CHICAGO — A longtime leader in the apple processing industry has been chosen The Packer’s Apple Man of the Year.

Ken Guise, president and chief executive officer of Peach Glen, Pa.-based Knouse Foods Cooperative Inc., won the award Aug. 16 at the Vienna, Va.-based U.S. Apple Association’s annual Apple Crop Outlook & Marketing Conference.

Knouse Foods exec wins annual apple awardIn presenting the award to Guise, a 34-year Knouse veteran, Shannon Shuman, The Packer’s publisher, cited the incredible company growth in Guise’s tenure, during which both sales and volume have quadrupled.

“He helped to create a stable and profitable expanded market to cover grower needs,” Shuman said. “His emphasis is on doing things right. This not only includes the respect with which he treats others in business and his personal life, but also his company’s social responsibility to the community and environment.”

Knouse, which has five plants and 150 growers, is the only apple processor to receive SQF Level 3 Certified environmental ratings in all of its facilities.

After receiving the award, Guise joked that “there must be fewer candidates than apples in the U.S. this year,” a reference to dramatically lighter crops in Michigan and New York due to freeze damage.

“You humble and honor me,” Guise said. “I hope you all appreciate the industy we’re in. And U.S. Apple takes a backseat to no one in terms of representing its industry.”

Guise’s service to the industry has included chairman’s roles at U.S. Apple, the Apple Processors Association and the Pennsylvania Food Processors Association. He has also served on the boards of several other organizations.

Guise is also a grower. A co-owner of C&G Orchard, in 2009 he received the Outstanding Grower Award from the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania.

The Packer gives the award each year at the U.S. Apple Association's annual Apple Crop Outlook & Marketing Conference, which continues Aug. 17 with the release of the association's estimate of the 2012-13 crop production.