December 1 , 2011
In Today's Issue:
H-E-B’s Stephen Butt to Address United Fresh 2012 Exhibitor Forum in Dallas this Month

Later this month in Dallas, Stephen Butt, senior vice president of H-E-B’s Central Market Division will address the United Fresh 2012 Exhibitor Forum. As a leader from a regional retail chain, Butt will share his views on supermarket business, how he and his colleagues approach a trade show and seek solutions, what they look for, and the key personnel they hope to see. He will also be talking about how H-E-B is looking at this year’s co-location with AMI, FMI and NASDA to maximize his company’s success.

The Exhibitor Forum, December 13 and 14, will help current and prospective United Fresh 2012 exhibitors maximize their benefits, ROI and participation in this spring’s show, May 1-3 in Dallas.

Participants in the forum will hear from Butt and other industry experts on how to make the most of the United Fresh 2012 experience. Forum attendees will meet with fellow exhibitors from the AMI, FMI and NASDA expos, vendors who will be providing services at the show, and convention center and visitor bureau staff.

In addition to Butt’s address, participants will interact with United Fresh staff and industry colleagues at the following special events:

Idea Exchange – Attendees can network with peers from the FMI, AMI and NASDA shows at a Tuesday Evening Reception as well as Wednesday’s Continental Breakfast and Group Lunch.

Research Presentation – Research will focus on the current state of tradeshows and specific business trends within the produce, meat and overall food industry to maximize marketing investment.

Vendor Forum – Participants will discover cost-saving discounts and the most efficient approach to handling booth logistics at this mini tradeshow featuring many of the convention center’s vendors.

United Fresh Promotion Clinic – After meeting with the show partners, United Fresh exhibitors will break out into individual sessions to talk specifically about pre-show promotion strategies to drive the attendees exhibitors want to see.

Tour of the Dallas Convention Center – Attendees will experience first-hand where exhibit space will be located, shuttle bus drop off points, entrances, and proximity to education session rooms, allowing exhibitors to gain a sense of potential attendee traffic patterns.

Registration for the Exhibitor Forum is complementary, and information and registration options are available by contacting United’s Jamie Woodside at 202-303-3400, ext. 420.

Are You Investing in Your Future as a Produce Executive?

Top executives in every industry know that investing in professional development is critical to career advancement. The United Fresh Foundation’s Produce Executive Development Program is an intense, five-day program for mid- to senior-level executives focusing on issues vital to both personal development and the larger challenges and opportunities faced by today’s produce industry executives.

The sixth annual program is presented through the United Fresh Foundation’s Center for Leadership Excellence in partnership with the Cornell University Food Industry Management Program, and will be held March 11-16 at the Statler Hotel & Executive Conference Center on the Cornell campus in Ithaca, N.Y.

Led by Cornell faculty and industry experts, the course provides participants with a unique learning experience characterized by cutting-edge theory, industry best practices and thought-provoking discussions about key business issues affecting the global produce industry.

“While this program is designed to address the unique challenges of our industry, it doesn’t stop there. It pushes you to think beyond the industry to the larger issues impacting the business world,” said 2011 program graduate, Brian Coates, senior buyer of produce at Meijer. “You walk away thinking differently about your own business, your role as a leader in the industry, and how you can effectively lead those in your company.”

This robust program agenda will include respected Cornell faculty, guest speakers, and industry experts. Some of the topics for the 2012 course include:

  • Executive Leadership
  • Today’s Food Retailing & Foodservice Climate
  • Team Dynamics and Decision Making
  • Competitive Strategy
  • Financial Planning
  • Career Success…And Derailment
  • Produce Industry Forecast for the Future
  • Strategies for Growth in Entrepreneurial Environments
  • Supply Chain Stimulation
  • Leading Through Change
  • Understanding Your Executive Leadership Style
  • Work/Life Balance: The Power of Sleep

“So many in the produce business know that hard work is an industry standard, and that the title of ‘executive’ is not simply an achievement to be accomplished, but rather another step in a career built on learning and development,” said Victoria Backer, United Fresh senior vice president of member services, foundation. “This program is centered on that ideal, and based on the belief that real learning and development are a continuous process, even for the most seasoned executives.”

