Greg Corrigan has started his term as chairman of the United Fresh Produce Association. ( File Photo )

Greg Corrigan received a surprising item from his predecessors as he began his term as United Fresh Produce Association chairman.

Outgoing chairwoman Cindy Jewell, vice president of marketing for California Giant, and Susan Reimer-Sifford, senior vice president and chief strategy officer for Fresh Connect, presented Corrigan with a pair of leopard-skin stiletto heels and told him he had big shoes to fill.

Corrigan, the senior director of produce and floral for Raley's, said he agreed and accepted the challenge.

"To my surprise (the shoes) did fit, and as a good sport I attempted to take a few baby steps to show I have what it takes," Corrigan said.

Setting aside the humor, Corrigan said he is “truly honored and humbled” to take on the chairman’s role in 2019-20.

“I am looking forward to meeting with the many talented leaders that make up the board to better understand what is happening from all aspects of our industry and working together to collectively make changes for the better,” Corrigan said.

Corrigan said he has enjoyed being a part of the committee to find ways to improve the United Fresh trade show.

“We have a new Partner X-Change program to have one-on-one business partner meetings, a new late-night event at House of Blues, and we have made some changes to the scheduling of events at the show that I believe will improve the energies and networking throughout the show,” he said.

As he takes the lead volunteer role, Corrigan said United Fresh has no lack of work ahead.

“We have important issues like trade, immigration, food safety, ethical labor practices and more that are important topics we will be working on in the short and long term,” Corrigan said. “Some we have been working on longer than many would like, but it is important to continue work at to make change for the better of our industry.”

Corrigan advises aspiring volunteer leaders to look for ways to serve.

“By getting involved and giving your time and expertise you will be giving your perspective, but I promise you will gain more through networking and understanding from others,” he said. “Always ask questions and be curious to learn more especially from other segments of the business you are not familiar with.”

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