PMA CEO Cathy Burns unveils two new initiatives

PMA CEO Cathy Burns unveils two new initiatives

During her State of the Industry report at the 2018 Fresh Summit, Burns gave details on a new turnkey produce safety and certification program, and a free HR assessment tool.

October 19, 2018

Produce Marketing Association (PMA) brings Fresh Summit to Orlando, Florida, Oct. 18-20, 2018. With this year's event come some significant changes, including a focus on welcoming widely recognizable speakers. These include quarterback Peyton Manning — five-time NFL MVP and two-time Super Bowl champion — and Leslie Odom Jr. — Tony and Grammy-award winning actor and musician who starred in the Broadway musical "Hamilton."

In her State of the Industry speech Oct. 18, PMA CEO Cathy Burns announced additional upcoming changes for PMA: a turnkey produce safety and certification program, and a free human resources assessment tool.

Burns discussed the E. coli outbreak earlier this year that linked back to the Yuma, Arizona, region. Consumers, she said, lose confidence in the produce industry when food safety issues occur. "Your produce safety programs are a direct reflection of your core values, and nothing short of a commitment to always doing the right thing — always — is sufficient," she told the Fresh Summit audience.

The new produce safety and certification program, which Burns says PMA will formally unveil in the months ahead, will strive to strengthen produce businesses with training and best practices from which both their employees and supply chain partners can learn.

Addressing labor concerns, Burns cited statistics from Deloitte that indicate younger generations expect more out of their employers than previous generations. Two of these data points showed that 43 percent of Millennials plan to leave their jobs within two years and 61 percent of Generation Z plan to do so.

To aim to address these labor concerns, PMA's Center for Growing Talent has partnered with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to develop HRvest, an assessment that aims to help professionals in the produce and ornamental supply chains measure their competitiveness in their employee practices. "It examines hiring and on-boarding, compensation and benefits, company cultures, employer-employee communication and more," Burns said.

Photo: Patrick Williams