April 9, 2009

In Today's Issue:

United Fresh Announces 2009 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program Winners

United Fresh President Tom Stenzel meets with Retail Produce Manager Award winner Nan Day, NAS Lemoore Commissary, Lemoore, Calif.

Stenzel and Raley’s Vice President of Produce and Floral Greg Corrigan congratulate award winners Fernando Bovadilla, Abraham Ramirez and Robert Hewett.

United Fresh Las Vegas 2009 will be the place of honor as 25 outstanding produce managers representing 21 different supermarket chains, commissaries and independent retail stores in 14 states and Canada are recognized at United Fresh 2009 through the United Fresh Retail Produce Manager Awards Program.

This program, generously sponsored by Ready Pac Foods, Inc., pays special recognition to those on the front line in supermarkets working everyday to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. 2009 will mark the program's fifth anniversary.

United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel praised the 2009 winners, saying "these produce managers have had such a positive impact in their stores and in their communities, and we are proud to recognize this special group for their innovation and dedication to our industry."

The 25 winners were selected from hundreds of nominations submitted by retailers and produce suppliers across the industry.

The 2009 winners are:

  • Richard Bixler, Brookshire Grocery Co., Sweetwater, TX
  • Fernando Bovadilla, Nob Hill Foods, Raley's Family of Fine Stores, Mountain View, CA
  • Elden Cave, Food Lion, LLC, Dobson, NC
  • Malinda Cleveland, Bashas' Dine' Market, Window Rock, AZ
  • Nan Day, NAS Lemoore Commissary, Leemore, CA
  • Ronald Flosi, Jewel-Osco, Chicago, IL
  • Uziel Galvez, Safeway Stores, Inc., Hood River, OR
  • Humberto Gonzalez, Ralphs, Los Angeles, CA
  • Dustin Haney, Hy-Vee, Inc., Ankeny, IA
  • Robert Hewett, Raley's Family of Fine Stores, Ukiah, CA
  • Chris Hood, Brookshire Grocery Co., Tyler, TX
  • Greg Hurst, Vons, San Diego, CA
  • Ron Inatomi, Gelson’s Market, Newport Beach, CA
  • Paula Lucas, Colemans Food Centre, Stephenville, NL, Canada
  • Jeff Mallory, Hy-Vee, Inc., Olathe, KS
  • Robert Oare, The Kroger Co., Mount Vernon, OH
  • Frank Owens, Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., Fairhope, AL
  • Lequitte Perry, Food City, Louisa, KY
  • Abraham Ramirez, Raley's Family of Fine Stores, Benicia, CA
  • Donald Rich, Price Chopper Supermarkets/Golub Corp., Burlington, VT
  • John Smith, Brookshire Grocery Co., Ruston, LA
  • George Tataris, Dominick's, Park Ridge, IL
  • Scott Theisen, Blue Goose Market, St. Charles, IL
  • Timothy Tremblay, Hannaford Bros. Company, Scarborough, ME
  • Brett Warfield, Save Mart, Sonora, CA

"Retail produce managers play a key role in how fresh fruits and vegetables are perceived at the consumer level. Ready Pac is proud to once again sponsor this program that recognizes the hard work and dedication shown by these men and women," said Ready Pac's President & COO, Michael Solomon. "We look forward to presenting this award to this outstanding group on behalf of a very proud industry."

Stenzel added, "I'd like to extend a special note of thanks to the entire Ready Pac team for their ongoing support of this program.  Thanks to their generosity, we have honored over 100 managers since this program's inception in 2005!"

The winners are selected based on a number of criteria, including their efforts to increase produce consumption through everyday excellence in merchandising, special displays and promotions, community service, and commitment to total customer satisfaction. All winners and their corporate produce directors will be honored at the convention during the Chairman's Reception & Annual Awards Banquet, Thursday, April 23 at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev. During the banquet, five "Grand Prize" recipients will be announced to receive an additional $1,000 cash prize. 

Conference attendees will also hear from several of the winners on produce success at the store level during Insights from the Front Line: Produce Managers Speak on Marketing and Consumer Issues, a two-part workshop that takes place at the convention Friday morning, April 24.

