LAS VEGAS — Heather Shavey, assistant general marketing manager for fresh foods and produce at Costco Wholesale Corp., was given the 2009 Women in Produce award by the United Fresh Produce Association on April 22.

United Fresh honors Costco's Heather Shavey

Tom Karst

Heather Shavey (left), assistant general merchandise manager for fresh foods and produce for Costco Wholesale Corp., Issaquah, Wash., with Steffanie Smith, chief executive officer for River Point Farms LLC, Hermiston, Ore., at the Women in Produce reception on April 22 in Las Vegas. The United Fresh Produce Association named Shavey the 2009 Women in Produce honoree. Smith garnered the same award in May 2008.

"I'm finally at home in the produce business," Shavey said in front of a packed room.

Shavey is celebrating her 25th year with Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco. She started as a warehouse caller in 1984, and was promoted to assistant general merchandise manager for fresh foods and produce in 2004.

"I absolutely love this business," Shavey said.

Shannon Shuman, The Packer's publisher, and Gloria Chillon, director of marketing for Driscoll Strawberry Associates Inc., Watsonville, Watsonville Calif., presented the award to Shavey.

Karen Caplan, president of Frieda's Inc., Los Alamitos, Calif., was also honored by United Fresh for launching the first Women in Produce award 16 years ago.

"I heard from so many women who wanted a venue" to meet and be recognized, Caplan said after receiving the award. She said United Fresh still has a long way to go in promoting more women to its board and having more women represented in leadership positions.

The Packer is a sponsor of the event.