Produce Proccessing 7: Q+A with Ryan Van Groningen
Ryan Van Groningen is the sales manager for Van Groningen & Sons, based in Manteca, California. Van Groningen & Sons is a grower/shipper specializing in melons, sweet corn and pumpkins. He joined Van Groningen & Sons year-round in 2003 after graduating from California Polytechnic State University–San Luis Obispo with a degree in crop science and a minor in agribusiness.
Ryan has served on the board of directors for the National Watermelon Promotion Board, Western Watermelon Association Executive Committee and the CDFA Shipping Point Inspection Advisory Committee. He has also participated in a number of leadership programs including Western Growers’ Future Volunteer Leaders Program as well as United Fresh’s Produce Industry Leadership Program.
What are the best words of advice you’ve received?
“If it was easy, everyone would be doing it!” This advice originally came from my grandfather and is now being passed down through the generations. I feel this is a good motivational tool when things might not be going your way in business but it gives you some extra motivation to keep putting up the good fight and do the best you can do.”
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
“To live life to the fullest with no regrets.”
What do you do to relax?
“With having three young children (Kate, 8; Lauren,6; Adam, 5), times for relaxing are far and few between. Being from California, we really enjoy as a family spending time outside whether that be in the backyard playing, going to a nearby park or even doing yard work. We also love baseball. Go (San Francisco) Giants!”
What would you like to be your lasting legacy?
“I want my lasting legacy in the produce industry to be that I was able to continue our successful family business while doing it the right way. It is not rewarding if you get ahead in life by treating others poorly and conducting business unethically.”
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
“1. Travel … witness all the great places God created; 2. Bungee jump and/or sky dive; 3. Own a vacation home.”
What job or work would you have pursued if you had not become involved in the produce processing industry?
“I always contemplated being a lawyer. Growing up, my parents always said I liked to argue/question everything. I also really enjoyed my time serving as a juror. It is very interesting to me to hear both sides of a story and make a logical decision. I am also very interested in real estate.”
What is the one truth you’ve learned about the produce processing industry?
“It is extremely competitive on the sales end of the produce industry. You can never let your guard down. There is always another vendor looking to take your place.”