Dave Corsi and Joe Pezzini Receive PMA Leadership Awards
ORLANDO, FL - Produce professionals settling into Orlando enjoyed a celebration of leadership today. Industry trailblazers Joe Pezzini, President and CEO of Ocean Mist Farms in Castroville, California; and Dave Corsi, Vice President of Produce & Floral for Rochester-based Wegmans, were both honored with leadership awards at the PMA Fresh Summit Convention & Expo’s first Forum for the Future on October 18th. These awards were given to those who demonstrate exceptional volunteer commitment to PMA and to the fresh produce and floral industry, as well as to those that stand out for their collaborative leadership.
“These two gentlemen are always willing to bring to the table their talent, resources, and, most importantly, their time to move our association and industry forward,” said PMA CEO Cathy Burns. “Without a doubt, the global fresh produce and floral industry is stronger because they are part of this community, and their ideas and insights have helped move PMA closer toward fulfilling its vison of building a healthier world.”
Pezzini won the Robert L. Carey Leadership Award because of his mutual respect and appreciation of everyone he meets, according to a press release, and these virtues are what make him admirable. Retired President and CEO of Castellini Group in Newport, Kentucky, Bill Schuler also expressed Pezzini’s strong record of volunteer service with PMA and other industry organizations. Pezzini served on PMA’s Board of Directors and Co-Chairs for PMA’s Science and Technology Committee.
“This year’s recipient has been fearless in meeting industry challenges head on — most notably, issues of food safety,” said Schuler. “He is always a thoughtful and strategic person when sharing his thoughts on a subject and always considers the good of the entire industry.” Schuler, the 2017 Carey award recipient, presented Pezzini with this year’s award.
Pezzini was thrilled to receive the award that honored his commitment to the industry in many ways. The Robert L. Carey Leadership Award was established in 2012 to honor former PMA President Robert. L. Carey, who led PMA’s charge from 1958 to 1996. He transformed the organization from one with 100 members and a narrowed focus on produce packaging to one that includes thousands of dynamic and lively members from all corners of the industry. By orchestrating the connection between buyers and suppliers, PMA has become a powerhouse, and this award celebrates that. This year’s winner, Pezzini is recognized for his work in the same vein as Carey’s.
“It is an honor to be recognized by PMA as this year’s Robert L. Carey Leadership Award recipient,” said Pezzini. “I have been fortunate to be able to serve PMA and the industry in various leadership capacities over the years. I am grateful and proud to follow in the footsteps of Bob Carey and the previous award winners to serve the produce industry.”
Corsi received the Bryan E. Silbermann Collaboration Award because of his spirited cooperation, leadership, and dedication to the industry. This is the second year that this award has been given out, so Corsi succeeds Tim York—President of Salinas, California-based Markon—who was the first recipient last year.
“Our awardee doesn’t hesitate to get involved in industry issues, either chairing a project or working behind the scenes to make things happen,” said York, when teasing out Corsi’s identity to the audience. “With a wide reputation for working across the supply chain, it’s no surprise to hear a colleague describe this year’s recipient as ‘a consensus builder with a special talent for achieving collaboration among diverse industry representatives.’”
Corsi’s volunteer experience spans throughout the industry and includes his roles as Chair of PMA’s Board of Directors and as a Board Member of the Center for Growing Talent. He has also been on committees and task forces for PMA and Center for Growing Talent, and Corsi currently serves as the Chair for Center for Produce Safety’s Board of Directors, proving his dedication to advancing food safety. Corsi used his time to shine as an opportunity to put the Center for Produce Safety’s efforts at the forefront of discussion and to support its efforts with future collaborations.
“I am honored, humbled, and, quite frankly, blown away in being recognized for this award,” said Corsi, who credited his mentors and company’s Founder for his collaborative style. “When you become a volunteer leader, taking quality time away from other areas of your life, sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone, you do all this in order to make a difference. Robert Wegman created our culture of taking care of our people first through respect, care and listening. If you don’t have those values, how do you collaborate?”
A presentation was given to offer congratulations from Bryan E. Silbermann, who was not able to attend the ceremony. The namesake award was established in 2016 to recognize Silbermann’s 30-year career at PMA and 20 years as President. The award celebrates collaborative leadership to unite industry members or organizations, even those outside the awarded professional’s own organization, to create mutually beneficial solutions for the industry as a whole.
Congratulations to both Joe Pezzini and Dave Corsi! Happy Show-Going, friends!