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EPC leadership class kicks off inaugural year

Freshtography EPC6On Tuesday, April 3, the inaugural Eastern Produce Councils leadership class began its nine-month program with a tour of Holt Logistics’ Gloucester terminal in Gloucester City, NJ, and Greenyard Logistics' facility in Logan Township, NJ. The class consists of 14 young produce professionals from various companies and positions within the industry.

Tom Paragham and Daniel Pisauro, both from Wakefern, listen in as Susan McAleavey Sarlund from EPC welcomes the leadership class.

On hand from EPC were Susan McAleavey Sarlund, executive director, and Marianne Santo, first vice president. “This is our very first class and our very first day," said Santo. "This program took over two years to develop, so we are very excited to see it get off the ground with this wonderful group.”

The day began with an overview of Holt Logistics provided by Sander (Sandy) Daniel at the Gloucester terminal facility in Gloucester City. He gave the class a thorough overview of the facility and the port of Philadelphia, which contains three of the Holt’s facilities, Gloucester terminal, Packer Avenue and a brand new port in Paulsboro, NJ. “We are the largest fruit terminal on the East Coast and the only port that has Primus certification in the USA,” he said.

As part of the tour, the class was shown the pier facilities, including the pier that receives over 60 percent of Del Monte’s bananas that are sold in the United States. The group walked the loading and receiving docks, quality inspection rooms and cold storage and fumigation chambers, before culminating their visit with a photo in front of a break-bulk vessel that was unloading grapes from Chile.

The leadership class then traveled 20 miles south to the Greenyard Logistics facility in Logan Township, where Greenyard Vice President Steve Marinello received the group. They were welcomed in with a beautiful lunch and a brief overview of Greenyard Logistics and its sister company, Seald Sweet International of Vero Beach, FL.

“Greenyard is a global company whose size is often miscalculated," said Marinello. "We are the second-largest produce company in the world, surpassing the likes of well-known names Del Monte and Chiquita.”

After donning freezer jackets and requisite hairnets, the group toured the state-of-the-art facility. Greenyard Logistics offers a variety of services, including warehousing, repacking and cross-docking, and is strategically located within 25 minutes of the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia. The students were able to view the restyling of grapes from Chile into clamshells on a packingline as well as the storage capacity of Greenyard, which at the time, was near full capacity.

Sarlund explained that this class of young leaders would meet on three more occasions before graduating from the program in December. On the agenda for this coming year is a Food Safety Modernization Act seminar at Rutgers University as well as classroom and field experience at Rutgers University’s Cream Ridge and Snyder Farm locations.

The leadership class of 2018 was a very dynamic and eager group of individuals who agreed the tours were an insightful and exciting start to their journey together. EPC is excited to launch the leadership program with this inaugural class and looks forward to many more classes in the future.