The Southeast Regional Produce Cooperative (SRPC) acquires and distributes fresh donated produce to member food banks in the Southeastern US in mixed quantities that enable food banks of all sizes to accept produce loads through the Cooperative. The cooperative leverages the combined volumes of excess donated produce from its member food banks to realize savings in procuring and distributing fresh donated produce compared to the typical costs paid by individual food banks. The food banks are part of the Feeding America network distributing donated food to people in need throughout the country. The SRPC is member-run by a Board of Directors responsible for ensuring the cooperative meets its charter and its performance targets. The SRPC’s goal is to increase the amount of high-quality, high-variety produce to feed Southeastern families and individuals in need.
II. POSITION OVERVIEW
The Director will manage the Produce Sharing Program, a multistate initiative to source and distribute surplus fresh produce throughout our network of member food banks and beyond; provide internal leadership as part of the executive team; and support external food sourcing and operations activities to ensure members regularly receive high-quality, high-variety produce at or below cost targets set by the members. Startup operations will also include finalizing Governance structure and setting up tracking metrics, billing operations and reporting functions.
The Produce Sharing Program maximizes the amount of surplus produce donated and made available to food banks in a manner that meets the needs of all members regardless of size, location, or resources. The Director is responsible for managing food sourcing, program communications and related special projects for the Produce Sharing Program to ensure strong demand, steady supply, and a variety of free and low-cost fresh fruits and vegetables for member food banks. The Director will also support member food banks in produce program knowledge and development and manage relationships with donors and other partners for mutual benefit.
The Director must be a strong leader with significant operations and business development experience to shepherd the Program from the conceptual phase to implementation and rapid growth. He or she must be a strategic, out-of-the-box thinker with strong communication skills and personal integrity, who is adept at developing and nurturing trust-based relationships, and brings a passion for the SRPC mission. Strong analytical skills and the ability to make data-driven decisions are imperative. The Director must have an entrepreneurial spirit, be action-oriented, flexible in their approach to problems, and have the ability to deal with ambiguity. In-depth knowledge of the agricultural industry, fresh produce in particular, operations and management experience, ability to lead an external team, and desire to travel are required. A working knowledge of food banking and the non-profit sector is highly desirable.
A. Management and Communications
- Serve as a member of the Executive Leadership Team to provide leadership and coordination in the management, planning, and development efforts for the SRPC.
- Collaborate with the Board of Directors in annual planning, goal attainment and Program development.
- Responsible for ensuring operations are aligned with SRPC Charter and that annual filings with state and federal agencies are completed accurately and on-time.
- Ensure strong, effective, trust-based working relationships with member food banks.
- Proactively provide information and technical assistance and training to members, and ensure members have adequate information to assist in their operations, planning and supply management.
- Develop and help manage critical partner relationships with organizations such as state Departments of Agriculture, Feeding America, produce trade associations, Farm Bureaus and other agricultural organizations.
- Maintain and expand product and agricultural system knowledge, and create opportunities to impart knowledge to member and staff.
- Communicate clearly and professionally with food banks, suppliers, staff and partners.
B. Drive Strategy & Program Growth
- Work with members to ensure a high level of commitment to the Produce Sharing Program and adherence to Program Policy and Procedures; identify emerging trends and unmet needs; and proactively respond by developing and enhancing program services.
- Analyze data to inform Program decisions and vision.
- Coordinate product and budget forecasting with member food banks to ensure a high level of demand and adequate opportunities for shared and/or mixed loads to meet the needs of smaller food banks.
- Create, manage and promote annual marketing and strategic outreach plan for the Program.
- Assist in fund development and grant management as appropriate.
C. Produce Sourcing & Distribution
- Ensure that the supply of fresh produce meets or exceeds member standards, reflecting a diverse array of seasonally appropriate commodities.
- Supervise the Sourcing, Logistics and Accounting functions to proactively ensure any supply, transportation, cost, logistical or quality issues are addressed immediately and put processes in place to limit reoccurrence.
- Work closely with State Association produce sourcers and member food banks to meet or exceed food sourcing goals by obtaining the greatest possible quantity and variety of free and low-cost produce for food banks.
- Make decisions quickly and rapidly respond to opportunistic offers of fresh produce, with the goal being to move perishable produce from source to member food bank aggressively to maximize shelf-life for the end user.
- Develop and maintain mutually supportive relationships with Management, Food Sourcing, and Operations staff of member food banks to ensure a high level of communication and cooperation.
- Work collaboratively with produce sourcers to build new relationships and continually enhance existing ones with growers, packers, importers, and distributors.
- Develop out-of-region distribution by working with non-member food banks in neighboring states, other regional cooperatives, and with Feeding America, co-manage related product offerings and shipments.
- Ensure the Program is supported by effective administrative systems.
The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and levels of work to be performed and are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and duties.
A. Desired Attributes
- Strategic Leading – Able to formulate and apply strategic diplomacy to achieve organizational goals. Identifies areas for improvement of program execution and efficiency. Communicates strategic goals to all stakeholders to ensure proper implementation of program design and purpose.
- Influential – Leads and defines the vision of the produce program. Communicates the value of the program and aligns defined standards to ensure they are upheld. Shares lessons learned as needed for applicable negotiations. Mentors others and is also open to self-growth as a mentee. Nurtures internal and external partnerships with key stakeholders to execute the strategic plan.
- Critical Thinking and Flexibility – Asks pertinent questions while working with a high degree of ambiguity. Competent in identifying new systematic solutions. Listens carefully, solicits and incorporates feedback from others. Suspends judgment until all facts have been gathered and considered.
- Metrics Orientation – Drives focus and strategy for optimizing program budget, resulting in reports that illustrate the program’s current state and opportunities to key stakeholders.
- Integrity – Exhibits honesty and truthfulness when interacting with coworkers, customers, and stakeholders. Displays high ethical standards and provides clear expectations of team to support the same.
- Accountability – Sets clearly defined goals and measures results against communicated goals. Overcomes resistance by utilizing skilled change management techniques. Highly self motivated and drives expected level of motivation in team.
B. Education, Experience, and Training
- Bachelor's degree in a related field
- 7-10 years’ management experience, preferably in produce distribution or produce supply chain operations; experience in cooperative or other non-profit management a plus.
- Experience with implementation of corporate information systems.
- Professional experience in the produce industry at the wholesale or retail level preferred.
C. Knowledge and Skills
- Advanced data analytics, organization and management skills
- Understanding of agricultural industry workings and culture
- Knowledge of food warehousing and transportation
- Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work collaboratively and effectively with individuals of diverse backgrounds
- Strong computer skills, including Outlook, Word and Excel, and working knowledge of current industry warehousing, distribution and logistics software
- Attention to detail and accuracy
- Ability to work in high volume, time critical processing environment
- Ability to work individually and as part of a team
- Positive, professional oral and written communication skills
- Strong organizational and time management skills
- Ability to work at a detailed level to further vision and strategic goals
• Ability and willingness to travel up to 20-30% of time on job
Salary is commensurate with education and experience. Competitive benefits package.
Equal Employment Opportunity Employer. M/F/D/V.