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Leadership Class #25

Fernando Aguiar is the Senior Account Manager for Naturipe Farms with 12 years experience working with customers such as Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Sam’s Club, Safeway and Ahold. When he graduated from Stonehill College with a Healthcare Administration degree, he didn’t expect his career path to lead him into the Produce world until an opportunity on the buying side of produce presented itself after graduation. He was working for Shaw’s Supermarket at the time and a position opened up at the corporate office for an Assistant Buyer. This was his gateway into an industry he would fall in love with. While at Shaw’s, he made his way from an Assistant to Buyer’s role working with a variety of organics, fruit and vegetables. After Shaw’s, he spent a little over two years buying for Stop and Shop before taking the opportunity to learn the sales side of produce with Naturipe Farms. In addition to the knowledge he has gained on both the buying and sales side of the industry, he has been fortunate to participate in many industry events and sponsored programs. When he is not at the sales desk, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two beautiful daughters.
  Aly Ahnert is the Sales Manager for Fresh Start Foods, headquartered in Vancouver, BC. Aly began her career in the food industry 12 years ago and has been enjoying her passion for produce over the past 6 years with Fresh Start Foods. During her tenure with Fresh Start Foods, Aly has worked in various roles providing her a vast understanding of the organization and aiding in her accelerating career growth. In her current position, Aly manages the sales team across Western Canada and has developed a strong network of connections among customers & industry leaders that has resulted in historic growth for Fresh Start Foods.
  As the Procurement Manager for Evolution Fresh, the fresh juice facility of Starbucks, Peter Barone is responsible for developing, implementing, and maintaining sustainable supply programs to support company initiatives. Along with daily activities which include planning, budgeting, contracting and pricing, Peter’s role allows him to work within cross functional teams and share his 16 years of produce industry experience through the Evolution Fresh/ Starbucks network. He was a member of the Produce Businesses 40 under 40 Class of 2014 Young and Smart Leaders on the Rise. Peter’s desire to continually learn, network, and drive continuous improvement fuels his passion for the industry.

Frank Camera is the Director of Sales for SunFed Produce LLC in Rio Rico AZ. He began his career in the produce industry when he was 14 years old living in Pennsylvania by picking strawberries. That opportunity turned into lumping watermelons the next summer and then becoming a produce clerk at a small local grocery store where he continued to work through high school and college years. After attending Kutztown University, he began working as a Produce Manager for Redner’s Markets until leaving to work at Four Seasons Produce originally as a Pricing Coordinator, but quickly moving into a buyers role. Frank enjoys building teams as he has coached high school and college baseball since 1997.  

  Annie Faller is the Quality Assurance and Food Safety Manager at Fresh Venture Foods in Santa Maria, CA, which is the exclusive processor of Gold Coast Packing and Babe Farms. She brought the plant to SQF Level 3 certification for the first time in 2017 and maintains FSMA, HACCP, Regulatory and Customer standards for the processing facility. She has been primarily involved in elevating the Food Safety training and credentials of the management team for the company and works closely with the Cal Poly Food Science Department to bring awareness and opportunities to students about the Produce Industry in Santa Maria and the rest of the state. She also serves on United Fresh’s Food Safety and Technical Council and her local CCOF chapter.

Craig Fields is Commodity Sales Manager for RPE — a grower, marketer and shipper of year-round potatoes and onions. He is a military veteran who began his career with five years of service in the United States Marine Corps. During 12+ years in the produce industry, Craig for RPE has worked in a variety of roles to fulfill diverse organizational and customer needs. After starting his RPE career as an account manager, Craig’s functional areas of responsibility evolved to include everything from program development and customer engagement to grower relations and bid/pricing strategy. Craig has extensive vendor-managed inventory (VMI) experience and a broad perspective gained by working on large and small national and regional retail accounts.

Bobby Grinstead is currently a Partner at The Grinstead Group, focusing on technology, supply chain strategy and merger and acquisition consulting. An advocate for the industry itself, Bobby also serves on the United Fresh Washington Committee and is co-founder and board member of the Dallas Fresh Food Association. While he enjoys the complexities and opportunity of the produce industry, it’s the people that make it special. Passionate and focused on impacting in fresh foods, he also still plans on a second career in the NBA.
  Martha Hilton is a category merchant for Wegmans Food Markets. Martha’s passion for the produce industry started early on growing up in the business with her family. After graduating from Cornell University with a degree in Agriculture Business Martha began working for Wegmans. Through her 10 years at Wegmans, Martha has held various role in both merchandising as well as in operations as a store manager. Currently Martha is responsible for managing Salad Leaf, Salad Vegetables and Potato & Onions. As a category merchant, Martha is responsible for sourcing products and establishing programs that continue to differentiate Wegmans in the marketplace.

Marc Newman is the Transportation Manager at Capital City Fruit in Norwalk, IA. He started his career on the shipping and receiving dock and quickly transitioned to the role of Transportation Manager. For the past 7 years, Marc has strategically planned, staffed, and managed all outbound and regional inbound logistics. In addition, Marc is responsible for managing the fleet, improving safety, decreasing expenses, and reducing transportation inefficiencies. Marc serves on the Capital City Fruit Occupational Safety, Food Safety, Lean and 5’s committees. Marc grew up regularly visiting the family farm in Northern Iowa, where he developed his interest in agriculture and learned about the hard work and dedication required to harvest premium products. His passion for providing the highest quality produce, shared by his colleagues, makes him proud to be a part of both his team and the produce industry.

  Stephanie Pharris has over 15 years of supply chain and procurement experience within the food produce industries and has spent almost half of those years working in organic agriculture. Her commitment to making a positive impact within the organization and the industry has contributed greatly to success within in her current role as Senior Supervisor of Supply Chain Management at Duncan Family Farms. In addition to her supply chain role, she is also a member of the Research & Development Committee and Data Governance Committee within the organization where her skills are helping to lead change through technology and innovation. She is very passionate about the positive impact that inclusive leadership, automation and data focused technology can make for the future of agriculture and the produce industry.
Jennifer Pulcipher is the corporate Food Safety Manager for North Bay Produce, Inc. headquartered in Traverse City, MI. Jennifer discovered her enthusiasm for agriculture and fresh produce while growing up on her family’s cherry orchard in Northern Michigan; spending every Spring and Summer as her father’s farm hand while in high school and college. Jennifer began her career in food safety with North Bay Produce soon after graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in Agribusiness Management. Shortly after beginning her position with North Bay, she continued her education by obtaining a Master’s degree in Food Safety from Michigan State University. Jennifer has grown within her role at North Bay Produce and is responsible for the oversight of all food safety programs; both foreign and domestic, ensuring that the supply chain is protected during the journey from farm to fork. She is an advocate for promoting science-based information surrounding agricultural practices and feels passionate about educating consumers with facts, not fear.
Oliver Sill is the domestic sales and head of Asia Sales at Columbine Vineyards. He has been in produce sales for 9 years and in agriculture his whole life.  He lives in Bakersfield, CA and while not working, he enjoys going to the gym, traveling, and spending time with family.


For questions about the Produce Industry Leadership Program, contact Amanda Griffin, Vice President, Education and Program Management, at 202.303.3412.