Applications for the 2010 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program will be available this fall online at www.unitedfresh.org, with winners to be honored at the 2010 United Fresh convention. Attendance at the Annual Awards Banquet Las Vegas is included in the All-Access Convention Pass. Registration is now open online at www.unitedfreshshows.com.

PBH Proposes National Fruit and Vegetable Research and Promotion Board; United Fresh Responds

PBHLast week, the Executive Committee of the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) released a statement proposing a national fruit and vegetable promotion board with the objective of improving the overall health of Americans by increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.

In response to this potentially influential initiative, United Fresh has added a new workshop to discuss the PBH proposal at the upcoming United Fresh 2009 Convention in Las Vegas, Nev. The town hall-style workshop will give members of the industry the opportunity to engage in a dialog with PBH in order to have questions answered and concerns addressed.

Featured at the April 22 workshop will be PBH President and CEO Elizabeth Pivonka and PBH Chairman Paul Klutes of CH Robinson.

"As a member of the PBH Executive Committee, I encourage the industry to give serious consideration to the potential of a national research and promotion board as a vehicle to raise the kind of funds needed for an effective promotion program," said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. "But, I also think it's critical that we listen to the companies who would have to support this type of initiative financially, and make sure to tailor any potential program to the real needs of the industry."

Stenzel added that United Fresh input would be instrumental in the shaping of the PBH plan moving forward.

"Without broad industry support," he said, "this will not move forward. Thus, the United Fresh Board will be asking all of our members for input, and weighing whether a promotion board can be organized in a way that can truly help increase produce consumption and grow our business."

Admission to the workshop is included in the United Fresh 2009 All Access Pass and more information about all of United Fresh 2009's offerings can be found here.

Lincoln Speaks Out in Opposition to EFCA

LincolnOn Monday, Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) made her first public statement in opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act and any procedural motion that would lead to its adoption.

"I cannot support that bill. I cannot support it in its current form," Lincoln told those gathered for the luncheon at the governor's mansion, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. "I may not have said that as clearly before, but I'm saying it now."

Kam Quarles, Vice President of Government Relations and Legislative Affairs at United Fresh applauded her comments, saying "we sincerely appreciate Senator Lincoln's statement on EFCA.  This is an issue that has generated a great deal of input from many viewpoints.  She clearly has considered those varying views and come to a decision that we strongly support."

Arkansas is among the key states that United Fresh has targeted in grassroots efforts to oppose card check.  The United Fresh Card Check Resource Center can be found here.

For more information, contact Kam at 202-303-3400 ext. 427

Gilmer Joins United Fresh as Vice President of Communications

GilmerUnited Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel has announced the appointment of Ray Gilmer as vice president of communications, where he will bring more than 20 years of combined experience in agricultural issues management, public relations and crisis management to United's senior management team.

"Ray is well known to many throughout the produce industry, due to more than a decade heading up communications and public affairs at the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA)," Stenzel said.  "We are indeed fortunate to add him to our team."

"United Fresh is a leader in driving priority issues for the produce industry and the communications function has never been more critical than it is today," said United Fresh Chairman Tom Lovelace, McEntire Produce. "I'm really pleased that Ray will be spearheading the United Fresh programs that focus on media relations and member communications, as well as communications support for critical legislative initiatives."

Ray will lead United's communications outreach to key news media, underscoring United's leadership on food safety, nutrition, labor issues, transportation and supply chain and other priority issues.

"With Ray's experience, he will also quickly become a valued resource to United members, providing direct counsel and support in crisis communications and multiple areas of the business," Stenzel said.

"Adding Ray to the United team is a great benefit for our members," said Jim Lemke, senior vice president at C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. and chairman-elect of United Fresh. "Ray probably has some of the strongest communications credentials in the produce industry and I look forward to working with him to further bolster United's recognition as the leading voice for the produce industry."

Ray joined FFVA in 1994 as director of communications and education and was named director of public affairs in 2000. While at FFVA, he led communications initiatives on issues such as international trade, farm labor, pest eradication, social responsibility and food safety. Ray has also worked closely with United and other industry groups on multiple farm bills and country-of-origin labeling initiatives, providing leadership for outreach to key stakeholders, such as lawmakers, news media and coalition partners.

