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    United Fresh Calls for Top Produce Manager Nominees

    Retail produce manager awards program honors produce’s front line

    The United Fresh Foundation, through its Center for Leadership Excellence, is now accepting nominations for the 2011 United Fresh Retail Produce Manager Awards Program. Established in 2005 by founding sponsor Ready Pac Foods, Inc., the program will honor 25 retail produce managers at the store level and include their corporate produce directors in formal recognition at the United Fresh 2011 convention and expo, May 2-5 in New Orleans.

    “Retail produce managers are some of the most public faces for the fruit and vegetable industry. That brings with it a great amount of responsibility and opportunity,” notes Randy Scott, Food Lion’s produce category manager and vice chairman of United’s Retail-Foodservice Board. “Each manager has a unique opportunity to interact directly with the consumer and has the ability, through innovative displays, promotions and sheer creativity, to positively affect all of our bottom lines.”

    The 25 award winners and their corporate produce directors will receive complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations and registrations to United Fresh 2011. The winners will be honored at the annual United Fresh Awards Banquet on Thursday, May 4, where five grand prize winners will be announced as recipients of an additional $1,000 cash prize.

    “As a direct line to the consumer, retail produce managers are our industry’s best advocates,” added Michael Solomon, president and CEO of Ready Pac Foods, Inc., which sponsors the program in honor of “the exceptional men and women who are working tirelessly to promote the fresh produce industry.”

    For his part, Tom Stenzel, United Fresh’s president/CEO, said: “Great employees, empowered by their management, make a huge difference in store sales, and the unwavering support from supermarket executives to honor their front line produce staff has been tremendous. It’s a great sight to see the who’s who of senior retail executives attend the awards ceremony year after year to stand up and cheer for their winners.”

    Nominations for the Retail Produce Manager Awards Program may be accessed online and must be received by February 7, 2011.

    “This program presents a tremendous opportunity for retailers and produce companies who work closely with retail companies, to recognize store-level produce managers who excel in their role,” added Victoria Backer, United Fresh SVP of member services.


    Click here for more information, including selection criteria and a list of winners since 2005 or contact Backer at [email protected] or 202-303-3400, ext. 408.

    The 2010 Retail Produce Manager Award winners included:

    Douglas Collins, Food City, Prestonsburg, KY
    Lynette DeClerck, Niemann Foods, Inc., Pana, IL
    Brent Doud, Safeway Stores, Inc., Albany, OR
    Samuel D. Fannin, The Kroger Co., Reynoldsburg, OH
    Jeff Freeman, Save Mart, Clovis, CA
    Judy Gauthier, Buy-Low Foods, Athabasca, Alberta, Canada
    James Grande, King Soopers, Aurora, CO
    Steve Gray, MOM's Organic Market, Frederick, MD
    Cris Gutierrez, Raley's Family of Fine Stores, Reno, NV
    Angela Hamilton, Al's Supermarkets, La Porte, IN
    Claudette Johnson, Jewel-Osco, Plainfield, IL
    Lannie W. Kiser Jr., Brookshire Grocery Co., Kaufman, TX
    Valerie Lambert, Food City, Wise, VA
    Ryan Lindner, Hy-Vee, Inc., Madison, WI
    Jeff Oelfke, Chief Supermarket, Inc., Bryan, OH
    Joseph Ortiz, Brookshire Grocery Co., Monroe, LA
    Lisa Paulis, Vons, La Jolla, CA
    Shawn Seely. Price Chopper Supermarkets/Golub Corp., Edwardsville, PA
    Rick Stolarik, Big Y Foods, Inc., Tolland, CT
    John Thut, Bel Air Markets; Raley's Family of Fine Stores, Sacramento, CA
    Gary Viall, Hannaford Bros. Company, Colonie, NY
    Juronald Williams, Ord Community Commissary, Seaside, CA
    Willie L. Williams Jr., The Kroger Co., Englewood, OH
    John Wombacher, Hy-Vee, Inc., Iowa City, IA
    Craig Yamane, Bel Air Markets; Raley's Family of Fine Stores, Sacramento, CA

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