With nearly 30 years logged with the company, Giumarra CEO John Corsaro has done plenty of jobs within the organization.
Working in the family business at the Los Angeles wholesale market when he was in high school and between terms of college, Corsaro would do jobs that included cleaning the floors, painting the building, sorting plums and loading trucks.
Later in his college years, he began selling produce in the wholesale market.
Corsaro joined the company full-time in 1989, and in the early ’90s the company moved him to Nogales, Ariz., to train under Bill Clausen, one of Giumarra’s best marketers at the time. Clausen had come out of Safeway and was marketing all of the company’s Nogales volume.
“Because of being bilingual, I ended up in Nogales for the better part of 15 years and worked my way up to running the division,” Corsaro said.
“What Nogales did and Bill did for me was really give me a knowledge of the actual trading of produce, representing the growers and learning to move within the market and sell everything well,” he said.
Ed McLaughlin, professor with the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has worked with Giumarra and Corsaro over the years to facilitate company events. He said Corsaro is a born leader.
“He grew up in the industry, watching the leadership of his father, Don, as John worked his way through ag production, logistics, packinghouses, and he logged more than a little time on various sales desks,” McLaughlin said. “His fluent Spanish endears him to suppliers and he knows the history and strategy of virtually every customer and their company.”
A little more than 10 years ago, Corsaro returned to LA and starting working in management for Giumarra.
Corsaro said Clausen, his father and other Giumarra executives taught him the importance of integrity and serving customers.
Corsaro has seen the produce industry change significantly during his career, and he thinks the future will demand continued adaptation and innovation.
But with all the infrastructure, communication and technology tools, Corsaro said it comes down to people.
“At the end of the day, this is still a great business because you need to rely on people to get the job done, and we have great people," Corsaro said.
The company has worked hard at building a culture within an organization that includes 13 far-flung operating divisions.
Corsaro said he enjoys giving back by mentoring young industry professionals, serving on the board of directors for the Canadian Produce Marketing Association and helping sponsor a mentor dinner at the annual conference.