United Fresh Announces Class Two of Produce Safety Immersion Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – United Fresh Produce Association is pleased to announce the Class Two Fellows of the Produce Safety Immersion Program, sponsored by Renaissance Food Group at the gold level, and Ecolab as a silver sponsor. The 12 fellows will begin their journey virtually during a kickoff meeting later this month.

“We’re thrilled to welcome class two of the Produce Safety Immersion Program as they begin their journey as produce safety professionals,” said Dr. Jennifer McEntire, Vice President, Food Safety at United Fresh. “We successfully adapted class one’s program and are excited to take what we learned to   effectively build the technical capacity, critical thinking skills, and leadership attributes of this next class through a virtual format.”

The program combines a variety of approaches, including formal webinars, informal networking, technical seminars, group work, individual projects, and problem-solving exercises, combined with mentorship. Four highly-skilled produce safety professionals will serve as mentors to the program fellows and will accompany them at each meeting, including:

Class Two Fellows include:

  • Kelsey Adams, Taylor Farms – Texas, Dallas, TX
  • Abraham Cardenas, Taylor Farms Fresh Vegetables, Salinas, CA
  • Jordan DeVries, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Isabel Gomez-Garcia, Walther P. Rawl & Sons, Inc., Pelion, SC
  • Hilal Kasapoglu, Taylor Farms, Inc., North Kingtown, RI
  • Kaylie Lemon, Curation Foods, Santa Maria, CA
  • Mike Lepera, Mucci Farms, Kingsville, Ontario
  • Jose Morales, Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc., Salinas, CA
  • Alex Morales, Jr., Prima® Wawona, Reedley, CA
  • LaTaunya Tillman, Driscoll’s, Tampa, FL
  • Mari Villegas, Heinzen Manufacturing International, Gilroy, CA
  • Bristol Wells, Highland Ag Solutions, Mulberry, FL

Early-to-mid career professionals with less than five years’ experience in produce safety were evaluated by members of the United Fresh Food Safety Council Steering Committee based on their backgrounds, roles in the industry, career aspirations, and recommendations. These budding produce safety professionals will be coached by the following mentors:

  • Suresh DeCosta, Director of Food Safety, North America and Latin America, Lipman Family Farms
  • Natalie Dyenson, Vice President, Food Safety & Quality, Dole Food Company
  • Sergio Nieto-Montenegro, President, Food Safety Consulting & Training Solutions, LLC
  • Walter Ram, Vice President of Food Safety, Guimarra Companies

Several United Fresh members, including Drew McDonald, Taylor Farms; Mayda Sotomayor-Kirk, Seald Sweet International/Greenyard USA; and Michelle Danyluk, University of Florida shared their knowledge and experiences with class one. We invite interested members to reach out if they would like to support class two in this fashion. For more information about the program, contact Katie McGowan, United Fresh’s Food Safety Coordinator, at 202-303-3402 or kmcgowan@unitedfresh.org.


About United Fresh Produce Association
Founded in 1904, the United Fresh Produce Association brings together companies across every segment of the fresh produce supply chain, including growers, shippers, fresh cut processors, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, foodservice operators, industry suppliers and allied associations.

We empower industry leaders to shape sound government policy. We deliver the resources and expertise companies need to succeed in managing complex business and technical issues. We provide the training and development individuals need to advance their careers in produce. Through these endeavors, we unite out industry with a common purpose – to build long-term value for our members and grow produce consumption. For more information, visit www.unitedfresh.org