Senior Key Account Manager
Del Fresco Produce: Kingsville, Ontario, Canada
Years in Produce:
Hobbies: Working out; watching sports; reading; volunteer at Humane Society; member-Knights of Columbus as deputy grand knight; volunteer at Salvation Army.
Motto in life: It will never be perfect – make it work anyway.
Work History: Badaoa began working in the produce industry at the early age of 15 at the local Price Chopper. With dedication and persistence, he worked part-time at a local greenhouse grower/shipper as a quality control specialist while attending the University of Windsor. When on school breaks, he would ask for extra shifts to gain greater knowledge. Upon graduating with honors, he was promoted to commodity manager and held that position for two years. An opportunity to both enhance and pursue his career goals as a key account manager was presented in 2012 from Del Fresco Produce Ltd. He accepted the challenge and now holds the senior key account manager position.
Questions & Answers:
Q: How did you begin working in produce?
I was recruited by a former manager who worked with me previously in a grocery store. He was a respectable delegator to say the least. He gave me a lot of responsibility and I enjoyed the industry’s fast pace while putting out fires and finding new surprises each day.
Q: Are you a Gen X-er or Millennial?
I would consider myself a mix; embracing the new and always pushing something different. I would even consider a part of myself as a Baby Boomer. I don’t use Facebook or Instagram and I crave face-to-face interaction with customers.
Q: What do you know now you wish you knew when you first started your career?
I wish I knew the nuances integrated within the job; the little relationships built that were forged from fire, being on the hot seat together and making it work.
Q: What aspect of the business challenged you the most early on?
Trying to differentiate myself from the competition. We are living in an age of overabundance, where shorts are only caused by weather. We need to be different and change the paradigm.
Q: What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of in your career?
The huge jumps we’ve made in the last three to four years. The company has taken drastic steps forward. I’m very pleased with our steps concerning the greenhouse berries specifically.
Q: What industry improvements would you like to see?
I would like to see transparency between growers and retailers. Often times, we quote a lid and forgot it or a retailer books something and forgets it. We need to better understand what moves the dial for each party.
Q: What advice would you give someone new to the produce industry?
Don’t get frustrated when things don’t go your way – they rarely do. It is what it is.
Q: What do you think the industry can do to promote more produce consumption?
Educate the consumers more. There are so many delicious items and so many new ways to cook things. We should use the viral capacity of the internet to showcase that. When someone tells me they don’t like tomatoes, I like to say “You just haven’t found the right one yet.”
Q: What is the most critical “hot button” issue facing the industry in the next decade?
There seems to be an overabundance of produce. We’ll have to get creative with new items and ways for people to eat them. We have to make the pie bigger and not just keep cutting it into smaller pieces.