The opening session of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) CSS and Seed Expo was highlighted by keynote speaker J.R. Simplot president and CEO Bill Whitacre. Since inventing the first viable frozen french fry the J.R. Simplot Company, has become one of North America’s largest, privately held food and agribusiness companies, with over $4.5 billion in annual sales. Simplot has served many of the largest restaurant and grocery chains in the world, with major operations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and China. [wpaudio url=”http://www.zimmcomm.biz/asta/asta-css-14-simplot-speech.mp3″ text=”Bill Whitacre, Simplot President and CEO, keynote address”]
During his remarks, Whitacre stressed that much of what has helped him along the way was the mentors and leaders he got to know from being a part of ASTA. Simplot is one of the largest family owned agribusiness companies in the United States. Whitacre says while his company may be one of the largest suppliers of food they are still a rural company and a very hands on operation from the way they raise their crops, cattle, and how they treat their employees.
Whitacre believes it is important to be involved with those who are up and coming through the seed industry because they are the future and he remembers what it was like to be young and trying to learn as much as he could. After his address, he was pleased to visit with members of ASTA’s Future Seed Executives (FuSE), answering questions and encouraging them to reach out to high level executives and learn as much as they can from them.
Listen to my interview with Bill here: [wpaudio url=”http://www.zimmcomm.biz/asta/asta-css-14-simplot-whitacre.mp3″ text=”Interview with Bill Whitacre, Simplot President and CEO”]
2014 ASTA CSS & Seed Expo photo album