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SPC to announce 2104 STEP-UPP class at fall conference

The Southeast Produce Council will be announcing those selected for the 2014 STEP-UPP class during the president’s dinner dance at its fall conference, scheduled for Sept. 26-28 in Myrtle Beach, SC. This program is available for retail and foodservice members of the Southeast Produce Council.

The objective of STEP-UPP is to provide an enriched learning experience for high potential retail and foodservice produce professionals so they can Step-Upp-GroupThe 2013 STEP-UPP class attending the Southeast Produce Council’s 2013 Southern Exposure conference. (Photo courtesy of SPC)develop a greater understanding of the industry through an emphasis on development of strategic orientation, personal leadership and hands on field experience. Each STEP-UPP class tours farms and facilities in the Southeast.

Each class consists of 12 individuals who have been selected through an application and interview process based on their leadership potential and interest in developing a career path in fresh produce.

The 10 members from this year's class were accompanied by Faye Westfall, chairman (DiMare Fresh); Joe Watson, co-chairman (Rouses Supermarkets); Tom Page (Supervalu-retired) and Andrew Scott, president.

"Our recent growers tour was an awesome experience for all of us,” Westfall said in an Aug. 5 press release. “We would like to thank all those on the tour for their hospitality and Southern Specialties, who hosted the tour. We also visited J&J Produce, Pero Family Farms and J & C Tropicals, providing informative tours and fun times for the entire team. The last day for the educational workshop, the group was given a presentation from the Florida Department of Agriculture who were joined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Cargo Development from the port of Miami."

The graduating class of 2013 consists of the following:

  • Anthony Wilson of Freshfield Farms in Orlando, FL.
  • Chuck Alexander of Lowes Foods in Winston Salem, NC.
  • Dave Williams of Rouses Markets in New Orleans, LA.
  • Jason Zellers of So Fresh Produce in Winter Haven, FL.
  • Jimmy Hyde of Delhaize in Salisbury, NC.
  • Joseph Bunting of United Supermarkets in Lubbuck, TX.
  • Daniel Smith of Harps Food Stores Inc. in Cabot, AR.
  • Ron Potter of K-V-A-T in Bristol, TN.
  • Rohil Shah of Winn Dixie in Jacksonville, FL.
  • Gary Baker Jr. of Merchant Distributors in Hickory, NC.

The Southeast Produce Council was formed in 1999 with six founding members. Today, the organization boasts more than 850 members throughout the United States, consisting of retailers, growers, farmers, distributors and additional produce-related companies doing business in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia.