How We Grow

2019 March/April How We Grow

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10 ALMOND COMMUNITY Almond 'Industry Darling' Turns in Her Badge, But Not Her Title "Customer service, the way it ought to be." If Sue Olson had one motto throughout her years of work at the Almond Board of California (ABC), that would be it. "She is the 'growers' grower' in that she takes their every concern to heart," said ABC President and CEO Richard Waycott. "I appreciate Sue's dedication to her job and the industry." Olson, the former associate director of Marketing Order Services, retired from the Almond Board at the end of January 2019. While she no longer has a permanent office at ABC, evidence of Olson's more than 20 years of service to the industry remain — from the Position Report and Handler Portal to the Pre-Export Check (PEC) program — and reach beyond ABC into the orchard and processing plant. Olson grew up on a dairy farm in west Modesto. In the summers during her teenage years, Olson's father woke her up at 6 a.m. to drive her to the local farm labor office, where she would jump on a bus and head to a local farm to pick onions and tomatoes. "That's how you build work ethic," Olson believes, "and that is so important." In 1990, after working at Louis Rich Turkey, Olson landed her first job in the almond industry at Monte Cristo Packing in Livingston. Then, when the Almond Board office moved from Sacramento to Modesto in 1993, Olson went to interview. "I've always wanted to work in ag, and I was really excited to be part of the almond industry," Olson said. "I love the people, the industry and all the things they do for their communities." In her first job at ABC Olson worked as a compliance clerk, and early on Sue Olson (left) stands with ABC President and CEO Richard Waycott (right) after sharing some parting words with the industry at The 2018 Almond Conference. Olson traveled to Washington, D.C., to accept a USDA Honor Award for Excellence for successfully implementing the PEC program and addressing the issue of aflatoxin in the almond industry. "Her character and work ethic is in her DNA. We are very thankful to her for the many hours and years that she has spent on behalf of the California almond industry." – Lori Coburn

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