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Bryan Silbermann, president and CEO of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), will be presented with the University of California-Davis/College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ (CA&ES) Award of Distinction at a ceremony on Oct. 5.
Presented annually to an individual whose contributions and achievements enhance the college’s research, education and innovative outreach, Silbermann is being recognized as a “Friend of the College” for his crucial role in establishing the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) at UC Davis in the wake of an E. coli spinach outbreak in 2006.
“The Award of Distinction recipients are highly accomplished, as well as influential in their daily lives, and we are honored by their strong connection to and support of our college,” said Mary Delany, interim CA&ES dean.
Silbermann -- who joined PMA in 1983 and was selected to become president and CEO in 1996 -- along with then-CA&ES Dean Neal Van Alfen, and then-California Secretary of Food and Agriculture, A.G. Kawamura, were the principal architects of the new center. At Silbermann’s recommendation, the PMA board of directors approved $2 million in start-up funding for CPS administrative expenses.
Once PMA’s pledge was in place, others followed with commitments to serve on the CPS advisory board or technical committee and, in the case of Taylor Farms, pledge an additional $2 million to start a research program.
CPS has since become a broadly respected resource that identifies research priorities, funds research, and coordinates forums to convey research information throughout the produce industry. To date, it has funded 42 research projects in four countries at 17 research institutions and in 12 U.S. states. In addition to direct research, CPS has become a go-to location for federal and state food safety agencies to source current industry practices.