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Chamberlains named 2017 Pillars of the FPAA

TUBAC, AZ — Jimmy and Sylvia Chamberlain were recognized as the 2017 Pillars of the FPAA Nov. 3 for their long and distinguished leadership within the industry and FPAA. According to FPAA, the annual award is “given to those who have volunteered their time and effort to the industry, as well as demonstrated innovation and integrity throughout their career.”Chamberlain-family2017 winners of the Pillars of the FPAA award, Jimmy and Sylvia Chamberlain, are flanked by their children, Dianna and Jaime.

Gonzalo Avila, chairman of FPAA, presented the award at the closing dinner of the 49th Produce Convention & Golf Tournament. The Nov. 2-4 meeting was presented by the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.

Avila introduced the husband-and-wife team, noting that Sylvia — who had two small children at home — took the initiative to get a business license and go to the bank and borrow $1,000 so Jimmy Chamberlain could start his own buying brokerage firm Dec. 10, 1971. “JC Distributing became one of the largest buying brokerages,” he said. By 1983 affiliated Mexican growers asked him to become a distributor. That brought a 10,000-square-foot facility. Now, under the management of son, Jaime Chamberlain, the firm has a 90,000-square-foot warehouse and office facility in Nogales.

Jimmy entered the business in Nogales as a 14-year-old who moved to the city in need of a job on Nov. 22, 1963.

“The impact of that career can be felt all across the industry,” Avila noted.