Award winner 'best ambassador of Canadian industry'TORONTO Sure, she"s paid to do what she does. It"s her job.

That"s beside the point. Jane Proctor absolutely loves what she does and has dedicated herself to the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, starting in 1985 as a part-time receptionist rising to her current role as vice president of policy and issue management.

Proctor, named The Packer"s Canadian Produce Woman of the Year during the CPMA"s annual convention and expo April 19, was introduced by Packer Publisher Shannon Shuman as "an exceptional example of a lifetime dedication to a cause."

"I think it"s amazing I"m getting an award for something I"m paid to do and I love to do," she said. " … It"s been a phenomenal, phenomenal career."

Proctor thanked specific people in the industry, some of them past recipients of The Packer award, as well as everyone who volunteers time and resources to serve on CPMA boards and committees.

"I admire every single day the dedication within our industry," she said. " ... There"s been people that have helped me so much and continue every day. You guys should be so proud of yourselves and how much you give."

Shortly after joining CPMA, Proctor became administrative assistant to the national director of promotions for the Fresh for Flavour Foundation, and in 1994 when CPMA took over the Reach for It campaign, she integrated Fresh for Flavour into CPMAs mandate.

Since then, she rose through the CPMA ranks with promotions including:

  • Marketing coordinator, with the membership directory added to her responsibility
  • Information technology manager, tasked with everything from retail coding, website coordination and being the expert on all hardware and software and
  • Director of industry technology and standardization

Proctor is also the CPMA"s point person on the Produce Traceability Initiative, an issue she"s been working on for years.

"When it comes to supply chain, she is the most expert person in the world," United Fresh Produce Association president Tom Stenzel told Shuman.

Others praised Proctor"s work in the industry.

"She is so dedicated to the industry that it is more than just a job for her. Also, she is probably the best ambassador of the Canadian industry around the world," Martin Desrochers, who received The Packer"s award in 2007, said.

"She has been a great advocate for our industry. She is dedicated and tenacious in her efforts to secure nothing but the best for the produce industry," said John Anderson, president and chief executive officer of The Oppenheimer Group.

Two others Canadian industry received awards April 19.

Stephanie Lariviere, regulatory manager and sales at Erie James Ltd. is the 2013 Mary FitzGerald Award, named after long-time Chiquita Brands International employee, who died in 2005. The award goes to a Canadian produce industry representatitive under 40 who shows passion and innovation in their career.

Lariviere brought her company into a new era of food safety oversight, making sure processes were in place to put Erie James on the leading edge of food safety. She thanked the company for "endless support in my endeavours."

Adrian Huisman, who recently retired as longtime manager of the Ontario Tender Fruit Marketing board, received the CPMA Lifetime Achievement Award. As the leader of the tender fruit board - serving that organization for almost 50 years - Huisman was instrumental in fighting the plum pox virus, which threatened crops for years. He also led similar Ontario groups for apples and grapes.