Florida Grower Magazine Reveals 2016 Citrus Achievement Award Winner
A positive attitude and “roll-up-your-sleeves” work ethic are traits of effective leaders. Citrus greening has tested the attitude of the entire citrus industry and called all of our leaders to pitch in to help defeat this unprecedented foe.
One of those leaders is Marty McKenna. He has served the industry in many capacities even before greening came along, and he believes in the future of Florida citrus. For those reasons, McKenna also is the 2016 Florida Grower® magazine Citrus Achievement AwardSM winner.
“I am confident the industry will rebuild after greening,” McKenna says. “And the reason why is Florida happens to be the best place to grow juice oranges on this planet. Without greening, we can compete with anybody.”
Currently, McKenna, along with his brother Pat, operates McKenna Brothers Inc., which grows and manages citrus in Polk, DeSoto, Hendry, and Lee counties. His wife Karen is actively involved in the business, too.
Mentors And Service
McKenna has served in leadership roles on just about all the committees, boards, and commissions that matter in Florida citrus. He says his mentor taught him about the importance of getting involved and serving.
“Probably the biggest asset to my career in citrus was when I was hired by Joe L. Davis Sr. in 1991 to run his groves and ranch,” he says. “I worked with him closely — on a daily basis — until 1995. “He was very good to me, allowing me to learn what he had learned about the industry through the school of hard knocks. The 14 years I spent working with him was probably the biggest blessing I had coming into this industry.”
Besides production and business knowledge, Davis also demonstrated service is an important role. And, the fact the industry is small and tightly situated geographically means individuals can make a difference by serving.
“Watching his dedication instructed me being active in an industry as unique as ours. We can help people,” McKenna says. “We all are so intertwined whether it be growers, service guys, harvest people, hauling guys, custom applicators, real estate people, all the way up to the juice plants.
“When you look at Florida citrus juice production, there is no other crop uniquely situated like ours in such a small space. I think that is what has contributed to our ability to grow this industry into what it became despite all kinds of challenges like freezes, hurricanes, canker, and other pests. And, it allows people to get involved with the industry and help make a difference.”