Five Californians are among 12 selected produce industry members who will participate in United Fresh’s 2009-2010 Produce Industry Leadership Program.

The selected Californians include:

• Andrew Bivens, Westlake Produce Co., Los Angeles

• Allen Davis, Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc., Monterey

• Phil Gruszka, Grimmway Enterprises, Bakersfield

• Neil Merritt, Ready Pac Foods, Inc., Irwindale

• Andrew Pandol, Pandol Brothers, Inc., Delano.

The year-long program teaches leadership skills to future industry leaders. During the upcoming program year, the class members will participate in a number of educational events and outings centered on the four core focus areas of the program: leadership development; business relationships; government and public affairs, and media and public communications.

The class also will take part in customized field and facility tours, train with expert educators, and meet with key industry leaders and innovators.

The program begins in June with the first trip to Central and Northern California, followed by trips to Washington, D.C.; Wilmington, Del.; Culiacan, Mexico; and Las Vegas, Nev., for the 2010 United Fresh convention.

Other selected members include: John Cameron, Desert Glory, Ltd., Arlington, Texas; Tracie Levin, M. Levin and Co., Inc., Philadelphia, Pa.; Jason Hollinger, Earth Source Trading, Inc., Ephrata, Pa.; Mike Laws, Frontera Fresh Logistics, Naples, Fla.; Greg Mixon, SunnyRidge Farm, Inc., Winter Haven, Fla.; Bryan Roberts, Save-A-Lot, Earth City, Mo.; and Nichole Towell, Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Inc., Oviedo, Fla.

The program is presented through the United Fresh Research & Education Foundation and is sponsored by a grant from DuPont Crop Protection. This year’s class marks the 15th year of the program. Since its inception in 1995, the program has graduated more than 160 program participants.