TUBAC, Ariz. — Two produce legends were honored at the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas’ 44th Produce Convention Nov. 8–10.
Alberto “Beto” Maldonado garnered one of two Pillars of the FPAA awards. Maldonado worked for CAB Produce and GAC Produce most recently as general manager, and will celebrate his 50th year in the industry next year. He served FPAA through the years, including as president.
Alejandro Canelos of Apache Produce Imports LLC, and FPAA chairman, said Maldonado’s greatness is also measured in the fact that all five of his children work in the produce industry.
FPAA also gave a Pillar award to James K. Wilson, who died in 1978. Wilson founded and ran the produce and business complex called Southwest Produce Center and was president of FPAA in 1957-58. The award was accepted by his nieces, Alicia Martin and Bobbie Lundstrom.
The annual meeting and golf tournament played host to nearly 500 attendees for the opening party and 270 for the Nov. 9 award dinner.
In Nov. 8 education sessions, Alfonso Cano, assistant produce director for Northgate Gonzalez Markets, a 35-store chain based in Anaheim, Calif., said retail merchandisers should take more chances and not be afraid to fail on promotions.
Jason Craig, manager of government affairs for C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn., said transportation issues will continue to affect produce shipments. Among those issues are the federal transportation bill, which passed in July, but only had two years of funding; new hours-of-service rules which go into effect next summer; and the Mexican truck pilot program, which the market seems to have decided that shipping products from across the border both directions in the same truck isn’t good business.
Dan’l Mackey Almy, president of DMA Solutions, Irving, Texas, said social media is a way for produce industry members to share their knowledge directly with consumers.
“We take our knowledge of products for granted,” she said.