Sixteen states and Canada are represented among the 25 winners of the 2013 United Fresh Retail Produce Manager Awards.

The produce managers represent 21 supermarket chains, independent retail stores and commissaries, according to a news release from Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association.

The award, now in its ninth year, is sponsored by Irwindale, Calif.-based Ready Pac Foods. Winners and their corporate produce directors will be recognized at a dinner May 16 at United Fresh 2013 trade show in San Diego, and five grand prize recipients will receive an additional $1,000 cash prize, according to the release.

“The professionalism and exceptional talent these retail managers have demonstrated deserves to be recognized and honored,” Ready Pac’s president Michael Solomon said in the release. “Ready Pac is proud to sponsor this program and offer our congratulations to these hard-working individuals and companies for their tireless promotion of the fresh produce industry!”

Calling the produce department one of the most important “customer touch points” for the fresh produce industry, United Fresh president Tom Stenzel said in the release that the winners’ creative and innovative merchandising skills pay dividends for the whole supply chain.

Winners were selected from hundreds of nominations submitted by retailers and produce marketers across the country, according to the release. Factors weighed in picking the winners, according to the release, included efforts to increase produce consumption through excellence in merchandising, special displays and promotions, community service and commitment to customer satisfaction.

The Produce Retail Manager Award winners also will participate in a panel discussion on merchandising strategies. The presentation will be held on the United Fresh 2013 trade show floor in the Fresh Marketplace Learning Center, according to the release.

More information on United Fresh 2013 can be found at, according to the release.

The 2013 Retail Produce Manager Award Winners are:

  • Ryan Acosta, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Sacramento, Calif.;
  • Louis Brock, Quality Food Centers, Seattle;
  • Manson Camp, Weis Markets, Williamsport, Penn.;
  • Kevin Cazeaux, Rouses Markets, New Orleans;
  • Lavern Clark, Brookshire Grocery Co., Alexandria, La.;
  • Darren Estermann, Food Maxx/Save Mart Supermarkets, Visalia, Calif.;
  • David Fitts, Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Charlotte, N.C.;
  • Jim Fleming, Price Chopper/Golub Corp., Newburgh, N.Y.;
  • Ken Gaylord, Safeway Stores, Portland, Ore.;
  • Aaron Geohring, Ray’s Food Place, Grants Pass, Ore.;
  • Donna Goodman, Daniel’s Sentry Store, Whitewater, Wisc.;
  • James Gordy, Safeway Stores, Auburn, Calif.;
  • Doug Groendyke, King’s Supermarkets, Gillette, N.J.;
  • Rick Hogan, Hugo’s Family Marketplace, Grand Forks, N.D.;
  • Deborah Horton, Ft. Worth NAS Commissary, Fort Worth, Texas;
  • Pat Kapelka, The Kroger Company, Tiffin, Ohio;
  • James May, Food City/K-VA-T Food Stores, South Williamson, Ky.;
  • Maureen McCarthy, Ft. Bragg North Commissary, Fort Bragg, N.C.;
  • Nathan Mineart, Hy-Vee, Inc., East Marion, Iowa;
  • Nicholas Olivieri, Pathmark, Bethpage, N.Y.;
  • Bill Power, Dominion, St John’s, New Foundland;
  • Brett Reed, Hy-Vee, Inc., Windsor Heights, Iowa
  • Frankie Thacker, Food City/K-VA-T Food Stores, Rogersville, Tenn.;
  • Jeffrey Vocatura, Big Y Foods, Stratford, Conn; and
  • Corey Watkins, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Elk Grove, Calif.