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Twelve produce industry rising stars have been inducted into the United Fresh Foundation’s 2013-2014 Produce Industry Leadership Program, including:
• Bob Biesterfeld, C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.
• Brian Cook, San Miguel Produce, Inc.
• Amanda Costa, Del Monte Fresh Produce
• Hillary Femal, IFCO
• Ryan Fukuda, Avocados from Mexico
• Peter Hill, Alpine Fresh, Inc.
• Duke Lane, III, Lane Southern Orchards
• Sparky Locke, Apio, Inc.
• Taylor Martin, FreshPoint – Charlotte
• Rebecca Meyers, Stemilt Growers LLC
• Bill Pollard, IV, Save-A-Lot Food Stores
• T.J. Rahll, Jr., Edward G. Rahll & Sons, Inc.
Beginning this July, the members of leadership class 19 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.
Presented through the Foundation’s Center for Leadership Excellence and sponsored by a generous grant from DuPont Crop Protection, this program was launched in 1995 and has graduated more than 200 program participants.
During the year-long fellowship, participants will take part in a series of customized trips which include face-to-face meetings with leading industry players, hands-on training with top industry experts and educators, interactive experiences with influential leaders in Washington and more. This year's schedule will feature expansive trips to Michigan and Ontario, Washington, D.C. and Wilmington, Del., Yuma, Ariz., and Chicago, Ill., where the class will graduate at the 2014 United Fresh Convention.
“We are proud to extend our congratulations to the newest class of the Produce Industry Leadership Program, and thank all of the candidates who applied for this year’s program,” said Lisa Strube, Strube Celery & Vegetable Co. and chair of the leadership advisory committee. “We applaud their commitment to developing themselves into future leaders of the fresh produce industry.”
Victoria Backer, United Fresh SVP of member services, added special thanks to DuPont Crop Protection “for making this program possible and for their generous investment in the future of our industry. DuPont has been the sole sponsor of this program since its inception in 1995, providing a unique opportunity for our future leaders to grow professionally and personally.”
Candidates for the program must submit an application including two essays detailing their interest in the program and what they consider the most important challenges affecting the produce industry. All applications are reviewed by the leadership advisory committee comprised of United Fresh board members and program alumni. 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.