Canada: BC Tree Fruits’ new CEO outlines plans to be ‘change-agent in the marketplace’

April 18 , 2019

Canadian organization BC Tree Fruits Cooperative’s new CEO Todd McMyn has opened up about his future plans for the cooperative, specifically detailing his aims to improve operations, establish a hands-on relationship with orchardists, and implement new technologies to boost production.

To start, McMyn says he wants to ensure the cooperative’s operations are running as effectively as possible by bringing “transparency and efficiency in operations from frontline staff all the way to the top”.

His operational strategy also includes establishing closer relationships with the cooperative’s orchardists in Okanagan Valley, and with their customers both locally and abroad, explains McMyn. To strengthen connections with these consumers, he says: “We’re looking for a more personal touch, a more collaborative interface with customers worldwide.

“I think we would achieve that through regular communications, outreach programs, a task force, and I would say government and association help as well as utilizing our inward strengths… more effectively.”

As for how to best support growers, McMyn says his scheme involves looking at irrigation and reaching out to the scientific community for input, as well as supporting new technologies so that the cooperative can closely work with suppliers, using cost-effective techniques.

He emphasizes: “All aspects are under review to give the farmers the best and newest technologies.”

While McMyn notes that the produce industry can be quite traditional, which can pose challenges, he asserts: “We are going to be change-agents in the marketplace for sure.

“We do have the vision of bringing in the best production technology and to really become much more competitive on the production side.”

According to McMyn, these moves are all part of his renewed vision of the cooperative’s “orchard-first concept”, in which he maintains it’s critical “that the management and the employees are in service to the orchardists to work together more closely and understand their needs rather than by proxy”.

In practice, he says upholding this concept means, in the future, employees could be “touring orchards with growers and getting to understand their problems, and also senior staff working more closely with them and understanding…their technological needs”.

This process might also include the visiting senior staff taking a more collaborative approach with orchardists, directly asking what resources could better help them, what their financial constraints are, and what ideas they might have to improve their orchard, he adds.

In this way, operations “will be a little bit different and a little bit more intensive.

“Discussions will be formatted on performance-related issues”, which he believes will lead to promising outcomes.

In regards to the year ahead, he says: “I think with clever marketing and getting orchard returns up to some higher grades that we’re going to be in a very good position.”

Referencing the fruits the cooperative promotes – ranging from tree fruits to table grapes to cherries – McMyn hopes to impress the fact that “we have a unique and delicious flavor profile” into consumers’ minds, showing them that across the board, “we are a quality producer, that we are a fresh, natural producer, and that we really care about the consumer.

“I think if we do that job, we’re going to see a good year.”

McMyn, who joined the team at the start of this month, is the former head of a manufacturing and trading corporation. According to the cooperative, he brings a unique global perspective to the group, having traveled to over 50 countries to set up distribution and business.

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