Quackenbush Receives 2024 CANR Outstanding Up and Coming Alumni Award

Sarah Quackenbush will receive the 2024 CANR Outstanding Up and Coming Alumni Award during the annual ANR Awards on Friday, March 1.

Sarah Quackenbush, of Interlochen, Michigan, will receive a Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Outstanding Up and Coming Alumni Award at the March 1 ANR Awards Program.

The CANR Outstanding Up and Coming Alumni Award honors individuals who have distinguished themselves by obtaining a high level of professional accomplishment and who possess high standards of integrity and character to positively reflect and enhance the prestige of CANR within 15 years of graduation.

Quackenbush received her bachelor's degree in agribusiness management with Honors in 2012, with a specialization in international agriculture. In the time since her graduation, Sarah has asserted herself as a leader in her industry at local, national and international levels. Through her growth and development, she maintains a service-oriented, caring and kind approach, lending her hand and knowledge to those starting in the profession. Quackenbush is an avid team player and collaborator with deep ties to Michigan, MSU and its students, and the professionals within her industry. Her passion for helping others and furthering her industry makes her a standout in her field, and a great representation of CANR.

Shortly after her graduation, Quackenbush dove headfirst into the produce industry through a position with Wegmans Food Markets, a large supermarket chain based out of Rochester, New York. She began as a Service Team Leader before quickly moving up to manage $120 million worth of fruit and vegetables from 18 produce vendors. Her ability to manage the complexities and changing demands of this role asserted her elevated levels of leadership and collaborative nature.

In 2014, Quackenbush came back to Michigan to join North Bay Produce (NBP), one of the leading berry and apple companies in the world. Demonstrating her industry expertise and leadership talent, she began as an account manager and export sales specialist, collaborating with eight giant retailer accounts to grow and diversify their produce offerings. From there, she moved into a data and strategic insights manager role, managing data analysis and strategic assessments. In 2023, Quakenbush transitioned into the position of sales manager, where she runs a 12-person sales team and collaborates with various NBP members. This role requires complex management decisions and continued relationship building, which happens to play into her diverse set of strengths.

Quackenbush’s outstanding professional performance has led to her receiving various accolades within her field. The Produce Business magazine, one of several top voices in the produce industry in the U.S., named Quackenbush to its “40 Under 40” class of 2022. One of the highest recognitions in the produce industry for young professionals, this list highlights rising entrepreneurs who have demonstrated leadership growth and a passion for building the industry. The class of 2022 dedication for Sarah highlighted her journey into the industry, her active role in key councils and programs, and how she gives back to MSU and the CANR by coordinating produce industry visits and annually serving as a guest speaker.

Quackenbush was also selected by the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) to be a career mentor for the IFPA Center for Growing Talent, where she mentors emerging produce professionals around the country. She was also selected to be a Young Professional Taskforce Member. The IFPA is the leading produce association in the U.S., encompassing growers, retailers, packers and those involved with policy and government from across the nation. Quackenbush’s work with the IFPA has led her to mentor MSU students at the IFPA conference, as part of IFPA’s “Pack Career Pathway Program.” Her work as a career mentor and member of the Professional Taskforce showcases her dedication towards nurturing and developing students to be breakout leaders in the industry.


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