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    United Fresh Seeking New Crop of Retail Stars

    Produce manager awards program honors front line leaders

    The United Fresh Foundation, through the Center for Leadership Excellence, is now accepting nominations for the 2012 United Fresh Retail Produce Manager Awards Program.

    Established in 2005 by founding sponsor Ready Pac Foods, Inc., the program will honor 25 outstanding retail produce managers at the United Fresh 2012 convention and expo, May 1-3, in Dallas.

    The Retail Produce Manager Awards Program pays special recognition to those on the front line in supermarkets working everyday to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Since the program’s inception, more than 150 managers from nearly 60 different retail banners have been honored for their exceptional commitment to customer satisfaction; innovative merchandising; produce-related community outreach; and recognition among company peers.

    “Not only has this program raised the bar of excellence for produce managers everywhere, it has helped exemplify to retailers and the produce industry the critical role that these managers play in reaching the consumer,” said vice chairman of United’s Retail-Foodservice Board Randy Scott, produce category manager for Delhaize America.

    This year, the 25 award winners, along with their corporate produce directors, will receive complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations and registrations to the United Fresh 2012 convention, co-located with the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), American Meat Institute (AMI) and U.S. Food Export Showcase. The winners will be honored at the annual United Fresh Awards Banquet on Tuesday, May 1, where five grand prize winners will be announced as recipients of an additional $1,000 cash prize.

    “These outstanding men and women, serving everyday on the front line, are the face to our customers and their positive work can have a powerful impact on the entire supply chain,” said Michael Solomon, president and CEO of Ready Pac Foods, Inc. “Ready Pac is proud to be the sponsor of this program that sends a powerful message to retailers everywhere that we respect and appreciate the great work of their produce managers.”

    “It’s hard to believe how much this program has grown over the past seven years,” said Tom Stenzel, president of United Fresh. “The support from supermarket executives who have embraced this program to honor their produce staff has been tremendous. With this year’s co-location with FMI, we are looking forward to exceptional turnout of senior retail executives at our annual banquet, cheering on their produce superstars.”

    The 2011 Retail Produce Manager Award winners:

    • Shannon Adkins, Food City, Shelbiana, Ky.
    • DJ Bertoldi, Big Y Foods, Inc., Wilbraham, Mass.
    • Terry Blackburn, Hy-Vee, Inc., Lincoln, Neb.
    • Aaron Carleton, King Soopers/City Market, Boulder, Colo.
    • Donald Courtright, Beale AFB Commissary, Beale, Calif.
    • Michael Crutchfield, Save Mart, Angels Camp, Calif.
    • Craig Docherty, Vons, Las Vegas, Nev.
    • David Dozier, GFF Foods, Moore, Okla.
    • Paul Ferro, Jewel-Osco, Chicago, Ill.
    • Jake Foster, Brookshire Grocery Co., Athens, Texas
    • Greg Gerdes, Hy-Vee, Inc., Sioux Falls, S.D.
    • Mark Glanville, Hannaford Bros. Co., Scarborough, Maine
    • Dave Heetderks, Spartan Stores, Grand Rapids, Mich.
    • Brad Lange, Brookshire Grocery Co., Shreveport, La.
    • Dave Lemire, Safeway Stores, Inc., Tsawwassen, B.C., Canada
    • Ben Lopez, Nob Hill Foods/Raley's Family of Fine Stores, San Ramon, Calif.
    • Bob Merritt, Quality Food Centers, Seattle, Wash.
    • David Nappi, Price Chopper Supermarkets/Golub Corporation, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
    • Ron Potter, Food City, Kingsport, Tenn.
    • Marilyn Jo Poyzer, Woods Supermarkets, Nevada, Mo.
    • David Schoch, Bel Air Markets/Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Woodland, Calif.
    • Eric Segerstrom, Safeway Stores, Inc., Bellevue, Wash.
    • Jennifer Smith, Camp Pendleton Commissary, Oceanside, Calif.
    • John Ward, VG's Food, Shelby Township, Mich.
    • David Williams, Rouses Supermarkets, New Orleans, La.

    Nominations for the 2012 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program may be accessed online and must be received by January 16, 2012.

    Click here for more information, including selection criteria and a list of winners since 2005, or contact Victoria Backer, United Fresh senior vice president, member services, foundation, at [email protected] or 202-303-3400 ext. 408.

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