2020 Produce Business 40 Under Forty Award Winner: Stefanie Katzman

Age: 37
Executive Vice President
S. Katzman Produce
Bronx, NY

Katzman started her career in produce the day she was born. As a fourth generation executive of a family run business, she exudes confidence and demonstrates tremendous courage and caring for her employees and her business. Her positive can-do-all attitude motivates her team to continue to push the boundaries of terminal produce distribution and increase market share continually. She officially began her produce career during high school in 2001, working summers for the family business at the Hunts Point Produce Market. Upon graduation from Ramapo College with a B.A. in economics, she began full-time and has worked her way up through the ranks learning every position at the company. She has experienced it all, from pulling a jack in the warehouse, unloading trucks, sales, buying, accounting, operations management, and executive management. As executive vice president of S. Katzman Produce Inc., Katzman Berry Corp. and Sharkey’s Trucking Inc., she currently works alongside her father, Stephen Katzman, continuing to lead the amazing team of about 375 employees. She also heads up S. Katzman’s retail brand Bloomfresh, currently offering 14 items direct to retail.

In 2013, Katzman became co-owner of MamaMia Produce, a grower distributor of vegetables from the Dominican Republic. MamaMia owns its own farmland in the DR and focuses mainly on Persian cucumbers, specialty tomatoes, and hot peppers. In 2018, she and another partner, launched a new company called Bad Apple that does home deliveries of oversupply and out-of-grade fruits and vegetables. Bad Apple focuses on sustainability and community support and outreach, while delivering fresh fruits and vegetables right to the consumer’s front door. She serves on the United Fresh Wholesaler Distributor Board, as well as the Easterseals of NY Board. She actively speaks at networking events on topics relevant to the industry and community such as labor relations and business growth. The NY Food and Beverage Summit calls on her to speak on fresh market trends, sustainability and millennials in the work force. She was honored by the DREAM School of NYC as “Woman Leader in Business” for her extensive work with the school and its programs.

Hobbies: Watching Baseball, Concerts, Hanging out with friends, Playing with niece and nephews

Personal/Community: Single, DREAM charity

Motto in life: “Work hard, play hard!”

Q: How did you begin working in the produce industry?
Growing up I think I always knew I wanted to come into the business, but after the first summer I worked in the market after high school I was hooked. The excitement, the people, the fact that we got to sell products that are good for you, the vendors and customers and relationships that felt like family. Really everything about it I fell in love with.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?
I am most proud of the team we have built here. Without them we would never have been able to achieve what we have accomplished so far and what we have planned for our future. Surrounding yourself with the right people is the key to success!

Q: What do you think the industry can do to promote more produce consumption?
Focus on the children. Teaching children to eat right when they are younger creates good eating habits and future customers.

Q: What was the “aha” moment when you knew the produce industry was the best choice for you?
I really loved the business from the day I started, but when I first started in the sales department downstairs on the walk I was 10,000 percent hooked. The action, negotiations, the relationships — it was like the stock market but better because we had the added pressure of perishability.