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Lorri Koster, co-chairman of Mann Packing Co., will be the guest speaker at the United Fresh Produce Association’s 2010 Reception Honoring Women in Produce on Wednesday, April 21 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas.
Held each year in conjunction with the United Fresh annual convention, the reception recognizes all women working in the produce industry, and selects one individual to share her personal experience of service. From nominations submitted by United Fresh members across the industry, each year’s speaker is selected by a committee of her peers, including honorees from the past 15 years.
“Lorri is one of those progress drivers in the produce industry,” said United Fresh president and CEO Tom Stenzel. “In addition to building a stalwart career within her own company, her commitment to leadership on the local and national level has benefited our entire industry. She has also had to endure the heartbreaking loss of her brother, Joe, and father, Don, yet persevered as a rock for her family and the entire Mann Packing family. One of the highlights of this reception each year is hearing the personal story of an outstanding leader in our industry, and I can’t imagine a more deserving choice than Lorri.”
The third generation of her family to work in agriculture, Koster began her career in 1990, directing Salinas, Calif.-based Mann Packing Co.’s communications and marketing efforts. After a decade with Mann, she joined ProduceOnline.com as VP of marketing, followed by a post as an associate publisher with Produce Business. She also became publisher and editorial director of Coastal Grower magazine, a responsibility she continues today, and subsequently rejoined the family business in 2006 as co-chair.
“This is a tremendous honor from United Fresh,” said Koster, adding that she is “humbled by the recognition and look[s] forward to sharing my passion for this industry with attendees at the reception. It’s a great time to be in the produce industry. We’ve got a lot of momentum on our side in Washington, D.C. I intend to do my part to keep it going.”
Koster has led the produce industry from many positions of responsibility, including a term as board chair of the former International Fresh-Cut Produce Association, which has since merged with Washington-based United Fresh, where she held the distinction of becoming the first woman to chair a national U.S. produce trade association. In 2005, she was named one of the industry’s top 40 produce professionals under the age of 40 by Produce Business. She currently serves as chair of the Grower Shipper Association of Central California, and as a member of the United Fresh board. She also serves on the boards of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement and the Produce Marketing Association’s Foundation for Industry Talent (FIT). Locally, Koster serves as a trustee at the Panetta Institute for Public Policy.
Koster holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from California State University, Chico, and resides in Salinas, Calif., with her husband Tom and sons Jack and Sam.
The annual Women in Produce reception will be held on April 21 at 6:00 p.m. in the Delfino Ballroom of the Sands Expo & Convention Center. Tickets are required for the event as part of the All-Access Convention package registration, or they can be purchased onsite for $50. For more information, visit www.unitedfresh.org.