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Kyle Moynahan growing into role with greenhouse company

When 25-year-old Leamington, ON, native Kyle Moynahan graduated from the University of Windsor with a bachelor of commerce degree, he wasn't sure of his future in terms of a career. He spent the next two years working as a student recruiter for the school.

"I had majored in marketing but minored in philosophy," said Mr. Moynahan. "The recruiting job was a good opportunity for me to get some work experience and think about my future direction. In December 2004, I accompanied my girlfriend, Abby Marcovecchio, to a Christmas party that was hosted by her father, Nick, a contractor in the area. That is where I met Jim DiMenna."

Unbeknownst to him at the moment, and giving credence to the "man plans but fate rules" adage, Mr. Moynahan's future was already taking form.

Mr. DiMenna is the president of J-D Marketing and Jem-D International, Leamington-based international marketing firms that specialize in high-quality fresh greenhouse produce.

His knack for quickly honing in on young talent kicked into gear at the holiday party. He spoke to Mr. Marcovecchio about the young graduate, asking him if he thought he would be interested in a position serving both companies. Soon Mr. Moynahan was sitting in Mr. DiMenna's office being interviewed. He was hired and began working last spring. Since then, he has been absorbing information like a dry sponge absorbs water.

"The majority of my time is spent working on food safety and security aspects," said Mr. Moynahan. "These categories of the industry are continually changing and evolving, and it's important to remain updated with ongoing research and to stay abreast of developments as they occur. I also process sales orders, and at the same time tune into our customers' needs and desires. This has a huge impact on how things are done in the company."

He is also involved in J-D Marketing's traceability with pallet tagging program, which Mr. Moynahan said is an integral part of the food safety criteria required by retailers today. It also enables the company to manage its inventory effectively.

"I am also assisting in sales, and I may head in that direction more in the future," said Mr. Moynahan. "Learning all I can about food safety, security and traceability today will be very helpful if I ultimately work in sales."

But a new job that is riddled with details is not the only exciting event currently occurring in his life. Mr. Moynahan and Ms. Marcovecchio are now engaged, with a November wedding date already booked. He said that the reasoning behind the chosen date was based on a few factors, including that it is not the busiest time of the year for the greenhouse industry. The couple will be married at the Roma Club in Leamington, and the anticipated guest list is around 500 people, the result of living in a town where everyone knows everyone else, and several generations of family members living and working near one another. After a honeymoon -- possibly in Hawaii -- they will reside in Leamington.

Contending with what appears to be an already overflowing plate, Mr. Moynahan still makes time for some extracurricular activities. He enjoys watching sports events, which is fitting with his lifelong love of hockey. "I now play in what we refer to as the 'Beer League Hockey Team,'" he said. "A group of neighborhood friends formed the league. It isn't the majors, but it satisfies that itch we still have to get on the ice and spend time together." He also teaches Sunday school at his local church, and his fianc?e has a hand in how he spends at least some of his free time these days. She asked him to learn to dance so they could share something that she loves to do. He started taking ballroom dance lessons last fall, and found that he enjoyed it so much that he is now planning to take private lessons.

"Abby is having other positive effects on me," he says. "She also introduced me to yoga. I was easily stressed, and I find that it calms me and teaches me to breathe properly. The produce industry can be challenging and stressful, and I feel fortunate to be learning how to keep things in check this early in my career."

Mr. Moynahan attended his first PMA convention in Atlanta last November. In fact, it was the first time he had ever traveled by air. He said that he really likes the global nature of the business that was so obvious at the trade event.

"It was very exciting, and really added to the bounty of information that I'm learning," he said. "I also work in human resources, including in hazard analysis, worker training, worker rights and oversight issues. And I am learning about logistics, trends, packaging and other aspects of the produce industry. I learned that what I thought before getting into this business -- and what the majority of consumers think -- is completely different than what it is really all about. People believe that food comes from the grocery store. I now know that there are thousands of processes and hundreds of thousands of people involved in getting food to the public in a safe and efficient way. From seed to table, I now know how important our role in the world really is."