2024 40 Under Forty Winner: Rolff Vladimir Mitton

Director of Operations
National Mango Board
Orlando, FL

Age: 37
Hometown: Deltona, FL
Hobbies: Reading, Soccer
Family/Community: Married, 1 son
Motto in life: It does not matter how many times we fall, all that matters is that we get back up every time.

Mitton is an agricultural engineer with a master’s degree in soil science. He spent years working for NGOs in the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean, focused on agriculture (vegetables and fruits alike) and increasing farm efficiency, creating different market flows, managing agricultural programs and others. In 2019, he became the research manager for the National Mango Board (NMB), where he focused on the NMB Crop Report, making sure proper rapport was built among the mango industry members and providing accurate data on the market movement. He also led all research projects related to production and post-harvest, and kept close relationships with the growers and grower associations from the main mango exporting countries. Being able to communicate fluently in five languages enabled him to travel to all the main mango-producing countries and develop a positive rapport throughout the mango industry.

In 2023, Mitton became director of operations at the NMB. In this capacity, he builds relationships with all shareholders and ensures the NMB’s mission is kept on track through solid research and efficient marketing strategies. He also manages the Mango Volume and Inventory system (MaVIS). This platform allows for a better flow of data and enables participants to have a better understanding of the distribution of mango within the market. When he took over, the platform had three participants and, within a year, it grew to 10, giving a net representation of about 48% of the total data within the mango universe.

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

I have always worked in some way in agriculture. Since I was a toddler, I remember playing with family members on paddy rice fields, walking along the edge of corn fields, planting beans, and watching how different crops are harvested. This led me to study agronomy in college and immerse myself into this world. However, I must say that I did not anticipate the National Mango Board, let alone mango as a stand-alone industry. It was all the same to me, all fruits, and vegetables, just one. One could say that I was courted by the mango industry, and I fell under its charms and, more than five years later, I cannot see myself working anywhere else.

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

The product: mangos. They are versatile. They are also great conversation topics and make it quite easy to relate and build relationships.

Q: What are some ways we can increase produce consumption at the point of sale?

Know the data, so you have a better understanding of the supply and the flow. Know your demographics, meaning your buyers and consumers, and tailor your product to them. Once these are known, capitalize by giving them what they want, where they want it, and how they want it.

Q: How has the industry changed during your tenure?

I have seen that the total volume the industry can absorb on any given week has increased.

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

In all that you do, make sure that you are passionate about it. Always strive for two things: learning and contributing.

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

Issues related to climate. We have seen major issues related to climate that have reduced the supply of mangos up to 60%.