The SEPC is proud to honor two gentlemen with the SEPC Lifetime Membership Award.
Left to right: Steve Pinkston, Frank Swanson.
Steve Pinkston is a produce professional with more than 40 years in the industry. He retired as of June 15th, 2021 but prior to retirement, Pinkston was director of business development at Sunny Valley International in Glassboro, NJ. Before that, he spent 23 years with Walmart Stores, Inc. where he held several management positions, including six years with Sam’s Club (division of Walmart Stores, Inc.). He spent approximately 10 years in Bentonville, AR as senior buyer/category manager in produce for both Sam’s Club and Walmart Supercenter before moving back to North Carolina to manage the local sourcing program with Walmart. Prior to 1994, he was with Food Lion Stores, Inc. for 19 years holding positions in operations and buying. Steve currently resides in Salisbury NC with his wife Candy. He enjoys being with family, outdoor activities, golf, skeet shooting, fishing, camping and classic cars, and is active in his church.
Swanson’s first exposure to the industry was on his aunt and uncle’s farm in Indiana where he picked and sold blueberries at a roadside stand. Following his graduation from college, his first job was working for the federal government as a USDA produce inspector in New Jersey. This led to becoming a produce buyer for the Defense Department in Chicago. He then joined the Kraft Foodservice organization as it was starting its produce program. His journey led to Rykoff-Sexton which later merged with US Foodservice and has since continued to be employed by heritage companies that today make up US Foods, where he is the national manager of produce operations. He is part of the produce team at US Foods that established the Cross Valley Farms fresh produce brand. He has enjoyed sitting on PMA committees and serving on the SEPC Advisory Board of Directors and the SEPC Board of Directors as well as taking on the role of chairman of the Foodservice Committee. He’s been involved in the Lions Club for more than 30 years serving in a variety of positions and as his boys were growing up, he was an assistant Boy Scout leader. He was also elected to the Oakwood Hills Village Board for a four-year term and served as the police commissioner during that time.
“One of the greatest assets in our industry is the men and women who have paved the way for so many,” said David Sherrod, SEPC president and CEO. “We are recognizing two such individuals with the Lifetime Membership Award. Both helped lay the foundation of our council and left an indelible mark for future members. My hope is they return each year and continue to be mentors to me and to others.”
This award will be presented at Southern Innovations during the Chairman’s Dinner Dance on September 10th.