The old adage says "time flies when you are having fun" and as we begin our 10th year in business at DMA Solutions, this adage couldn’t be more true. We are having an amazing ride and in many ways we are just hitting our stride, as a company and certainly as an industry in many respects.
As my role at DMA Solutions and in the industry evolves, more and more I am present in conversations about why I chose fresh produce as a career or why our company is exclusively serving this amazing industry. And each time I have the opportunity share my story, I am subsequently filled with a growing passion and appreciation for what we do each day.
The truth is, a career in fresh produce is far more than a "job" or a place where one lands out of college. It is a calling, a path and a passion. No matter the recruiting or onboarding sophistication a company may deploy when hiring talent, it doesn't take a person long to see that their "work" in fresh produce has a meaningful purpose.
As we begin to celebrate and commemorate 10 years of our business serving in and promoting the products that abound in the fresh produce industry, I wanted to share 10 reasons why I believe a career in fresh produce is so rewarding.
10 Reasons Students Should Pursue Careers in Fresh Produce
1. The Result.
At the core of this industry are foods that are grown. Whether your role is in accounting, production or marketing, knowing that the result of your daily contribution is helping to put fresh fruits and vegetables in the hands of people around the world is incomparable to other “widget-selling” industries. In fresh produce, you can literally look at yourself in the mirror each day knowing that you’ve done or are going to do something “good” for someone that day.
2. The People.
Since my first day on the job in 1995, I have been uplifted by the intelligence, tenacity, dedication and genuine passion that the people in this industry have for its success. I have made lifelong connections and friendships through this industry that are worth their weight in gold, and I believe many of my colleagues are able to say the same.
3. The Opportunities.
Guts, attitude, effort and longevity are attributes that are appreciated and rewarded within our industry. If ever there were an industry that still recognizes these things, it is fresh produce. Your career mobility is in your hands.
4. The Resiliency.
To survive and thrive in a perishable world, one must be resilient. During times when our economy is in peril, our industry has demonstrated resiliency in astounding ways. While no industry or company is recession proof, the fresh produce industry is undoubtedly recession resilient. People continue to eat in good times and in bad.
5. The Giving.
Generosity is ingrained in the DNA of the people in the fresh produce industry. Whether on a local or national level, or whether supporting a cause to help prevent or cure, giving back is a common practice here.
6. The Approachability.
Considering fresh produce is a multi-billion dollar industry, you would think the opportunity to have lunch or a cocktail with leading executives in our industry would be hard to come by. In fact, it is quite the opposite. From day one in my career I was given the opportunity meet and get to know decision makers at companies from across the industry, all I had to do was ask.
7. The Thrill.
Mother Nature can be unpredictable, but in many ways “she” is one of the most attractive aspects of what we do day in and day out in the fresh produce industry. There is an excitement and element of uncertainty that comes with every new season. Every year, each crop brings its own personality and “bag of tricks” that defines us as growers, distributors and service providers.
8. The Relationships.
Perishability demands trust and trust is built on relationships. While I have seen a tremendous amount of change and evolution relating to the buyer-seller relationships through the years, the fact is relationships are still an important and valued part of doing business in fresh produce. And I can certainly say that relationships have been an integral part in the shaping and success of our company.
9. The Timing.
In the last 50+ years, never has there been a more important time for fresh produce. We are facing an obesity epidemic in the United States and have created a society that has a dependency on processed foods. Yet the solution and cure for these negatives largely lies in the products that our industry grows and sells. There has never been a more crucial time to be a part of this industry to actively and positively affect our country’s eating habits together through increased access and promotion.
10. The Pride.
This one is simple. Walk through a field of strawberries or an apple orchard and tell me you do not feel the pride that has gone into bringing these beautiful products to life. Whether you are a grower, a food safety manager, an accountant, a sales manager or a marketer in the fresh produce industry, you can feel the dedication and hard work that has gone into each and every piece of fruit or vegetable. We grow and provide the healthiest, most beautiful foods in the world to billions of people every day – and THAT is something to be proud of.
As I reflect on my time spent in this industry, I feel affirmed and confident that there is no better place in the world to be – no better industry on the planet to work in. As we continue to grow and turn the dial on consumption as an industry, my hope is that each of you feel this same sense of pride and pass on these rewarding experiences to new talent through mentorship and encouragement.
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