For the about 40 years I’ve had the blessing of being married to Sue, who I joking like to introduce as my first wife, was my high school sweetheart. Together we had two beautiful girls Jacqueline and Lisa that are both married and have kids of their own. The Grandkids to date total 6 and keep us younger everyday by chasing them around.
Produce has been a way of life for me since childhood. Starting as soon I could walk my two brothers, one sister and I would be helping Grandpa in the orchard. Sometimes there was more mischief than help, and that’s when my love with produce began. As I got beyond high school I worked the Muck fields for Bolthouse Farms harvesting carrots and onions, moving irrigation and then eventually in 1982 I moved into managing an apple packing facility that, little did I know, would later become my own. In 1990 my Father-in-Law John Neiederer bought the packing facility and Greenridge Fruit was Born! Together we grew the business and by 2000 John decided it was time to retire, he dropped the key on my desk and the business was mine to carry on from there. I love the produce industry, it’s fast paced, ever changing, and a new challenge every day. I can’t imagine what life would have been like if I was working in produce.
As a typical guy I was chasing girls from the time their cuties wore off, but when Lisa got a hold of me that was it I was done! We were high school sweethearts and have been together for over 15 years, married for the past 9. God has entrusted us with 3 beautiful kids, our daughter Brooklyn and twins Isaac and Mikaela.
After high school, I started my own window cleaning business to help keep my college debt down as I played college soccer and pursued a degree in Business Finance. By 2009 I graduated with a Finance degree from Cornerstone University and as looked at the financial landscape at the time I decided to continue cleaning windows with my business partner. After 3 years I was able to buy out my partner and then continued to grow the business. A few years later I began to look into where I could apply my business skills and decided that I would take the plunge into the produce industry.
Working at Greenridge Fruit has been the opportunity I was looking for. Every day I get to walk into a place that smells like sweet delicious apples, have conversations with people all over the country, develop solutions to the new challenges of each day, and know that I’m selling the best apples in the world!
Food Safety Director
With my Bachelor’s degree in accounting along with my MBA, I started at Greenridge Fruit as office management and sales support. As long as Darryl has owned the business I’ve been here keeping a close eye on things with him which has been almost 20 years now.
When I first joined the team at Greenridge Fruit, I was impressed with how much management cares for their customers. Over the years, this thinking continued. Making the customer’s life easier by meeting and exceeding their expectations is a top priority.
Management also cares deeply for the employees that make up the team. Creating this family atmosphere has worked not only to have long time employee retention but also to help accomplish the goal of meeting the needs of their customers. When a tough situation arises, the team pulls together to resolve it going the extra mile to get the job done.
Over that time as the industry changed, my role also evolved with a new focus on Food Safety. Significant moves forward in this field means we are always looking down the road to what’s coming next so we can be ahead it. Food safety isn’t just a title or one person’s job, it’s a culture that has to be developed and continually nurtured throughout the organization. I view my job as one of both continual learning and educating to keep the apples we pack a truly healthy option for people to eat.
Growing up in the heart of Michigan’s Apple growing region I drive past the orchards every day, it’s a beautiful scenery to commute through and one that everyone should experience someday! When I’m not running the packing line at Greenridge Fruit, there’s a good chance I’m somewhere outside or with my family. My passion for deer hunting has turned me to in a small famer, growing food plots. On spring weekends, I try to make it up to my grandparent’s cabin to fish for trout. When the opportunity comes up for me to make it to the Upper Peninsula in the winter I’m going as fast as I can on a snowmobile! During any and all of those activities you will find me in the company of my family, who I love to spend time with!
“It’s just packing apples!” that was the statement that sold me on getting into the apple business. I soon learned it’s much more that just packing apples, in fact packing apples it just a small part of what I do. Looking a fruit quality, food safety, inventory management, etc. are all things that keep me sharp every day, but when you have good people surrounding you it makes all the difference. We’ve got long time employees that take pride in their work and contribute to our team atmosphere. This career has pushed me to learn new skills and sharpen the ones I already had, and everyday is a new challenge to take on. At the end of the day though it’s just packing apples!