July 19, 2022

Joe Pezzini named Center for Produce Safety’s Board of Directors chair

Joe Pezzini, senior director of agricultural operations for Taylor Farms, was elected Center for Produce Safety Board of Directors chair at the CPS board directors’ annual business meeting June 23. Pezzini reports his first priority as CPS board chair will be to guide the board’s update of the center’s strategic plan. Pezzini named CPS Board chair.

Pezzini underscored that produce safety isn’t just a professional goal, it’s personal to the fresh produce industry. So, Center for Produce Safety’s work must center on meeting the needs of a diverse fresh-produce supply chain.

“The food we grow and sell to consumers is the same food we take home to our families. Our work doesn’t get more personal than that,” Pezzini said. “Food safety should be the number one thing we do. Center for Produce Safety helps us get there.”

The 28-member board also welcomed six returning members and one new one, elected other officers for 2022-2024 and recognized several longtime volunteer leaders who retired from the group. The Board of Directors ensures  CPS stays focused on its mission to fund science, find solutions and fuel change in fresh produce food safety.

Six board members agreed to serve additional three-year terms:

  • Jim Brennan, president, SmartWash Solutions
  • Mike Joyner, president, Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association
  • Dave Murray, partner, Andrew & Williamson/Good Farms
  • Mark Mignogna, vice president, quality assurance, Sysco
  • Victor Smith, CEO, J.V. Smith Farms
  • Craig Wilson, vice president, QA and food safety, Costco Wholesale

Joining the CPS Board of Directors for the first time is Amy Gates, vice president of Seald Sweet/Greenyard USA.

The board directors then elected officers for 2022-2024:

  • Pezzini as CPS board chair;
  • Bret Erickson, senior vice president of business affairs for Little Bear Produce, as secretary; and
  • Mark Powers, president of Northwest Horticultural Council as treasurer.

Four retiring board members and volunteer leaders are retiring, including Dave Corsi, vice president of produce and floral for Wegmans Food Markets. Corsi served as chair of the board 2019-2020, during which time he guided development of the strategic plan that has directed CPS’s work since then.

Also retiring from board is Doug Grant, executive vice president and COO for The Oppenheimer Group, and founding chair of CPS’s Knowledge Transfer Task Force. Under Grant’s leadership, the task force significantly expanded the ways CPS transfers its research learnings to industry and other stakeholders of fresh produce food safety.

In addition, CPS recognized retiring board members Tom Stenzel and Paul Fleming for their long-term service as CPS directors. Stenzel retired in April as co-CEO of International Fresh Produce Association, and was the long-standing president and CEO of United Fresh Produce Association. Fleming is a well-known industry executive turned consultant who first joined the CPS board in 2009.

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