Western Growers to award highest honor to pioneer David Gill
Southwestern U.S. produce industry association Western Growers is set to bestow its highest recognition of industry achievement on David Gill for his extensive contribution to the agricultural community.
In a release about the upcoming 2017 Award of Honor, Western Growers - representing farmers in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico - described Gill as one of the industry's most distinguished pioneers.
"I’ve seen the caliber of individuals who have received this award in the past, and I’m truly honored to be this year’s recipient,” Gill said in the release.
"I’m the kind of person who keeps his head down and does what I feel is right – working hard, doing a good job and treating people with fairness and respect. I’m humbled by this honor, and it’s an incredible privilege."
The group highlighted Gill's "visionary leadership" as playing an integral role in the success of companies such as Rio Farms, Gills Onions, Growers Express, True Leaf Farms - Church Brothers Farms, American Farms, G&H Farms and Mission Ranches, growing the capacity of each company to bring fresh produce to the state, nation and world.
After suffering a horrific helicopter accident in 1998 that left him with a broken neck and back, Gill fought against the odds and went on to win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am 14 months later, demonstrating to millions the resiliency and determination that friends and colleagues in agriculture have long admired
Gill’s accident also gave him a renewed sense of purpose: To put an even stronger emphasis on giving back to both the industry and community.
"David’s compelling life story and incredible achievements are a testament to his commitment to agriculture,” said Western Growers CEO Tom Nassif.
“His drive and perseverance are inspiring, and his impact will echo throughout the industry for years to come."
Gill has been a strong advocate for the industry, routinely reaching out to Congress and the state legislature on ag’s most pressing concerns such as labor, water and regulatory compliance issues.
He is deeply engaged in the industry and generously donates his time as chairman of the Hartnell College Ag Steering Committee, and actively participates in leadership roles within the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California, California Farm Bureau Federation, Produce Marketing Association and Western Growers.
Gill served as Chairman of Western Growers in 2001 and remains an influential voice on the WG Board of Directors.
“I first met David in 1971 when we were both playing football at Cal Poly,” said Mission Produce CEO Steve Barnard, who is also Gill’s longtime friend and colleague.
"David is one of the most generous, successful and unassuming champions in our industry."
“David is the most generous person I know. His sense of giving to kids, community and industry is matched only by his competitive will and his unrelenting talent for negotiation. These remarkable combinations make him a revolutionary force in our business," added Growers Express CEO Jamie Strachan.