PASADENA, Calif. — Look for the La Mirada-based Fresh Produce & Floral Council to reach out to the next generation of produce professionals during the coming year.
Tom BurfieldRick Cruz (left), 2012 chairman of the Fresh Produce & Floral Council, hands over the gavel to incoming chairman Mike Casazza at the council’s annual dinner-dance in Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 26. That will be a primary goal of Mike Casazza, 2013 chairman of the board.
Casazza, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Guadalupe-based Apio Inc., was formally introduced to FPFC members at the organization’s annual dinner-dance Jan. 26, along with chairman-elect Rich Van Valkenburg, partner and chief operating officer at Van Valkenburg & Associates, Capistrano Beach; treasurer/secretary Brad Martin, owner and president of Perimeter Sales & Merchandising, Los Alamitos; and other board members.
Rick Cruz, manager of division operations for produce at the Santa Fe Springs location of Pleasanton-based Vons/Safeway supermarkets, is immediate past chairman.
“I want to get more of the next generation — the industry leaders — actively involved with the FPFC,” Casazza said, “Kind of open up to the next generation all the value and the history of the FPFC.”
Effort from many individuals in the industry has brought the FPFC to where it is today, he said.
“I’m going to try to work extra hard this year to get that next generation more actively involved in the committees, give them access to everything we’re doing at the FPFC and continue to lay the foundation for the future growth of the FPFC,” he said.
Plans also include continuing the council’s growth among industry members in Northern California.
Looking over the past year, outgoing chairman Cruz said one of the FPFC’s biggest achievements in 2012 was putting two salad bars into California schools.
The council plans to donate at least two more salad bars in 2013.
“I was not aware of how badly our schools really need salad bars,” he said.
Cruz also was pleased with the increased participation he’s seen on FPFC committees and with the success of events like golf tournaments, bowling tournament and Family Day at the Races.
“The (events) that I like the most are the ones where we give back to the members,” he said. “It’s all about giving back and thanking the members for all of their hard work and contributions.”