Tag Archives: The National Watermelon Association

John Lapide #nwaMemberMondays

john and grandson lapide

‘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.

lapide family

 

 

From Watermelons to Witnessing – #nwamembermondays

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Our Watermelon Family is diverse, yet unified in mission and purpose. Nevertheless, there are times when a greater call redirects our path and we must respond. Jonathan Mayhue, of H. C. Schmieding Produce, and his wife, have heard such a call on their hearts and plan to answer as soon as the watermelon season comes to a close.

The call to the international mission field came to approximately two years ago for Jon and Amanda Mayhue. While Jonathon was studying Missiology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and diving into the Great Commission given by Jesus in the book of Matthew Chapter 28, he and Amanda began seeking exactly where the Lord would have them go to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through a series of divine events the answer to that question would be Stockholm, Sweden.

They are honored and excited share the call God has placed on their hearts with their Watermelon Family. The Mayhue family, including their two boys, Magnus (age 6) and Atticus (age 4), plan to make the move to the Stockholm area by Fall 2016. Jon plans to continue in sales at Schmieding Produce throughout the ministry fundraising process including the duration of the 2016 watermelon season.

Stockholm is a city made up of 14 islands with an expansive suburban area. Over 20% of the population of Sweden (~2.1 million people) lives in Stockholm county. Over a quarter of Stockholm’s residents are immigrants speaking 13 different languages. The city is culturally diverse, rich in history and tradition, renowned for tolerance, equality and considers itself to be on the cutting edge of the human advocacy movement. Considering the great diversity of this city, only about 4% of people consider themselves evangelical or Christ followers. Sweden in general is increasingly disengaged with the traditional expression of church and belief in God; resulting in over three-quarters of the population declare they believe in no god at all.

Stockholm Sweeden perspective

The Mayhues are believing that God is and will continue to  grow a body of believers in Sweden walking in abundant hope and shining the light on an eternal identity in Christ Jesus. In Sweden, they will continue the work of establishing Bible study-focused, Christ-centered small groups within each neighborhood within Stockholm and throughout its surrounding towns. Jon and Amanda desire for their family to be a catalyst to teach and encourage disciples, who desire to make disciples, to further reach Stockholm and Scandinavia for Jesus Christ. This is a big task, but we serve an even bigger God.

Throughout this journey, Jon and Amanda have found great encouragement in Romans 10:13-15, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”’ The Mayhue family has seen God begin to provide prayer support and financial provision for this ministry in an awesome way! They ask that you would keep their ongoing journey to Sweden and the ministry there in your prayers. If you would like more information about this ministry and how your family can be a part of what God is doing in Sweden please visit www.GEMission.org/Missionaries/Mayhue.

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Nicole Schrader

 

Following the Facebook Frenzy #nwafuturist

 

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Two weeks ago, 9.5 million people tuned into a 45-minute live stream post to see a watermelon explode. Buzzfeed’s Facebook Live video not only had more viewers than many television shows, it was the primary focus of several talk shows and news articles. It seems the phenomenon created quite a stir. Social media specialists everywhere are modifying strategies to include live-streaming videos in hope of riding the wave created by Facebook. Although live-streaming has been around for a while, now that it has been embraced by Facebook, it’s universally acknowledged as the vehicle for future online social marketing. Facebook has apparently appropriated the audience that Periscope, Meerkat, and Snapchat had only begun to access. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is convinced that the personal connection that is made through live-video is the next big shift in how we communicate, and the company is offering monetary incentives to media agencies to create video content for Facebook Live.

Although watermelon was the focus of the extraordinary post and has gotten some favorable press, there are quite a few voices in the media that are not thrilled to follow the Facebook frenzy. News agencies are concerned that Facebook is overshadowing major news coverage and influencing popular opinion in ways that threaten their future. In her article on Wired.com, entitled, ‘Facebook has Seized the Media, and That’s Bad News for Everyone but Facebook,’ Julia Greenberg warns that Facebook looks at news as a commodity to be sold and an experience to share and discuss. As more people go to social networks like Facebook for news, those platforms determine the value of the stories and influence the perspective of the audience. “Facebook now tells the industry what matters most, which dictates how resources are spent and what stories are told.” Julia cautions, “Facebook has immense power. It has become a crucial distribution platform for publishers. Facebook has the audience news organizations are trying to reach, so they have little choice but to chase it there.”

