Good Fruit Grower

March 1

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Page 45 of 47

Joe Brandt grower / Wapato, Washington age / 33 crops / Apples, peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries, pears business / E.W. Brandt & Sons family background / Joe returned to the 1,500-acre family farm after working in fi nance and manages domestic and export sales and marketing for the company. He is the grandson of Everette and Ada Brandt and the son of Allen and Carol Brandt. " " " " How did you get your start? When you grow up in this industry, you aren't really paying attention to what's going on. When I left for college, I didn't want anything to do with coming back. My fi rst couple years back was pretty rough. Thankfully, my dad put me in the right position. I learned what kind of fruit customers wanted. I had to learn to keep my ears open, my mouth shut and pay attention to what's going on because something that doesn't make sense now will at some point start to come together. What is the focus of your job? Part of being successful is knowing your customer base, being able to gather data from your buyers and cross-reference that against data from the fruit shippers, then putting the two together to fi nd common ground. Another thing is staying up to date with countries that grow apples. Knowing what type of volume they have, where they're shipping, do they have a logistical freight advantage, fi guring out the numbers and then getting with your customers to fi gure out what dollar fi gure you've got to be at to move your fruit. You need to have the skills to gather data from different areas to create that strategy. How do you see data being used in the coming years? Data is going to play a lot bigger role than it has in the past, because the generation that's coming into the industry is in tune with technol- ogy and tools that are at our disposal regarding numbers. Having the ability to work with the technology that's out there today is important. Why did you want to work in the industry? This industry is unlike any other. I can be talking with someone from Chicago, then I'm talking with someone from New York, then India or China — the list just goes on and on. So when I'm traveling for my job I get to meet a lot of really good people and see the different cultures — all while working in perishables, which is very stressful. But in the end it's really gratifying. It's something that gets me going. I love it. " Going forward, I think we'll lean on data more than ever. PLAY scan to watch the interview SPONSORED BY by TJ Mullinax More from this interview and other Young Growers at LAST BITE More Young Growers at 46 MARCH 1, 2016 GOOD FRUIT GROWER

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