Heidi_Alsum_Randall

Chief Operating Officer - Production and Sales
Alsum Farms & Produce, Inc.: Friesland, WI

Years in Produce:

Age: 36

Personal Information:

Married; Three daughters

Hobbies: Boating; fishing; golfing; Sunday school teacher; Feed My Starving Children Pack Volunteer; Big Brothers/Big Sisters Volunteer; Director, Cambria-Friesland Chamber of Commerce

Motto in life: The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor. — Vince Lombardi

Work History: A second-generation family member at Alsum, Alsum-Randall grew up working at the farm alongside her father, Larry Alsum, sister Wendy, and other family members. She started grading potatoes while in middle school and was able to work in a variety of different positions at Alsum while in high school and college. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a Bachelor of Business, she gained experience as a temporary recruiter for WPS Insurance (Madison, WI) and for deBoer Transportation (Blenker, WI) as a fleet manager. She rejoined the Alsum team in 2006 in the national sales department working to develop new accounts and products. In 2009, she led a branding initiative with an outside marketing firm that interviewed customers and gathered qualitative research to establish Alsum Farms & Produce’s brand identity, the company logo, tagline (Integrity from Field to Fork), merchandising materials and key messaging. This resulted in Alsum updating all of its packing to include the face of the farmer — Larry Alsum (president and chief executive) — to an overwhelmingly positive response. Currently, she serves as the chief operating officer overseeing the production and sales teams that have increased sales and improved efficiencies under her leadership. Alsum Randall was elected as the first female president of the Wisconsin Potato Industry Board (WPIB) in 2014 and continues to serve as board president. She has also served on the WPVGA Promotions Committee since 2009, and on Potatoes USA as a board member since 2014. At the Potatoes USA annual meeting in March, she was elected to serve on the Executive Committee as co-Chair of the Industry Outreach Committee.

Questions & Answers:

Q: Are you a Gen X-er or Millennial?

A little of both. I am very much into the Millennial mindset of technology along with social media and how it can advance our company but I also have the old school work ethics. We still do business with a lot of companies with a handshake.

Q: What do you know now you wish you knew when you first started your career?

To be successful in the produce industry, it is important to always look for opportunities to learn as much as you can, network throughout the industry and volunteer whenever possible.

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

I feel extremely blessed and I am proud to work alongside my dad and sister on a daily basis to grow Alsum Farms & Produce. It takes a team to continue to grow and innovate and we have a great group of employees at Alsum that work alongside us. One of the achievements I am most proud of is being named the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) Volunteer of the Year Award in 2016.

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

Jump in and have fun. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Change is constant in the produce industry and you need to embrace it. You won’t get it right every time but use failures as opportunities to learn and improve.

Q: What do you think the industry can do to promote more produce consumption?

I think continued education on the health and nutrition benefits of fresh produce along with providing fast and convenient recipes that are produce-centric will be key to increasing consumption of fresh produce.