Senior Vice President, Science
Western Growers exists for one reason only: to ensure the future viability of its members – the hard-working, salt of the earth farmers who grow the fruits, vegetables and tree nuts that feed our nation and nourish our bodies. But their way of life, their ability to pass their multi-generational farms and family legacies on to their children and grandchildren, is being jeopardized by a host of threats, many of them beyond their control. They face a growing litany of laws and regulations that make it increasingly difficult and expensive to do business.
Our members depend on us to help them remain competitive and profitable in spite of these trying circumstances, which we do by fighting – heart and soul – for them every single day. We passionately advocate for them in the halls of Congress and on the steps of the state capitol. We actively facilitate the advancement of technology designed to help them become more efficient and less dependent on diminishing resources. We diligently provide health insurance to their farm workers, as well as other insurance solutions tailored to the unique business. We do all of this, and more, from a position of leadership in the agriculture industry, which requires a team of intelligent, inquisitive and innovative individuals sold out for our common purpose.
Job Description Summary
The Senior Vice President (SrVP) of Science is the most senior executive in the Association with direct responsibility for all association leadership, and related activity, representing growers/packers/shippers of fresh fruit, vegetables, and tree nuts in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado specifically, in all matters relating to agricultural and food science. The position provides input and guidance on policy issues (of a scientific and technical nature) relating, but not limited to: water quality, air quality, food safety, and pesticide/herbicide/fungicide registration. The position reports directly to the President/CEO and has one direct report, AVP of Science and Technology.
- BA/BS degree (Masters/PhD. preferred) and a minimum of 10 years’ experience in positions relating to the study of agricultural science, food borne illnesses, food safety and/or pesticides used in the production of fresh produce agriculture.
- Excellent and proven knowledge of: fresh food supply chain systems including crop production, shipping and processing operations.
- Proven knowledge of good agricultural practices, good manufacturing practices and best management practices relating to conservation Good understanding of state and national organic, food safety, environmental and pesticide/herbicide/fungicide laws and regulatory programs including the registration or listing of key agricultural chemistries for use in farming systems.
- Direct experience with how government policy will impact fresh farming operations.
- Exceptional ability to present concepts, ideas and data to groups that will include owners, “C” suite executives, appointed and elected government officials, scientists and allied industry organizations.
- Exceptional ability to communicate both verbally and in writing.
- Proven analytical and problem solving skills.
- Solid understanding of the suite of office software relating to spreadsheets, word processing, calendaring, presentations and agency management systems.
- Strong ability to plan future projects, objectives and budget the staffing and vendor resources accordingly.
- Ability to manage competing demands and prioritize and lead others in a working group to work on projects and objectives that move in the strategic direction of the Associations.
- Verifiable, clean DMV record and the ability to travel to various locations throughout the U.S. (mainly California and Arizona) up to 40% of the time.
Duties And Responsibilities
- Present all food safety and related matters to the Science and Technology Committee at the Board of Directors meetings.
- In coordination with the President/CEO develop strategies to respond to federal/state public health regulators and related laws/regulations that may adversely impact the fresh produce industry with an emphasis on protecting the industry’s commodities while maintaining the public’s trust in a safe, fresh food source.
- Assist in the planning of member education relative to food safety. Oversee the development of member education including but not limited to instructor lead training, webinars, conferences etc.
- Create and maintain and active communication plan to keep the Association membership abreast of food safety related topics, changes, advancements and government announcements etc.
- Work with universities, other non-profit and for profit organizations to help find financial (and other) resources to research and develop ways to end, food borne illnesses.
- Lead Western Growers members and the industry at large in the development and implementation of strong preventive food safety practices and programs.
- Present all environmental and related matters to the Science and Technology Committee at the Board of Director’s meetings.
- In coordination with the President/CEO develop strategies to respond to federal/state environmental regulators and related laws/regulations that adversely impact the produce industry and other natural resources issues.
- Assist in the planning of member education on environmental issues and agricultural stewardship.
- Oversee the development of member education on environmental compliance issues utilizing webinars, conferences and other appropriate communication and engagement strategies.
- Create and maintain an active communication plan to keep the Association membership abreast of environmentally related topics, changes, advancements and government announcements.
- In coordination with the President/CEO develop strategies and communications to actively demonstrate industry stewardship and environmental performance.
- Lead Western Growers members and the industry at large in the development and implementation of stewardship practices, programs and incentives.
- Provide vision, strategic objectives, and tactical recommendations to position WG as a data driven organization.
- Lead Western Growers in the collection, management and analysis of demographic, food safety and environmental performance data relating to WG members and the larger fresh produce industry.
- Create data tools and reports that benefit WG and WG members while protecting private information.
- Create data sets and displays that will advance Western Growers key policy objectives.
- Participate in the technical committee and relative working group meetings offered by USDA, FDA CDC and other similar entities.
- In coordination with the President/CEO develop strategies to monetize data for the benefit of WG members.
Management & Leadership
- Represent Western Growers on standing and ad-hoc boards and committees that are strategically relevant to Western Growers mission. Examples include but are not limited to: the Center for Produce Safety Board of Directors and Technical Committee, the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security Advisory Board, the UC Davis Deans Advisory Council, the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops Steering Committee, etc.
- Develop, manage, and lead a team of 3A+ self-accountable professionals.
- Develop a culture of real, personal accountability by modeling the behavior that defines it.
- Instill a culture of safety and expectation, within your respective area/s.
- Require direct reports to hold themselves accountable to high standards of, performance and personal conduct, in a clear, helpful, straightforward way.
- Conduct one-on-one conversations with every direct report, on a quarterly basis, focused on their 3A+ capabilities, impact, and effort.
- Make decisions and choices, impacting staff, by using the selection and hiring, clarifying roles and objectives, managing performance, correction & discipline and termination steps as outlined in the “Outward Mindset Skills for Leaders” guide.
- Utilize all capabilities to satisfy one mission — to enhance the competitiveness and profitability of our members. Do everything possible to help members succeed by being curious and striving to understand what others are trying to achieve, planning and executing work in a helpful and collaborative manner, being willing to adjust efforts to ensure that work and attitude are helpful to others, being self-accountable, creating positive impact, and being diligent in delivering results.
- Maintain a clean DMV record and the ability to travel to locations throughout the U.S. (mainly California and Arizona) up to 40% of the time.
- All other duties as assigned.
Physical Demands/Work Environment
The physical demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to communicate with others. The employee frequently is required to travel to both indoor and outdoor areas that can vary in exposure and temperature. The employee is frequently required to operate a motor vehicle. The employee is frequently required to use objects, tools, or controls. The employee may be required to lift up to 50lbs. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.