Dedication to family and farming keeps Charlotte Vick in the sweet potato growing and shipping business.

A partner with Vick Family Farms in Wilson, N.C., Vick, 41, entered the operation in 1993 after graduating from North Carolina State University.

She worked on the production side as a cotton scout, in tobacco sales and in accounting. In 2002, she and her brother, Linwood, farm manager, became partners in the company founded in 1975 by their parents, Jerome and Diane Vick.

In 2012, Charlotte Vick entered sales, helping market the farm"s 1,200 acres of sweet potatoes.

"I have farming in my blood," she said. "When you have passion and a love for what you do, it makes it easy to work hard every day. My customers and the people I meet also drive me.

"I am a goal-oriented, ‘type A" person, and there is a lot of competition in the industry. I love figuring out how to break through the challenges and make a sale and keep our customers happy."

Although a relative newcomer to produce sales, as a child, Vick spent her summers harvesting and, with the help of her grandfather, hauling to town the melons and cucumbers she grew as 4-H projects to sell to grocery stores.

At the end of the day, she sold peppers and tomatoes to the farm"s Hispanic workers.

Whe she was 17, she grew and sold Vidalia onions, a project that showed the onions weren"t a good fit in the Tar Heel State"s soil.

Vick credits her father for stepping back after giving her guidance and allowing her to grow and make her own decisions.

"My main goal in my career today is to be a positive role model for my children and others around me," she said. "I want them to remember that in life, you can do anything you put your heart and mind to. My parents are proof of that because they began our business with nothing but ambition and the love for what they did."

Joe Pellicone, in buying and sales for D"Arrigo Bros. Co. of New York Inc., said the Vicks are a remarkable family operation.

"She"s a brilliant lady, and we"ve taken our sweet potato business with them to a higher level because of everything she"s done for us," he said.

"I deal with a lot of women in the industry and many shippers. Here"s a woman taking care of her family and running that business. She"s a great woman that shows great leadership in what she"s done."