After almost 30 years in the industry Dave can grow just about anything you see in the produce section of your local grocery store, especially bananas. He spent almost 30 years in Latin America growing bananas for one of the world’s biggest produce companies – Chiquita Brands International. At first glance it’s an interesting career path for someone with a graduate degree in finance.
If you dig a little deeper you’ll find that Dave’s love for Latin America led the way. The son of a geologist, he was born and raised in South America. After finishing graduate school in the U.S., he found the perfect job in the finance department of Chiquita’s Costa Rica operation, so he sold his car at the airport and jumped on a plane.
Over the course of his career, Dave was able to make some real improvements to the agriculture industry in Latin America. In the 1980’s, he was one of the few plantation managers in the oil palm industry to embrace a plan to make the farms and extraction mills more sustainable. In the 1990’s when leading Chiquita’s banana operations in Costa Rica, he listened to the appeals made by environmental groups, did the math, and implemented a host of measures that made the cultivation of bananas more sustainable while contributing to the bottom line. He started with two farms in Costa Rica and ultimately executed a $20 million effort to implement the standards across Chiquita’s global operation’s in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Along the way Chiquita became the first multinational banana producer to be certified by the Rainforest Alliance in sustainable cultivation.
At WWF Dave applies these lessons learned to a host of agricultural industries including livestock, sugar cane and palm oil where he actively engages the business community to become part of the solution rather than part of the problem.