Michelle Cortez

Sales Account Manager
Empacadora GAB: McAllen TX

Years in Produce:

Age: 32

Personal Information:

Single; Twins.

Hobbies: Traveling; art; writing; community outreach for Autism Awareness.

Motto in life: To be successful you must, at any moment, sacrifice who you are for what you will become. — Eric Thomas

Work History: Cortez is one of the leading facilitators for changing the face of the Mexican produce industry. She has been instrumental in modernizing and developing the crossing procedures in the city of McAllen, TX, which has become a crucial component for all imported produce from Mexico. With Cortez leading the way, she and her company Empacadaro GAB have built a impeccable reputation for having some of the most premium quality product crossing the border into the United States. She has worked at Empacadora GAB for more than five years. Cortez began in the accounting area but soon transitioned to sales, taking a leadership role in company and industry affairs. In her current position she does a little of everything including selling the product, customer service, creating and developing new and existing programs, monitoring bridge crossings and marketing. Last year, Cortez joined the Texas International Produce Association’s Border Issues Management Program Committee, working to improve the conditions and crossings of produce from Mexico. She is also a recent member of the United Fresh Supply Chain Logistics Council.

Questions & Answers:

Q: How did you begin working in produce?

My family has been in the industry for 30 years. Growing up around produce, I never thought I would want to be a part it, now I can not imagine doing anything else. Every day brings a new challenge and a new opportunity.

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

Gen-X. This industry is not for everyone, there is a significant amount of work and personal sacrifice that it takes to do this job well. Generally speaking, the new generations coming into the work force does not seem to have the same work ethic, drive nor the personal accountability as previous generations.

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

The little details that you learn along the way about growing processes make all the difference.

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

At my relatively young age being asked to join regional and national committees is a wonderful and flattering honor. It is a remarkable feeling to have your voice not only heard but also valued by your industry peers.

Q: What industry improvements would you like to see?

A more positive view of Mexican produce, and recognition for the many growers meeting and exceeding U.S. growing standards and quality.

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

Be patient, work hard, and develop new contacts even if you don’t get the opportunity to earn someone’s business; you never know how valuable that contact might be in the future.