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
CitrusBad Weather Or Not, Preparation Always On Radar For Florida Farmers [Opinion]
May 19, 2015
You cannot prevent a natural disaster from taking everything you have, but you can lessen the blow if and when it happens. Read More
CitrusSave Your Greenhouse Structures From Storms
May 19, 2015
Make sure your protected agriculture components are prepared for whatever may blow this way. Read More
BB Hobbs Inc. warehouse in Plant City, FL
CitrusBB Hobbs Bolsters Business In Central Florida
May 18, 2015
Irrigation specialists celebrate opening of new branch warehouse in Plant City. Read More
CitrusHouse Votes To Stop “Flawed” Waters Of The United States Rule
May 15, 2015
The U.S. House of Representatives approved this week bipartisan legislation that requires the withdrawal of the Waters of the United Read More
CitrusPointers On How To Save Money, Increase Sprayer Efficiency
May 15, 2015
Using clean water when calibrating a pesticide sprayer and carrying extra nozzles for quick repair of simple problems in the Read More
Wes Roan of Lipman Produce talks with participants of FFVA's Spring Regulatory Tour.
CitrusFlorida Farming Show & Tell Earns Regulators’ Respect
May 15, 2015
FFVA's annual Spring Regulatory Tour allows those who write regulations controlling water, crop protection chemicals, food safety, and more an opportunity to see production practices firsthand. Read More
CitrusUSDA Announces $11.9M In Assistance For Organic Certification
May 14, 2015
Following on the heels of the USDA’s announcement of record growth in the organic sector, the USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service Read More
The Latest
Expansion groundbreaking for Southwest Florida Research and Education Center
CitrusSouthwest Florida Research And Education Center Embraci…
May 20, 2015
A 7,000-square-foot addition to the UF/IFAS facility will house labs and offices for potential new faculty members. Read More
storm clouds
CitrusSouth Florida Rainy Season Could Wind Up On Drier Side
May 20, 2015
National Weather Service anticipating El Niño to play a hand in possible below-normal conditions. Read More
CitrusBad Weather Or Not, Preparation Always On Radar For Flo…
May 19, 2015
You cannot prevent a natural disaster from taking everything you have, but you can lessen the blow if and when it happens. Read More
CitrusSave Your Greenhouse Structures From Storms
May 19, 2015
Make sure your protected agriculture components are prepared for whatever may blow this way. Read More
BB Hobbs Inc. warehouse in Plant City, FL
CitrusBB Hobbs Bolsters Business In Central Florida
May 18, 2015
Irrigation specialists celebrate opening of new branch warehouse in Plant City. Read More
CitrusHouse Votes To Stop “Flawed” Waters Of The United State…
May 15, 2015
The U.S. House of Representatives approved this week bipartisan legislation that requires the withdrawal of the Waters of the United Read More
CitrusPointers On How To Save Money, Increase Sprayer Efficie…
May 15, 2015
Using clean water when calibrating a pesticide sprayer and carrying extra nozzles for quick repair of simple problems in the Read More
Wes Roan of Lipman Produce talks with participants of FFVA's Spring Regulatory Tour.
CitrusFlorida Farming Show & Tell Earns Regulators’…
May 15, 2015
FFVA's annual Spring Regulatory Tour allows those who write regulations controlling water, crop protection chemicals, food safety, and more an opportunity to see production practices firsthand. Read More
CitrusUSDA Announces $11.9M In Assistance For Organic Certifi…
May 14, 2015
Following on the heels of the USDA’s announcement of record growth in the organic sector, the USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service Read More
CitrusBeekeepers Lost 40% Of Bees In 2014-15
May 14, 2015
Beekeepers across the U.S. lost more than 40% of their honey bee colonies from April 2014 to April 2015, according to the latest results of Read More
CitrusReport: Florida Agriculture Property Values Remain Firm
May 12, 2015
Lay of the land confirms farm tracts are good investment. Read More
CitrusFlorida Orange Crop Now Projected To Be Lowest In Nearl…
May 12, 2015
Not since the 1965-1966 season have production numbers looked so bleak. Read More
CitrusImportant Crop Insurance Deadline Nearing For Growers
May 12, 2015
Specialty crop, other producers need to certify conservation compliance by June 1. Read More
CitrusAbout 58,000 Jobs In Agriculture And Related Fields Are…
May 12, 2015
National report says the jobs reflect a need for a skilled and trained workforce to support a growing population. Read More
CitrusEPA Approves Experimental Use Permit Of Spinach Trait T…
May 8, 2015
Agency allows potential breakthrough to move forward for further testing. Read More
CitrusSyngenta Rejects Monsanto’s Buyout Bid
May 8, 2015
Company says $45 billion offer undervalues future prospects. Read More
CitrusMediterranean Fruit Fly Found In JFK Airport
May 5, 2015
The Mediterranean fruit fly, one of the world’s most destructive pests, was recently intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Read More
CitrusHow You Can Survive The Mobilegeddon
May 4, 2015
The Mobilegeddon is upon us. No, this isn’t a time to prepare disaster bunkers, or buy canned food in bulk. Read More