September 19, 2022

Western Growers Loses Two Agricultural Pioneers

Hank Giclas

Henry Lee Giclas III, loving husband and father and chile connoisseur, passed away Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, at the age of 63.

Hank, as he was called by all who knew him, was born in Socorro, New Mexico, to parents Patricia “Patsy” and Henry “Hank” Giclas Jr. With a mother who earned her PhD in molecular biology and a father who was a mechanical engineer, Hank came by his widely-respected intelligence honestly, which he utilized in service of the Western fresh produce industry.

During his early years, Hank’s love of agriculture was cultivated working on the family farm in Buckeye, Ariz. Following an extended stint in the oil, gas and exploration business, Hank completed his studies in agricultural education at his beloved University of Arizona—Bear Down!—and taught vocational agriculture prior to joining Western Growers in 1990.

In the three decades that followed until his retirement as Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning, Science and Technology in 2020, Hank built a professional reputation second-to-none. Often described as a gentle giant thanks to his towering stature and patient, positive attitude, he spent much of his career at the forefront of advancements in food safety and agtech.

Given all his professional accolades, Hank was proudest of his strong, 34-year marriage to the love of his life, Kathy, and the accomplishments of his children. (And, maybe, his orchard and garden.) He never failed to tell his family how much he loved them and always made sure to kiss them goodbye.

When he wasn’t exploring the world with his family or quoting lines from “Monty Python” movies, Hank could be found enjoying the great outdoors—no matter the weather—or in the kitchen cooking or baking from scratch, often with ingredients picked from his own garden.

While he may have moved at his own pace in all things, Hank carried with him an unshakeable moral compass and lived by the non-negotiable values of faith, integrity and humility. He is survived by his wife, Kathleen; daughter, Hannah; son, Henry IV; father Henry Giclas Jr.; and brother Patric Giclas.

“Hank Giclas dedicated himself, totally and fully, in service to the people of the fresh produce industry. His career was an unabashed love affair with agriculture, second only to his dedication and devotion to the love of his life, Kathy, and their two children. We have a saying in our organization, that someone especially enamored with and dedicated to the people of our industry ‘bleeds Western Growers green.’ Hank probably coined that saying but whether he did or not, no one will ever embody its spirit more fully,” said Dave Puglia, President and CEO. “Our industry is immeasurably better for Hank’s vision and leadership. Few in our industry labored as long and hard as Hank to produce scientifically valid food safety guidance. For much of his career, he blazed that trail with little company along the way, but because of his perseverance our industry today places food safety at the top of the agenda. Similarly, Hank saw the unlimited potential for technological innovation to solve the most intractable problems and improve every aspect of our industry. It was Hank’s vision to create and then grow the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology, which is today at the center of agtech innovation for the fresh produce industry.”

Puglia continued: “His career achievements go far beyond these, but in everything he did, Hank Giclas was that rare and special person who brought strategic vision forward and ensured its successful and practical execution.”

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, November 6, 2022, at 10:30 a.m., in the chapel at Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town. 800 Rio Grande Blvd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104.

In lieu of flowers and cards, the Giclas family asks friends and family to consider a donation in Hank’s name to MoGro Mobile Grocery, a New Mexico charity focused on bringing produce to underserved communities (and where Hank and Kathy volunteered), or World Central Kitchen, which feeds people in war or disaster zones. Checks for MoGro Mobile Grocery can be mailed to Santa Fe Community Foundation, PO Box 1827, Santa Fe, NM 87504-1827. Donations for MoGro Mobile Grocery can also be made online at Donations for World Central Kitchen can be online at


Carl Sam Maggio

Carl Sam Maggio, one of three founding partners of Prime Time International, and a six-decade veteran of the fresh produce industry, died on Aug. 19, 2022. He was 89.

Growing up in El Centro, Calif. and the Imperial Valley, Maggio served in the U.S. Army and went on to graduate from the University of Southern California. He went to work for his uncle, carrot king Joe Maggio, in 1957. In 1975, Carl Sam Maggio, Cookie Bianco and Howard Marguleas launched Sun World International as two main partners in what would become a highly innovative operation. The company started with a citrus deal, added a lettuce operation and then was off to the races. For the next 15 years, Sun World was at the forefront of innovation with such produce items as seedless watermelon, yellow and red peppers, vine-ripe tomatoes and Superior Seedless table grapes.

In 1992, Maggio, alongside Mark Nickerson and Chuck Hodges, founded Sun and Sands Enterprises. Sun and Sands merged with C.H. Sales in 1997, and Prime Time International was born. Prime Time, then headquartered in Coachella, Calif., continues to specialize in red, orange, yellow and green peppers.

Maggio said in an interview that there weren’t many people in the pepper business in the 1990s and he felt the timing was perfect to expand in that particular commodity. “When we started the business, we looked for an opening…and that opportunity was the year-round bell pepper category,” he said in an interview with

Thanks to Maggio’s leadership, Prime Time has grown to ship more than 30,000 cases of mini, green, yellow, orange and red peppers daily from their growing areas throughout California and Mexico.

Earlier this year, Maggio announced his retirement from Prime Time International. “Carl Sam, Mark and the late Chuck Hodges founded our company in 1992 and are true titans of the produce industry. They made Prime Time into a leader in the bell pepper category, and we look forward to building upon their success,” said Mike Way, Prime Time International’s Managing Partner, at the time of Maggio and Nickerson’s retirement. “Not only are Carl Sam and Mark leaders in the industry, they are also generous in their support of our community and its many charitable organizations; we have learned a great deal from both men.”

Maggio was the 2012 recipient of Western Growers’ Award of Honor, the associations’ highest award. He served on Western Growers Board of Directors in 1978 and again from 1980-1994, including a term as Chair in 1992.

For Maggio, it was that dedication to the agriculture community that was one of the highlights of his career. “I’ve met great people; great things have happened,” Maggio said at the time he received the Award of Honor. “Obviously, I could retire if I wanted to, but nothing’s as much fun as this.”

He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and three children: daughters Jennifer Maggio and Leanne Ryan, and his son, Sam Maggio.