You may wonder if Greenberg’s perspective is extreme. Recent evidence seems to support her claims. On February 26th, 2015, major news publications covered the threat of a federal government shutdown, Senate debates regarding Homeland Security funding, three men arrested for providing material support to ISIS, etc.,  while a controversy over the color of a dress posted on Facebook received 28 million ‘views’, 105,000 ‘shares’, 16,000 comments, and 21,000 ‘likes.’  On April 19th, while Facebook captivated 9.5 million viewers waiting to see a watermelon explode, Assad’s ceasefire violations stalled peace talks with Syria, 300 people were arrested in Washington, DC while protesting the influence of big money in politics, New York held its primary elections, and Texas sought emergency aid due to severe flooding. My news feed on Facebook that day did not include much discussion about any of these issues.

Live-streaming video may indeed be the preferred medium for news, marketing, and communications in the near future, and social platforms may provide the best forum for discussion, but be aware that the news you receive may not adequately provide the best coverage of what is happening in the nation and the world.

Nicole Schrader

Greenberg, Julia. “Facebook Has Seized the Media, and That’s Bad News for Everyone But Facebook.” Wired.com. Conde Nast Digital, 16 Apr. 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2016.

The First Three! ~ New Grower Program #nwanewmembermondays

paul nuzzo's early melons Greg Wright, Galen Crawford, and Gary Cecil are the first three watermelon growers to take advantage of the promotional-partnership between the National Watermelon Association and Bayer.

The Vegetable Seeds division of Bayer and the National Watermelon Association have entered into an unprecedented partnership to attract new members into the Association. For the next two years, Bayer is funding first-year memberships to all eligible watermelon growers. Bayer and the National Watermelon Association want to spread this message to the watermelon industry: if you are a watermelon grower, we need you! We will fully fund your membership so you may explore everything the Association has to offer at no cost to you.

As the voice of its members on important issues such as trade, labor, research and food safety, to name a few, the Association stresses the importance of Association involvement from new generations of watermelon growers and being a part of these issues as they start their careers.  And not to forget seasoned growers, the partnership welcomes them as new members in the Association as well.

In order to be eligible to receive membership in this program, growers must be new to the Association.

We’d like to welcome these new members to our Watermelon Family:

  • Gary Cecil of Gary Cecil Farms in Owensboro, Kentucky, a  new member of the Illiana Watermelon Association
  • Galen Crawford of Galen Crawford Farms in Ontario, Oregon, a  new member of the Western Watermelon Association
  • Greg Wright of Prairie Harvest Organics in Byers, Colorado, a new member of the Texas Watermelon Association.
“We are elated that Bayer has agreed to fund first-year dues to all new members and therefore aid us in growing the National Watermelon Association,” said Bob Morrisey, executive director of the National Watermelon Association. “We encourage growers in the watermelon industry to share their talents and strengths with the Association and allow us to share our expertise with them.”
 
“Bayer CropScience Vegetable Seeds and the National Watermelon Association Partner to Aid Watermelon Growers.” Nunhems –. N.p., 5 Oct. 2015. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

Why Are Millennials Anxious? #nwafuturisticfridays

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The root of anxiety is fear. But what we afraid of? Or more particularly, what are Millennials afraid of?

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), ‘Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure. People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. They may avoid certain situations out of worry. They may also have physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, dizziness or a rapid heartbeat.’

In a study conducted by the APA and Harris Interactive, Millennials showed higher levels of stress and anxiety than any other living generation. The main causes they gave for their anxiety were work issues (76%), money (73%), and relationships (59%). Their concerns are not irrational, Millennials make up about 40% of the nation’s unemployment, the majority of them graduate from college without a job and a burden of financial debt, and they live at home longer which may cause relational frustration and hesitation to make relational commitments. These are the realities that they face. But theses concerns are not unique to Millennials, nor are Millennials the first to transition into adulthood and meet with issues that pose threat and create anxiety. So why is this generation at a greater risk to anxiety disorder and depression?

