Time to nominate your great produce managers for national recognition

Time to nominate your great produce managers for national recognition

The United Fresh Produce Association is now accepting nominations for its 2021 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program.

Each year, United selects 25 exceptional produce managers to recognize their creative merchandising, community outreach, sales growth and recognition by company peers. The 25 winners and their corporate produce directors will receive free airfare, hotel accommodations and registration for the United Fresh 2021 Convention & Expo in Los Angeles.

The Retail Produce Manager Awards Program is in its 17th year, according to a news release. More than 350 produce managers from more than 106 retail banners have been honored over the life of the program.

Nominations for the 2021 awards are due Jan. 8 and can be made here.

“Effectively merchandising produce is a critical component to get the best product into the consumer’s basket, and a great consumer experience will drive repeat traffic,” Rich Gonzales, vice president of global produce sourcing for Walmart and vice chairman of United’s retail-foodservice board, said in the release. “The hard work that retail produce managers do to incentivize the consumers to buy fresh produce creates a win-win for the consumer and the industry.”

To hear the stories of some of the 2020 award winners, check out the following articles and interviews:

Oceana’s Jaleisha Freeman talks Retail Produce Manager Award?— Still early in her produce career, Jaleisha Freeman logged a benchmark achievement this year with recognition from United Fresh through its Retail Produce Manager Awards program.

VIDEO: Brookshire's Freddie Dowell talks Retail Produce Manager Award??— "Man, I was smiling so hard I couldn’t even speak," Dowell said.?"Felt like my face was cracking. I was thrilled. I never thought I would be getting this award, but I’m blessed to be where I’m at with the company and I really appreciate it.”

Rouses Markets' Josh Smith talks Retail Produce Manager Award?— Rouses Markets produce manager Josh Smith got his start in the industry nearly 15 years ago, when he was just 18, and this year the United Fresh Produce Association recognized Smith as one of the top 25 produce managers in the nation.

Harps Food Stores' Clay Williams talks Retail Produce Manager Award?— Clay Williams, produce manager for Harps Food Stores in Fayetteville, Ark., started in the industry right out of high school and quickly realized it was exactly where he wanted to be.

Giant's John Hollenden talks Retail Produce Manager Award?— John Hollenden, who was recently recognized by the United Fresh Produce Association as part of its Retail Produce Manager Awards program, is no longer a produce manager; since being nominated for the award, Hollenden has been promoted by The Giant Co. to produce and floral merchandising specialist.

The Fresh Market's Eddy Queirolo talks Retail Produce Manager Award?— Eddy?Queirolo started his produce career in 1986, and he's been a produce manager for 34 years now.

VIDEO: Tops Markets' Brad Franklin talks Retail Produce Manager Award?— Brad Franklin, produce manager for the Tops Friendly Markets store in?Towanda, Pa., lists merchandising, the challenges of perishable inventory management, and interaction with shoppers among the favorite elements of the job.