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Ed Bertaud, the Houston-based director of business development for the Pallet Management Division of IFCO Systems N.A. Inc. and chairman of the Texas International Produce Association, will be the recipient of the second annual Rising Star Award, which will be presented by The Produce News at the America Trades Produce conference, scheduled for March 6-8 in McAllen, TX.

Ed-BEd BertaudThe annual award honors a member of the trade under age 40 who has exhibited leadership and passion in his or her company as well as in the produce industry at large. It was conceived by the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, the Texas International Produce Association and The Produce News.

“Ed is incredibly engaged with this industry at various levels and in different capacities,” said TIPA President Bret Erickson. “Ed has always displayed a keen eye toward big-picture thinking, especially with regard to his view of the international nature of our business. He has worked on numerous issues on the industry’s behalf at the local, state and federal levels. In addition to his ‘regular job,’ Ed serves on the United Fresh Supply Chain Council and he has been very involved and hands-on as the chairman of TIPA.”

Mr. Bertaud helped lead TIPA’s evolution from the Texas Produce Association to its current focus on international trade and was also instrumental in driving the association’s Border Issues Management Program.

“I can also say that as much as Ed travels and as busy as his work and various assignments keep him, he is also an incredibly dedicated family man,” Mr. Erickson said. “He even finds time to coach his son’s football team, which, if you know how busy Ed is, is pretty impressive and speaks highly of who he is as a person.”

Mr. Bertaud began his career in 1994 with Pallet Recycling Associates of North America and steadily worked his way up through the ranks. He became vice president of Pallet Exchange Inc. in 1997 and general manager of IFCO in 2000 before being named to his current position in 2008.

In addition to serving as TIPA chair, he is a member of the South Texas Manufacturer’s Association, the San Antonio Manufacturer’s Association, the Houston Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association, the Texas Watermelon Association, the National Watermelon Association and the United Fresh Produce Association.

Amid the much-discussed graying of the produce industry, the Rising Star Award looks to focus a spotlight on younger members of the trade who have made an impact and are poised for even bigger and better achievements.

“We wanted to recognize people age 40 and under who have a lot of passion for the industry, who are charting new paths and who are taking on a continually elevating role with their companies and the industry,” said FPAA President Lance Jungmeyer.

“We are very excited to be involved with this award, because at The Produce News we have long held the belief that the younger members of the industry are the key to its future success,” added John Groh, editor and publisher of The Produce News. “Ed is very deserving of this honor, and we are pleased to recognize his contributions to the industry.”