your-news image
The Southeast Produce Council will honor Ferdinand S. Duda with its 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award at the council's annual conference in early March.

Mr. Duda, who has been a member of the board of directors of Oviedo, FL- based A. Duda & Sons Inc. since 1981 and chairman since January 2005, will receive the award Saturday, March 7, during the keynote luncheon, part of the council's annual retail and foodservice conference and exposition, scheduled for March 5-7 in Tampa, FL.

Mr. Duda is the second recipient of the award; he follows Joe McGee, founder of L&M Cos. in Raleigh, NC, who received the council's inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award last year. The award is co-sponsored by the Southeast Produce Council and The Produce News.

Mr. Duda, a third-generation member of the family of Andrew Duda, who founded A. Duda & Sons in 1926, joined the company in 1961 as assistant unit manager of the Belle Glade, FL, farm. He held various positions within the farm management division, including general manager of Sand Farms, and was appointed senior executive vice president in 1986.

In 1992 he was named president and chief operating officer, responsible for the overall day-to-day operations of the company. In 1998 he was named chief executive officer, the position he held until he retired in December 2004.

Mr. Duda served as president of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association from 1991 to 1993 and continues to serve on its board of directors. In 1997 he was presented a Distinguished Service Award from FFVA for his dedication to the growth and prosperity of Florida's fruit and vegetable industry. He is also currently a member of the Florida Council of 100.

Mr. Duda was born in 1939 in Oviedo, grew up there, and graduated from Oviedo High School in 1957. He earned a bachelor of science degree in agricultural economics from the University of Florida in 1961.

He and his wife, June, have been married since 1962. They have four daughters: Lauri Buckley, corporate vice president of meal solutions for Duda Products Inc., A. Duda's food processing and beverage subsidiary; Tracy Duda Chapman, corporate vice president and general counsel of A. Duda and CEO of The Viera Co., A. Duda's real estate development subsidiary; Amy Duda Kinder, senior director of food safety for A. Duda; and Wendy Clark, an elementary school teacher at St. Luke's School in Oviedo.

Mr. Duda's hobbies include hunting, fishing and stamp collecting.