WOODLAND, Calif. — After two years as chair of Center for Produce Safety’s (CPS) Board of Directors, Wegmans Food Markets’ Dave Corsi has handed the gavel to grower-shipper Vic Smith of J.V. Smith Companies. The leaders figuratively and literally highlighted CPS’s ability to unite the fresh produce supply chain and other produce safety stakeholders when they jointly announced the news July 21.
Smith and Corsi made the announcement during the final webinar in CPS’s virtual annual Research Symposium. They reported that the 30-member Board of Directors had elected officers at their June 25 meeting. Joining Smith, Tony DiMare of The DiMare Company was elected secretary, and Mark Powers of Northwest Horticultural Council as treasurer. Corsi completes the officer slate, serving as immediate past chair.
“When you volunteer in a lead role for a very worthy organization, you always get more out of it than you’d ever imagine,” Corsi told the audience, reflecting on his time as CPS chair. “Wegmans is noted for prioritizing and caring for our people above anything else, and in turn our people take great care of our customers. Similarly, for Center for Produce Safety, it’s about the people who surround and support CPS to help fuel produce food safety change. I thank you all for making my experience quite rewarding.”
Corsi then introduced Smith as CPS’s new chair, exclaiming, “I couldn’t be more pleased that Vic Smith is your next chair. Vic is the type of guy that doesn’t take no for an answer. Instead, he asks, ‘Why can’t we?’ That attitude has earned him widespread respect in the industry. Thank you, Vic, for accepting the chair role.”
Smith called out Corsi for his service, noting, “We should all pause and thank Dave for his outstanding service to CPS, and to advancing the cause of fresh produce safety. CPS demonstrates that the right cause can unite even diverse stakeholders. That said, it takes a strong leader to steer such a myriad group forward. Dave has done that very ably and with his customary high energy.”
Smith then went on to characterize his vision for his term as chair. “While at this moment we face a unique time in our history, we must not lose sight of the vital mission of producing and delivering safe, wholesome produce day in and day out. I plan to work hard to keep CPS and our industry focused on its mission.”
CPS’s board works to ensure that the organization stays focused on its produce-specific food safety mission: fund science, find solutions and fuel change. The diverse directors hail from across the fresh produce supply chain, academia and government.
CPS welcomed three new board members at the June 25 meeting: Joe Pezzini of Ocean Mist Farms; Dave Puglia of Western Growers; and Max Teplitski of Produce Marketing Association. Three directors retired from the board: Hank Giclas of Western Growers, Chuck Ross with University of Vermont, and Bob Whitaker of PMA, who served on the board and served as the first chair of the CPS Technical Committee.
Taylor Fresh Foods’ Drew McDonald will continue to serve as chair of the Technical Committee, which works to ensure that the research CPS funds is practical and translatable to the real world. The Oppenheimer Group’s Doug Grant will continue to serve as chair of CPS’s Knowledge Transfer Task Force; this small group of industry leaders helps CPS convey its research findings to industry to better safeguard fresh produce safety.
“CPS is largely volunteer run,” said Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli, CPS’s executive director. “Our success is directly attributed to the people who volunteer their time and resources to support us.”
The 501(c)(3) nonprofit Center for Produce Safety (CPS) focuses exclusively on funding science, finding solutions and fueling fresh produce food safety change. The center is a unique partnership, bringing together leaders from industry, government, and the scientific and academic communities. CPS funds credible, independent research worldwide, then transfers that knowledge and tools to industry and other stakeholders through an annual Research Symposium (virtual in 2020), website, webinars, trade press guest columns and other outreach. Since it was founded in 2007, Center for Produce Safety has invested more than $30 million to fund produce-specific safety research. For more information, visit www.centerforproducesafety.org.