Pillars of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, a new award created this year, went to a pair of the Southwest’s fresh produce industry pioneers at the association’s 42nd annual convention.
Jorge Gotsis, owner of Omega Produce Co. Inc., Nogales, Ariz., and the late Roy Lundstrom, were the first recipients of the award presented at the convention, Nov. 4-6 at the Tubac Golf Resort, Tubac, Ariz.
“The award is a way to recognize lifetime achievements and the contributions individuals have made to putting Nogales and the Mexican importing industry on the map,” said Lance Jungmeyer, president of the association.
At least one award will be presented annually, he said, based on nominations submitted by FPAA members.
In presenting the award to Gotsis, whose company has been a member of the association since 1951, Jungmeyer said he is “a true leader and pioneer in the industry.”
Gotsis joined what was then his sister’s company after World War II and became the firm’s sole owner in the 1960s. More than 40 years ago, Gotsis began importing mangoes to the U.S. with table grapes following in the 1980s, Jungmeyer said, and he was among the first to export vegetables to Asia.
Accepting the award for Lundstrom was his son, David.
Roy Lundstrom, who died in 2008, joined GAC Produce Co. Inc., San Diego, in 1963 and was later a partner at Crestview Sales Inc. He was a member of the first board of directors of the West Mexico Vegetable Distributors Association, an organization that evolved into FPAA, and was president of the organization from 1972 to 1976.
Lundstrom also served on the board of directors of the United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association, Washington, D.C.
In 1993, Lundstrom was named among The 100 Who Made a Difference in The Packer’s “A Century of Produce.”