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.

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.

Meet the 2020 STEP-UPP Class!

2020 STEP-UPP Class Schedule

Spring 2020

  • April TBA
    • Field and Facility Tours

Summer 2019

  • June TBA
    • Field and Facility Tours

Fall 2019

  • September 17th – 19th
    • Class of 2020 Graduation at Southern Innovations

2019 STEP-UPP Team Building Activity

Check out past STEP-UPP Class videos on our SEPC YouTube Channel

STEP-UPP Class Testimonials

“The word that pops into my head that best describes the overall experience is family. It seemed more like a gathering of family members or old friends. That includes my fellow STEP- UPP members. We seemed to all instantly hit it off. I really feel like we have a very special group. Hopefully the best yet! April can’t get here fast enough!! Thanks!

– Lee Butram, AWG, STEP-UPP Class of 2018

“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