STEP-UPP provides an enriched learning experience for retail and foodservice produce professionals. Our participants also develop a greater understanding of the industry through an emphasis on strategic orientation, personal leadership, and hands-on field experience. Twelve (12) individuals are selected through an application and interview process based on leadership experience and interest in developing a career in fresh produce. Potential candidates must be active members of SEPC.

Thank you for your applications! Recipients will be notified once the selection process is complete.

Program Goals

Strategic Orientation

Business growth occurs through strategic planning and partnerships. This program will broaden the participants’ strategic view of the fresh produce industry through supply chain overviews, collaborative business planning, category development and key performance indicator discussions.

Personal Leadership & Networking

The Success of all good leaders depends on personal development and relationship building. Education may include leadership styles, managing for performance, and negotiation strategy. Each program segment will also include opportunities to meet and interact with other SEPC industry members and make important networking connections.

Field Experience

Application is an important part of all education. The final emphasis on learning will be participation in field and plant tours along with a short course in produce inspection. The emphasis in this area will be to gain an understanding of how to partner with growers more effectively to build mutually beneficial relationships.

STEP-UPP Class of 2018 Schedule

April 11th – 13th

  • South Florida Growing Tour

June 12th – 15th

  • North Carolina/Virginia Growing Tour

September 6th – 8th

  • Class of 2018 Graduation

2017 STEPP-UPP Networking Activity

STEP-UPP Class Testimonials

“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have been a member with STEP-UPP. I gained invaluable experience about the industry first hand by touring farms, talking to suppliers, and networking with industry leaders and experts. Years later, I still use what I learned to make better buying decisions for my company.”

– Leslie Gallegos, Fresh Point Tampa, STEP-UPP Class of 2012

STEP-UPP Class of 2018

Rose Aluotto

Blue Apron

Donny Arnold

Lowes Foods

Anna Brown

Food Lion

Lee Butram

Associated Wholesale Grocers

Lauren Horning

FreshPoint Grocers

Jessica Kopp

Southeastern Grocers

John Osmack

Schnucks Markets

Jason Riggs

Harps Foods

Patrick Ruffner

Rouses Supermarket

Jamie Thompson

Food City

Matthew Mills

Freshfields Farm

Steven Valenzuela

United Supermarkets