Good leaders can change an industry, and ‘m. Tomatoes did just that

Expressed opinions Entrepreneur Contributors are their own.

What are the similarities between quality production, migrant workers and leadership? If you ask Mr. Tomato, the art monster, he’ll tell you, “Everything.”

Once I started collecting products for my own organization, Mr. Tomato showed me how good leaders can change the whole industry.

Related: The best leadership skills you can develop right now

Mr. Tomato, man

I worked with Paul Deimer, the largest tomato grower in the United States, when I started my company through my retirement. Originally from Boston, where his father and two brothers sold products from a pushcart, Dimer’s success in leading his family business earned him the industrial title, Mr. Tomato.

Mr. Tomato is a great person who is nice to his people, but Demer also has a strange ability to help other people work through problems. He spends a lot of time on it: putting people’s problems in a box and working with them to come up with solutions that can be successfully integrated into their business models before opening that backup box. Everyone including me calls him for advice.

His problem-solving skills taught me to make decisions with the big picture in mind. Once, while discussing a problem in a call with a group of government officials, he simply explained to them: “I see how your solution works well there, but if you move here, all these extra people will have to deal with it.” Can you explain to me how this can work? “After a dead silence on the line, someone muttered something about returning to him soon after making some more details. And the farmer understands both, making him a reliable resource for finding solutions in the middle.

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Tomato trader m

Paul Dimmer moved to Florida in 1965 to take charge of his family business, but he became the state’s top farmer of 50,000 farmers, producing more than 4 3.4 billion. By 1998, the Dead County Farm Bureau had named him “Farmer of the Year,” and in 2013, the Southeast Production Council awarded him the Lifetime Achievement Award. Between weather, storage, tracking, and potential delays, perishable items can go a long way, but Dimmer has succeeded with a broad understanding that if everything about the industry works better, his business will work even better.

He has brought sophistication to the world of raw material import and export transportation across various growing regions, forcing everyone to focus on new areas such as food quality and the rights of migrant workers, which will improve the industry as a whole. This pragmatic approach to leadership has taught me to be realistic in myself. I’ve always been in business shopping, but people want us to choose them as their customers, I had to take the seller’s seat. These partnerships were enriched when I was able to sell them in such a way that our company could better meet their needs than the average Joe customer. I let them know that I want them to be profitable because, when you do business with another company, their success translates into your success.

Related: 5 key habits of great leaders

Mr. Tomato, humane

A great leader and a good man, Dimer was always influential in doing the right thing for the people who worked for him. He encouraged Florida farmers to get involved in the political process and to fight unfair trade practices. As chairman and co-founder of Florida Farmers, Inc. Advocacy Group, he successfully lobbied Congress for the inclusion of mandatory country-of-origin labels on products in the 2002 firm bill, protecting domestic production. He played an active role in the anti-dumping suite that led to the 1996 Tomato Suspension Agreement between the U.S. Department of Commerce and Mexican tomato growers and testified before NAFTA, the Trade Promotion Authority and Congress on trade in America.

Through his activities, Dimmer has taught me to have courage because leaders are not always going to be popular. Knowing his business, as well as the American food supply, depended on migrant workers, he stood up to government regulations limiting their rights. She has tried to invest in schools and scholarships, both personally and professionally, for the welfare of her migrant workers, to keep their families together and to finish their college. We once had a discussion about food waste turn into a plan to receive food bank grants across the country, and now, he serves on the advisory board of Farm Shares, a non-profit organization that restores and distributes fresh food that Americans most need. . Her willingness to take up business-friendly social innovation earned her the honor of the American Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year (2007) and the 2014 Ellis Island Prize.

Paul Dimer is a pioneer of initiatives that have further refined the industry as a whole, bridging the gap between corporate America and leadership with spirit and purpose. Being the leader of change can be risky, costly and unpopular, but DiMare’s bold actions have set a high bar that others in the industry still try to meet to stay competitive. From planting seeds in the field to working for a technology company, people are important, and leadership of a business is important to its people. You just have to be more discriminating with the help you render toward other people. Sometimes, that means making them important to the world, and according to Mr. Tomato, Paul Deimer, good leaders can rise to that challenge.

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