( Photo courtesy Famous Software )

After Heather Hammack graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, she decided to follow her brother’s advice and go through a practice interview before trying for a job she really wanted.

The agricultural business major did so well during her practice run at Famous Software in Fresno, Calif., that she was hired. Now, nearly 20 years later, she is president of the company.

“You can tell a lot about the culture of a company during a job interview,” she said, adding that she was impressed by the opportunities the software firm offered. “It seemed like a logical fit for me,” Hammack said.

The daughter of a fourth-generation farmer, Hammack was driving a tractor at age 12 and was very familiar with production agriculture.

“I knew that I didn’t want to do that, but I loved agriculture,” she said.

Heather recognizes the importance of supporting her team and is focused on achieving results through the efforts of others.

Famous Software offered an opportunity to work in agriculture without the tractor driving.

As president of Famous Software, a leading provider of software solutions to the fresh produce industry, Hammack said she tries to maintain the company’s culture of caring for employees and customers.

Technology has changed over the past two decades and so has the attitude of many in the produce business, she said.

It’s not just record keeping anymore, Hammack said.

“It’s about forecasting what the future might be and making better decisions based on the data you have.”

The success of Famous Software depends on understanding customers’ needs, she said.

“Then you can sell them something that is going to make their business better.”

Hammack considers her role and that of the company’s senior executives to be that of a “servant leader.”

“My job is to make other people successful.” 

Each of the firm’s 85 employees has gone through a six-month onboarding program called Famous Academy, where they learned what’s expected of them — “aptitude, drive and humility” — as they work to help customers solve complex problems related to their business, she said.

“The people at Famous Software definitely are our competitive advantage,” she said. “They are really invested in our customers’ success.”

Hammack fosters a collaborative environment.

My job is to make other people successful.

“We either succeed together, or we fail together, she said.

Kirk Parrish, the company’s managing partner, described Hammack as “selfless, intentional, committed, decisive, confident and humble.”

“Heather recognizes the importance of supporting her team and is focused on achieving results through the efforts of others,” he said.

He cited her ability to help others solve complex problems as one of her greatest strengths and said she is “passionate about delivering products and services to our customers that provide value, recognizing that the long term relationship with our customers is a difference maker.”

“Under Heather’s leadership, Famous Software continues to evolve and flourish,” Parrish said.