Shay Myers, CEO of Parma, Idaho-based Owyhee Produce, is The Packer’s 2020 Produce Man of the Year.
The Packer “presented” the award in a video presentation during United Fresh LIVE! on June 17.
The Packer’s editor Tom Karst praised Myers’ social media presence and story-telling ability, which has been especially evident during the COVID-19 crisis.
When the bottom fell out of foodservice demand in March, Karst said grower-shippers were faced with huge quantities they could not sell in traditional channels. Wholesale distributors scrambled for ways to survive by selling direct to consumers and switching sales efforts from shuttered restaurants to overwhelmed retailers, he said.
The crisis elevated Shay Myers as an industry leader who could effectively share the pain the industry feeling, Karst said.
“Explaining why piles of produce had to be dumped because demand disappeared, Myers made himself available to New York Times, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Fox News and ABC Live,” Karst said.
Myers has a heart for what is best for the company an the entire industry, said Desiree Forsythe, assistant director of procurement and national account manager for National Produce Consultants LLC, Plano, Texas.
“I can’t speak highly enough about the way that he does business and helps others,” she said. “That truly shines in everything he does. If he said he will do it, he does it the right way. meets timetables, gets it done, and he never steers anybody wrong.”
Beck said Myers has a vision for the future and is always looking down the road to what is next.
“He is always willing to take that leap, to try something new — good bad or indifferent,” he said. “He is always setting a new bar for us to live up to.”
“I am super excited and glad to be here virtually,” Myers said in receiving the award. “All I can say is that I’m a proud farm kid, I’m so grateful to have grown up the way that I did, surrounded by farmers and family, and to be in an industry that is so quick to adapt and adjust.”