The end of college brings big changes: it’s the completion of one chapter and the beginning of the next. While some choose to spend another few years in graduate school, I knew that I wanted to discover the working world after graduating from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo’s College of Agriculture. But what kind of company did I want to join? What sort of agriculture did I find most interesting? In my junior year I took a produce marketing class that brought in speakers from various produce companies who inspired us to become part of the industry. As graduation neared, I kept remembering those speakers and knew that fresh produce was calling out to me.
Every February, the Agribusiness Management Club (ABM) puts on the Cal Poly Ag Showcase. This annual career fair attracts many companies from all over the United States to interview students for internships and jobs. After setting up the event, I took some time to walk the floor and visit with the participating companies. That’s when I noticed Joe Ange of Markon—he stood out from the rest of the employers because of his passion for produce. As Joe and I talked, he shared how much he enjoys working at Markon and told me about the many leadership opportunities he has been given. A connection was made—giving me a clear path for my post-graduation life.
I started my internship one week after graduation in June of 2012. During my first week as an intern, I was given the full Boots in the Field® experience. The Markon Inspectors took me along on their route to see lettuce and strawberry fields, driving from Watsonville to Gonzales, California. We walked field after field examining the products, speaking with the harvesting crews, and learning how to maintain quality for the Markon First Crop and Ready-Set-Serve brands. It was really an eye-opening experience to see how fresh lettuce and strawberries made their way from the ground to the restaurant customers. The ride-along also gave me insight into the production process, so that when I started my work in the office, I had a better perspective.
During my internship, I was involved in many meaningful projects—there was never a dull moment. My internship coordinators Joe Ange and David Dudley kept me busy and taught me so much. I looked forward to going to work every day and really liked my coworkers, so when I was offered a position as part of the purchasing team, I was thrilled.
The Markon culture is all about teamwork. It allows us to have fun, but ensures that our work comes first. I started working with the buying office in early August; I learned so much from Mike Mouisset and Jacob Abramson about how the lettuce and leafy greens companies operate. In October I had the opportunity to attend the Produce Marketing Association Conference in Anaheim, California. What an education! We met so many companies from around the globe, giving me an even broader perspective.
In late December of 2012, I also began working with the marketing department. Dividing my time between the purchasing side and marketing team, I am able to see how the various departments of Markon work together to meet the needs of the members and their customers.
From the moment I walked in the Markon door, I have been shown that people matter. The team has really thrown out the red carpet in terms of training me in all the aspects necessary for working with fresh produce. My time on the job has only reinforced my choice of taking this job and has made me determined to do my best moving forward.