NEW ORLEANS — Jay Pack, the man who helped build the industry’s college career recruitment program, is the winner of this year’s Robert L. Carey Leadership Award.

In its second year, the award honors those who have shown an uncommon commitment to the Produce Marketing Association and the produce and floral industries.

During an Oct. 18 Fresh Summit 2013 general session, Pack, the former owner and chief executive officer of Dallas-based Standard Fruit and Vegetable Co. Inc., was honored for the work he and his wife, Ruthie Pack, did in building the Pack Family Career Pathways program.

Through the decade-old program, 364 students have participated in and moved into the workplace.

As those young professionals advance in their careers, many begin attending PMA’s emerging leaders and women’s fresh perspective programs and serve the PMA in other ways, said former PMA chairman Bill Schuler, president and chief executive officer of Wilder, Ky.-based Castellini Co.

Career Pathways program founder wins leadership award“This shows an uncommon commitment to and an interesting imprint on PMA and the entire produce and floral industries,” Schuler said in presenting the award. “The Pack Career Pathway program has exceeded expectations and will have a positive impact on the industry for years to come.”

He said the honoree reflects PMA’s commitment to courage, community and character.

Pack said he was deeply touched by the accolades.

“In many respects, Bob (Carey) is one of reasons am here today,” Pack said. “His inspirational leadership and charismatic personality were my first impression of PMA. It set the hook for getting involved.”

A committee of five past PMA chairmen selected Pack for the award which is named after Carey, 81, who led the PMA for 38 years before retiring in 1996.