In what will become an annual award given at Fresh Summit by the Produce Marketing Association to one of its volunteer leaders, the inaugural winner of the Robert L. Carey Leadership Achievement Award will be named Oct. 26.

The award honors the service and the spirit of Carey’s 38-year career at PMA, said Bryan Silbermann, president and chief executive officer of the Newark, Del.-based association. “This year’s winner will establish the purpose of the award and the potential,” Silbermann said.

The award will be given at Fresh Summit’s opening general session brunch and presented to a volunteer leader who epitomizes the kind of leadership spirit that Carey showed, Silbermann said. The award won’t have a sponsor.

“This is something from PMA to PMA leaders, and it’s not supposed to be recognizing any company. It is about individual leadership,” Silbermann said.

Carey retired from PMA as president and chief executive officer in 1996 and currently lives in an assisted living home in Delaware.

Award recognizes PMA leaders at Fresh Summit“We talked about it and said if you want to acknowledge leadership and service to the association, what a great tribute to Bob to do something while he is still alive,” Silbermann said.

Though he is unable to travel, Carey is thrilled about the award and is looking to see the presentation of the winner on video, Silbermann said.

Carey helped train many volunteer leaders at PMA and he was a volunteer himself, serving on the board of the American Society of Association Executives, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Institute of Organization Management and others, Silbermann said.

Silbermann presented the idea of the award to the PMA board, and in June they approved the idea. Nominees were solicited from the boards of PMA and the PMA Foundation, he said.

Four past PMA chairmen and Silbermann made up the selection committee this year. Silbermann said a new person will roatate onto the selection committee each year, and one will leave.