( The Packer )

Alex DiNovo is generation next and generation now.

DiNovo, president and chief operating officer of DNO Produce, a Columbus, Ohio-based distributor, took the reigns of the company in November 2017. Tony DiNovo, Alex’s father, founded the company in 1989.

Alex DiNovo was selected to be part of the 2017-18 United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program Leadership Class 23 and has served on the United Fresh school foodservice committee.

“Alex has shown a true vision for what it means to reach the next generation of produce consumers,” said Tom Stenzel, president and CEO of the United Fresh Produce Association. 

“His work to bring more fresh fruits and vegetables to schools and kids in his community is setting the bar for how our industry can invest in the future.”
Stenzel said DiNovo has a bright future in the industry.

“I’ve also seen Alex stepping up in leadership within his company and our association beyond his age,” he said.
Jeremy Taylor, vice president of sales for DNO Produce, said DiNovo is always prepared to change when needed. 

“Alex exudes courage and bravery in our business, allowing confidence throughout different departments,” Taylor said. “He’s reflective on our mistakes for continual betterment.”

Taylor said that DiNovo’s resilience through constant change helps steer DNO. 

With both his father and grandfather making their mark in the produce business, DiNovo said he fell into the business at a young age, doing odd jobs like sweeping the floors and emptying the trash when he was six or seven. 

As he grew, so did his responsibilities, and by the time he was in college, DiNovo said he had begun selling produce for DNO Produce.

“I was working pretty heavily in the business on the sales side, which I really enjoyed,” he said. “Sales to me is my favorite thing to do, because I like talking to people.”

Now with a good 20-plus years at DNO Produce in full-time positions, DiNovo said he appreciates the “old school” produce professionals at DNO that showed the way.
“You learn a lot from being around them,” he said. 

DiNovo said he can be a bridge between both the older generation and the millennial generation.

His involvement with the United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program meant a lot to DiNovo.

“It is people that really care about the business, and you really do get introduced to the best and the brightest through that program,” he said.

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