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SAVANNAH, GA -- The Southeast Produce Council elected new leaders at its annual fall conference, held here Sept. 23-25, led by John Shuman of Shuman Produce as president. He is joined by Andrew Scott of General Produce Inc. as first vice president, David Sherrod of Apio Inc. as second vice president, Mark Daniels of Military Produce Group as secretary and Steve Williams of Sweetbay Supermarkets as treasurer.

The conference drew a record crowd of about 275 people, according to outgoing President Tom Page of Supervalu Inc., who gave a state-of-the- council address at the president's dinner dance Friday evening, Sept. 24. In that address, Mr. Page noted that the council’s membership had grown to 631 in 2010, up from 540 in 2009.

He also announced that 187 booths had been sold for the council’s 2010 retail and foodservice conference, with 34 vendors on the waiting list. Since the council has capped the number of exhibitor booths at 200 to retain the level of intimacy that everyone enjoys, Mr. Page stated that "we are sold out again." That conference, known as Southern Exposure, will be held March 3-5 in Tampa, FL.

Mr. Page also spoke about the council’s commitment to college education, noting that since 2002, it has awarded over $100,000 to the member scholarship program. The council will award 10 $2,000 scholarships in 2011, he added.

A workshop earlier on Friday titled Traceability Today was another highlight of the fall conference. Don Goodwin, president of Golden Sun Marketing, moderated the workshop. Panelists were Elliott Grant, chief marketing officer of Harvestmark; Mark Shuman, general manager of Shuman Produce; Tony Salerni, program quality manager of Sysco Corp.; and Teri Miller, category manager of Food Lion LLC.

Among the social activities, Billy Walker of V.L. Walker Co. came in first in the Sporting Clays Tournament, and the foursome of Mark Hilton of Harris-Teeter Supermarkets plus Mike Casazza, David Sherrod and Dennis Baker of Apio Inc. came in first in the 11th annual Ken Lanhardt Memorial Golf Tournament. Both events were held Saturday, Sept. 25.

(Photos and additional information from the event will appear in the Oct. 4 issue of The Produce News.)