Joe Cimino says he has been having the time of his life, since 1989. That’s when he first got into the produce business full time, though he’s been around the industry his entire life.
“I can remember hanging out in my dad’s office in Salinas as a kid and hearing conversations he and my uncle would have with people on the other end,” Cimino said. “Those candid conversations hooked me, and by the time I was a teen, I found myself in his office more and more.”
Now 41, Cimino is the director of procurement for Pro*Act, LLC, Monterey, Calif. In his 12 years with the company, the company has seen substantial growth and expansion. Of course, he’s not about to slow down.
As a new member of the Member Relations Task Force, he will be more involved with Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association. He’s also passionate about serving his company and industry in other ways.
“I’m excited about driving value creation for our partners throughout the supply chain,” he said. “Industrywise, we have to resolve the labor crisis. This is, and will continue to be, one of our biggest challenges until Congress takes action to provide a viable guest worker program.”
Cimino says passion is the key to success in the produce industry.
“It’s definitely ever-changing, fast paced and takes multitasking to a new level. Not only that, it’s a 24-hour business. So if you don’t have the passion for it you won’t last long,” he said.
Others have certainly noticed that drive and commitment as well. Ervin Pavlofsky, apartner in Produce One, Dayton, Ohio, met Cimino when he was the account representative for Produce One.
“Right away he showed his leadership skills, and we had a lot of trust and confidence in him from the beginning,” Pavlofsky said.
Now that Cimino is moving forward in his career, Pavlofsky has continued to see those skills mature and develop.
“He has gotten to the next level,” he said.
Pavlofsky said he was pleased to see Cimino represent his class at the United Fresh convention, where he spoke in front of thousands.
“As a member of Pro*Act, I was very proud of all his accomplishments,” he said.
Cimino is pleased with those moments as well, saying that he’s proud of his selection for the 2011-12 United Fresh Leadership Class. However, he doesn’t list these career accomplishments as his greatest achievements.
“My biggest achievements are being married to my best friend for over 20 years and raising two incredibly sweet kids.”
He’s also grateful for the help and encouragement he’s gotten from family and colleagues over the years, listing his father and brother as important mentors, as well as Max Yeater, presidenf of Pro*Act, and Lloyd Ligier, vice president of business development at Pro*Act.
“I’ve learned a tremendous amount from each of them as they’ve taken me under their wings at some point throughout my career,” he said. “I’m extremely grateful, as they’ve helped me grow both professionally and personally.”