D’Arrigo California will be celebrating 100 years of business in 2023, and Chad Amaral, Vice President of Sales and Business Development for D’Arrigo and newly elected Western Growers Board Member, has been with the company for 25 of them.
Amaral recently attended his first WG board meeting at this year’s 96th Western Growers Annual Meeting. He described the experience of engaging with today’s agricultural leaders who are driving the association and moving the industry forward as nothing short of inspiring. For Amaral, WG has been integral to the agricultural industry and an important association to D’Arrigo, which has been a member of the association since the 1930s.
“In the short time that I’ve been able to interact, the association and board of directors have been extremely welcoming and supportive. My goal is to assist and contribute to the progress Western Growers has and will continue to have in advancing the various aspects of the agricultural industry,” Amaral said.
Born and raised in Salinas, Calif., Amaral graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in agricultural business and management. “If you’re from Salinas, you know agriculture is a big part of the community, so once I graduated, I knew it was something I wanted to get into,” he said. It wasn’t too long before he landed a job with D’Arrigo on the sales side, eventually rising up the ranks to become the company’s Vice President of Sales and Business Development.
“I started my role closely interacting with our customer base in the segments of wholesale, food service and retail and understanding their needs. As I’ve gained more responsibility, I’ve focused a lot of my efforts on having a better understanding of our business as a whole and looking for ways we can collectively interact and bridge gaps between different departments so we can work more synergistically,” he said.
While Amaral describes himself as having a Type A personality and appreciates structure and planning, he also recognizes that the agricultural industry is in the midst of a lot of change. “The world has become a small place in that the buying and supply community is shrinking. I think there’s going to be a need for more collaboration, and I’m looking forward to being a part of conversations that bring those segments of the business closer together and educating both sides. People operating in silos will be a thing of the past, and what used to be competitors in the past could become partners in the future,” he said.
As far as getting elected to the Western Growers board this year, Amaral said one of his major goals is not only contributing to a traditional history, but also coming up with solutions for the future. “When you think about the ag community, you think a lot about tradition and family-owned companies. Moving forward, I think there’s an opportunity to use and understand the history of agriculture and at the same time, evolve into something that allows you to be fluid and flexible so you can remain relevant in the industry.”
Amaral considers being a part of the WG board as an opportunity to acquire further insight into areas of the industry he hasn’t been exposed to previously while also gaining a better understanding in aspects that are pivotal to the evolution and advancement of agriculture, such as labor, water and innovation.
“The board members are established and reputable individuals within the industry, and I’m looking forward to learning from all of them and hearing about their experiences,” he said. “They’ve created strong foundations in agriculture, and being part of an incoming group, I want to build upon the foundations they’ve created.”