Sunday, June 23, 2024
Executive Q&A

Meet Emily Bautista-Herdt, Packaging Sales Manager at Northwest Wholesale, Inc.

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Northwest Wholesale, Inc., or NWW, a locally owned farmer cooperative, has served fruit growers and packers in North Central Washington since 1937. As a cooperative, NWW is dedicated to helping tree fruit growers and packers from “bud to box.” According to their website, in the last ten years, NWW has been able to generate savings of $43.8 million, which has been returned to their members.

In 2021, Bautista-Herdt started with NWW as a Packaging Sales Rep. In June 2022, she stepped into the Packaging Sales Manager role. 

Tell our readers a little bit about yourself. 

Moved to Wenatchee from Oklahoma in 1995 and began working in the fruit industry in 1999. 

I graduated from WVC in 2007 with an associate degree in technical science and horticulture. Have worked in agriculture for over 20 years. 2015-2017 graduate of the AgForestry Leadership Program (Class 38), WAEF volunteer since 2012, Scholarship Selection Committee Member, Board of Directors (since 2023), USApple Communications Committee since 2019.

I have a passion for people and helping to find viable solutions that allow our customer partners to be successful and sustainable.

 

What led you to this position? 

I’ve worked in the local fruit industry since 1999. What started out as a front desk job at the WSU Tree Fruit Research Lab turned into an opportunity to work in one of the Entomology labs for several years as well as one of the scientists telling me about scholarship opportunities at WVC in agriculture. I was around 28 years old and had recently become a single parent and knew I needed to go back to school to create a better life for myself and my daughter. 

Luckily, I won several ag scholarships as well as qualified for financial assistance that covered all of my schooling. At one point, I worked three jobs while attending school full-time. WVC had a teaching orchard back then, so between work-study at the college orchard, an internship at a local fruit warehouse, and working at WSU, agriculture became my passion. 

In 2006, while still working for WSU and in my second to last quarter of school, I took a 6-month temporary field technician job working for AgroFresh, helping develop best-use practices for their flagship post-harvest storage technology product known as SmartFresh.

Five years later, I had worked my way into sales. In total, I spent twelve years, which allowed me to continually learn and work hard to help warehouses store their fruit for the best possible outcome. 

When it was time to leave AgroFresh, I knew that I wanted to stay in agriculture, but mainly in the fruit industry. I did a couple of years in property insurance for ag warehouses and farms, but knew my calling was to be in the warehouses working with customers. I went to work for Keyes selling pulp fiber trays through distribution. Northwest Wholesale was one of the distributors. When an opportunity for a sales representative opened up, I applied. There was this whole other realm of packaging supplies and opportunities to provide solutions that I knew existed but had never explored. I was also drawn to the fact that NWW has been in business for 87 years. That says a lot about a company these days. Perseverance and grit. Two words I can relate to. The rest is history.

What are you most looking forward to in your role as the Packaging Sales Manager at Northwest Wholesale Inc.?

Seeking new packaging ideas and opportunities to bring them to the market. Whether it’s the newest innovation in recyclable bags or a new box design for a new variety, it’s always exciting and rewarding to help others find solutions. 

 

What does a normal day look like as Packaging Sales Manager at Northwest Wholesale, Inc.?

There are several sides to being the Packaging Sales Manager. I have my own customer accounts that I visit regularly to maintain the current business and provide service. Time is also spent tracking sales and opportunities for new business. There are three Sales Representatives and two Purchasers that make up our team. As the Sales Manager, it’s my responsibility to help my staff become successful, attend customer meetings, and negotiate with our vendors. 

 

What is your favorite part of your job and why?

My favorite part of the job is interacting and communicating with people. Every day is a new chance to learn and grow from those I work with and around. I’m constantly exposed to new challenges and ideas that I get to share.

 

What are some of your goals for Northwest Wholesale Inc.?

The industry has faced many challenges in the two-plus years I’ve been at Northwest Wholesale. My biggest goal is that we continue to provide outstanding customer service and competitive pricing. This, in turn, helps our customers reach their goals for success as well. 

 

Who or what inspires you?

Hard work, perseverance, and integrity inspire me. When working in sales, you sometimes hear a lot of “no” before you get a “yes.” Whatever the outcome, knowing myself or someone gave it all they had, is inspiring and motivational to keep moving forward. 

 

What do you like to do with your free time?

In my free time, I love to travel, camping with my husband, Tim, and daughters, Hanna and Kasey, and listening to audiobooks and podcasts. Also, I’m a competitive powerlifter for Team OPS (Osborn Performance Systems). I hold state and national records in back squat, bench press and deadlift. If I’m not at work or home, I’m at the gym.

Is there anything else you want our readers to know?

I love working in our fruit industry and community. There are many who have helped me get where I am today, and I want to make sure I continue to give back. 

Quinn Propst: 509-731-3590 or quinn@ward.media

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