Strube received the award from Shannon Shuman, publisher of The Packer, Aug. 19 during the opening reception of The Packer's second annual Midwest Produce Conference and Expo at the Hyatt Regency.
"Jan was truly a mentor not only to me but to so many people," Strube said.
Strube is the first recipient of the award, which honors Jan Fleming, former president and chief executive officer of Celery & Vegetable Co., who died in May. Fleming became president of Strube in 1994, succeeding her father, Bob Strube.
She handled day-to-day leadership of the company until stepping down in 2004 but remained chief executive officer.
Lisa Strube, whose ex-husband is Jan's nephew, remains part of the family and part of the fourth-generation of leadership at the company and said Jan's legacy endures as the company is on the cusp of its fifth generation.
The expo continues Aug. 20 with Bradley Fitzhenry, brand manager at MJR Creative Group, leading a keynote session on new approaches to sales and marketing.
An educational session covering online retailing follows, with panelists Drew Schwartzhoff, director of marketing for C.H. Robinson, Bill Bishop of Willard Bishop Consulting, and Tony Stallone, vice president of merchandising and food safety for online grocer Peapod.
The expo floor opens after the workshops and includes a lunch and happy hour.
This year's expo floor features 205 exhibitors, up from 153 in 2012.
A retail tour Aug. 21 includes stops at Walgreens to check out its new produce format, Target and Chicago's own Pete's Fresh Market's new Oakbrook Terrace location, its first suburban store.
For 2014, the Midwest Produce Conference and Expo is scheduled for Aug. 11-13.