The United Fresh Produce Association has announced the 12 members of the 2014-2015 Produce Industry Leadership Program. First launched in 1995, this program is sponsored by a grant from DuPont Crop Protection, and since its inception has graduated more than 200 industry members.
The Produce Industry Leadership Program welcomes these professionals to its 20th class:
•Michael Anderson, Kingston Fresh
•Stephanie Barlow, National Watermelon Promotion Board
•Leah Brakke, Black Gold Farms
•Jeff Cady, Tops Markets Inc
•Jacquie Ediger, Pro Citrus Network Inc
•Kimberly Flores, Seald Sweet
•Aaron Hunter, Caito Foods Service Inc
•Alexandra Jackson, Frieda’s Inc
•Brian Knott, Grow Farms
•Hilary Martin, Frey Farms
•Ryan Van Groningen, Van Groningen & Sons Inc
•Kami Weddle, Rousseau Farming Company
Beginning in July 2014, members of Leadership Class 20 will participate in several 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.
The class will meet four times over the next year, including a commencement ceremony at the United Fresh 2015 convention in Chicago IL.
“We extend our sincere congratulations to the newest class of the United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program,” said Victoria Backer, United Fresh senior vice-president of member services. “This year represents the kick-off of the 20th class, and a tremendous amount of thanks is owed to DuPont Crop Protection for making that possible.  Their incredible investment in our industry for the past two decades has provided hundreds of the leaders with the tools they need to drive our industry forward.”
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 consisting 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.
For additional information on the Produce Industry Leadership Program, access www.unitedfresh.org, or contact Shannon Young at syoung@unitedfresh.org or 202-303-3400.