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After 23 years with Philadelphia-based John Vena Inc., Charles D. Pigliacelli, partner and director of store operations, retired on the final day of 2008.

"I will miss everyone in this industry," Mr. Pigliacelli said in a press release. "I was proud to be a part of John Vena Inc.'s growth and expansion and rise to one of the best houses on the street."

Mr. Pigliacelli started in the produce industry immediately after graduating from St. Joseph's College (now University) with a bachelor's degree in accounting. He began his career at M. Levin & Co. before moving to Ralph D. Hughes Inc. He joined John Vena Inc. in 1985.

"His values, dedication and strength provided the foundation for unlimited trust," John Vena, president and chief executive officer of John Vena Inc., added in the press release. "The skills and attitude he demonstrated daily were instrumental in creating the reputation, respect and success this company enjoys in the industry today."

Among the many changes Mr. Pigliacelli witnessed in the Philadelphia market are the refrigeration/cooler project and the use of point-of-sale computer systems.

"I believe the company is well positioned to move forward in this challenging environment," Mr. Pigliacelli said in the press release. "The combination of talent and experience at John Vena Inc. gives them a competitive advantage to face the future."

Mr. Vena said that Mr. Pigliacelli is highly regarded at the Philadelphia Regional Produce Market, having earned a reputation for his work ethic and tenacity. "He has been a role model to the younger staff and leaves a legacy of integrity for us all," said Mr. Vena. "He'll be greatly missed."