‘Our strength begins with our farmers. With relationships dating back over 20 years…’ This statement, found on the Melon 1 website, reflects the value they place on longstanding relationships. This is also indicative of the value founding partner, John Lapide of New York, places on relationships. The National Watermelon Association has been the happy recipient of John’s friendship and involvement for over 13 years.
John Lapide is the epitome of hands-on leadership. He served the Association as President in 2009-2010 and as an officer for four years. He is currently an active and engaged leader on our Executive Committee as well as the Co-Chair of the Auction Load Committee. John is also involved as a member of the Budget, Food Safety, Nominating, Liaison, Public Affairs, Research, Promotions, and Convention Committees.
You can see that John Lapide jumps into everything he does with both feet. We’re proud to call John a member of our ‘Watermelon Family’ and appreciate his hard work on our behalf. His family is also proud of him; here’s what they have to say…
“As with most people who grow up with a family business, John began working at a very young age. I met John in college in September. Right away I knew he was “the one”, so in December, I proposed and he said yes. After we got engaged, he wanted to introduce me to the business, so for Easter vacation I went to his home on Long Island. Every day we worked with his mom, dad, brother & grandfather. We were there at 6 in the morning and stayed as late as 1 am one day for a delivery, working side by side. John talks about going to his high school graduation, going out for a quick to lunch to celebrate, and then all the men leaving to go back to work. There have always been long hours and very few days off in this life. Following in the footsteps of the hardworking men in his life he admired, his grandfather, great-uncle and father, John has always been dedicated, had pride and a genuine love for the watermelon life. Over the years I’ve seen a real passion grow in him. He’s always educating himself on the newest technologies and methods for growing and ways to combat pests and diseases. He has a close working partnership with all of our farmers to ensure the successful futures for all of us. When he served as President of the NWA in 2009, our children attended the convention and it was a really proud moment for him. The next year in 2010, our daughter Patty & her husband Jeff, came to work for the business in Brooklyn. Since then, Jeff has begun to run our shed in Hamilton, NJ and Patty has been working to raise the next generation of watermelon brokers – our grandchildren, Nate, Ben & Autumn. Our youngest daughter, Marian, has recently expressed an interest in learning about what we do and I think nothing would thrill him more than to have both Marian & her husband, Peter, become involved with the business and help carry on the legacy.” – Alisa Lapide
“Growing up, I didn’t really know or understand exactly what my father did for a living. I knew he worked really long hours and that meant missing out on a lot at home. When my grandfather passed away when I was 17, I saw a man who I couldn’t believe could possibly work any harder do just that. Going on the road and growing our business by partnering with farmers and long time friends to begin paving the road for the business as it is today. Now that I’m an adult and have a better understanding of what he does I have a tremendous amount of respect for the sacrifices he made when I was younger. Because of that hard work we have an amazing business that has been able to support and employ our family. Family is the most important thing in the world to John Lapide. Every decision he makes is made with careful consideration of how it will impact not only our “blood” family, but our “watermelon” family. Every time we expand or build a new packing shed, it’s to build the future for our family. I’ve never seen this more than since the birth of my children. Anyone who knows John, knows that my three kids, Nathaniel, Benjamin and Autumn are the main driving force behind his determination these days. I’m so thankful that all his hard work has paid off and he’s now able to spend time with them and enjoy their childhood because he’s earned that privilege. I know I’ve painted pretty lovey -dovey picture of him – and it’s definitely not all sunshine and roses. But my father is passionate about this industry, it’s future and guaranteeing the best possible future for all of us.” – Patty Lapide Osterle
The stories that many of us could share would take up volumes of pages to cover them all, yet missing so many. What i have come to know is a man that has a fierce passion to do what is right for the association. I fondly remember a phone call just a day after he had brain surgery (that may explain things) a few years back to remove a tumor. The knuckle-head that I gladly call my friend was selling watermelons within hours of that surgery. Work-a-holic? However, I witnessed a sensitivity arrive when he became a grandfather. He still remained fiercely competitive and passionate, but those grandkids are definitely in control. And, maybe that’s a good thing. – Bob Morrissey
Thank you for your service John.