There are many varying opinions as to the causes of this higher rate of anxiety. Millennials report higher levels of stress factors in their lives and the APA suggests that they are not managing those stresses as well. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy and regular meals, and maintaining a consistent exercise routine are effective methods for reducing stress and consequently levels of anxiety. But Millennials do not seem to be able to get a good handle on these routines. If not managed well, living with high levels of stress and anxiety result in very real physical disorders. Stress-induced gastrointestinal disorder, insomnia, chronic depression, hypochondria, panic attacks, high blood pressure, and eating disorders are just a few of the real consequences of anxiety that Millennials are experiencing.

There is a difference between stress and anxiety. The APA differentiates the two this way, “The difference between them is that stress is a response to a threat in a situation. Anxiety is a reaction to the stress.”

Stress is inevitable and even necessary in this life. High levels of stress, in short bursts, motivates us to get up and get moving, to work harder and more efficiently. It can be exhilarating and push us to accomplish great things. Consider the lives of olympic athletes, mountain climbers, novelists, politicians, lawyers, surgeons, nurse-midwives, sailors, etc. The stresses they face keep their senses sharp and inspire perseverance in the face of challenges and obstacles. I read that ‘good stress’ does not involve ‘threat or fear,’ but I beg to differ with that opinion. There are real fears and threats that lurk in the shadows for all of us. Athletes often face serious injury, climbers fall, novelists face writer’s block and missed deadlines, politicians sometimes face security threats, and the list goes on. About the only stress that I can think of that does not involve some threat or fear is that which you might feel on a roller coaster – but even then there is a possibility of accident. We all fear failure and do our best to avoid humiliation.

Fear of terrorist attacks, too many choices which leads to decision paralysis, FOMO or fear of missing out in regard to social media, and the blurring of reality online that creates in some an expectation that they must obtain perfection, are some specific stresses that Millennials feel are unique to their generation (and perhaps Generation X).

How we choose to react to or manage the stresses we face on a daily basis will determine whether or not anxiety and its host of consequences will result. I am sure that there are many that would disagree that they have a ‘choice’ in the matter. Nevertheless, many have found relief by changing lifestyle patterns and seeking help and support. Time with friends, healthy patterns of eating, sleeping and exercise, yoga, and engagement in religious activities have all been found to be very effective in reducing stress and relieving anxiety. I leave you with that which I have found the most effective means of reducing anxiety in my own life in closing, Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Nicole Schrader

 

http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/stress

 

James Corden gives a Watermelon farewell to David Letterman

New Late Late Night Show host, James Carden, closes his show with a Letterman-style ending. Dropping a dozen watermelon off the CBS roof to the parking lot below. It’s a smash ending and fun to watch. We’ve added the link here for your viewing entertainment!

 

“Watermelon Sign-off – #ThanksDave.” Watermelon Sign-off – #ThanksDave. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.

‘Think Like a Farmer’ – the real innovators #nwafuturisticfridays

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I know that I’m ‘singing to the choir’ when I write that the real innovators of the 21 century are farmers. We just returned from the National Watermelon Convention in New Orleans, where over 500 members of the watermelon industry gathered to hear what is new in the industry. During a morning impact session, our growers were introduced to a variety of new innovations in agriculture, including the use of drones and precision technology, bee pollination services, and revolutionary nematode control.

Jim Carroll, a futurist and trend and innovation expert, points out that the multigenerational nature of agriculture, blending the experience of older farmers with technologically eager younger farmers, creates an opportunity for innovation and success. In his post, ’10 Big Trends in Agriculture,’ Carroll shows us how farmers are poised to meet the demands that are just around the corner. He states that the growth in the world population, an increase of over 45% by 2050, will inevitably create a huge demand for food and potential in the marketplace. Limited arable land will motivate those in agriculture to become more efficient. Perhaps drone technology, vertical farming practices, and robotics will play a larger role.

Carroll notes that new methods to improve crop yield as well as intelligent packaging are the direct result of rapidly developing chemical substances. Emerging methodologies, practices and partnerships will continue to rise as those in agriculture focus on growth, efficiency, and ingestion of new science.

Trends that encourage a focus on health and convenience have created a surge in fresh-cut produce as snack alternatives at home and in schools. Concern over food safety has inspired greater relationships between producer and consumer. Jim Carroll is convinced that, “…an increasing number of partnerships between growers and advisers, suppliers, buyers, retailers and just about everyone else,” will continue to increase in order to , “… deal with the massive complexities that emerge from rapid change and innovation.”

