Karen Caplan, Mike Antle, and Caitlin Antle Wilson Discuss Rick & Tonya Antle Receiving United Fresh's Lifetime Achievement Award
- by Melissa De Leon
SALINAS, CA - Earlier this week, members of the produce industry watched as two key influencers were recognized by United Fresh for their lifetime achievements.
As we previously reported, Rick and Tonya Antle were named the most recent recipients of United Fresh’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the first duo to do so.
“This is the first time we’ve honored two individuals together, and I can’t think of another couple who so fully complement one another in their contributions to the fresh produce industry,” Tom Stenzel, President and CEO of the United Fresh Produce Association, stated previously on the decision.
The recognition is part of United Fresh's Midwinter Leadership Forum, which took place January 12th through today, January 14th.
Brother Mike Antle, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for Tanimura & Antle, tells me that it was an award well-earned.
"My brother and sister-in-law are greatly deserving of this award, I can’t think of two people more worthy and I congratulate them both,” Mike said. “Thank you to United Fresh for recognizing their efforts and influence in the industry.”
Karen Caplan, President of Frieda’s Specialty Produce and long time friend of both Rick and Tonya shared how wonderful it was to watch them receive this honor.
“Tonya and I have been lifelong friends as her first job in the industry was at Frieda’s and that’s how we met,” Karen said. “Watching Rick’s eldest son Brian speak on the father-son relationship that has since fueled his produce career was one of the highlights of the evening.”
“It was really beautiful to watch him talk about his dad,” she added. “One thing he shared was about when he was young his very first job was laying sprinklers. His dad said ‘you need to work on Sunday.’” Brian, unhappy with the prospect, went out late Saturday night and came back to a note tacked to the back door from his father saying “the crops don’t stop growing on Sundays, so get your [expletive] to work.”
Karen added that there is no industry like the produce industry that successfully passes from generation to generation. Niece of the recipients and Sales and Marketing Director for T&A Caitlin-Antle Wilson looks to agree whole-heartedly.
“These are two people who I have looked up to my whole life, not just as family members but as professional role models,” Caitlin said of her aunt and uncle. “I’m grateful for the impact they’ve had, both on me personally and the industry as a whole, and happy to see them be recognized for that impact.”
We congratulate both Rick and Tonya, the dynamic duo that has so successfully helped to propel the produce industry and touch so many.