In the interest of keeping class size both informative and intimate, enrollment is limited to 40 participants. Tuition for the program includes: five nights lodging, instruction, books, supplies, breakfasts, luncheons and several special dinners. For United Fresh members, the registration fee is $4995 if booked prior to January 20, and $5500 if booked after.  For non-members, the registration fees are $7995 and $8500, respectively. More information on the program is available by clicking here or by contacting Shannon Young, United Fresh education manager at 202-303-3400, ext. 405.

Salute to Reggie Griffin to Benefit United Fresh Foundation

Next month, the industry spotlight will fall on icon Reggie Griffin as United Fresh honors the achievements and celebrates the career of the long-time retail veteran with a special golf tournament and dinner, January 23, at San Diego’s historic Rancho Bernardo Inn. Proceeds from the event will support the United Fresh Foundation’s Center for Leadership Excellence.

“We’re honored that Reggie has agreed for the proceeds from the event to support the Foundation’s Center for Leadership Excellence,” said Steve Grinstead, CEO, Pro*Act, and chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “Reggie’s career has defined the word ‘leadership’, and this event will help us continue to invest in future leaders of our industry.”

The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization committed to developing leadership skills at all levels of the industry, advancing produce safety and quality, promoting global produce industry sustainability, and increasing children's consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables for better health.

“With his retirement as corporate vice president of produce and floral merchandising procurement, Reggie punctuates a 42-year career with The Kroger Company in which he touched the lives of thousands of us in the produce industry, and helped make fresh produce a cornerstone of the retail supermarket business across the country,” said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel.

More information and registration options for the Salute to Reggie Griffin are available by clicking here or contacting United’s Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3400, ext. 416. Sponsorship opportunities are also available, with multiple recognition levels for those attending the event and those across the industry who would like to join in honoring Reggie. Please contact United’s John Toner at 202-303-3400, ext. 424.

Submit Comments on DOL Child Labor Rule Today

Today is the final day to submit comments on the Department of Labor’s proposed rule to amend the regulations on child labor under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In early September, DOL issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would prohibit farm workers less than 16 years of age from working in cultivation and harvesting certain commodities, and restricts young workers’ ability to operate power equipment. Included in the proposed rule are exceptions for youth working on their parents’ farm.

United Fresh urges DOL to ensure that abusive situations are addressed, while at the same time understanding that those under 16 working on family farms is often a key part of a farm operation can be done safely.

Those interested in submitting comments should go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at

AMS’ Etzig Details Specialty Crop Block Grant Opportunities in Upcoming Webinar

Later this month, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will present “Grant Opportunity: Enhancing the Competitiveness of Specialty Crops,” a free webinar on the USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. AMS Fruit and Vegetable Programs Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Manager Trista Etzig will lead the December 15 webinar, introducing participants to the program and sharing information on how industry members can apply for grant funds to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.

Projects funded in the past by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program focus on marketing and promotion, education, production, research, food safety, and pest and plant health.

The one-hour webinar will begin at 2 p.m. EST, and there will be a live question and answer session following the formal webinar presentation. More information on the webinar is available by clicking here.

Next Month’s Inspection Course Equips Industry with Know-How from USDA Inspectors

To help produce industry members better understand the breadth of the produce inspection process, the United Fresh Foundation, through the Center for Food Safety & Quality, will conduct three more installments of its popular Produce Inspection Training Program in the coming year, beginning with a January 9-13 course at the USDA Fresh Products Branch National Inspectors’ Training and Development Center in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

“This program provides a valuable resource to industry members throughout all sectors of the produce supply chain,” said Victoria Backer, United Fresh senior vice president, member services, foundation. “We continue to see many new and returning companies take advantage of the straight-forward training and practical applications that this unique course offers.”

“Through our partnership with United Fresh, these programs present a special opportunity for the government to connect with and educate the private sector,” said Robert Keeney, deputy administrator, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, USDA-AMS. “As we enter our tenth year since the program started, we’ve trained nearly 750 industry members and interest continues to remain high.”

