Produce Industry Leadership Program

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United Fresh is dedicated to providing promising, up-and-coming leaders with the tools they need to achieve success in the produce industry. The Produce Industry Leadership Program is designed for produce industry professionals ready to take the next step in their leadership journey.

Established in 1995, the Produce Industry Leadership Program is made possible by a generous educational grant from DuPont Crop Protection. With extensive involvement from professional trainers, faculty, and leading United Fresh members and DuPont executives, the program focuses on developing four core areas:

Leadership Development

  • Train with expert consultants, industry veterans and thought leaders to meet and exceed professional and personal goals  
  • Develop skills to effectively lead, manage, and inspire

Business Relationships

  • Build cohesion and understanding of all facets of the produce industry 
  • Establish important links and network with key industry professionals

Governmental and Public Affairs

  • Experience first-hand the federal, legislative, and regulatory system in Washington, DC
  • Learn about policy issues currently impacting the produce industry

Media and Public Communication

  • Master techniques of public speaking 
  •  Learn how to handle crisis communication and work effectively with the media and public and communication

Click here to view a flyer about the program. 

The Leadership Program provides solid foundational knowledge about the issues and challenges facing our industry, as well as practical tools to help individuals improve leadership skills at a formative stage in their career. Customized educational sessions are designed for participants to learn the essential skills they need to be successful.

The Leadership Program is designed to expose participants to the many elements of the produce industry and help them think beyond their daily business. Each class is selected to represent a broad cross-section of the industry and brings participants from all sectors of the industry to build a better understanding throughout all segments of the business.

Each class is limited to 12 participants to help maximize class interaction and learning. Camaraderie among participants builds quickly and becomes very strong. Whether touring lettuce fields in California or citrus groves in Florida, building a deeper understanding of each other's businesses while trekking across the country in a bus, working together through demonstrations in a lab, or supporting each other to step out of their comfort zones, participants learn some of the most important lessons and skills from each other.

The United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program is an exclusive program for representatives of United members only. Thanks to a special grant from the program sponsor, DuPont Crop Protection, it is the only ongoing, fully paid national leadership program for the produce industry.For questions about the Produce Industry Leadership Program, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , vice president of member services, at 202-303-3410.

Special thanks to our program sponsor:   DuPont_Logo_1

Meet the Current Class

Congratulations to Leadership Class 20! Click here to learn more about  the produce industry professionals in the newest leadership class. 

How to Apply

Applications for the United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program are accepted annually beginning in January. To apply, candidates must complete an application form, including two essays about why they would like to participate in the program and what they consider to be the most important challenges and opportunities facing the produce industry today.

Each class of 12 participants is selected in a confidential process by an independent committee of the United Fresh Board and leadership alumni. Eligibility is limited to representatives of United Fresh member companies, and all candidates must have the support of their companies to participate. Individuals are chosen from a broad cross-section of the produce industry, reflecting the breadth of United Fresh's membership.

The Committee strives to achieve balance considering multiple factors, including industry segment, commodities represented, business size and type, and geographic location. While there is no age requirement, by definition the Leadership Program involves individuals with a demonstrated commitment to the produce industry. United Fresh reserves the right to evaluate all Associate member applications with regard to the competitive position of the sponsoring company. 

For questions about the Produce Industry Leadership Program, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , vice president of member services, at 202-303-3410.

Program Alumni

The Produce Industry Leadership Program has graduated hundreds of "fellows" who have continued their successful careers in the produce industry. Today's graduates are executives of major produce businesses, leaders of prominent organizations, and some of the most well-known people in the industry. Many serve on the boards of directors and organizational committees of the nation's most successful companies.

In 2006, the graduates of the leadership program formed the United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Alumni Organization  as an opportunity for program graduates to continue their leadership journeys and give back to the produce community.

What Participants Are Saying

"I can honestly attribute much of my success to the lessons I learned and the relationships I gained through this program. It has positively impacted my career in so many ways."

Dan'l Mackey Almy, President, DMA Solutions, Inc.

"I continue to take back actionable items that will advance our company to the next level. The United Fresh Leadership Program has been an incredibly valuable opportunity."

Brian Cook, Director of Sales, San Miguel Produce, Inc.

"I learned that part of being a leader is rising above the confines of your own company and understanding the industry as a whole, your company's role in it, and how your company works with the industry."

Jason Hollinger,
General Manager, Four Seasons Family of Companies 

"In the discussions I had with other classmates, I realized we all struggle in similar areas both inside our own organizations and inside the industry.  Additionally you build a network of people you can reach out to and further those discussions or have dialog when situations arise and bounce ideas off of each other."

John Cameron,
Division Manager, Desert Glory, LTD

"Those who are and want to continue to be deeply connected to the industry and become smarter business minds for their company, will benefit most from applying to the program.  I encourage lucky candidates to be open-minded, enjoy the opportunity to step out of their day to day, and embrace the  broad perspective of the industry that will ultimately help you as you enhance your career."

Emily Fragoso,
Director of Business Development, Status Gro