No two days are the same in the produce business, which present both opportunities and challenges for Gary Myracle.

“Whether you are on the floor in a retail store, in the fields in California or in the office of a distribution center, you always have situations you face and attack every day,” said Myracle, executive director of produce procurement for Associated Wholesale Grocers.

Myracle, 64, has spent his 44-year career in retail, and credits his father Bill Myracle for the early influence working at St. Louis-based Schnucks Markets.

“He started my initial training and got me intrigued with the produce department,” Myracle said. “I think my dad would be very proud to see how that green produce guy he first tried to show the difference between cabbage and lettuce to many years ago has grown his career to where it is today.”

Myracle started at Schnucks in high school as a bagger, and became a produce manager at age 25. He spent 10 years at the retailer before becoming a produce specialist for Wetterau Foods in St. Louis.

In 1991, he joined AWG in Springfield, Mo., as a produce specialist and moved up to buyer, director of produce in Springfield, and was promoted to executive director in the company’s Kansas City headquarters in 2006.

“For me, it is very rewarding to see all the people I have brought into the produce industry grow and succeed in their respective positions,” Myracle said.

Tim Graas, produce buyer for AWG, said he’s fortunate for the opportunity to work with and learn from Myracle.

“When it comes to produce knowledge, Gary is the master,” Graas said. “He is very well connected within the industry ahs has been instrumental in raising quality standards, not only for AWG, but for the industry as a whole.”