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SEPC welcomes Faye Westfall as its new chairman of the board

The Southeast Produce Council has officially appointed its new chairman of the board of directors for 2017-18, Faye Westfall of DiMare Fresh Tampa.

The induction of the council's second woman to serve as chairman was made on Sept. 29 at the President's Dinner Dance, held during the council's Southern Innovations Organics & Foodservice Expo, held Sept. 28-30 on Hilton Head Island, SC.FayeFaye Westfall

Westfall was born and raised in Ruskin, FL, where she attended East Bay High School. She later attended nursing school while living in Maryland. During that time, she was also involved in the transportation business. After three years, she moved back to Florida and once again into the produce world -- basically the world of tomatoes, transportation and brokerage, as well as running production lines. She worked at J.C. Valenti for about nine years before it was purchased by The DiMare Co. and continued to run the production line, eventually transitioning into sales. She is currently director of sales at DiMare Fresh Tampa.

Westfall has served on the SEPC board of directors for seven years and is looking forward to the upcoming year. "The SEPC's educational STEP-UPP program has been my passion," she said in an Oct. 12 press release, referring to the Southeast Training Education Program for Upcoming Produce Professionals. "I still try to stay in touch with previous classes while concentrating on the current one. Education in the produce community is very important to me, especially trying to blur the lines between the grower-shipper and the retail-wholesaler. Making communication open and more transparent I feel will only make things profitable for all involved."

Westfall does not see the word "retirement" being incorporated into her vocabulary anytime soon. She stays very active with church, family and work. She also has another side that not many know of; she is a professional clown and likes to spread love and laughter when she can through that training. She fills her weekends and any spare time with four children, their spouses, five grandchildren and one great-grandson. She is very involved with her church family, as well.

"Faye is one of the most diligent and hard-working people that we have ever had on this Board," David Sherrod, the council's president and chief executive officer, said in the release. "I am so excited to have her energy at our helm this year. She has fostered our STEP-UPP program to one that is recognized by top retailers in the country as one of the best educational programs within the produce industry. I know that the SEPC will flourish this year because she will unselfishly give her time and resources to make sure it does. She is a blessing to me and this council."