Senior Sales Representative & Key Account Manager
Oppy (The Oppenheimer Group): Coquitlam BC, Canada

Years in Produce:

Age: 34

Personal Information:

Married; One daughter

Hobbies: Traveling; boot camp workouts; hiking; calligraphy; playing golf; Foothill Church in Glendora, CA; Freedom 4/24 charity

Motto in life: Be confident. Be kind. Keep your fork – it only gets better from here!

Work History: Martin started at Oppy in Los Angeles as a sales and marketing intern immediately out of college. She then moved to a position in Seattle as a business development representative for the Pacific Northwest, before returning to Los Angeles take the same position for the Southern California, Arizona, Utah and Colorado areas. In 2015, she became a sales representative, and in 2018, she was promoted to senior sales representative and key account manager, where she currently handles sales for commodities for key accounts in the Western United States and some national accounts. She volunteers on the Fresh Produce and Floral Council’s Southern California Expo committee and is a mentor in the FPFC Apprentice program.

Questions & Answers:

Q: How did you begin working in produce?

I started as an intern and was warned that once you get sucked in, you never leave. It has been true for me so far. We are on the right side of the economy. Everyone needs to eat, and produce is now trendy. We are all part of the process to feed the world healthy food.

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

While I thrive within structure, I do believe in work-life balance, that technology can allow for this balance to ensure we keep our spouses and children a priority. Like most Millennials, transparency is important to me. As a consumer, online delivery is here to stay among my peers and I do it for some non-perishables, but I still find shopping for my groceries in store refreshing.

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

Not underestimating knowing your rights within PACA rules and learning the technical side to your business – in any sales transaction, it could save your company money.

Q: What industry improvements would you like to see?

I believe we have a long way to go in how we de-commoditize produce. Quality and taste need to lead the way of production.

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

Do not give up right away or feel entitled at the start — jump in and get after it but be permeable and listen — there is so much to learn. I always suggest to newcomers to immerse yourself for a minimum of two years. Any product, every season can be different from the next, so in two seasons you typically will learn to navigate through tight markets and flush periods, potentially a weather disaster of some kind and global dynamics that will impact your business.

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

Consumer and in-store personnel education. As an industry, we need to target the end consumer as much as possible with the help of our retail and foodservice partners – in our messaging, in our discipline to innovation, and in our commitment to establishing a connection for the consumer to the domestic and global grower community.

Q: What is the most critical “hot button” issue facing the industry in the next decade?

Increased competition for supply globally. Labor rates, lack of water, impact of weather, higher NGR (net grower return) paying markets — we need stronger partnerships and joint planning with growers and retailers to limit the risk of oversupplying and undersupplying the needs of this market.

Q: What has shocked or surprised you about the produce industry?

So much happens through very few hands. We operate very lean as an industry. What we do is very large scale in terms of impact, but the industry seems to be such a small world.