Fresh Markets Australia (FMA) honoured two outstanding individuals at the Hort Connections Gala Dinner in Adelaide on Wednesday, 7 June 2023. Gail Woods was presented with the highly esteemed FMA Meritorious Service Award, while Mark Russo received the prestigious FMA Col Johnson Young Achievers Award.
Gail Woods, a highly respected figure in the fresh produce industry, has been actively involved for many years. Her significant contributions to Brismark and FMA have had a lasting impact on the industry. As the former General Manager of Brismark from 2012 to 2020 and the current General Manager of FMA, Gail’s visionary leadership has played a pivotal role in shaping the organisations.
In addition to her role at FMA, Gail serves as the Deputy Chair of Freshcare, an organisation that provides internationally recognised assurance standards for the fresh produce and wine grape industries in Australia. She is also a staunch advocate for the five Central Markets across Australia, which represent fruit and vegetable wholesalers. Gail tirelessly champions the industry at both the state and national levels, working to support its growth and success.
Gail’s involvement in various marketing programs aimed at promoting the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables underscores her dedication to the industry. She has also been instrumental in advocating for fair practices and transparency through her work on the Horticulture Code of Conduct. Furthermore, Gail’s involvement with FreshTest has facilitated low-cost testing for wholesalers and growers, ensuring the quality and safety of fresh produce.
Gail’s exceptional commitment to the industry and the Central Markets earned her the Meritorious Service Award, a prestigious accolade that recognises her outstanding achievements and contributions.
Mark Russo, a passionate grower from Adelaide Hydro Fresh, was presented with the Col Johnson Young Achievers Award. Mark’s entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to his craft have been evident in the expansion of his business and the recent opening of a wholesaler store in the South Australian Produce Market. He actively participates in local and national conferences, demonstrating his commitment to personal and professional development.
As a committee member of the SA Chamber and the South Australian Produce Market Young Leaders, Mark actively promotes the growth and involvement of young members in the industry. He supports Market Fresh SA and utilizes their services to promote his exceptional produce. Mark’s consistent presence at Hort Connections, where he showcases his products, further exemplifies his dedication to the industry and its success.
FMA Chair Shane Schnitzler said “FMA recognises and celebrates the outstanding contributions of two individuals in the fresh produce industry annually. Gail Woods and Mark Russo have demonstrated exceptional dedication, passion, and leadership, making them deserving recipients of these prestigious awards.”