Nogales, AZ — During the annual meeting of the Fresh Produce Association of the
Americas (FPAA), the association’s president, Lance Jungmeyer, presented the FPAA
Member of the Year Award. The Member of the Year is nominated by FPAA members
and is someone who goes above and beyond in working for the betterment of the industry
and its membership.
This year’s recipient is Sabrina Hallman, president and CEO of Sierra Seed Company, an
agricultural seed distributing company and greenhouse operation providing services to
commercial growers in North America.
“Sabrina has been a huge asset in telling the stories of our industry, whether it’s meeting
with government officials or speaking with the media,” said Jungmeyer. “Her voice is
helping make a difference.”
Hallman has been a familiar presence in meetings in Washington, DC, Phoenix, Tucson,
Nogales and beyond. She works closely with politicians and government agencies to tell
the story about how industry issues affect local businesses, job creation, and socioeconomic
progress. In particular, Sabrina has been very vocal in bringing attention to
banking regulations, access to banking services, and the Federal government’s impacts on
businesses in relation to banking. Her efforts in bringing attention to these issues have
helped increase traction on Capitol Hill.
Sabrina has been on the FPAA board of directors since 2011, and she was also appointed
by the board to be the current chair of the FPAA’s building committee. In announcing
the winner, Lance quoted one observer as stating, “She is always looking for ways to
bring people together and be inclusive. She jumps right in. She views FPAA as an
organization where you get more out of it than what you put in.”
“She has worked hard and selflessly on behalf of the association. She was clearly
surprised, and it was a wonderful moment,” said Alejandro Canelos of Apache Produce
Imports and the FPAA’s outgoing past-chairman when speaking about the event.
Indeed many colleagues give high praise when speaking about Hallman’s commitment to
the industry.
“She was so gracious in accepting her award, claiming that she is just telling our story.
The reality is that she is putting in a lot of hard work in bringing attention to some of our
industry’s issue,” said Gonzalo Avila, the FPAA’s chairman.
“First and foremost, I am deeply honored to have received this recognition. The FPAA is
made up of a dynamic group of business persons who truly advocate for the betterment of
the industry and the City of Nogales. To be awarded Member of the Year from so many
very worthy people humbles me and again, I thank my father for continuing to create
opportunities for me,” said Hallman.
“The FPAA is more than just distributors. Our strength is working as a collective group
of associated industries on issues that impact all of us. We depend on companies such as
Sierra Seed Company and others, to actively promote our shared border trade
opportunities and achievements,” said Scott Vandervoet, the FPAA’s incoming
chairman-elect. “I congratulate Sabrina on her well-deserved award.”
In addition to her tireless efforts at the FPAA, Hallman’s hard work has resulted in the
continued growth and expansion of her own business and has garnered other awards such
as the 2012 Arizona Small Business Success award for its economic impact in the state of
Arizona and the 2013 SBA Arizona Award winner of the Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned
Business of the Year.
Hallman is also active in local civic groups, from women’s business groups, such as the
Women’s Presidents Organization and the Zonta Club of Nogales to the Santa Cruz
Community Foundation, a group that supports local non-profits and charitable initiatives.
Jungmeyer concluded his remarks by saying, “We need her support and influence to keep
the association strong.”
Each year’s honoree is presented with a custom metal sculpture made by Tucson artist
Matt Harper. Prior honorees of the FPAA Member of the Year Award include:
2014-15 – Scott Vandervoet of Vandervoet & Associates
2013-14 – Walter Ram of The Giumarra Companies
2012-13 – Jaime Chamberlain of JC Distributing
2011-12 – Terry Shannon of Shannon Brokerage
2010-11- Chuck Thomas of Thomas Produce
About the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas:
The FPAA is a nonprofit trade association headquartered in Nogales, Arizona, that
represents over 120 U.S. member companies involved in growing, packing, sales and
transportation of fresh fruits and vegetables grown in Mexico. The FPAA leverages the
efforts of private companies and partner-associations to increase the consumption of fresh
fruits and vegetable from Mexico.
Photo: Sabrina Hallman and Lance Jungmeyer