view current print edition




SEPC to honor Dave Stornetta with its highest award

The Southeast Produce Council will honor Dave Stornetta, president and founder of Produce Careers, with the 2018 Terry Vorhees Lifetime Achievement Award, its highest honor, at the council's Southern Exposure conference and trade show, scheduled for March 1-3 in Tampa, FL.

Stornetta's involvement with the Southeast Produce Council goes back a long way. He attended the council's first conference and trade show in 2004, in Lakeland, FL. And that's where he was introduced to Terry Vorhees, one of the council's founders and its first executive director, who died in 2014.StornettDave Stornetta

"One of the greatest attributes of the SEPC is that we have never been too proud to ask for help. Early in the formation of the SEPC, Terry asked Dave to facilitate a strategic planning session," David Sherrod, the council's president and chief executive officer, told The Produce News Nov. 15.

"What came out of that meeting was our vision and mission that have guided all our efforts thus far," Sherrod added. "Dave also formed in 2007 and led our advisory board for many years, which set a great foundation for our future." That advisory board is now known as the board of governors.

Stornetta made the council a "labor of love, and dedicated so much of his time and knowledge to help this organization grow and prosper," Sherrod continued. "Dave has been a true blessing to the council and very instrumental in shaping our identity. I can't thank him and his wife, Mary, enough for their friendship and encouragement over the years."

David Peyton Stornetta was born May 13, 1945, in San Francisco. His parents, Walt and Jane, ran a dairy farm in Point Arena, CA, about 145 miles north of San Francisco. As Stornetta quipped in an interview with The Produce News, "I was raised on a dairy farm in the boondocks."

Stornetta graduated from Point Arena High School in 1963, and then went to California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in agricultural business with a minor in agricultural engineering in 1968.

After spending a couple of years in the packaging industry, Stornetta worked in the cattle feed industry from 1970 to 1990. He then joined Apio Inc., a major processor, shipper, distributor and exporter of vegetables headquartered in Guadalupe, CA, where he spent eight years as general manager.

It was in 1999 that he formed two companies: Stornetta & Associates, a consulting business; and Produce Careers, a business-to-business executive search firm specializing in fresh produce and related industries.

Stornetta has four siblings: his sister, Ann, who is the oldest, and his brothers, John, Walt and Mark. He and his wife, Mary, were married July 29, 1967, and have three children. Dave, known as DJ, is the oldest, and runs the headquarters office of Produce Careers in Arroyo Grande, CA; his other son, Nathan, runs the company's other office in Indianapolis; his daughter, Heidi, is a major gift officer at Saint Mary's College of California in Moraga, CA. He also has nine grandchildren.

Stornetta concluded, "I am so proud of all the people at the Southeast Produce Council."