Turlock Fruit Company is a family-owned and operated fresh produce grower / shipper / packer founded in 1918 by James “Cantaloupe” Smith. Neill joined the company in 2013 following a 17-year career as a project manager and systems engineer in the aerospace industry. As a member of the family management team, he now works alongside the 2nd (Don), 3rd (Steve), and 4th (Alec) generations of the Smith family operating the business of farming honeydews, cantaloupes, mixed melons, asparagus, cherries, tomatoes, and almonds in Merced and Fresno counties.
Neill has served on the California Cantaloupe Advisory Board since 2015, participated in the Western Growers Future Volunteer Leaders program (Class III), and served as an industry mentor to Cohorts II/III of the Thrive AgTech Accelerator. In the Turlock community, he serves as a Trustee of the Legacy Health Endowment, serves on the boards of the Turlock Community Theatre, Prodigal Sons & Daughters, and Little Lights Preschool, and is also a member of the James Irvine Foundation New Leadership Network’s 3rd cohort. Neill graduated with a. B.A. in Political Science from Elon College, and holds a Graduate Certificate in Complex Space Systems from the Stevens Institute of Technology.
Neill joined the board in 2019, following in the footsteps of Turlock Fruit Company owners Steve Smith and Don Smith. He is married to Steve’s daughter Hilary, and they have two young children, Daniel and Elin. Neill is currently serving as Treasurer.