2020 Produce Business 40 Under Forty Award Winner: Andrew Casserly

Age: 39
Director, East Region
Robinson Fresh
Eden Prairie, MN

Casserly began his produce career in December of 2003 at C.H. Robinson in Cleveland, OH, as an account manager. Early on in his career, incredible mentors invested in his development and taught him various aspects of the produce business and supply chains. He quickly developed a diverse customer base that accelerated his knowledge and expertise in the produce industry. In 2008, Casserly became a key account manager, and relocated to the C.H. Robinson Pittsburgh office. His role was to help develop new employees and add new customers to his existing portfolio. In 2013, he relocated again to the Philadelphia area office as key account and again was involved and training new account managers. In 2017, Casserly completed the prestigious Key Account Sales Program offered by C.H. Robinson and was part of the winning team in the KASP Cup Challenge. He was promoted to director, East Region for Robinson Fresh in 2019, where he is responsible for managing a group of account managers and helping them build business and new opportunities. Casserly also works with the Robinson Fresh business development team in meeting with prospective customers.

Hobbies: Sports, Spending time with family and friends, Coaching youth sports, travelling

Personal/Community: Married, three children, Member of Church of the Incarnation

Motto in life: “Always shoot for the moon, because if you miss, at least you will be among the stars.”

Q: How did you begin working in the produce industry?
When I graduated college in May of 2003, I started working as a restaurant manager for Eat ‘n Park in Cleveland, OH. I was exposed to several facets of the restaurant business early on, but I was instantly fascinated with the produce aspect. Every time I called in our orders to our supplier, I always asked about the current markets, trends, and anything exciting that was up and coming. We ran a salad bar at the restaurant, so it was essential to always have fresh fruits and vegetables for the customers. In late fall of 2003, I saw a job posting to work for C.H. Robinson on the produce side of the business, and I applied right away. My first day working for C.H. Robinson was December 31, 2003.

Q: What was the “aha” moment when you knew the produce industry was the best choice for you?
I went to visit my grandma after I had been working for C.H. Robinson for five months. She had a bag of Tropicana oranges sitting in her kitchen, and I told her that I was responsible for selling those to the grocery store where she shops. She was incredibly fascinated with how I described the entire supply chain and was amazed with the passion that I had in my explanation. It was then I realized how cool it was that my family members were buying the product that I was supplying to the grocery stores on a daily basis. After I left her house, I called all my friends to go buy some of the oranges I helped get into the stores.

Q: What do you see as the most critical “hot button” issue facing the industry in the next decade?
2020 will go down as one of the most challenging years we will ever experience in our lifetimes. I truly believe adversity brings out the best in people. It will be very interesting to see how several businesses are able to respond to the disastrous pandemic. It will undoubtedly have a long-lasting effect on life as we know it, but how we respond to this challenge is paramount to our successes in the industry.

Q: What do you think the industry can do to promote more produce consumption?
Put a stronger focus on off-grade produce. Consumers need to be educated that if a piece of produce is not visually perfect, it still has value. If we offered that product at a discount, we can increase consumption through several different avenues.