Alumni of the annual United Fresh Produce executive development program, a one-week course at Cornell University, will for the first time have their own United Fresh event when the convention comes to San Diego.

An executive education seminar and networking reception is scheduled for May 14.

More than 250 industry members have gone through the course since it launched in 2007. It’s provided through a partnership between the Cornell University food industry management program and the United Fresh Foundation.

The seventh-annual course was held in March at the Ithaca, N.Y., campus.

United Fresh, Cornell leadership alumni to meet in San Diego“This new program of having an alumni meeting at the convention allows the networking to really live with each successive year as it gets bigger and makes the value of going to that even greater,” said Ray Gilmer, vice president of issues management and communication for United Fresh Produce Association.

The leadership development program is an immersion in an Ivy League environment with 30 or more produce industry colleagues.

“It’s an opportunity to get away, think about strategies and business management techniques and learn a bit about your own personality traits and management style,” Gilmer said.

“You take the networking value of that and the education gained from exposure to these wonderful professors at Cornell, and implement it at your company.”

At United Fresh 2013, the alumni educational seminar will be on “The Shifting Leadership Paradigm,” led by Bill Drake, Cornell’s director of executive education, and Michael Hostetler of the Johnson Graduate School of Management.

The topic is adapting leadership skills to challenges unique to the industry.

April 30 is the alumni registration deadline. For more information, contact education manager Shannon Young at or 202-303-3405.