As Sales Manager at West Pak, Heath Shoup is an energetic and hands-on leader with 15 years of operations, sourcing, distributing, and selling experience in the produce industry. He specializes in customer service, strategic planning, and team building, using his wealth of knowledge to help individuals grow and develop within a strong team atmosphere.
How many years have you been in the produce industry?
Since I was about five years old. With my dad having his own groves, I pretty much grew up in the produce industry. At this point, I have been with West Pak Avocado for 15 years. I started out working in the packing house and worked my way up to sales manager.
Why are you passionate for avocados?
I didn’t really know that I was passionate for avocados or even produce in general until after high school and entering college. Growing up around it, you’re naturally going to be influenced by it. However, once the industry started to grow, and I could see all of the efforts the associations were putting forward to help people realize how good avocados are for them, it really opened my eyes and hit home for me. It showed me that the product that I had grown up around, I had grown to love. Now I love the avocado category and being in avocado sales.
What is your role at West Pak?
I am the Sales Manager at West Pak, and I oversee a team of 10 ranging from senior salespeople to a group of customer service reps. I work with my team daily. I’m on the floor with them to discuss pricing, contracts, advance pricing, market trends, market data, customer development and growth, new customers, and different customer packets. I also work very closely with our operations team from production to logistics to make sure that we’re executing customer orders in a timely fashion and delivering on-time for the customer. Every day I’m honing in on what we can do to help grow a customer’s business and grow the category of avocados.
What are you most excited to see in the future of produce innovation?
I am always excited by the health benefits of avocados and the role they can play in somebody’s life. Also, the increased use of avocados, whether it’s in consumption or with other products like oils, or beauty products, etc. In our category, I know that it’s mainly about consumption, but there’s a tremendous opportunity for the growth of avocados out there and it’s exciting.
When it comes to innovation, I would love to discover a way to make avocados last longer on the fresh side of it. I feel that’s important. Also finding ways to bring avocados to market to somebody who doesn’t care for them and getting them to enjoy them and realize the health benefits.
I’m also excited to see new packaging concepts, and I love the new brands that we offer. I can’t wait for LiL’Cados. I’ve got a little ‘cado myself, just three months old, and I see the benefit of getting LiL’Cados in the hands of little kids, as it’s a fun food for them. We use avocados in my daughter’s food every day, and it’s something that she’s grown to love. So, I definitely see bringing LiL’Cados to market and right behind that one, kids, moms, dads, and all family members grow to love them. That brings them right into our I Love Avocados brand and then the organic avocados. Right now it’s all about rolling out the new marketing with the new bags – one rolls right in into the other.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s PMA Fresh Summit?
Like every year, PMA is a great opportunity to see my team in action with our customers. It also gives me a chance to be out there and see my own customers and all of the customers that do business with West Pak. To put a face with a name and thank them for the opportunity we’ve had to work with them throughout the year. Also, for allowing us to be a part of any new growth and to find out what things they might be interested in this next year and beyond.
I don’t think I’ve missed one PMA since I’ve started at West Pak. It’s good to see the industry grow and to see West Pak’s booth, which began as a small 10 by 10, grow into a small city block. Westpac is not a little company anymore, and a lot of people are coming around and looking to see what we’re doing. It’s really cool to see the growth with what we’re experiencing and to see that everybody else is growing as well.
Want to know more about Heath? Visit his LinkedIn profile or contact him, below! Make sure to stop by to see him at PMA Fresh Summit October 18-20, 2018 in Orlando at booth #3653.