Australia's largest processor of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables recently became the first company located outside the United States to receive the Fresh-cut Produce Award, sponsored by the International Fresh-cut Produce Association and The Produce News.

Rob Robson, CEO of Harvest FreshCuts Pty. Ltd., Brisbane, Australia, was named this year's award recipient not only because he is the only national fresh-cut processor in the land down under, but also because he is an innovator, a compassionate employer and an outstanding citizen who makes a significant difference to both his workers and his community.

Raised in his father's produce business, Robson launched his fresh-cut processing operation in 1995 and expanded his business to command 75 percent of the Australian market for fresh-cut produce, supplying all major chains and independents in his country. Today, Harvest FreshCuts employs more than 400 employees in two processing plants and in 2001-2002, the company reached $40 million in sales.