We’re Honored To Recognize Leaders In Produce

Our industry is about passion. Every member of SEPC puts in extra time on the job because of the satisfaction that a better yield in crops, businesses, and relationships brings us. But there are a select few who stand out among us who unite our region through tireless effort, extraordinary instinct, and a genuine love for our industry. We’re proud to recognize them each year with our Next Generation and Terry Vorhees Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Next Generation Leadership Academy

The Southeast Produce Council is thrilled to expand our education portfolio with a truly unique leadership development program designed for up-and-coming leaders. When we received an overwhelming number of nominations for our prestigious Next Generation Award last year, we realized the need to transform a single award into a robust leadership program. The Next Generation Leadership Academy is more than a moment, more than a single award and has been thoughtfully designed to recognize, honor, and invest in future leaders seeking to be changemakers in the produce industry.

This year-long program will provide participants a unique approach to conscious leadership ideals and methodologies. Participants will develop and galvanize leadership skills and prepare to navigate industry challenges with a growth mindset. The Academy will feature virtually guided events as well as in-person programming events.  This program will equip and prepare participants for future leadership responsibilities with content relevant to their leadership challenges.

If you have someone in mind whom you’d like to nominate next year for the Next Generation Leadership Academy, nominations will open again in December.

Nominees should have organizational level support to participate.  The inaugural class will be recognized during the Future Generations Celebration Dinner on Thursday, March 2nd, at Southern Exposure 2023 and will graduate at Southern Exposure 2024.

Nominees are eligible if they are:

  • Emerging leader in produce, mid-level manager or above
  • Employed in the produce industry for at least 4 years
  • Member in “Good Standing” of the SEPC*
  • Must possess a vision for leadership, a strong drive to carry it out, and strong communications skills to convey why they believe they would be a good candidate for the program by submitting a short video for selection process

*To be in “Good Standing”, a member must actively participate in the SEPC by their attendance, contributions, or both and must be included in our Membership Roll. SEPC member companies who are in “Good Standing” may nominate an employee who is not currently on the active SEPC membership role.

NOTE: Employees of the Southeast Produce Council, the SEPC’s participating vendors, any contract employees of the SEPC, and members of the immediate family of any such persons are not eligible to be nominated or participate in the program. The term “immediate family” includes spouses, siblings, parents, children, grandparents, and grandchildren, whether as “in-laws”, or by current or past marriage(s), adoption, co-habitation or other family extension, and other persons residing at the same household whether related.

Past Recipients


2020 – Kristin Yerecic Scott                2019 – Andrew Hare                2018  –  Ross Williams                2017  –  Adam Lytch

Terry Vorhees Award

Terry Vorhees Lifetime Achievement Award

Our highest honor awarded in partnership with co-sponsor The Produce News. Recipients of this award have displayed consistent excellence over a career in produce and have left an indelible impression on the industry, providing new benchmarks for future leaders.


Congratulations To Our 2023 Recipient!

Al Finch | Florida Classic Growers


Al Finch

Past Recipients

2022 – Bobby Creel

2021 – Martin Eubanks

2020 – Rick Estess

2019  –  Gordon Hochberg

2018  –  David Stornetta

2017  –  Sheila Carden

2016  –  Joe Klare

2015  –  Terry Vorhees

2014  –  Tom Page

2013  –  Paul DiMare

2012  –  Reggie Griffin

2011  –  Tommy Irvin

2010  –  Peter Pero III

2009  –  Ferdinand Duda

2008  –  Joe McGee