Center for Growing Talent Creates New Jay Pack Award to Recognize Passion for Attracting Industry Talent

Thu. June 28th, 2018
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez     

NEWARK, DE - To boost interest in our industry by talented individuals with passion and drive, the Center for Growing Talent (CGT) created the Jay Pack Cultivating Our Future Award—designated for industry members attracting newcomers to join in on the fun and build their careers in produce.

Leonard Batti, Chair, CGT by PMA, and Vice President, Taylor Farms“Jay’s passion for attracting new talent to our industry sets a standard for others in produce and floral to follow. It is very fitting that this award be named in his honor,” Chair of CGT’s Board of Directors and Vice President of Taylor Farms Leonard Batti said.

With nominations for the inaugural award—which are free to submit—due by August 20th, the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA’s) Fresh Summit Convention & Expo in Orlando, Florida, will unveil 2018’s awarded professional.

This is the second award that CGT sponsors annually, now. In addition to the newly created Jay Pack Cultivating Our Future Award, the organization also sponsors the annual Women’s Catalyst Award—which honors an industry leader who is boosting women’s growth with mentoring and offering insight into different ways to reach leadership roles, develop their ideas, and participate in the industry.

Jay Pack and his wife, Ruthie

Those wanting to nominate someone for the new Jay Pack Cultivating Our Future Award should visit

Alicia Calhoun, Vice President-Talent Portfolio, CGT by PMA“To attract fresh talent to our industry takes committed volunteers, who create awareness about career opportunities and spread their passion for fresh produce and floral to others. We want to recognize such leaders, and in the process, encourage others to also take up our cause,” Alicia Calhoun, CGT's Vice President-Talent Portfolio, shared.

The backstory behind the new award, which was named after Jay Pack, stems from a vision its namesake and PMA’s previous CEO, Bryan Silbermann, share: to create a program that would pull in top university students and graduates to begin and grow careers within the industry. Career Pathways, sponsored by the Pack Family Foundation, was held at the 2004 PMA Fresh Summit, and it has since grown to 11 programs the the CGT supports with industry events held throughout the world. Because of these programs, over 1,000 students have become privy to the opportunities the industry offers by participating in the programs. Two-thirds taking jobs or internships in the industry, and 78 percent of the students have remained in the industry. According to a press release, the programs have rallied the troops, with hundreds of industry volunteers serving as Career Ambassadors since the 2004 inception, helping students to get the most out of their participation in Career Pathways and into their careers, hopefully, within our industry.

Congratulations on the creation of this new award. We look forward to seeing the best side of competition come out, as industry members vying for the title pull out all the stops to bring burgeoning talent to business as we know it.

Center for Growing Talent by PMA