Fresh Direct Produce Ltd.: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Years in Produce:
Married; Four sons
Hobbies: Travelling; basketball; hockey; curling; RBC Race for the Kids
Motto in life: Work hard, respect your elders.
Work History: Moi has been an integral part of Fresh Direct Produce’s growth for the past 15 years. After graduating from the University of British Columbia, Moi joined Fresh Direct as a buying and sales assistant in 2003, when the company was just starting up. He became a full-time buyer in 2005, a senior buyer in 2010, assistant procurement manager in 2014 and, in 2016, started leading his own team as procurement manager-organics. For the past two years, he has led Fresh Direct’s Organics division, while also committing time and effort focused on developing and strengthening the company’s team. Fresh Direct has more than 20 buyers and account managers in two locations, and Moi has become one of the company’s lead mentors and coaches. Outside of the company, he has participated in CPMA Passion for Produce (2012), PMA Career Ambassador for Career Pathways (2016), and in the CPMA Semi-Annual Meeting (2017).
Questions & Answers:
Q: How did you begin working in produce?
I had just finished University with a major in transportation and logistics when an ad on the jobbank.ca website caught my eye. Fresh Direct Produce was looking for a buying and sales assistant, with a focus on logistics coordination. Perfect!
Q: Are you a Gen X-er or Millennial?
I identify myself to be more of a Millennial because I am generally very outgoing and social. I enjoy talking and sharing ideas with my peers. While I am also quite driven, and because our work can be very stressful, having fun at work is really important to me. We have fun competitions as a way of bonding and supporting each other.
Q: What do you know now you wish you knew when you first started your career?
I wish I had known the importance of networking and building industry contacts. I have now built a portfolio of people I’ve gotten to know over the years, making it a lot easier to connect with the right person.
Q: What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of in your career?
Being promoted into my current role as procurement manager-organics. I worked hard for quite a few years, learning, growing, and implementing my knowledge.
Q: What advice would you give someone new to the produce industry?
It was incredibly impactful for me to learn and be mentored from senior team members in the company and industry. My advice would be to be coachable and to absorb as much as you can. Also, be willing to put in the long hours because it takes time to gain that experience and understand the complexities.
Q: What do you think the industry can do to promote more produce consumption?
The industry could really have impact by promoting produce in the school systems, setting up programs to educate kids about the array of possibilities around fruits and vegetables beyond just dietary information.
Q: What was the “aha” moment when you knew produce was the industry for you?
It was definitely my first straight load purchase — Siu Choy/Nappa, 50 pounds. It was so nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time. I was able to negotiate the deal and capitalized on it. Since then I’ve loved it. The experience is very much like the stock market. The thrill and challenge are really addictive.
Q: What has shocked or surprised you about the produce industry?
Online buying — I never imagined that we could sit at home, in front of the computer, purchase produce and have it delivered to our front door.