Vision Magazine - October/November 2023


The deal culminated in 2021 with the creation of Dole plc, a global industry behemoth now listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Beyond his business interests, Anderson has a passion for flying. He acquired his pilot’s license as a teenager — even before getting his driver’s license — and since 1980 he has owned and operated the Vancouver-based cor- porate airline Anderson Air, which serves clientele with charter services across North and South America as well as Europe. In 2015, he received a major recognition, being named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Pacific win - ner. Lui Petrollini, the award program’s director, noted at the time: “His integrity, work ethic, taste for innova - tion and commitment to transparency have transformed the company from a small operation in Vancouver to an international, full-service produce marketing force to be reckoned with.” Vision Magazine recently sat down with Anderson to discuss: lessons learned from his early days at Oppy which guide his decisions today; how he embeds an award-win- ning corporate culture and an environment of continuous innovation; his perspective on how to move the needle on fruit and vegetable consumption; and where he sees Oppy in the next decade. The following interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. How did you first come to work for Oppy in the 1970s? My dad was the chairman of the board of the Skating Committee at Capilano Winter Club in North Vancouver, and one of the other board members was the general man- ager of Oppy. There was a strike among Safeway employ- ees, and so they had a bunch of railcars and trucks that needed to get unloaded in a hurry. He had seen I was a hard worker when I helped out at the figure skating carnival, and he asked if I could help. So, they gave me a shovel, hip waders and a 50-foot railcar full of cabbage with about two feet of ice, and they said, “You’ve got four hours to get all this out of here because the train’s going to depart.” Then they offered me a job in the warehouse, and a year or two later I ended up getting an offer from sales. The first thing to sell was New Zealand kiwifruit and apples. And you’ve also had many other roles at Oppy over the years? Every role imaginable. I was responsible for discharging

We emphasize the health benefits and unique taste profiles of our products, likening them to the nuances you might discuss in a wine tasting.

vessels, collaborating with longshoremen, booking trucks, entering orders into the computer and handling cate- gory management. On the apple side, I coordinated with food editors in various areas to incorporate recipes using Granny Smiths into newspapers and with retailers to go on ad with them at the same time. And at the time there were prevailing perceptions about that variety. This was the same for kiwifruit. I think I undertook every role in the company back then, because we were a tight-knit team. When I joined, the company just had one office, and it had mainly been in the grocery business. It was quite small in produce at the time. What lessons from those earlier years still guide your decisions today? You come to realize how important everyone’s role in the

48 Vision Magazine

October/November 2023

Powered by