NEWARK, Del. -- With its long-time No. 2 man now poised to take the helm, the Produce Marketing Association here is likely to make a smooth transition in staff leadership when President Bob Carey steps down in two months.
Bryan Silbermann, currently executive vice president for PMA, was named the new president, effective July 1, following a meeting of PMA's executive committee late last month.
Carey is leaving PMA after 38 years of heading what is now the nation's largest produce trade group. Silbermann, meanwhile, has been with PMA for 13 years and of late has been closely involved in shaping the association's strategy, and thus is unlikely to chart changes in PMA's direction in the near term.
Indeed, Silbermann told SN that under his leadership PMA would hew closely to its strategic plan. "The strategic plan is a partnership between PMA's volunteer leadership and senior management here," he said. "The plan is a guide for what we want to be doing for the next several years."
Silbermann said PMA is already ahead of schedule in achieving some goals of the strategic plan. "Suffice it to say, there will be no significant changes from that."
Key areas of the PMA strategic plan include: meeting member needs through a product mix that collectively contributes to PMA's financial growth, advancing consumption of fresh produce and floral products, increasing member participation in PMA, expanding international focus and helping members capitalize on change.
He added that he was "delighted" at the appointment. "I'm very excited," he said.
PMA received more than 100 applications for the position, and interviewed about two dozen candidates before winnowing the field down to four finalists, according to Jeff Gargiulo, chairman of the association's executive committee.
"The entire executive committee unanimously accepted this recommendation," said Gargiulo, who is also chief executive officer of Gargiulo LP, Naples, Fla.
Silbermann has worked for PMA since 1983. He was named executive vice president in 1991, with responsibilities for all external programs and operations.
Over the last 13 years, Silbermann has overseen many aspects of research, training, government relations, information management, international trade, education, marketing and public relations. Most recently, he has led PMA's strategic planning process.
Since 1986, Silbermann has also been involved in the development and application of standardized Universal Price Codes and price look-up codes, through the Produce Electronic Identification Board, which PMA administers.
PMA also credited Silbermann with being instrumental in the creation of the national 5 a Day for Better Health Program in 1991.
"We are very pleased that Bryan has accepted the challenge with us to lead the Produce Marketing Association as our president," said Warren Hutchins, chairman of PMA.
See Smooth, Page 27
"Bryan has demonstrated leadership and a capacity to apply technology and information to our industry so we can stay ahead of the curve," said Hutchins, who is also vice president of purchasing and distribution for Ground Round, Braintree, Mass.
"Together with the division boards and the main board of directors, we will share the responsibilities of vision and leadership.
"In congratulating Bryan, we cannot miss any opportunity to thank Bob Carey for his unique blending of business management with the ability to bring buyers and sellers together."
Carey will continue to serve as a consultant to the association until PMA's annual convention and exhibition in October; after that, he plans to retire to Florida.
Silbermann was born and raised in South Africa. He graduated with a Masters degree from the University of Chicago and did two years of graduate research at Oxford University in England.
He also holds the certified association executive designation from the American Society of Association Executives, and is currently chair of the ASAE Fellows, a leadership group recognized for contributing to the association profession.