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    United Fresh Inducts 12 Into Produce Industry Leadership Program

    Class will visit Calif., D.C. and Chile, among others, on leadership journey

    The United Fresh Foundation has unveiled the names of 12 new members of the 2011-2012 United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program. The 17th class of the program includes:

    -Beth Bland Oleson, Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association, LaGrange, Ga.

    -Craig Cahill, Allen Lund Company, Inc., Wakefield, Mass.

    -Megan Chedwick, Church Brothers, LLC, Salinas, Calif.

    -Joe Cimino, Pro*Act, LLC, Monterey, Calif.

    -Anthony M. DeAngelis, Christopher Ranch LLC, Edison, N.J.

    -Mark DeCosta, Costco Wholesale, Issaquah, Wash.

    -Brian Jenny, Naturipe Farms, Lawrenceville, Ga.

    -Shannon Kyle, Torrey Farms, Inc., Elba, N.Y.

    -Michael Muir, Muir Copper Canyon Farms, Salt Lake City, Utah

    -Sheridan Silver, Mann Packing Co., Salinas, Calif.

    -Sam Stewart, WES Pak Sales, Inc., Dinuba, Calif.

    -Ross Verner, Topco Associates, Skokie, Ill.

    The year-long program, which is presented through the United Fresh Foundation’s Center for Leadership Excellence and sponsored by a grant from DuPont Crop Protection, uses a combination of field experience and classroom instruction to teach leadership skills to future industry leaders. Since its inception in 1995, the program has graduated nearly 200 fellows.

    "We are pleased to welcome this new class of industry leaders," said United board member and leadership alumnus Jackson Woodward, Horton Fruit Co. and 2011 advisory committee chairman. “It is extremely difficult to select 12 participants out of the large and impressive field of applicants, especially because the committee must consider a wide range of factors to ensure a well-balanced class. That said, we are proud of the members selected for this year's class and we are confident that this program will develop them to become powerful and influential leaders who will direct our industry forward.”

    The program begins in July with a trip to California, followed by visits to Washington, D.C., Wilmington, Del., Chile, and Dallas, where the class will graduate at the 2012 United Fresh convention. During the program year, the class will participate in a number of educational events and outings centered on the four core focus areas of the program: leadership development; business relationships; government and public affairs and media and public communications. Programming includes field and facility tours, training with expert educators and meetings with key industry leaders and innovators.

    "Our leadership program offers each class the opportunity to grow personally and professionally, expanding and improving their industry knowledge and experience,” noted Victoria Backer, United Fresh SVP of member services. " We would like to congratulate the new members of Class 17 and thank everyone who applied for this year’s program. We would also like to extend our warmest thanks to DuPont Crop Protection for making this program possible through their continued and invaluable investment in the future of our industry.”

    To be considered for the program, candidates must submit an application including two essays detailing why they would like to participate and what they consider the most important challenges affecting the produce industry. The applications are reviewed by an advisory committee comprised of United Fresh Board members and leadership program alumni. Through the selection process, the committee is responsible for assessing each candidate based on their experience and expertise, as well as developing a class that is balanced and representative of the industry.

    For questions or additional information on the Produce Industry Leadership Program, please visit www.unitedfresh.org or contact United’s Education Manager Julie Jacocks at [email protected] or 202-303-3400, ext. 405.

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