Produce Marketing Association (PMA) recognized Jill Overdorf on July 27 for her service as cochair on the association’s Foodservice Conference & Expo Committee. Current event committee cochair Nichole Towell, senior director of marketing at Duda Farms Fresh Foods Inc., presented a plaque to Overdorf on the final day of the 2019 event.
Overdorf is currently director of business development for foodservice at Naturipe Farms, LLC. Before presenting her with a plaque, Towell thanked Overdorf on behalf of PMA and the other Foodservice Committee Members for her work as cochair and her years of volunteer service.
“As most of you know, Jill has a nearly unmatched passion for this industry. She’s been an integral member of this committee for 10 years and has cochaired three previous Foodservice conferences in addition to her work this year,” said Towell. “Jill has conducted many Hands-On Fruit and Vegetable Training Sessions at this event, and she’s unwavering in her support of the Center for Growing Talent programs.
“Jill has been a tireless advocate for promoting produce as good for you, delicious and center of the plate – which is the holy trinity of success in this business,” Towell continued. “Her background as an executive chef has made her uniquely qualified as a leader in our industry, and a champion of our cause to get more plants on plates. Jill, thank you for your leadership, unending passion for this industry, and the enthusiasm you bring to our committee and this event.”
During her opening remarks on day one of the conference, held July 26-27 in Monterey, Calif., Overdorf said her primary responsibility as co-chair has been to be an ambassador for the produce industry and to help cultivate an event where business connections are made, and opportunities developed.
Overdorf noted in her remarks that foodservice operators, chefs, menu developers and other influencers are leading change on menus, including several notable celebrities who have issued the challenge to eat more plants. Millennials and Gen Z are also fueling the plant-forward movement.
“That’s part of the reason we need to support Center for Growing Talent’s mission to attract, develop and retain talent in our industry, especially Career Pathways and programs that attract forward-thinking innovators to the produce industry,” Overdorf said in her remarks.
She also encouraged PMA members to consider volunteering in some capacity with PMA or Center for Growing Talent to help make a bigger impact in the produce and floral industries.
“Being cochair is the most proactive opportunity for me to advocate for fresh fruits and vegetables in everyday menus,” Overdorf said in an interview after accepting the recognition plaque. “I encourage everyone to fill out a volunteer application and get involved with PMA in order to have a positive impact on the industry as well as their own businesses and professional careers.”
Overdorf added that although her work as PMA Foodservice Conference Committee co-chair is done and she will end her formal service on the event committee after a decade, she still plans to give her time and talents back to the industry.
“In my work, I will continue to contribute and elevate menus with all that we have to offer,” she said, adding, “Please, eat your berries!”