From left to right, Carl Sam Maggio, Mark Nickerson and Chuck Hodges were longtime partners in Prime Time International.
From left to right, Carl Sam Maggio, Mark Nickerson and Chuck Hodges were longtime partners in Prime Time International.

Chuck Hodges, a founder and managing member of Prime Time International, died April 19 at his Palm Springs, Calif., home after a 16-month bout with cancer.

He was 70.

“Chuck will be sorely missed by all of us at Prime Time,” Mark Nickerson, one of Hodges’ partners, said in a news release. “He was a wonderful illustration of how to live a good life and lead by example. His unique sales skills and keen business sense enabled Prime Time to become a significant force in California agriculture.”

With Nickerson, Carl Sam Maggio and Javier “Skippy” Tostada, Hodges launched the Coachella, Calif.-based company now known as Prime Time International 25 years ago.

In 1987, they opened Sun & Sands Enterprises with seven employees and 400 acres of fruits and vegetables. Hodges founded CH Sales in 1992 as its sales and marketing arm. In 1998, Sun & Sands and CH Sales merged to form Prime Time.

The company grows, ships and markets bell peppers, greenhouse tomatoes, melons and other commodities.

Earlier, Hodges was vice president of sales at Sun World International for nearly 12 years.

Maggio, who like Hodges and Nickerson had experience at Sun World, met Hodges in a poker game. But at the time, Hodges was working in the mining industry.

“I met Chuck many years ago and watched him grow and develop into an astute executive and wonderful business partner,” Maggio said in the release.

Hodges told The Packer in 2004 that the produce industry changed his perspective on gambling.

“I thought if you put $5,000 or $10,000 on a card, you were a gambler,” he said. “That’s nothing in the produce industry. I was a tinhorn.”

Hodges is survived by his wife, Gayle Hodges, and by children and grandchildren. Memorial donations earmarked for Well in the Desert or Pegasus Riding Academy can be sent to Prime Time International’s offices in Coachella.