Key Accounts Manager
Four Seasons Produce: Ephrata, PA
Years in Produce:
Married; Five children
Hobbies: Golf; working out; tennis; home projects
Motto in life: I will face whatever comes today with a positive attitude.
Work History: In his 15-years with Four Seasons Produce, Jones has become a sales leader and has created some very forward thinking ideas to share with his accounts on how to increase sales and produce consumption. In 2002, he began as an entry-level warehouse associate in quality control. Three years later he became a warehouse coordinator, followed by a quality control position for two years. Through hard work and dedication, he was promoted to a position within the office on the sales team. For seven years, he managed the export category within the company. His current position was created for him, and basically by him. His daily duties are extensive, and he creates other opportunities from working with his customers. He leads a team of customer service specialists and the export sales coordinator. Under his guidance, the team handles the order entry process, weekly pricing, ad writing and logistics for premier accounts. He also works closely with the buying team to create aggressive ads for independent retailers and provide opportunity buys for national chain stores.
Questions & Answers:
Q: How did you begin working in produce?
I grew up in the produce industry. From a young age, I remember the aromatic smell of the banana ripening rooms and berry storage rooms when I would go to work with my father (Wes Jones, Sr. with MarketPlace, Bermuda and formerly with Four Seasons). At that point, I knew I would be involved in the industry. I decided at a young age to follow in my father’s footsteps with a career in produce.
Q: Are you a Gen X-er or Millennial?
I have traits of both. If I had to choose, I would choose Gen X. I take pride in being independent, resourceful and self-sufficient. I enjoy my freedom and responsibility in the workplace. I dislike being micro-managed and embrace a hands-off management philosophy.
Q: What industry improvements would you like to see?
I would like to see more stable market conditions for extended periods. Lower retail prices will increase consumer consumption. I would like to see more cost-effective freight options. I want to create new ways to promote fruits and vegetables. America needs to eat better.
Q: What was the “aha” moment when you knew produce was the industry for you?
The produce industry creates strong vendor- customer relationships. My “aha” moment was when Four Seasons Produce donated a load of water to our customer in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
Q: What are some of the more challenging aspects of a career in produce industry today?
The implementation of electronic logging devices. This has drastically changed the ability to efficiently load and travel across country with fresh produce. This creates produce with less shelf life due to longer travel times. Also, increasing freight rates are causing higher retail prices for consumers.
Q: What is the most critical “hot button” issue facing the industry in the next decade?
Food Safety. To effectively support the recall process, the industry will be faced with more stringent processes.
Q: How has the industry changed during your tenure?
The automation of orders, invoices and supporting documents have made huge improvements over the past several years.