2024 40 Under Forty Winner: Conor Chilvers

Account Manager
Mastronardi Produce
Kingsville, Ontario, Canada

Age: 32
Hometown: London, Ontario, Canada
Hobbies: Golf, Exercise, Spending time with family and friends
Motto in life: Plan your work, work your plan.

Chilvers has been in the fresh produce industry for nine years. Working in a wide variety of roles and responsibilities has given him a well-rounded view of market dynamics and industry levers. He started in the industry in 2015 at Huron Produce/Lipman as a sales representative, where he built, from the ground up, a $20 million per year sales portfolio consisting of retail chains and wholesalers. He was responsible for business development of new accounts, as well as development of vendors, and onboarding new growers. He was responsible for all aspects of the supply chain. He procured greenhouse-grown produce from various locations in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

In 2019, he became an account manager at Nature Fresh, where he managed a portfolio of $150 million a year, consisting of the largest retailers in North America and the largest partners at NatureFresh. He helped the company achieve growth from approximately $220 million to $550 million in four years. He sold over $500 million of greenhouse-grown produce over his tenure and strategized with partner category managers, directors and vice presidents to advise on best-in-class solutions and create maximum value.

He moved to Mastronardi in 2023, taking on the role of account manager. He is responsible for a portfolio of over $400 million a year, consisting of the largest retail chains in North America and some of Mastronardi’s largest, most key partners. He manages a growing team of four sales associates. He has helped many of those colleagues make strides to the next level and has a passion for seeing colleagues grow and succeed. He manages bids and negotiates contracts for over $100 million and works to launch new items and sustainable packaging ideas. As part of his responsibilities, he dives deep into analytics to drive strategic decisions, and his input has increased in importance over the years. He has completed IFPA’s Emerging Leaders program and the Cornell Executive Leadership Course.

Q: How did you begin working in the produce industry?

I always had a passion for business and enjoyed spending time with people and building relationships. When a family friend reached out with an opportunity to join his quickly growing greenhouse marketing company, I jumped at the opportunity to provide sustainable solutions to feed a growing population healthy produce.

Q: What is the one thing in your business that you are most passionate about?

Seeing ideas become realities.

Q: What would you like consumers to know about the industry?

The dedication and passion that lives in every step of the supply chain.

Q: How has the industry changed during your tenure?

It’s become faster, with more data-driven decisions, and consolidation of retailers and suppliers alike.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?

Over $1 billion of fresh produce sold, breaking into several national accounts, and building team members and seeing their success.

Q: What advice would you give someone new to the produce industry?

Never burn a bridge.

Q: What do you see as a critical issue facing the industry in the next decade?

A massive shift in growing regions, with weather in traditional regions becoming more and more unstable; also more focus on sustainable, indoor high-tech growing solutions to feed a growing population.