Colleagues double as expert resources

11/01/2013 09:50:00 AM
Tom Stenzel

Not surprisingly, the Food Safety & Technology Council is our largest group of experts, now numbering some 130 professionals across every segment of the supply chain.

Other long-active councils bring together experts in government relations, supply chain logistics, and nutrition and health.

More recently, in 2012 our board formed two expert councils after analysis of industry needs showed a void for professionals in produce marketing and merchandising, and finance and business management.

We realized that empowering the shared experiences and synergies within each of these professional disciplines can really help our industry grow.

As I’ve observed the Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council in its first few meetings, there’s no better example of companies being willing to set aside competitive differences and share best practices and insights to advance our industry.

Of course our members will always be battling it out in the marketplace, seeking to pull market share from one another. But our real goal as an association is to work together to increase produce market share among all food purchases.

We know there is a huge upside for all of us as we change the way the next generation looks at fresh produce.

That’s why I’m so excited about this council’s recent announcement of the 2nd Annual Retail Produce Marketing & Merchandising Conference to be held immediately after the United Fresh and FMI Retail Connect shows in June in Chicago.

The council began work at its last meeting to define today’s key challenges and opportunities in marketing produce to drive best practices.

And, they’ll soon be putting programs together and selecting speakers for the June conference to address those opportunities.

So next time you’re looking for a little expert advice, consider getting involved with peers in the business and volunteer to serve on an association board or council.

When you volunteer to get involved with a local, regional or national association, you’ll be sharing your own expertise, but you’ll also be learning from others as we work together to grow our business for all.

Tom Stenzel is president and chief executive officer of the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association.

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