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Saying goodbye to more than just a job

When I took the job of public affairs director at the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association in 2006, it felt like I was coming full-circle. I grew up in Apopka, a small farming community in Orange County of just a few thousand people back then. If you didn’t own an orange grove, plant nursery or a farm on the muck around Lake Apopka, you worked for somebody who did. My dad was a nurseryman, and I spent three summers as a teenager working in the greenhouses. My father-in-law also was in agriculture, selling crop-protection chemicals to farmers in the mid-South. After 21 years as an editor at The Orlando Sentinel and seven years helping to run a public relations firm in Orlando, I knew that FFVA was the perfect place for me to close out my career.

I’ve always told people that I have the best job in the world. I get to come to work every day, do what I love and know how to do, and I get paid for it. What’s more, I work for farmers, and there are no better people on the planet than the men and women who grow our food.

I’ve been so privileged to work for an association that is nationally known and respected. And that goes for the staff, too. For the past 14 years, I have had the enviable position of working with a team of experts who are known statewide and nationally as being the best in the business. Most of all, though, we are a family. We know each other, and we care for each other.