October, 2007

Special Note

Magazine With A Mission

Normally the pages of Produce Business are, well, all business. Yet once a year, in this issue, we like to set aside a note to give our readers a report on the year just passed and our expectations for the future.

You see, this is our anniversary. Produce Business was launched at the PMA convention in San Francisco in 1985, so we are 22 years old this month, just around the age students would graduate from college.

It is a fitting analogy, as Produce Business has truly grown comfortable in its own skin — or should we say its own cover — over the last several years. We were always filled with ambition and, right from day one, we set the highest standards, looking to “Initiate Industry Improvement.”

Great publications don’t spring up over night. Trust must be earned and decades of work now pay off every day in the trust the trade places in our work. If part of that trust is due to content, it is just as much due to attitude.

For example, we recognize our interest in developing a top-class executive corps for the industry. So, we produce our annual 40-Under-Forty issue to celebrate and encourage young talent in the trade. Personally, I’ve been honored to serve as a founding member of the Pack Family/PMA Career Pathways steering committee, and in that context, Produce Business has contributed to the recruiting efforts of the industry as we work to bring young college students — now from all over the world — to PMA’s Annual Convention and thus to introduce them to a career in the produce trade.

I’ve also been honored to offer my time pro bono publico to serve on the faculty of the United Fresh Produce Executive Development Program with Cornell University and thus help bring industry executives to the next level.

Produce Business also is a founding sponsor of the Nucci Scholarship for Culinary Innovation — an effort to bring students at Culinary Schools to PMA’s Foodservice Conference and thus expose these students to the excitement a career in produce offers.

We also partner with PMA and Cornell to sponsor the Leadership Symposium, an experience that takes produce industry executives and exposes them to ideas outside the produce paradigm.

These actions are those of a Magazine with a Mission and, in the case of Produce Business, all of this speaks to a commitment to elevate the professional standards of the trade and, well, help the industry to be all it can be.

We’ve moved dramatically to take advantage of the unique characteristics of the Web to encourage learning and the diffusion of knowledge with our online offerings. These include digital versions of Produce Business posted on www.ProduceBusiness.com and, especially, the launch of our sister site www.PerishablePundit.com.

The Perishable Pundit almost instantly became the most read Web site in the business, offering information and insight not available elsewhere. Industry members from every continent, save Antarctica, have been so inspired by the dialog in the Pundit that they have been moved to contribute insights from across the globe. We’ve built a framework on which a valuable industry conversation is conducted every day on a broad range of industry-critical issues.

And now we are ready to combine both our commitment to building an effective leadership group for the industry and our dominant place on the Web. As a completely free industry service, we are launching www.PunditJobs.com. Available on the Web, as a regular e-mail or an RSS feed, the site will provide both a place for companies to list their executive employment needs and for individuals to post their “position wanted” requests.

An industry can’t be better than its people, and what ties all the things we are doing together is that they are all about helping the industry to access great people and then helping those individuals to realize their potential. We are convinced that by getting the most out of the best, the industry is sure to prosper. We are privileged to play a leading role in making this happen.

That we are in a position to do all this speaks to the efforts of a lot of very special people as well. The team that makes Produce Business and the Perishable Pundit happen shows a dedication that is rare in this day and age. I personally owe them a great deal as do all who have found value in what we do.

Our advertisers and sponsors provide the sustenance that makes all we do possible. Their leadership, their vision, their willingness to not look for short term paybacks but, instead, to support an independent voice, confident in the knowledge that they can do well for themselves by doing good for the industry, is exceptional — and we are most grateful to call such stalwart supporters our friends.

Most especially, though, we have to thank you, our readers. Publishing, in print or online, is inherently lifeless; it is only the decision by readers to give up some of their valuable time to consider what we offer that adds life and verve to the written word. It is only the willingness to take ideas and try them out that gives those ideas wings. And it is only the willingness to think hard, to understand more and a willingness to undertake an effort to realize one’s potential that allows the power of an argument well made to change the world. We have been blessed with the most important thing any publisher can hope for: Readers who care about the subjects we cover.

It is a trust we take seriously. We thank all involved for helping to bring us to where we can make the kind of contribution we do to the trade. We pledge to continue our efforts to deliver value in the days — and the decades — to come.  pb