Sales and Marketing Manager
Generation Farms: Lake Park, GA
Years in Produce:
Hobbies: University of Georgia athletics; cooking; gardening; hand bell choir member; Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture and Forestry 2017-2019; Vidalia Onion Committee Member
Motto in life: And if not, He is still good.
Work History: Dees graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and began her career in the industry by first working for an onion laboratory studying the significance of volatile compounds in onions as related to consumer preference. In 2012, she took her passion for onions with her as she began working for family farming operation Stanley Farms. Operating from its processing facility Vidalia Valley, Dees managed whole peeled, IQF, bottled and co-pack sales. When Stanley Farms was purchased in 2014, she moved to the fresh pack division of Generation Farms and later transitioned into sales and marketing manager. Dees was involved with the initial marketing efforts and branding of Generation Farms and now oversees outside of fresh pack sales, all marketing efforts from innovative packaging, content development and coordinating all print, electronic and digital advertising. In addition to the many crops currently grown by Generation Farms, Dees along with the entire team at Generation Farms, have worked together to now offer a year round conventional fresh onion program.
Questions & Answers:
How did you begin working in produce?
My father was raised on a farm and is a retired Ag educator. From a very early age, I became aware of the impact agriculture has on my everyday life. I realized from my rearing, to not use my talents to educate and contribute inside of the produce industry would be a disservice to the pioneers who created pathways for advancement.
Q: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started your career?
Identify and invest in your strengths, invest in others and surround yourself with people whom you admire, spend time learning from them.
Q: What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of in your career?
Somedays when I’m able to slow down and take a step back, I look at what started as a family farming operation and is now a produce powerhouse. I’m so proud to see a team of people working together, collaborating on new crop production, innovative packaging or traceability software.
Q: What do you think the industry can do to promote more produce consumption?
Providing tips for consumers on how to select, prep and cook goes farther than any store display or promotion. A lot of people are intimidated in the kitchen and simply don’t purchase specific produce because they don’t know exactly what to with it when they get home. Education needs to be a collaborative effort between produce buyers and suppliers.
Q: What are some of the more challenging aspects of a career in produce today?
One of the most challenging aspects of the produce industry is being able to adapt and create alternative solutions in any given scenario. No day is the same but maintaining a strategic vision helps to eliminate tunnel vision and provides opportunities for innovation.
Q: What has shocked or surprised you about the produce industry?
The culture of agriculture is changing, so is the number of women helping to shape and mold opportunities for men and women alike. It’s been such an exciting experience watching my friends advance in their careers, from new marketing initiatives to growing a startup to a national brand. I am honored to work alongside the best and brightest in the industry. The women that I have met are a source of support and strength unmatched to any other industry.