There is plenty more to do, he said.
“We’ve seen a real decline in consumption at the consumer level, and we’ve got to collectively fix that,” he said.
“We have got to change that curve, flatten it out and start to let it crawl upward. We have to come together collectively and take ownership of this and not expect anybody else to solve our problems.
“We need to reinvent our fresh fruit in the global market place and acknowledge there will be increasing competition,” Richey said.
“We have to be strategic, tactical and have a flawless plan. We have a limited amount of time to correct this.”
Richard Kinney, executive vice president of the Lakeland-based Florida Citrus Packers, said Richey is just the man to take a leadership role in achieving those goals.
“He and I have been side-by-side on a lot of these issues,” Kinney said. “He has a great passion and I have a lot of respect for him.”
Richey’s passion has made him a “true leader” in the industry, Kinney said.
“He can’t get enough of the business and is willing to do what is necessary to help the industry,” Kinney said. “You don’t find that in everybody.”
Richey also has developed universal respect in the industry, which is a rare commodity, Kinney said.
“The other thing, what makes an effective leader, is he likes people, and he’s as good as they come,” Kinney said.
The passion Richey has developed for his business will never allow him to slow up or retire, he said.
“It’s not happening,” he said.
“I do triathlons and run. I can do it at night. It’s what I do for my fitness. My fitness is my mistress. I love getting up in the morning at 5 o’clock. I love getting up and checking my BlackBerry and having my morning coffee. I love this business.”