Fresh Markets Australia
Honours Outstanding Industry Leaders 

Fresh Markets Australia (FMA), a leading organisation in the fresh produce industry, honoured two outstanding individuals at the Hort Connections Gala Dinner held recently. Gail Woods was presented with the highly esteemed FMA Meritorious Service Award, while Mark Russo received the prestigious FMA Col Johnson Young Achievers Award. 

Gail Woods, a highly respected figure in the fresh produce industry, has been actively involved for many years. Her significant contributions to Brismark and FMA have had a lasting impact on the industry. As the former General Manager of Brismark from 2012 to 2020 and the current General Manager of FMA, Gail’s visionary leadership has played a pivotal role in shaping the organisations. 

In addition to her role at FMA, Gail serves as the Deputy Chair of Freshcare, an organisation that provides internationally recognised assurance standards for the fresh produce and wine grape industries in Australia. She is also a staunch advocate for the five Central Markets across Australia, which represent fruit and vegetable wholesalers. Gail tirelessly champions the industry at both the state and national levels, working to support its growth and success. 

Gail’s involvement in various marketing programs aimed at promoting the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables underscores her dedication to the industry. She has also been instrumental in advocating for fair practices and transparency through her work on the Horticulture Code of Conduct. Furthermore, Gail’s involvement with FreshTest has facilitated low-cost testing for wholesalers and growers, ensuring the quality and safety of fresh produce. 

Gail’s exceptional commitment to the industry and the Central Markets earned her the Meritorious Service Award, a prestigious accolade that recognises her outstanding achievements and contributions. 

Mark Russo, a passionate grower from Adelaide Hydro Fresh, was presented with the Col Johnson Young Achievers Award. Mark’s entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to his craft have been evident in the expansion of his business and the recent opening of a wholesaler store in the South Australian Produce Market. He actively participates in local and national conferences, demonstrating his commitment to personal and professional development. 

As a committee member of the SA Chamber and the South Australian Produce Market Young Leaders, Mark actively promotes the growth and involvement of young members in the industry. He supports Market Fresh SA and utilizes their services to promote his exceptional produce. Mark’s consistent presence at Hort Connections, where he showcases his products, further exemplifies his dedication to the industry and its success. 

FMA Chair Shane Schnitzler said “FMA recognises and celebrates the outstanding contributions of two individuals in the fresh produce industry annually. Gail Woods and Mark Russo have demonstrated exceptional dedication, passion, and leadership, making them deserving recipients of these prestigious awards.” 

For media inquiries, please contact: 

James Patrick 

Head of Marketing & Engagement, Fresh Markets Australia 

Phone: 0425 757 777 

Email: [email protected] 



Established in 1974, the Meritorious Service Award acknowledges individuals who consistently promote and support the initiatives of FMA and their respective State Chamber. Recipients of this prestigious award exhibit a genuine interest in the welfare of the Horticultural Industry, with a specific focus on the Wholesaling sector across all Central Markets. Their proven track record of business success, combined with strong personal and business ethics, sets them apart as deserving recipients of this honour. 


The Col Johnson Young Achievers’ Award, first awarded in 2002, celebrates exceptional individuals who actively support their Chamber and strive for the betterment of the Horticultural Industry. Recipients of this esteemed award are deeply committed to the Wholesaling sector across all Central Markets and actively encourage the participation of young members in the industry. Their exemplary business and personal professional ethics position them as role models, with the potential for representation and leadership responsibilities within their Chamber and the Horticultural industry. 

Both the Meritorious Service Award and the Col Johnson Young Achievers’ Award recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to their sectors within the Horticultural Industry. Their dedication, achievements, and ethical conduct make them deserving recipients of these distinguished accolades. Each award is bestowed upon a single recipient annually. 

From Left: Gail Woods, Shane Schnitzler and Mark Russo