CPMA awards go to Oppenheimer Group employees

04/14/2014 08:19:00 AM
Chris Koger

Steve Young (left) receives the Mary FitzGerald award from ChiquitaChris KogerSteve Young (left) receives the Mary FitzGerald award from Chiquita's Les Mallard at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association's annual convention.See related content: Oppy leader wins Produce Man award.

VANCOUVER — The Canadian Produce industry recognized three Oppenheimer Group employees, including a retiree, at the annual Canadian Produce Marketing Association Conference and Expo.

Steve Young and John Sears received the Mary FitzGerald and CPMA Lifetime Achievement awards, respectively, on April 4 during the annual CPMA awards breakfast. Walt Breeden, who oversees all of Oppenheimer’s sales initiatives in Canada, was also recognized as The Packer’s Canadian Produce Man of the Year.

Announcing the Mary FitzGerald award, Les Mallard called Young a builder, but not in the conventional sense. Instead, Young is known for building teams, consensus and trust, said Mallard, Halifax-based Chiquita zone manager for Canada.

FitzGerald, who died nine years ago, was a Chiquita employee who brought a passion for produce to her work, Mallard said. Award recipients must be under 40 years old. Young is sales manager of the Calgary Oppy office.

Rick Wallis (left), with CPMA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient John Sears at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association convention.Chris KogerRick Wallis (left), with CPMA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient John Sears at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association convention.“It’s a great honor,” Young said. “I appreciate this very much.”

Young thanked Oppy CEO John Anderson, who was in attendance.

Sears, who worked for a number of companies, including Woodard’s Stores, Sunny International and Star Produce, is known for his humor, according to Rick Wallis, who presented the award.

Wallis, former CPMA chairman, called Sears “motivational, inspirational and funny” and said he is “polite, professional and passionate.”

Sears, who has written several books, including one titled, “Are You Laughing at Me?” gave the attendees some advice.

“Make your customers, your clients, your buyers, your friends.”



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