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What it’s like running the Philly market

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As general manager of the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market (PWPM), Mark Smith spends his days keeping a finger on the pulse of the terminal market’s daily operations.

This includes a broad array of activities, overseeing everything from security and finance to waste management and marketing.

It’s a big, busy, often complicated job, especially for someone who, until he joined the PWPM in November 2018, had never worked in the produce industry.

That’s not to say Smith isn’t qualified to run the largest fully enclosed, fully refrigerated wholesale produce market in the United States. Perhaps his experience working in state government prepared him well for the job.

Among the many roles Smith held while working for Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania’s governor, was serving as a member of the Governor’s senior staff, as director of government affairs and outreach, and as executive director of broadband initiatives statewide.

What’s more, as Governor Wolf’s principal advisor on public safety, Smith managed the state’s planning efforts for Pope Francis’ 2015 visit to Philadelphia as well as the 2016 Democratic National Convention hosted by the city.

Despite his impressive credentials, Smith is quick to credit his staff’s teamwork for the Philadelphia market’s continued success and high profile.

“We have a large, state-of-the-art facility, but it takes a team of passionate and hardworking people to keep it running day and night.”

This is a multi-part spotlight feature on the Philadelphia produce market adapted from the October 2019 issue of Produce Blueprints.