[Portland, Ore., January 30, 2014] – The Northwest Food Processors Association (NWFPA) awarded individual food processing industry leaders with three of the organization’s highest honors last week at the Northwest Food Processors EXPO and Conference at the Oregon Convention Center. Each of the annual awards – Key Award, Eagle Award, and Distinguished Service Award -- honor individuals who have displayed exceptional leadership and contributions to the association and the food processing industry overall.


The NWFPA Key Award is a lifetime achievement award given to a processor member who has spent the majority of their career in the food processing business, and who has made substantial contributions to the industry and provided leadership to NWFPA.

The 2014 recipient of the NWFPA Key Award is George Smith, President and CEO for NORPAC Foods, Inc.

George began his career in the food processing industry in Seattle with Eastpoint Seafood Company, joining NORPAC in 1979. Aside from serving as NWFPA’s chair of the Centennial Task Force, George also serves as a member of the Government Affairs Committee. A former Chair of the NWFPA Board of Directors, his other past NWFPA distinctions include Chair of the NWFPA Operations and Technical Affairs Committee, Board Director, and Executive Committee member.

“George’s active role and dedication to the food processing industry has played a major part in its success over the course of his career,” said NWFPA President Dave Zepponi. “His passion, knowledge and leadership in different corners of the industry are valuable beyond measure.”

The Key Award was presented to George by NWFPA Board Chair and VP Government Affairs for J.R. Simplot Company, Mark Dunn.


The NWFPA Eagle Award is presented for significant contributions to the advancement of a specific project or program in support of NWFPA’s mission.

The 2014 recipient of the NWFPA Eagle Award is Debbie Radie, VP of Operations for Boardman Foods.

Debbie was honored for her work on food industry workforce issues over the past year and for her leadership as Chair of NWFPA’s first Workforce Cluster. She has been instrumental in the development of the Food Resources and Education Institute (FREDi), an industry led initiative that allows the food processing industry to connect and access resources to help increase productivity and revenue.

“The vision of FREDi has now been realized and we contribute much of that to Debbie’s work on the development and delivery of the program,” said Zepponi. “The program itself, and Debbie’s contributions, will be critical to the future of NWFPA and the industry as a whole.”

The Eagle Award was presented to Debbie by Mark Dunn.


The NWFPA Distinguished Service Award recognizes significant contributions to the food processing industry over the years.

The 2014 recipient of the NWFPA Distinguished Service Award is Charles Breen, Seattle District Director for the Food and Drug Administration (ret.)

Since taking his post as the Seattle District Director for the Food and Drug Administration in 1998, Charles’ commitment to industry outreach has been unparalleled. He has provided valuable government insight and firm interpretations of policy to NWFPA and its processor members. While Charles retired last August after 40 years with the Food and Drug Administration, he remains an integral part of the success and legacy of the food processing industry.

“When the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was passed, Charles committed to regular conference calls with the processing industry to keep them abreast of new developments,” said Mark Dunn. “In doing this, he facilitated an outstanding way for us to better understand the FDA’s perspective while also presenting members’ concerns in a non-threatening forum.” 

The Distinguished Service Award was presented to Charles by Mark Dunn.

For more information, call the Northwest Food Processors Association at 503-327-2200 or visit

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The Northwest Food Processors Association (NWFPA) represents the interests of food processors in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Members include fruit and vegetable, seafood, dairy, specialty and fresh-cut food manufacturers. Membership runs the gamut of the foremost brand names in the United States, key producers of private label and institutional products, and locally run family businesses. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, the association represents nearly 500 member companies including 120 food processors with 200 production facilities throughout the Northwest region.