LONG BEACH, Calif. — Expanding the membership base and evaluating the results of a survey designed to help the Fresh Produce & Floral Council meet members’ needs top Patty Knoll’s agenda as she assumes the role of 2010 chairwoman of the board.

The La Mirada, Calif.-based council membership officially welcomed Knoll, immediate past chairman Ken Ewalt and other officers and board members at the annual dinner dance themed Escape to Casablanca at the Westin Hotel Jan. 30.

With an extensive background in floral, Knoll said she will be quick to speak up for that part of the industry, but she emphasized that she has a lot more on her mind.

“Floral is just one thing that I want to focus on,” she said.

Another is attracting more members from small, independent supermarkets as well as from allied businesses.

“We need to reach out to all the different industries,” she said.

FPFC welcomes 2010 officers, board members

Tom Burfield

Patty Knoll, Diamond Bar, Calif.-based sales manager for produce and floral for Temkin International, Payson, Utah, accepts the gavel as 2010 chairwoman of the board of the Fresh Produce & Floral Council from outgoing chairman Ken Ewalt, vice president/general manager of the retail specialties division at Ready Pac Produce Inc. FPFC members celebrated at the council’s annual dinner dance Jan. 30 in Long Beach, Calif.

FPFC welcomes 2010 officers, board members

Tom Burfield

Members of the La Mirada, Calif.-based Fresh Produce & Floral Council turned out for the association’s annual dinner/dance in Long Beach, Calif., Jan. 30. Attendees of the Fresh Produce & Floral Council’s annual dinner/dance include Liane Mast (from left), director of floral for Stater Bros. Markets, San Bernardino, Calif.; chairman-elect Jeff Miller, partner and president at Westlake Produce Co., Los Angeles; outgoing chairman Ken Ewalt (standing), vice president/general manager of the retail specialties division at Ready Pac Produce Inc., Irwindale, Calif.; 2010 chairwoman Patty Knoll, sales manager for produce and floral for Temkin International, Payson, Utah; and treasurer Rick Cruz, manager of division operations for produce at the Santa Fe Springs, Calif., office of Vons.

The council also has plans to revamp its Web site, and in late February, will review results of a survey it commissioned to identify strengths and opportunities “to make sure what we’re doing is right,” Knoll said.

As Ewalt, vice president/general manager of the retail specialties division at Ready Pac Produce Inc., Irwindale, Calif., prepared to step down, he looked back at his year at the organization’s helm.

“It’s been a tough economic year for all of us,” he said.

But even with industry-wide budget cuts, the FPFC managed to hold the line on dues, enjoyed good turnouts at its luncheons and other events and managed to boost membership slightly.

“That shows that the membership still finds the networking opportunities at these events a tremendous value and a lot of fun,” Ewalt said.

Knoll assumes the chairwoman’s role with more than 20 years experience in the floral industry.

Currently the Diamond Bar, Calif.-based sales manager for produce and floral for Temkin International, a Payson, Utah-based manufacturer of flexible film packaging, she started her career as a floral clerk at Vons/Pavilions in 1986.

She was promoted to manager and served as a floral merchandiser and buyer before leaving the company to take a position as floral director for independent Top Value Markets based in Carson, Calif., in 1999. She returned to Vons in 2000 as a floral manager and then as a buyer.

When Vons became a division of Safeway Inc., she chose not to relocate to the firm’s Pleasanton, Calif., buying offices.

Instead, in 2002, she began working out of Los Angeles for San Luis Rey, Calif.-based Mellano & Co., a floral wholesaler.

She joined Temkin International in 2004, when she was offered an opportunity to sell packaging for produce and, eventually, floral products.

She is active with the City of Hope fundraiser and received the organization’s Spirit of Life Award and also received the FPFC’s floral achievement award.

Other 2010 FPFC officers include chairman-elect Jeff Miller, partner and president at Westlake Produce Co., Los Angeles, and treasurer Rick Cruz, manager of division operations for produce at the Santa Fe Springs, Calif., office of Vons.