities.
With over 17 years of Produce Retail Management experience with several Fortune 500 retailers, which include Whole Foods, Weis Supermarkets and A&P, Josh is currently the Produce Operations Coordinator/Produce Director for Alpha 1 Marketing, the retail services arm for Krasdale Foods.
Josh directs the produce operations of the company, which has over 300 independently owned and operated stores in the New York metro and Florida, writing the weekly produce ads for various banners, which include Bravo, C-town supermarkets, DeCicco Markets and others. He oversees the Produce Merchandising team, the category management and buying of the department; setting produce standards, and he creates training programs and sales opportunities for increased produce sales.
Josh is a member of PMA’s Center for Growing Talent, the Eastern Produce Council, United Fresh and Southeast Produce Council. In 2015, he was named by Produce Business magazine its prestigious 40-under-40 class of rising stars in the produce Industry.
Category Manager Produce & Floral
Wakefern Food Corporation
Marianne Santo has been in the produce industry for 31 years at Wakefern Food Corporation and is currently a Category Manager for Produce and Floral.
Marianne became a Director for the Eastern Produce Council in April of 2013. In 2015, Marianne became the 1st Vice President of the Eastern Produce Council. She is also the Co-Chair of the Women’s Leadership Committee and serves on various other committees for the Produce Council.
Vice President of Produce Procurement
C&S Wholesale Grocers
Anthony has been in the produce industry for 19 years, first starting with C&S in 1997, where he has held various areas of produce responsibility, ranging from Procurement, Special Projects, Category Management and others. Anthony holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Becker College in Worcester, Massachusetts, and an MBA from Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts.
Director of Produce and Floral
Allegiance Retail Services
Vic has more than 35 years experience in the Supermarket industry. His responsibilities at Allegiance include managing sales, coordinating advertising, merchandising, operational activities and managing the procurement of product for more than 85 member stores under the Foodtown and D’Agostinos banners in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Previous to Allegiance, Vic was employed for more than 22 years at Wakefern Food Corporation, where he served most recently as a Category Manager during his last 15 years of service.
Vic is currently President of the Eastern Produce Council, and he serves on the Expo Committee, Membership Committee, Strategic Planning Committee and is Co-Chairman of the Eastern Produce Council Golf Outing Committee. Vic is a graduate of William Paterson University and resides in West Caldwell, New Jersey, with his wife Maria, their son Dante and daughter Mia.
Eric Stone is the VP Fresh at popular online grocer FreshDirect. He spends about half of his time traveling the country, developing relationships with farmers to source produce that is differentiating and of the highest quality. He joined FreshDirect after graduating college in 2008, working his way up in the department during the past 6+ years. During that time, he has doubled the department’s sales and transformed FreshDirect’s supply chain to a direct-from-the-source model, improving quality and reducing cost.
Eric earned his degree in Finance and Philosophy from the University of Maryland and currently lives in Manhattan with his girlfriend enjoying everything the NYC food scene has to offer.
It will be a great morning discussion, and we go directly from breakfast into the Ribbon Cutting for the trade show. Come and join us. Open your mind to new ideas at the thought leaders panel and then join these leaders as they walk the trade show.
It’s a perfect way to set the stage for finding ways to execute on the ideas discussed at the morning breakfast.
You can register for the show right here.
If you need a hotel room let us know here.
Come join us in New York where we will be #CelebratingFresh