These hands-on training sessions, also offered May 21-25, and September 10-14, are executed in partnership with USDA-AMS.

The program is offered in two specialized courses: Fundamentals of Produce Inspection and Commodity Labs. Upon completion of both courses, attendees receive a certificate of completion from United Fresh and USDA.

The first of the two courses, Fundamentals of Produce Inspection, is a prerequisite of the Commodity Labs course and focuses on topics such as inspection essentials, the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA), sampling procedures, and general market principles. The three-day Commodity Labs course takes place in the lab and applies the principals learned in the fundamentals course to real product inspections. Each Commodity Labs course will include the five most commonly requested commodities: grapes, lettuces, potatoes, strawberries and tomatoes, and will be customized with additional commodities based on the attendees’ most common preferences (up to 12 in total).

Class size is limited and attendees are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. The registration fee for United Fresh members interested in the introductory course is $895, while the advanced course is $1225. If both courses are taken together, members may register at the discounted rate of $1925. If three or more colleagues from the same member company register for both courses at the same time, each will receive a $100 discount on the registration rate.  For non-members, the prices are $1095, $1425 and $2325, respectively.  Seminar registration fees include training seminars and all course materials.

Attendees may register for the training seminars on the United Fresh website at or by contacting Shannon Young, United Fresh education manager, at 202-303-3400, ext. 405.

Fifth Fresh-Cut Short Course Comes to Berlin During FRESHCONEX

Early next year in Berlin, United Fresh will team with the University of Foggia, the University of Cordoba, FRESHCONEX, and the Distretto Agroalimentare Regionale della Puglia to present the fifth edition of the European Short-Course on Quality and Safety of Fresh-cut Produce. Held in conjunction with FRESHCONEX/Fruit Logistica, the short course will be held at Messe Berlin, February 6-8.

The course will cover issues such as quality factors affecting fresh-cut products, processing, packaging and temperature management, microbiological testing, and other safety and quality issues. United Fresh Senior Vice President of Food Safety and Technology Dr. David Gombas will lead the course discussion on food safety and situation management.

“This special, three-day course will provide a comprehensive and intensive review of technology in the fresh-cut industry, with emphasis on the critical areas of processing, packaging, and quality assurance,” said Dr. Giancarlo Colelli of the University of Foggia. “The faculty for the program represents an international group of recognized experts including top scientists and academic professionals from the U.S. and Europe, which have significantly contributed to the vast success of this course in the previous four editions”.

The course is limited to 100 participants and it will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. More information on the course is available by clicking here, or by emailing

Senate Confirms Sargeant as SBA Chief Counsel for Advocacy

The Senate confirmed President Barack Obama’s appointment of Dr. Winslow Sargeant as chief counsel for advocacy in the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy late last month. Sargeant is the sixth to hold the chief counsel position in the Office of Advocacy, an independent voice for small business within the federal government.

Sargeant has served as chief counsel since August 2010 under a recess appointment. Under Sergeant’s leadership, small businesses have interacted with the Office of Advocacy at more than 40 small business roundtables addressing the unique concerns and issues of this important segment of American commerce. Also during Sargeant’s tenure, the Office of Advocacy has filed 56 public comment letters with federal agencies in attempts to mitigate the impact of proposed regulations on small business.

For more information of Sargeant and the SBA’s Office of Advocacy, visit

Chairman’s Roundtable Thanks 2012 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 2012 Chairman’s Roundtable:

  • Del Monte Fresh Produce, Miami, FL
  • Dole Food Company, Westlake, CA
  • Giant Eagle Markets, Crafton, PA
  • L&M Companies, Raleigh, NC
  • Rio Queen Citrus, Mission, TX
  • Sensitech, Redmond, WA
  • Sun Rich Fresh Foods, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
  • Torrey Farms, Elba, NY
  • Unifrutti of America, Philadelphia, PA

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 Fresh's strength in areas that do not generate their own revenue. Members of Chairman's Roundtable enjoy special recognition throughout the year for their support. For more information on the Chairman’s Roundtable, please contact Senior Director of Membership Miriam Miller Wolk at 202-303-3410.

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