Gene Atkins of Norfolk, Va.-based Catalytic Generators. ( Special to The Packer )

Gene Akins of Norfolk, Va.-based Catalytic Generators received the Florida Tomato Man of the Year recognition at the annual Florida Tomato Committee Conference. 

Tomato committee board members recognized Akins for more than 40 years of support to the tomato industry and Florida tomato growers, according to a news release. 

“Gene Akins and Catalytic Generators have been a constant supporter of our industry, and we thank you for this long-term support,” David Neill, tomato grower and committee member, said in the release.

At the Oct. 4 conference, Akins told attendees he was honored and that his company and employees will continue to promote Florida tomatoes and mature greens.

“It is important that we as an industry maintain the proper phrasing of ‘applying ethylene’ to produce and promote the natural de-greening and ripening of the fruit,” Akins said in the release.

After serving on the Florida Tomato Exchange board for more than 25 years, Akins will be stepping down. Catalytic Generators will continue to support the board as a resource for post-harvest handling of tomatoes and ethylene application.

Catalytic Generators invented and patented a process of producing ethylene in ripening rooms in 1973. The system converts a liquid concentrate, called Ethy-Gen II, into safe levels of ethylene, a natural plant hormone. 

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