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Julia Inestroza and Tracie Levin have been selected to receive the third annual Produce Marketing Association Foundation for Industry Talent's Tip Murphy Scholarship for Leadership Excellence.

Ms. Inestroza, marketing director at Gourmet Trading Co. in Los Angeles, and Ms. Levin, general manager of M. Levin & Co. Inc. in Philadelphia, will receive scholarships for use in 2011 from the program, posthumously established in honor of industry veteran Terrence (Tip) Murphy, which provides scholarships for professional development to promising produce industry leaders. "Both Julia's and Tracie's applications demonstrated the character, leadership and commitment to the industry that epitomizes Tip Murphy and the scholarship in his name," Margi Prueitt, executive director of PMA FIT, said in a Dec. 16 press release. "We're thrilled that growing industry support enabled us to award two scholarships for the first time, and we hope to continue expanding this program to benefit more of our young leaders in the future." Ms. Inestroza graduated from the University of California-Riverside with a bachelor's degree in economics. She worked at Agribuys (currently Food Link Online) before being named marketing manager for Gourmet Trading Co. She recently earned a master's degree in business administration with a specialization in technology and operations management from California Polytechnic State University Pomona, graduating first in her class. Ms. Inestroza is also part owner of her family's San Joaquin Valley citrus farm. "I've been working in the produce industry all my life, yet every day presents a new day to learn more about the industry and enhance my leadership skills and personal contributions," Ms. Inestroza said in the press release. "Receiving the Tip Murphy scholarship is a tremendous honor that gives me yet another opportunity to build upon my experiences. Ms. Levin graduated from the University of Delaware, receiving bachelor's degrees in sociology and business with a concentration in law and society. She works at M. Levin & Co. - her family's wholesale fruit and vegetable distribution business - and is one of four women representing the business' fourth generation. She also received the 2008 Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship and was a 2009 graduate of United Fresh's 15th Produce Industry Leadership Class. "Being a young woman in the produce industry, I see ever-expanding opportunities to learn from produce industry veterans as well as having ample amount of time to implement my own knowledge and ideas," Ms. Levin said in the press release. "The Tip Murphy Scholarship is a great opportunity to continue learning and to become an integral part of the industry, and for this I am very thankful."

Unveiled in October 2008, the Tip Murphy scholarship covers registration fees and associated hotel expenses for any one of PMA or PMA FIT professional development events, including PMA FIT's Leadership Symposium, Jan. 19-21 in Dallas; PMA's Foodservice Conference & Exposition, July 29-31 in Monterey, CA; and PMA's Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition, Oct. 14-17 in Atlanta, Ga.

The scholarship is funded by supporters of the Tip Murphy Legacy Fund, a restricted account established by friends and colleagues of MR. Murphy to honor his life and career. The fund and scholarship program are managed by PMA FIT, as part of the foundation's mission to attract, develop and retain talent for the produce industry.