PHILADELPHIA — The Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia recently honored three individuals who during the course of their careers have had a significant influence on the Chilean fruit industry.
At a gala luncheon Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the Hyatt at the Bellevue, here in downtown Philadelphia, the chamber presented Harold Sbrocco of Sbrocco International in Mt. Laurel, NJ, and Thomas Mastromarco of Holt Logistics in Gloucester, NJ,with Lifetime Achievement Awards, and then presented Delaware Gov. Jack Markell with its Friend of Chile Award.
All the awards celebrate and recognize the strong and deep commercial, trade, cultural and diplomatic relationship between the greater Philadelphia region and the republic of Chile.
About 325 people attended the event, which began with a tasting of Chilean wines, followed by the luncheon at noon. Robert W. Palaima, president of the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia's board of directors, welcomed everyone to the event. Ricardo J. Maldonado, executive director of the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, also addressed the attendees.
Andreas (Andy) P. Economou of Unifrutti of America Inc. in Philadelphia presented the first Lifetime Achievement Award, proudly calling his longtime friend, Harold Sbrocco, "honorable and dedicated" throughout his career, adding, "He has been successful in promoting Chilean fruit in many areas."
Sbrocco was not able to attend the ceremony for personal reasons, but his daughters, Christine Sillars and Victoria Anderson, accepted the award on his behalf.
"I have learned that being successful in business and in life is not about how much money you make -- it is about having satisfaction in the work you do. That you stick to your word and conduct yourself with honesty and integrity," said Sillars, who has worked at Sbrocco International for 11 years and is currently the firm's business manager.
"The most important thing our father wanted us to convey to you today is that he would have never been able to achieve the success he has, both personally and professionally, without the guidance and example of his father," she continued. "He worked for almost 20 years in the produce industry before Sbrocco International was established in 1992. With the help of his hard-working employees, both past and present -- some of who are here today -- he has been able to grow our company into a well-known and respected import-export business. We currently are the ninth largest Chilean importer in the United States. Our company continues to grow, and our father continues to push to be better, bigger and stronger."
Tom Holt of Holt Logistics then presented the other Lifetime Achievement Award to his colleague, Thomas Mastromarco.
"It's overwhelming," said Mastromarco, who related the story of how he came to the United States from Italy when he around 16 years old -- and how a gentleman by the name of Leo Holt gave that teenager a part-time job working on the docks of Philadelphia -- and that he has continued to work and thrive at Holt Logistics to this day.
He expressed his thanks to all the members of the Holt family who were at the luncheon.
"I felt like I was part of the Holt family," said Mastromarco, his voice breaking with emotion. "I never could have imagined that I would be honored in this way."
Anne Bookout, vice president and general counsel at Royal Pest Solutions, presented the final award, the 16th annual Friend of Chile Award, to Delaware Gov. Jack Markell.
The governor was elected as Delaware's governor in 2009, organized a trade mission to Chile in 2011, and was re-elected governor in 2012. He stated that the strong relationship with that South American country continues to benefit not only his home state but indeed the entire region as well.
"I very much appreciate this honor," he said.