While serving on the Board and Executive Committee of the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Ray contributed to development of the Fruits & Veggies More Matters program. Other industry leadership includes serving as president of the Agriculture Institute of Florida and Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, as well as vice president for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

Ray's prior experience includes serving as group manager of communications for BASF Crop Protection in the U.S., where he led marketing and crisis management programs for several business groups, including crop protection and plant biotechnology.  He has also worked in his career in broadcast journalism and in a public relations agency capacity serving clients that included Monsanto and Kodak.

Ray holds a Bachelor of Arts in Radio/Television from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Science in Broadcast Administration from Boston University. He will join United Fresh April 20 and will be based at United's offices in Washington, D.C.

United Fresh Signs Letter to President Obama Urging Resolution of Mexican Crisis

Mexican BorderJoining a large coalition of business groups, United Fresh delivered a letter this week to President Obama recommending immediate action to resolve the crisis over Mexican trucking.  Last month, Mexico applied a host of retaliatory tariffs against U.S. products following the closure of American roads to Mexican trucks over safety concerns.

The coalition of affected organizations urged the President to take action after Congress removed funding for a truck safety pilot program that allowed some Mexican trucks into the U.S.

In the letter, United Fresh and other groups "strongly urge [Obama] to work with Congress and quickly resolve the Mexican trucking issue to end retaliatory tariffs. Until this issue is resolved, Mexico's retaliation will continue to economically harm U.S. farmers, manufacturers and service providers and those who work in these industries."

"The issue over allowing Mexican trucks into the U.S. has been decided, via the dispute resolution mechanism under NAFTA, in Mexico's favor," the letter continued, "It's essential that the U.S. complies with its obligations under that agreement,"

Click here for the full text of the letter.

For more information, please contact United Fresh Vice President of Government Relations and Legislative Affairs Kam Quarles at (202) 303-3400 ext. 427.

New I-9 Form Now Required

i9 FormU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have notified employers that a new I-9 form is now required for all new employees. Part of a package of immigration reforms completed by the Bush Administration in mid-December, the form’s implementation was slated for late January, but was delayed temporarily by the new Administration.  

This new form, identified as “Rev 02/02/09” modifies some of the previous requirements for documentation. On it, expired documents are no longer valid for proving identity or eligibility to work. Previously, expired passports or driver’s licenses could be used to satisfy those requirements. Also, previously acceptable Temporary Resident and older Employment Authorization Cards are no longer valid for those purposes; however foreign passports with temporary I-551 stamps or notations are now acceptable.

Employers are now advised that the old I-9 forms are no longer valid and cannot be utilized. For a copy of the new I-9 form, click here.

For more information, click here.

Let the Good Times Bowl!!

BowlingLas Vegas, a city known far and wide for its "cool factor" is about to heat up with United's second annual Striking it Rich in Vegas Bowling Tournament on Tuesday evening, April 21. With proceeds to benefit the United Fresh Political Action Committee, or United FreshPAC, this exclusive event at the famous Las Vegas Lucky Strike Lanes in the Rio Hotel and Casino promises a night of unforgettable fun and entertainment for all.

"We're proud to offer this great networking event for the second year in a row," said United Fresh Political Affairs Manager Angela Bezon. "Last year's tournament was so much fun, and this year we've really stepped up the opportunities to mingle and network with friends from the produce industry while enjoying fantastic food, premium open bar and even private gaming tutorials at our instruction tables. There’s something for everyone!"

BowlingEstablished in 1976, United FreshPAC promotes United Fresh member involvement in the political process and gives members a forum to support candidates for U.S. Congress, helping to elect and re-elect pro-produce candidates.

Registration is $100 per individual or $500 per 5-person team and contributions must come from a personal funding source. Hurry and join the many bowling teams representing the United Fresh Board of Directors, leadership alumni, companies and commodity groups for a night of great networking and fun!

For more information, contact Angela at 202-303-3400 ext. 416, or download a registration form here and fax to Angela's attention at 202-303-3430.

