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Nichole Towell has been selected to receive the Produce Marketing Association Foundation for Industry Talent's second Tip Murphy Scholarship for Leadership Excellence. Ms. Towell, marketing development manager for Duda Farm Fresh Foods in Wellington, FL, will use the award to participate in PMA FIT's Leadership Symposium in January.

"Our scholarship committee felt that Nichole's personal statement in particular eloquently demonstrated her commitment to the industry and her passion for furthering her personal and professional development," PMA FIT Executive Director Cindy Seel said in a Dec. 1 press release. "She was the best of a very strong field of deserving applicants. In coming years, with support from the industry, we would love to expand this program to afford more of our emerging leaders the opportunity to attend key industry events like PMA FIT's Leadership Symposium."

A graduate of California Polytechnic State University with a degree in agricultural business management, Ms. Towell has been employed in the produce industry for 11 years, nine of them with Duda. She said that her mission throughout her career will be to give back to the produce industry through leadership and by promoting sustainable business practices industrywide.

"I am deeply honored to be selected as the 2009 recipient of the Tip Murphy Scholarship for Leadership Excellence. Mr. Murphy's leadership qualities clearly set him apart as an industry professional, and the scholarship is truly representative of his commitment to emerging produce industry leaders," Ms. Towell said in the release. "I am thrilled to be associated with such a thoughtful purpose and look forward to attending the Leadership Symposium in January."

The 2010 Leadership Symposium will be held Jan. 13-15 in Dallas. This unique two-and-a-half-day event features four leadership experts speaking on strategy, innovation and collaboration with a first-day emphasis on global and community strategy and the second day's focus shifting to leadership on a company and personal level. The symposium gives industry leaders a chance to challenge their own views of leadership and innovation in an intimate, pressure-free environment.

Further details are available at www.pma.com/leadership.

The Tip Murphy Scholarship for Leadership Excellence, posthumously named after industry veteran Terrence (Tip) Murphy, supports the produce industry's emerging leaders. Unveiled in October 2008, the scholarship covers registration fees and associated hotel expenses for any PMA or PMA FIT professional development event, including the Leadership Symposium, the Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition and the Foodservice Conference & Exposition. Eligible candidates must be employed in any segment of the produce supply chain at the time of application and the time of the chosen event, have been employed in the produce industry for a minimum of three years, and demonstrate character, leadership and a desire to make a meaningful contribution to the industry.

The scholarship is supported by the Tip Murphy Legacy Fund, a restricted account set up and funded by friends and colleagues of Mr. Murphy to honor his life and career. The fund and scholarship program are managed by PMA FIT in keeping with the foundation's mission to attract, develop and retain talent for the produce community.

For more information about the scholarship or to apply, visit www.pmafit.com.