Shuman Produce Inc.: Reidsville, GA
Years in Produce:
Married; Two daughters
Hobbies: Fishing; farming on the family farm; spending time with family; active member of Reidsville First United Methodist Church; serves on Board of Directors at Pinewood Christian Academy School
Motto in life: Character is who you are when no one is watching.
Parker has been a sales manager at Shuman Produce since February of 2009. His roots in produce run deep. Before joining Shuman, he worked on a family farm with his grandfather, who was revered locally for his high-quality produce. He inherited his passion for produce and people at an early age; the family farm not only grew produce, but also fostered Parker’s desire for selling it. Since joining Shuman, he has contributed to the company’s growth through maintaining great relationships with customers. Parker is very involved in the Southeast Produce Council, serving on the Board of Directors for four years and the Executive Board for the past two years.
Questions & Answers:
Q: How did you begin working in produce?
Working on the farm with my grandfather planted the seed for my desire to be in the produce industry. I worked in produce for 15 years before joining Shuman Produce. When the opportunity came to work with the industry-leading sweet onion company, I knew that God was showing me where I belonged. I couldn’t have been happier to accept a job than one that was selling produce in my hometown. This was exactly something I felt was meant to be!
Q: What do you know now you wish you knew when you first started your career?
Have faith; it’s all going to be OK. There are a number of factors that are out of our control, so focus on factors you can control. Let things take care of themselves. The business changes constantly, so it is wise to have faith and know you have done your best. Sometimes there are no right or wrong answers, so it is important to just go with your “gut” feeling.
Q: What aspects of the business challenged you the most early on?
The fast-paced, ever-changing aspects of the business were the hardest. Each day can be so different and challenging. As soon as you think you have it figured out, something changes to humble you and make you realize, you will never figure it all out.
Q: What accomplishments are you most proud of in your career?
I have been fortunate to be part of the Shuman Produce team, which has experienced tremendous growth. I am also proud to provide a product that consumers truly enjoy. We strive every day to make sweet onions exciting. I am very honored to be heavily involved with Southeast Produce Council.
Q: What advice would you give someone new to the produce industry?
Get involved with industry organizations and always look for ways to meet people and develop relationships. These relationships are a vital part of your career.
Q: What are some of the more challenging aspects of a career in produce today?
There are many challenges, but effective time management is one of the most challenging for me. The produce industry is a very time-sensitive business, so it is important to balance your time and tasks so that the most important demands are met first. Learning to be flexible and open-minded are important too. Finding the perfect balance of faith, family, work and fun can be challenging and is a work-in-progress for me.
Q: What has shocked or surprised you about the produce industry?
The sacrifice and effort it takes to get produce through every aspect of the supply chain.
Q: What was the “aha” moment when you knew produce was the industry for you?
Once I realized what a people-oriented business this was, I knew I was where I belonged. I also realized hard work does pay off.