United Fresh Names Honorees in 2014 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program

Marking its 10th year of recognizing exceptional retail produce managers, United Fresh announced the honorees of its 2014 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program. The group of 35 produce managers represents 32 different supermarket banners, commissaries and independent retail stores in 20 states. They will be the honored guests at the United Fresh 2014 convention and trade show, June 10-13 in Chicago.

Sponsored since its inception by Ready Pac Foods, the program pays special recognition to produce mangers working every day to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. In the past 10 years of the program, more than 230 retail managers, representing more than 80 retail banners, have been honored for their contributions to fresh produce merchandising. In its 10-year history, the program has received nearly 2,000 nominations.

“Connecting with consumers in the produce department is critical for the fresh produce industry, and we are so appreciative to Ready Pac for its long-time sponsorship of this program,” says United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel. “As a way to recognize Ready Pac’s 10th anniversary of commitment to this program, we are honoring an additional 10 winners beyond our traditional group.”

The 2014 Retail Produce Manager Award Winners are:

Gustavo Agillon, Arteaga’s Food Center, Gilroy, CA
Larry Aledo, Food Maxx/Save Mart Supermarkets, Brentwood, CA
Dan Atkinson, Hy-Vee, Inc, Iowa City, IA
Mike Bawol, Tops Markets, Grand Island, NY
Bob Beaudoin, Albertsons, Lemon Grove, CA
Bill Denault, Price Chopper/Golub Corporation, Lenox, MA
Douglas DeWitte, Meijer, Grand Haven, MI
Darin Eversaul, Quality Food Centers, Bellevue, WA
Dan Fabris, Jewel-Osco, Park Ridge, IL
Alice Firkus, Roundy’s Supermarkets, Steven’s Point, WI
Garrett Fowden, Payson Market Place, Payson, UT
Joe Gapp, Hy-Vee, Inc, Lincoln, NE
Sal Gentile, A&P, Yorktown, NY
Kenny Hackman, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Fayetteville, AR
Jeff Haines, Fry’s Food & Drug Stores, Phoenix, AZ
Brent Harkleroad, Food City/K-VA-T Food Stores, Kingsport, TN
Luis Huerta, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Oakley, CA
Gina Johnson, The Kroger Company, Dayton, OH
Bill Logan, Jr., ShopRite, Medford, NJ
Kendall Lopez-Buitrago, MOMs Organic Market, Alexandria, VA
Steve Mendes, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Turlock, CA
Abel Meza, Northgate González Markets, Barrio Logan, CA
Jason Mooring, Safeway Stores, Marysville, WA
Michele Parks, McClellan Commissary, McClellan, CA
Patty Patino, Save Mart Supermarkets, Truckee, CA
Dick Rose, Metcalfe’s Market, Wauwatosa, WI
Crystal Scherer, Roundy’s Supermarkets, Appleton, WI
Randy Sheets, Food City/K-VA-T Food Stores, Abingdon, VA
Derek Sibley, Oak Point Fresh Market, Watson, LA
John Spellman, Kings Food Markets, Livingston, NJ
Robert Tanaka, Los Angeles AFB Commissary, Los Angeles, CA
Justin Warner, Brookshire Grocery Company, Lindale, TX
Gina Wasilefsky, Big Y Foods, Northampton, MA
Mike Willis, Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Charlotte, NC
Jake Wittman, Weis Markets, Fogelsville, PA

“Produce managers across this country make a valuable contribution to the success of our industry,” says Tony Sarsam, CEO of Ready Pac Foods. “These men and women work hard to make sure the produce looks the best on the front lines of retail produce merchandising by engaging and educating their consumers. Ready Pac is very proud to have sponsored the United Fresh Retail Manager Awards Program for the past 10 years to honor these ambassadors for our industry.”

The winners were selected from hundreds of nominations submitted by retailers and produce suppliers across the industry. Nominations were evaluated on a number of criteria, including efforts to increase produce consumption through excellence in merchandising, special displays and promotions, community service and commitment to customer satisfaction.

All winners, along with their corporate produce directors, will be honored at United Fresh 2014 during the Produce Celebration Gala, Wednesday, June 11 at Hilton Chicago. In addition to the awards, five Grand Prize recipients will receive an additional $1,000 cash prize.

The Produce Retail Manager Award winners will also be featured in a panel discussion on the United Fresh 2014 trade show floor in the Fresh Marketplace Learning Center. A panel of the winners will share their perspectives on creative produce merchandising strategies during this special education session.

Nominations for the 2015 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program will be accepted next fall, with winners to be honored at United Fresh 2015 in Chicago.

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