Ron Midyett, 46, has spent his entire career in the produce industry, and if you ask him why, he’ll tell you it’s because of love.
“After getting a degree in food biochemistry from (the University of California-) Davis, I had several job offers in the food industry, but there was a wonderful girl who was a year behind me in school. A couple of the jobs were in the Midwest, so I chose to stay closer and work for Dole Fresh Vegetables.
Courtesy Apio Inc.Ron Midyett, Apio Inc. “Twenty-five years later, I have a wonderful wife and a wonderful career.”
Now, as chief executive officer for Guadalupe, Calif.-based Apio Inc., Midyett’s passion for produce makes it clear he made the right choice.
“I’ve had some fantastic opportunities, and there have been proud moments at each step of the way,” he said.
He said he believes in the industry because he’s proud to provide a quality, healthful product to consumers.
He’s most proud of the opportunity to work with some amazing people, especially from the younger generation. He enjoys giving them a chance to succeed.
“I’ve been able to work with some great young folks, many of whom are still in the produce industry.”
Of course, other proud moments are more specific.
In April, Apio acquired Perrysburg, Ohio-based GreenLine Foods Inc. This added an East Coast presence and introduced value-added green beans to the California shipper.
“It gives us an opportunity to bring those two operations together and the opportunity to broaden our product offerings to consumers,” he said.
After this recent acquisition, Midyett is focused on integrating the two businesses.
Midyett also is focused on helping drive consumption.
“We’re starting to see companies focus on what the consumer wants,” he said, adding that he’s excited to see how that will help drive demand.
“For years, we’ve seen the focus be on shelf life and logistics, but we’re starting to see more products coming out that are focused on consumer benefits like better taste and better nutrition,” he said.
Midyett is also proud to serve the industry in other ways. He is the chairman-elect for the United Fresh Produce Association.
John Newell, chief operating officer and board member of Windset Farms, Delta, British Columbia, has worked with Midyett on several occasions.
“From our first board meeting together, I was impressed with his understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities in our segment of the industry and his practical, business based, principled style gained by Ron from his work experience and years of service to the United Fresh board,” he said.
Newell also said Midyett has a strong belief in shared vision.
“His belief in teamwork, and his positive attitude are infectious and have resulted in innovation and new product opportunities,” he said.
“Service with a trade association is important because those groups do a lot of things for the industry that individuals are challenged to do our own. For example, national advocacy. Speaking as a whole is a powerful thing,” Midyett said.