On Friday, November 29, PMA and the industry lost an iconic leader as former president Bob Carey died at age 82 in Delaware. Bob led PMA from 1958 to 1996, taking it from a near bankrupt organization with fewer than 100 members focused on produce packaging to a vertically integrated association of thousands focused on marketing. His vision of bringing buyers and sellers together positioned PMA to become the worldwide association it is today.
“I was privileged to work with Bob from the time he hired me in 1983 until his retirement in 1996. He was my mentor and my dear friend,” says Bryan Silbermann, PMA’s CEO. “His insights and advice when he was my boss and after he retired have been invaluable. Bob’s real genius was getting the best out of everyone around him – members and staff – and that’s become a core part of PMA’s culture.”
PMA gives the Robert L. Carey Leadership Award at Fresh Summit each year, honoring someone who has demonstrated outstanding volunteer leadership skills and an uncommon commitment to helping PMA achieve its goals. Bob belief in volunteer leadership was evident in his military career to leadership in association management. He had an ability to gather just the right leaders at just the right times to move things forward.
“Bob’s leadership was the lynchpin for PMA’s growth and success, but it was his engaging personality, compassion, humor, and empathy that endeared him to all those around him.” Silbermann says. “Always ready to have fun or sit and talk, Bob was an easy and dear friend to many.”
Silbermann will offer a eulogy at Bob’s service on Dec. 3 in Bridgeville, Del. His thoughts will be shared on a tribute page for Bob, along with information about his life and career, and we encourage you to share your thoughts about Bob there.
Per the Carey family’s wishes, memorial contributions can be made to Delmarva Teen Challenge.