Daniel R. Richey Is A Master Motivator

In Growers' Own Words“Be silent as to services you have rendered, but speak of favors you have received.”

These words from the ancient Roman philosopher and politician Seneca seems to be embodied in Riverfront Packing chief executive officer Daniel R. Richey. Always quick to defer accolade and promote the deeds of his predecessors, Richey speaks with an energetic humility and understands his place in Florida citrus was made possible by those who have come before him.

“Throughout history, the industry has been filled with people of character and pure guts,” Richey says. “We [the younger generation] have an obligation to those before us to take the mantle of leadership in citrus and continue the success. The truth is, though, we don’t hold a candle to the men and women who have already blazed the trail.”

A Different Path

Richey’s appreciation for those past leaders is even more impressive in that, before 1981, he was completely unaware of any of them.

“I’m a [New] Jersey Shore guy,” he says. “When I came to Florida, I didn’t know the difference between an orange and a grapefruit.”

He did, however, know how to hit a fastball.

“I went to Florida Southern College on a baseball scholarship,” he says. “I played second base and really loved the game. I still do.

“But, I found something I love even more.”

Richey is speaking, of course, about his wife, Audrey, who he met while in college. As the daughter of Victor Knight, a longtime Indian River grower and packer, Audrey certainly knew the difference between the fruit.

“After I realized I wasn’t going further in baseball — mainly because I couldn’t hit a big-league curve ball — I started learning about the citrus industry through her,” Richey says. “After college, I taught physical education for a while before taking a job with my new father-in-law.

“The rest is history.”

From The Ground Up

Today, Richey is the chief executive officer of the Vero Beach-based growing, harvesting, and packing company. But, he says, he did not start out behind a desk.

“I worked in the groves when I started out here,” he says. “I did everything from preparing a field, to planting trees, to digging irrigation lines, to picking fruit. I think those early jobs gave me the perfect knowledge base to do what I do now.

“Even though I wanted to move up faster and do a lot of things my way, my father-in-law always kept me going at the right pace. I learned a lot from all of the industry leaders during that time, which helped make me who I am.

“The biggest lesson I learned was that it doesn’t matter what you think you know, it only matters how hard you are willing to work.”

Even in the early stages of his career, Richey made sure he got to industry and association meetings, to both learn about the business and the growers who modeled activism.

“My brother-in-law [Victor Knight Jr.] really mentored me about the importance of staying involved beyond your own business,” Richey admits. “I watched as growers not only debated issues, but went out and made things happen. That was what stood out for me.”

Building Relationships

Richey says it is not only important that growers stay active outside their own fences, but necessary.

“The citrus industry has been so great to me,” he says. “It’s my passion. I have been given the wonderful opportunity to serve my industry in a number of ways. And, while it means working nights and weekends, it is my responsibility to give back to the industry that gives so much to me.

“I think every grower feels the same way.”

Beyond that, however, Richey says staying involved in the industry equates to individual success.

“If the industry thrives, we all thrive,” he says.

Richey says that the key to success in citrus — or any business — is building relationships, both up and down the chain of command.

“People are, by far, the most valuable asset any business or industry has,” he says. “I know a lot of people say that, but I truly believe it. I make it a point to personally know everyone who works for me.

“These people not only have a vested interest in the success of the business, but they are my family. I like to think I treat them as such.”

Those who know Richey would agree.

“Richey is a great example of someone that is always available to work for the betterment of the Florida citrus industry,” says Duke Chadwell, a Lakeland grower and fellow citrus commissioner. “He has always been there for our industry and his employees and will continue to shoulder more than his share of the responsibility. He cares deeply about the welfare of the Florida citrus industry and every man and woman who works at Riverfront Packing.”

Making A Difference

To say Richey is active in the industry would be an understatement. During his 25 years in the industry, he has served as chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission, president of the Florida Citrus Packers, chairman and president of the Indian River Citrus League, secretary/treasurer of the Citrus Administrative Committee, member and director of HESCO, is an active member of Florida Citrus Mutual, the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee, and served as the co-chairman of the Florida Citrus Canker Technical Advisory Committee. He was also instrumental in the development of the Citrus Health Response Plan (CHRP).

“Even though I’ve spent a lot of time on industry issues, I always feel I could do more,” Richey says. “I know the men and women who came before me worked tirelessly, and I hope I can carry on the legacy.”

The industry involvement and hard work Richey puts forth on behalf of his fellow growers is not lost on those he serves.

“Richey has and is currently spending countless hours working for growers and shippers of fresh Florida citrus to ensure the fresh side of the business remains viable,” Chadwell says. “He is a true beacon in Florida citrus right now.”

Richey lives in Vero Beach with his wife, Audrey. The couple have three children: Jacqueline, Jessica, and Tyler. And, while his children are following career paths outside of citrus, Richey says the future of the industry belongs to the younger generation.

“There are a lot of young growers, researchers, and allied members in citrus right now,” he says. “It’s up to us to make sure we lead the industry like its forefathers have.”

