(May 16, 3:08 p.m.) The Packer honored a Calgary, Alberta, native during the final day of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s convention in that city. Tom Byttynen, president of Calgary-based Thomas Fresh Inc., was named The Packer’s Canadian Produce Man of the Year May 16.

Byttynen has served on the boards of the CPMA and the Calgary Produce Marketing Association and has twice served as president of the Calgary organization.

He is the chairman of Canada’s Repack/Wholesale Food Safety Committee, which is developing standards and programs for middle-market operators.

“This program is unique to Canada,” said The Packer editor Lance Jungmeyer, who presented the award. “There is nothing like it in the United States.”

Byttynen started out in the dairy business in 1981, but he moved to produce in 1992 as general manager for Hikari Produce, Calgary. Two years later, he took a job as vice president and chief operating officer of Supreme Produce, Calgary.

Byttynen, however, moved back to the dairy industry in 1996.

“Thankfully for Canada’s fresh produce industry, the detour was brief,” Jungmeyer said. “His love for the produce industry enticed him to start his own company in 1997. He simply was not destined to be a milk man.”