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Washington, D.C. --The United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association here is getting down to business. The trade group has established a business development council to help its members become more efficient and profitable by getting better at training and education.
"There is a real need out there for a comprehensive approach to industry training and education, at multiple levels in multiple segments, and no college or university curriculum that I am aware of addresses the full range of post-harvest quality assurance systems, marketing, merchandising, sales, and management issues specific to the produce industry," said United's chairman, Nick Tompkins of Apio, Inc. of the need for the council.
The council brings together a team of top-notch industry professionals to evaluate these business functions, and develop integrated program solutions and responses, added Tompkins.
"United already has a proven record in education and training with its USDA inspection training courses and Produce Industry Leadership Program," noted United's president Tom Stenzel, "so it is a natural progression to go a step further and expand this experience into a more comprehensive approach."
"Part of the council's intent will be to explore new program opportunities and working relationships with partners across the industry," said Mike Kemp, director of perishables, Save-A-Lot, and chairman of the new council. "The council will look at partnering with universities, allied associations, consultants, or other groups, to promote the growth and success of produce companies and organizations by enhancing the entire 'sales' chain experience."
The first meeting of the council will be held Sept. 15 in Washington, D.C., immediately following the Washington Public Policy Conference. Council members will serve two-year terms.