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EPC announces leadership change at annual dinner dance

DSC 6406WOODLAND PARK, NJ — The Eastern Produce Council held the John J. McAleavey 52nd annual dinner dance — a night the event’s namesake used to call “the produce prom” — on Saturday, April 7, at the Westmount Country Club, here.

Art Brown, a former New Jersey secretary of agriculture, with Cindy and Kurt Zuhlke of Kurt Zuhlke & Associates and Thomas Beaver, director of marketing at the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

EPC Executive Director Susan McAleavey Sarlund welcomed attendees before turning the microphone over to Vic Savanello, who informed the crowd that he will be stepping down from his current role as EPC president April 24 at the council’s next meeting. Wakefern Food Corp.’s Marianne Santo, currently EPC's first vice president, will succeed Savanello.

“It’s been a wonderful term and a half that I’ve spent serving as president of EPC,” he said. “It’s helped me realize how many wonderful people we have in our industry.”

Savanello was recently named the Fresh Market’s vice president of merchandising, produce.

This year’s event honored Frieda Rapoport Caplan, founder of Frieda’s Inc. in Los Alamitos, CA, and Annabel Donio Arena, second-generation leader of Frank Donio Inc. in Hammonton, NJ, who was honored posthumously.

EPC also presented $5,000 checks to the Lead New York Program, the Tomorrows Children's Fund and the New Jersey Agricultural Society.