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Southeast Produce Council unveils training program

(April 19, 2010)—The Southeast Produce Council is launching a comprehensive industry-specific education program for retail and foodservice buyers at its 2011 conference.

The Riverview, Fla.-based council’s Southeast Training Education Program for Upcoming Professionals, also known as STEP-UP, is designed to provide a dozen “high potential” retail and foodservice leaders a learning experience that emphasizes developing strategic business orientation, personal leadership and hands-on field experience, according to an April news release.

Scheduled to be kicked off in March at the Southern Exposure retail and foodservice conference and exposition in Orlando, Fla., the council plans an eight-month program with field tours in different southeastern growing regions, and classroom instruction on category management, merchandising, consumer trends and leadership management, according to the release. 

Additionally, the council plans activities to be centered around other organization events to foster more industry networking opportunities, according to the release.

“In keeping with the organization’s mission to be the Southeast’s premiere resource for produce education and information, we believe this program creates a venue to identify and mentor rising talent on the buying side of the fresh produce business,” council president Tom Page, East Coast procurement manager for the Lakeland, Fla., office of Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Supervalu Inc., said in the release.

Terry Vorhees, the council’s executive director, in the release said details of the program application process have not been finalized but said the program would be available to council members in roles including produce manager, produce merchandiser, category manager or produce buyer. 

Application information is expected to be available in May, he said, with the first class expected to be selected by late fall.

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