From the pages of Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit
Each year, it is our privilege to unveil a unique group of industry leaders. Some are from the local market, some from across the country and some from around the world.
It is truly a gathering of thought- and practice-leaders who are committing of their time to share ideas with the broader industry in the hope of making this industry stronger.
It is with great pleasure that we unveil the Perishable Pundit’s Thought-Leader Panel for The New York Produce Show and Conference 2018:
C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc.
Meg is a classically trained chef who began her career as a food photographer and stylist. Her career in the food industry has taken her from working as a chef in Italy, to a Culinary Chef Instructor in NYC, to a Produce Buyer. She was a Local Forager for Whole Foods Market and a frequent guest on the Food Network. Her passion for food was developed early in life by growing up on the family farm in the Berkshires. On summer weekends you can find her tending her vegetable garden where she grows over 22 varieties of tomatoes. She is also is a bee keeper producing delicious wildflower honey. Currently she is the National Produce Merchandiser for C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. At C&S she takes care of hundreds of independent customers across the country, where she helps create ads and promotions to grow their sales.
Bronx, New York
Marc started his career at Waldbaums in 1978, where he worked for 10 years until opening his own foodservice wholesale business. Eventually, he took a position with Food Emporium, where he worked for three years. Marc joined Morton Williams for the first time as a produce manager more than 15 years ago. In 2006 he went to Wakefern as a supervisor for the SRS stores. He returned to his current position at Morton Williams eight years ago.
Allegiance Retail Services
Iselin, New Jersey
A produce industry veteran with over 30 years of experience in procurement and category growth within the supermarket industry. Kelly currently serves as the Director of Produce and Floral for Allegiance Retail Services. Her responsibilities at Allegiance include managing sales, coordinating advertising, merchandising and operations activities, and managing a procurement team and merchandising team. She began her supermarket career at Wakefern Food Corporation where she served 31 years honing her skills in a variety of departments including Grocery, Commercial Bakery and Produce. In her 18 years in the Produce Division, she was a Category Manager and successfully managed a multitude of commodities and was instrumental in the yearly growth of sales for the Division. Kelly was also a Regional Sourcing Category Manager in South America, South Africa and California where she became a seasoned expert in field agriculture. Kelly is a graduate of the Kean University where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing.
Elizabeth, New Jersey
Steve began his produce career at the age of 16 and in 1990 became a produce manager. He left Foodtown to join King’s Supermarkets as a manager in 1996. Steve came to Wakefern as a produce merchandiser in 2006 and joined the procurement staff in 2011 as a category manager. Steve was promoted to Procurement Manager for Produce and Floral at Wakefern in October of 2017. He lives in Bloomingdale, NJ, with his wife Kristen and daughters Kaitlin and Lauren.
Greensboro, North Carolina
Vic joined the fresh-focused grocer, The Fresh Market, Inc., in April of 2018, based out of their corporate offices in Greensboro, NC, where he oversees management of the company’s seasonally fresh produce departments across all 161 stores in 24 states. Vic’s extensive supermarket, produce and management career spans more than 35 years across the retail and produce sectors. Before joining The Fresh Market, Inc., he was senior director of produce and fl oral at Iselin, NJ-based Allegiance Retail Services for more than a decade, in which capacity he led all produce and floral operations and functions, including sales management, advertising, merchandising and product procurement for almost 100 stores in three states under the Foodtown, D’Agostino’s, Brooklyn Harvest and Market Fresh banners. He also previously worked for more than two decades at another grocery cooperative in New Jersey, Wakefern Food Co., holding the role of produce category manager for 15 years, serving the Shop Rite and Price Rite banners. Vic has served two terms as president of the Eastern Produce Council (EPC), on whose board he has served since 2006, as well as chairman of the New York Produce Show, EPC Strategic Planning Committee and Eastern Produce Council Golf Outing committee. Vic previously sat on the PMA Fresh Summit committee and is a member of the Southeast Produce Council and the New England Produce Council. He is a graduate of William Paterson University and is married to his wife Maria for 27 years and they have two children, Dante and Mia.
