Officials with the Southeast Produce Council plan to announce members of the 2014 STEP-UPP class at the council’s president’s dinner during the group’s fall conference in September.

The program — Southeast Training Education Program for Upcoming Produce Professionals — is open to retail and foodservice professionals who are members of the Southeast Produce Council, according to a council news release. The council’s fall conference is set for Sept. 26-28 in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Participation is limited to a dozen people. Applicants are interviewed regarding their leadership potential and interest in developing a career path in fresh produce, according to the news release.

The objective of STEP-UPP is to provide an enriched learning experience for participants so they can develop a greater understanding of the fresh produce industry. The program emphasizes development of strategic orientation, personal leadership and hands-on field experiences, according to the SEPC website.

Ten people completed the 2013 class. Accompanying them on educational tours were STEP-UPP committee officers Faye Westfall, Joe Watson, Tom Page and Andrew Scott.

“Our recent grower’s tour was an awesome experience for all of us. The last day for the educational workshop the group was given a presentation from the Florida Department of Agriculture who were joined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Cargo Development from the Port of Miami,” Westfall said in the news release.

Southeast Produce Council to name STEP-UPP classMembers of the 2013 STEP-UPP class were:

  •  Anthony Wilson, Freshfield Farms, Orlando, Fla.;
  •  Chuck Alexander, Lowes Foods, Winston Salem, N.C.;
  •  Dave Williams, Rouses Markets, New Orleans;
  •  Jason Zellers, So Fresh Produce, Winter Haven, Fla.;
  •  Jimmy Hyde, Delhaize, Salisbury, N.C.;
  •  Joseph Bunting, United Supermarkets, Lubbock, Texas;
  •  Daniel Smith, Harps Food Stores Inc., Cabot, Ark.;
  •  Ron Potter, K-V-A-T, Bristol, Tenn.;
  •  Rohil Shah, Winn Dixie, Jacksonville, Fla.; and
  •  Gary Baker Jr., Merchant Distributors, Hickory, N.C.