NatureSweet CEO imparts lessons from rapid growth
- Johanna Heidorn '12
Bryant Ambelang, president and CEO of NatureSweet, Ltd., shared some of the lessons he learned while tripling the tomato grower’s productivity in five years. He was the featured speaker at a luncheon of the Carthage Business and Professional Coalition on April 8 in the Todd Wehr Center.
Mr. Ambelang told coalition members that courage is needed to implement change, and that taking risks can be liberating because failure leads to new possibilities. He also emphasized that value is measured in people, not dollars; as evidence, he pointed to the company’s commitment to help workers in Mexico obtain their own homes if they met the productivity goal, as well as the sharp drop in absenteeism and turnover that accompanied a wage increase.
Max Grothman ’13, now a graduate student in accounting at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, introduced the speaker. Mr. Ambelang also met with Carthage classes during his visit.
NatureSweet, which produces premium tomatoes, is the largest greenhouse producer in North America. Its widely recognized brands, including Cherubs®, Glorys™, and Sunbursts™, are distributed in all 50 states as well as Canada and Mexico. NatureSweet employs almost 6,000 associates in its seven operating facilities.
Before arriving at NatureSweet, Mr. Ambelang was a director at Silver Brands, a private equity firm in San Antonio. He also held brand manager positions at Kellogg’s and Campbell Soup Company. He earned a Bachelors of Arts from the University of Texas at Dallas and an MBA from the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver. He and his wife, Mary, have five children and live in San Antonio.
The Carthage Business and Professional Coalition brings together leading southeastern Wisconsin business, civic, governmental professionals. The luncheon is an opportunity for members to meet and listen to featured guests discuss their experiences.
For more information about the coalition, please contact Paul Hegland at email@example.com or 262-551-5708.