Lake Zurich, Illinois
Tony comes from a long line of people passionate about food. Tony’s family goes back over 100 years in the produce industry. His great-grandfather was one of the largest buyers and sellers of lemons and oranges in the US. Some say he was bigger than Sunkist at the time. Tony’s fresh food history began at age 5, when, after church, Tony and his father would travel to the terminal produce market to repack tomatoes for the Monday morning business (back in those days the first customers arrived just after midnight). Each summer thereafter, Tony worked at the market. The market at that time was a collection of jobbers (or merchants) who sold to independent grocery stores, wholesalers delivering to restaurants, and peddlers who typically sold their products out of the back of their trucks. Tony learned the art of buying produce from his father who would bring him along each morning as he did his daily purchases and working alongside chefs as they honed their trade. Our “Produce Guru” has been in training for more than 40 years! After 20 years in the family business, Tony started his own food consulting fi rm in 1996 with Scotty’s Home Market (online grocer) as one of his customers. Tony helped raise a 10 million investment for Scotty’s from Nordstrom. In 1998, Tony went to work for Scotty’s as the Vice President of Merchandising. In October of 2000, Scotty’s/Streamline was bought by Peapod – Ahold. At Peapod he has helped Peapod grow into the largest most successful internet grocer in America. Tony has standing television segments on ABC 7 in Chicago and is an annual lecturer at Cornell’s Produce Executive Development Program. Food is Tony’s destiny and he truly enjoys sharing his passion with consumers.
99 Cents Only Stores
City of Commerce, California
Caitlin is the Director of Produce for 99 Cents Only Stores, Commerce, CA. Over her 14-year career in the produce industry, Caitlin has gathered a unique perspective of up-and-coming trends such as e-commerce, grocery delivery, prepared foods, packaged produce, discount retail and seed science. Her retail career started as a category assistant to produce for Michigan-based Spartan Stores, where she spent several years as a buyer before joining New York-based Fresh Direct as a senior produce buyer. Prior to joining 99 Cents Only, she was the produce and floral Purchasing Manager for Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, and Produce Chain Marketing Manager for Bayer CropScience.
Maria is the Senior Category Manager for fruit, vegetables and flowers at supermarket chain ICA Sweden. Since joining ICA, she has held several different positions within the retailer’s fruit, vegetables and flowers business. Before her current position, Maria was the Head of Business Development at ICA, where she looked after issues such as sustainability, among others. Maria graduated in economics and management from Lund University in Sweden in 2004. Before joining ICA in 2008 she worked in the paper and packaging industry for SCA Packaging, which has since become DS Smith.
Stephan is National Category Director fruit, vegetable, flowers and plants for REWE, one of the leading and most innovative supermarket chains in Germany. He is also Brand Manager for Rewe Regional, the company’s cross-category brand for all regional products. He studied Economics at the University of Cologne (VWA) and is an alumni of INSEAD. Stephan started his career as a trainee at REWE in 1984 and was a buyer for overseas, exotics and organic fruits before moving to Chiquita in the year 2000. As Managing Director, he managed the development of Chiquita’s non-banana business for Northern Europe before taking on total responsibility for Chiquita’s D-A-CH (German-speaking European region) as Business Director. In 2009 he joined Landgard, Germany’s largest produce and flower producing cooperative where he headed up the fruit, vegetable, organic and convenience divisions as Managing Director, while seeing through a successful restructuring period. Stephan returned to Rewe in 2014 and his current role. This summer, Stephan was elected as President of Freshfel, the European Fresh Produce Association, the industry’s representative body in Brussels, Belgium.
Tim started working in the produce industry more than 35 years ago at H. Hall & Company, a grower/shipper of strawberries and mixed vegetables. In addition to being a founding employee and the current President of Markon, Tim also has held numerous committee and task force positions, including Member, USDA Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Council; Chairman of the Produce Marketing Association (2002); Director of the PMA; Chairman of PMA’s Foodservice Division; Chairman, Center for Produce Safety Advisory Board; and is a founding member of the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops.
We owe a great debt to these individuals and their companies that support them in sharing their expertise with the industry. These are people and organizations committed to building a better future for the whole industry and they merit our thanks.
Come to The New York Produce Show and Conference and learn from the best and brightest. Be part of building a brighter future… for yourself, your organization and the industry at large.
- You can register right here.
- Request a hotel room here
- The website can be found here
- And feel free to email with any question right here.
- With a Thought-Leader Panel like this, you can count on the opportunity to SOAR ahead.