And what does the future of Florida citrus look like, according to Richey?

“In 10 years, citrus is going to be a very different industry,” he says. “We will have to be smarter than ever before about our production practices, marketing techniques, and legislative activism.

“But, we will make it. The future will be a good one for Florida citrus.”

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories
Cherry Harvest
Citrus
April 26, 2016
Farm Bureau Says Labor Visa Backlogs Threaten 2016 Crops
Agency calls for swifter processing of paperwork so growers' requests for crews can be met. Read More
cash money in hand
Insect & Disease Update
April 22, 2016
USDA Grants $22 Million More To Fund Citrus Greening Fight
The agency has invested more than $380 million between 2009 and 2015 to address devastating disease. Read More
A tattered and wrinkled thank you note
Citrus
April 22, 2016
Happy Trails To A Great Researcher, Better Friend [Opinion]
Dr. Brian Boman worked with growers to examine their nutrient and water use and how practices could be modified to not only lessen environmental impacts, but also increase growers’ profitability. Read More
reactive vs. proactive illustration from Florida Department of Citrus
Citrus
April 21, 2016
Repeat After Me: I Believe In Florida Citrus
As scientists continue to develop new and innovative ways to combat HLB, we must keep consumers in mind as well. Read More
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Citrus
April 20, 2016
USDA Offers $4 Million For Pest Management
Funding to be used to increase crop protection practices, tackle high-priority pests. Read More
Grower Jonathan Brown of Bethel Farms inspects his citrus grove.
Insect & Disease Update
April 18, 2016
Survey: 80% Of Florida Citrus Trees Infected By Deadly Disease
Responding growers claim as much as 90% of their total acreage impacted by greening. Read More
Tour stop during the FFVA Spring Regulatory Tour 2016
Citrus
April 18, 2016
Field Tour Provides Reality Check For Florida Regulators
Annual event allows representatives of federal and state agencies to get an up-close look at Florida agriculture. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
April 28, 2016
Brandt Acquires Majority Interest In Uta…
Baicor will operate as a subsidiary in Brandt’s specialty formulations division. Read More
Citrus
April 27, 2016
Meet Florida’s New Crop Of Agricultural …
Annual award program recognizes farmers practicing environmentally innovative techniques. Read More
Citrus
April 26, 2016
Deception Is A Dish Best Never Served [O…
Recent mainstream media kerfuffle over local food legitimacy stirs up the need for more clearly defined terms, better awareness among consumers. Read More
Citrus
April 26, 2016
Farm Bureau Says Labor Visa Backlogs Thr…
Agency calls for swifter processing of paperwork so growers' requests for crews can be met. Read More
Citrus
April 22, 2016
Happy Trails To A Great Researcher, Bett…
Dr. Brian Boman worked with growers to examine their nutrient and water use and how practices could be modified to not only lessen environmental impacts, but also increase growers’ profitability. Read More
Citrus
April 21, 2016
Repeat After Me: I Believe In Florida Ci…
As scientists continue to develop new and innovative ways to combat HLB, we must keep consumers in mind as well. Read More
Citrus
April 20, 2016
USDA Offers $4 Million For Pest Manageme…
Funding to be used to increase crop protection practices, tackle high-priority pests. Read More
Citrus
April 18, 2016
Field Tour Provides Reality Check For Fl…
Annual event allows representatives of federal and state agencies to get an up-close look at Florida agriculture. Read More
Citrus
April 15, 2016
What We Know Now About Citrus Nutrition
Greening has changed how growers approach fertilizer programs. Read More
Citrus
April 14, 2016
Forecast: Brace For Average Atlantic Hur…
Exiting El Niño setting stage for return to normal storm activity in the tropics. Read More
Citrus
April 14, 2016
Behind The Scenes With Miss Florida Citr…
The industry's newest representative is ready to learn and advocate. Read More
Citrus
April 13, 2016
Regarding Alma Mater Matters, It’s…
You don’t necessarily have to wear your competitive edges on your sleeve to succeed, but without a passion and drive for improvement, what’s the point? Read More
Citrus
April 12, 2016
Latest USDA Forecast Says Florida Orange…
Momentum carries over big time from last month’s elevated expectation in output. Read More
Citrus
April 7, 2016
California Citrus March Attracts Hundred…
First annual Citrus Stride raises 150 tons of fresh citrus for state’s food banks. Read More
Citrus
April 4, 2016
Dry Season Conditions Finally Arrive For…
March rainfall mostly below average around region, breaking string of historically wet weather. Read More
Citrus
April 1, 2016
Citrus Growers Plan March On California …
California Citrus Mutual will host the first annual Citrus Stride to raise awareness of the fruits’ benefits. Read More
Citrus
March 30, 2016
Study: China A Golden Opportunity For Fl…
Consumer education key to cracking new market. Read More
Citrus
March 25, 2016
Crisis Management 101: How To Apologize …
Saying 'I'm sorry' during a crisis situation may not be easy. But in the long run, it can make a significant difference in how your company’s brand and reputation weather a storm. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]