The most impactful trend that Mr. Carroll notices is that of generational transformation – he is convinced that the as the younger generation of farmers take over the family business a “sea-change in the rate by which new ideas in the world of agriculture are accepted,” will take place. No doubt change is already taking place.

The National Watermelon Association is preparing for this tidal wave by embracing its future farm leaders. During the convention, four Future Watermelon Farm Leaders were recognized as rising leaders who will ride the wave of transformational innovation.

Nicole Schrader

 

 

 

Carroll, Jim. “10 Big Trends for Agriculture.” Jim Carroll Futurist Trends Innovation Keynote Speaker RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2016.

‘Experience Never Gets Old’ – #nwafuturisticfridays

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Value of experience is the premise of the 2015 movie, The Intern. In this film, a successful startup online clothing company CEO (Anne Hathaway), is pleasantly surprised by the wisdom and contribution of her new intern (Robert DeNiro). The film highlights both the exciting, creative, Millennial workforce as well as the value of age and experience in the realm of business. Although the clash of generational cultures is very amusing, the emphasis on the friendship between generations is the most rewarding.

This is not a movie review, nevertheless, the film touches on a real concern regarding the future of leadership in our nation. It has been said that as senior management in businesses and associations retires, there will be a leadership vacuum that their Millennial replacements will not be adequately trained to fill. As satisfying as it may be to retiring managers to know that their experience is invaluable, the future success of the businesses hang in the balance, unless the next generation is sufficiently trained and mentored.

Highly educated and tech savvy Millennials may have the edge on their predecessors in regard to technology, but they are also the first to admit their need of education and training on the job. A recent workplace survey conducted by public relations firm, Finn Partners, states, “New research finds that Americans believe the most important initiative companies can undertake is investing  in their employees through training and growth opportunities, followed by recruiting and retention of talent.” Results also state that the majority of every age group would go back to school for more education if given the opportunity, with 74% of Millennials surveyed in the lead.

A study of our own membership, conducted in 2015, corroborates these results. Our Millennial members expect us to provide them with current industry trends and information. One younger member writes, “Value for me is education at this point in my career. Therefore, the educational sessions (at the National Conventions) are what I want to see and hear.”

Expert speakers and educational seminars may be venues for conveying industry trends, but the education and training needed to develop leadership must be taken on by senior members/leaders in companies. Mentoring programs, internships, and shadowing opportunities provide the framework for such training.  So if you’re a Millennial reading this article today, look for a mentor and take initiative in the relationship. If you are the seasoned supervisor, it is your responsibility to prepare the next generation to take your place. Give these young, eager Millennials the guidance and opportunities they need to blossom under your tutelage. As Ben Whittaker (DeNiro) would say, “You’re never wrong to do the right thing.”

 

Nicole Schrader

 

 

 

 

Lawrence, Chistopher. “REGARDLESS OF RACE, AMERICANS SIGNIFICANTLY VALUE TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES OVER DIVERSITY PROGRAMS, NEW STUDY REVEALS – Finn Partners.” FinnPartners.com. N.p., 26 Jan. 2016. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.

Bascuas, Katie. “Tapping Training and Development For Top Talent.” RSS 20. Associations Now, 04 Feb. 2016. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.

“The Intern – Official Movie Site – Trailer, Film Synopsis – Own It On Digital HD 12/22 Or On Blu-Ray™ 1/19.” The Intern – Official Movie Site – Trailer, Film Synopsis – Own It On Digital HD 12/22 Or On Blu-Ray™ 1/19. 2015 Warner Bros, n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.

The Convention Provides Common Ground – Marketing to Millennials #nwafuturisticfridays

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The vitality of a trade association and its meetings requires a fully engaged membership, including professionals of all ages. But the long-term vitality of the organization requires a particular focus on millennials, aka Generation Y…”

It is true that the future of all associations depends upon their ability to engage the Millennial generation in its ranks, and the National Watermelon Association is no exception. But this is not a one-way street. For an association to be vital and effective, the senior members must draw Millennials into the workings, providing guidance and support; and the Millennials must actively seek out those seasoned professionals in order to glean from their experience and encouragement.