GlobalGAP Training Set to Coincide with United Fresh 2009

Global GapUnited Fresh is pleased to announce that FoodPlus GmbH, the global body for GlobalGAP, will be conducting a train-the-trainer workshop for the fruit and vegetable sub-base April 20 and 21 at the Courtyard Las Vegas Sumerlin in Las Vegas, Nev. The course will focus on the structure and documentation for a successful cooperation and implementation of the GlobalGAP framework for fruits and vegetables.

For more information on the workshop, email info@globalgap.org.

New 2009 Chairman's Roundtable Supporters

United Fresh's Chairman's Roundtable provides extra support for programs in government relations, food safety, nutrition policy and other areas to help grow the produce industry. We are pleased to recognize the following companies who have committed to the Chairman's Roundtable in 2009:

Chairman's Roundtable
  • Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, San Diego, Calif.
  • Bayer CropScience, Research Triangle Park, N.C.

The Chairman's Roundtable is an opportunity for United Fresh member companies to contribute above and beyond their basic dues. Roundtable members are industry leaders who set the pace in building United's strength in areas that do not generate their own revenue. Members of the Chairman's Roundtable enjoy special recognition throughout the year for their support.

For more information on the Chairman's Roundtable, please contact Director of Membership Miriam Miller at 202-303-3410.

New Member Welcome

Each week, United Fresh welcomes its newest partners in building a stronger produce industry:

  • Lazy T Ranch, Manhattan, Kan.
  • MPA-Inc., Pacific Grove, Calif.
  • Specialty Potato Alliance, Mountainside, N.J.
  • University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, P.R.
  • Wakefern Food Corp., Elizabeth, N.J.
United Fresh thanks all current members for their dedication to the Association and the produce industry. Please let us know whenever we can be of service to you. For more details about the benefits of membership, please contact Jeff Oberman or Miriam Miller at 202-303-3400.

United Fresh Virtual MarketplaceVirtual Marketplace

United Fresh Virtual Marketplace gives you access to today's leading suppliers and products like never before - visit tod

United Fresh 2009 613-VS Multi-Slicer | Grote Company, Inc. | United Fresh Tech: Booth:1428
Grote's 613-VS Multi-Slicer performs a variety of slicing applications, including bulk slicing, stacking, and shingling in...
United Fresh 2009 Abrasion Resistant System | Intralox L.L.C. | United Fresh Tech: Booth:700
Intralox's Abrasion Resistant System helps food processors maximize productivity and profitability in wet, abrasive enviro...
United Fresh 2009 Alpha Optical Sorter | Odenberg Engineering, Inc. | United Fresh Tech: Booth:407
The ALPHA optical sorter provides produce grade/sort on defect, blemish, size and colour in addition to the removal of harmful F...
United Fresh 2009 Apple Peeling System | Atlas Pacific Engineering Company | United Fresh Tech: Booth:1302
The Atlas Pacific Automatic Apple Peeler feeds, orients, cores and peels at speeds up to 130 apples per minute. It is specifical...
United Fresh 2009 Butter Lettuce | Hollandia Produce/Live Gourmet | United Fresh Marketplace: Booth:1913
If you like our Arugula, you'll love our Living Butter Lettuce! Absolutely fresh because it's still alive! Case Pac...
United Fresh 2009 Cabo Fresh Bruschetta | Yucatan Foods | United Fresh Marketplace: Booth:2622
From the land of fun and sun comes a fresh, Italian classic. Cabo Fresh Bruschetta combines a rich blend of tomatoes, basil and...
United Fresh 2009 Barcode/RFID Hardware and Integration | RedLine Solutions, Inc. | United Fresh Tech: Booth:1226
Over a decade of experience integrating complete barcode, RFID and wireless solutions At RedLine Solutions, we don't just offer...
United Fresh 2009 3M™ Clean-Trace™ Hygiene Monitoring Systems | 3M Microbiology | United Fresh Tech: Booth:926
Effective environmental hygiene management helps reduce levels of contamination in finished products, leading to improved qualit...

Find out more about these and other great products at virtualmarketplace.unitedfresh.org

Upcoming United Fresh Events
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News & Views


News and Views

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