Courtesy Mann Packing Co.Lorri Koster, right, chairman and chief executive officer of Mann Packing Co., was named Ag Leader of the Year at the 10th annual Valley of the World awards May 8. Susan Gill of Rio Farms, left, event chairperson for the National Steinbeck Center; and Sandra Silva, center, National Steinbeck Center development and membership manager, look on.Lorri Koster, chairwoman and chief executive officer of Mann Packing Co., was named Ag Leader of the Year at the 10th annual Valley of the World awards in Salinas, Calif.
The National Steinbeck Center presented the awards May 8 at Corral de Tierra Country Club. Its Ag Leader honor is for individuals who have advanced the produce industry and served the community.
This is Mann Packing’s 75th anniversary year. Koster, from the third generation of her family to work in produce, started her full-time career there in 1990.
She serves on various committees for the Produce Marketing Association, the United Fresh Produce Association, Western Growers Association and the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California, according to a news release. She’s on the board and nutrition council of United Fresh, and serves as a board alternate for the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement.
Koster’s past board memberships include the Produce for Better Health Foundation and PMA’s Foundation for Industry Talent. She continues to raise funds for the PMA foundation through the Joe Nucci Memorial golf tournament, named for her late brother.
She is a former chairman of the Grower-Shipper Association, a role previously held by her father, Don Nucci in 1983; and by her great uncle, Art Sbrana, in 1936.
In 2013, The Packer named her Produce Marketer of the Year.
In 2000, Koster was board president for the International Fresh-Cut Produce Association, the first woman to chair an American produce trade association.
She’s a trustee at the Panetta Institute for Public Policy and serves on the board of Monterey County’s Hospice Foundation. She is also a member of the business advisory council for Rancho Cielo Youth Campus, which helps troubled teens.
In 2006 Koster was named an Outstanding Young Californian by the California Junior Chamber of Commerce and Ag Woman of the Year by Salinas-based non-profit Ag Against Hunger.
Mann Packing Co. is certified as a women’s business enterprise through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.