If they do not see sufficient value in membership and meeting attendance, they will not likely become the lifelong participants the association needs in order to maintain its numbers decades from now.”

As the annual National Watermelon Association convention fast approaches, it is significant that all of its members understand their importance to the vitality and longevity of the Association. Its value and the value of its meetings should never be overlooked or underestimated. The National Watermelon Association is ‘dedicated to making a positive difference in the business and lives of its members.’ This mission is accomplished by the active participation of our members. Our Committees invest in research taking place at universities and institutes nationwide to increase yield and prevent disease; they keep an eye on litigation and government regulations that impact business and labor in order to keep our members in good standing and aware of the laws; they sponsor events that promote watermelon and the industry as a whole; and they sacrifice their time and resources supporting all our members.

Millennials don’t just want electronic networking; face to face is still of a very high value to them, and the conference is a really good place to do that.”

Our conventions are like no other association’s. The focus of our event is not the exhibit hall, but rather educational sessions, opportunities to connect and encourage our members, and recognition for outstanding service. This year’s convention in New Orleans will feature impactful general sessions led by experts that will address issues like drones in agriculture, crop insurance, Phytophthora solutions, FDA food safety rules, seed certification, bees and bee health, and more! During the convention we will introduce the first class of the National Watermelon Association’s Hall of Fame and recognize the significant contributions of members in our long history. The National Watermelon Association is often compared to a family, as its members are concerned and invested in the welfare of all its members – young and old.

So, Millennial or veteran member of the association, both need to be intentional if ‘a positive difference’ is the goal. In 24 days, the National Watermelon Association will convene in New Orleans providing opportunities to learn, grow, support, connect, and lead. Find common ground on the golf course, in a tour bus, during the opening event, or over lunch after a general session. Make a plan today to attend, to engage others in conversation, to ask questions, and to make friends in the watermelon industry. It is your opportunity to become a ‘family member.’

Nicole Schrader

 

“Marketing to Millennials – Www.themeetingmagazines.com.”Wwwthemeetingmagazinescom. N.p., 30 Nov. 2015. Web. 01 Feb. 2016.

#nwamembermondays – Lee Wroten

Lee and Debbie WrotenFrom childhood, Lee Wroten wanted to work in the fields with his father, Al Wroten of Global Produce Sales, Inc. His mother, Debbie, recalls him turning watermelon vines alongside his dad when he was ten years old. In high school, Lee put together a crew of his own to work out in the fields with Al. Throughout  his college career, Lee spent summers working in the family fields in Cordele, Georgia. His educational interests also focused on preparing him for the family business. Lee majored in international business, focusing on economics, with electives that included organic gardening and Spanish. Lee studied abroad in Barcelona where his Spanish became second nature to him.

In the fall of 2001, Lee and his new bride Debra, returned to Lakeland where he began to work for his father in earnest. Lee started in the office, but summers were spent in the fields and in the packing house. Lee’s Spanish allows him to communicate easily with his Spanish-speaking co-laborers, as well as translate. His mother notes that it is not unusual for the Mexican workers to speak to Allen in English and turn to Lee and return to Spanish.

Lee Wroten has grown up in the National Watermelon Association family. It is a natural transition for young watermelon farmers, like Lee, to become members and leaders in the Association. Lee has made that transition with capability and ease. He currently sits on our Executive, Food Safety, Research, Public Affairs, and Y Generation Committees! We are privileged to have Lee Wroten as a member and are confident that he will add insight, energy, and strong leadership to the Association.

Co-owner and friend, Steve Nichols, adds this about Lee:

Other than being an Auburn grad, he’s okay.  He was lucky in marriage like me when he found Debbie (also an Auburn grad).  They have three active boys (I’m not sure there are any other kind).  Lee is a deacon at Christ Community Presbyterian Church.  Loves to hunt.  Lee is a third generation watermelon man following in his Grandfather Lee and Father Al’s footsteps.  He is bilingual (which aggravates all of us who aren’t).  He has always done whatever was necessary to serve his co-workers at Global, our growers, harvesters, carriers, and customers.  He gives me great confidence for the future of Global.

We close with this quote from his mother, Debbie Wroten:

I am so proud of Lee. He has such a good work ethic and helps everyone. I am so glad he lives nearby, I love watching him be a dad.”