( File photo )

Retail expert Dick Spezzano has been chosen as this year’s recipient of the Center for Growing Talent’s Jay Pack Cultivating our Future Award.

Spezzano, president of Spezzano Consulting Service and a long-time volunteer at the center, was recognized for his service with the award at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit convention Oct. 16 in Anaheim, Calif. The award was presented at the Center for Growing Talent Contributor & Volunteer Reception, an invitation-only event, according to a news release.

Spezzano has been on the board for PMA and the center, and is a Career Ambassador for its Career Pathways programs. He’s also on the Tip Murphy Scholarship committee.

“Dick has a willingness to give back that’s not just about volunteering – it is a way of living,” Alicia Calhoun, Center for Growing Talent vice president, said in the release. “He is proof that volunteers are people who don’t want to be thanked for helping others but instead, want to thank others for giving them the opportunity to help. He has given his time, talent and expertise to excite bright, young talent and bring them into the industry and this award is very well deserved.”

Russ Tavlan, CEO of the Moonlight Cos, of California, said Spezzano’s “passion for produce is gravitating,” according to the release.

“His perpetual curiosity and drive to learn has always been inspiring to me,” Tavlan said in the release. “But above all, his willingness to share so much of his time to cultivate the careers of so many makes him deserving of this award.”

Jay Pack has been an integral part of the Career Pathways over the years, according to the release, and the award honors volunteers who support “attracting talent by sharing their passion and insights,” according to the release.

This year, 37 students are attending Fresh Summit through the Career Pathways program, the largest group to date.

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