Sleep takes a back seat for Prime Produce's Cristian Calvo
- by Rand Green | July 04, 2006
ORANGE, CA -- I had to ask. "How do you find time to do it all?" "During the week, I don't sleep much," was Cristian Calvo's reply. But of course. Mr. Calvo is just 23 years old. Who needs sleep at that age?
Mr. Calvo is Hispanic sales manager at Prime Produce International, here. He is also a student at California State University-Long Beach. He runs a professional photography business on the side. He participates in mountain biking and ocean kayaking, and during the winter he goes skiing at Mammoth Mountain every weekend. And he loves to travel.
Mr. Calvo started working for Prime Produce about a year ago and quickly became a valuable asset to the company, according to Avi Crane, founder and president of Prime Produce. "He has become an excellent salesman and has gotten us so many customers and repeat business. It is fun to watch him work because he does not sit down. We have head sets, and he walks around," gesturing energetically as he talks to clients.
"The clients love him," Mr. Crane said. "He's an honest kid, a smart kid. He tells them what's going on. He's sharp."
Mr. Crane said that he has known Mr. Calvo since he was about 14. "He went to high school with my son [Gahl Crane]," who has been on sales at Prime Produce since late 2004.
Mr. Calvo and Gahl Crane had been friends in high school, running cross country and track together. A little over a year ago when Mr. Crane began looking for a salesman who could speak Spanish, his son suggested Mr. Calvo. Although he had not worked in produce previously, Mr. Calvo did have sales experience, was fluent in Spanish and comes from a family with much involvement in produce. "I was the oddball," he said.
"My parents are from Chile," Mr. Calvo said. He has an uncle in Chile who exports wine and produce mostly to Europe "and cherries to California."
At Long Beach State, Mr. Calvo is working on a bachelor's degree in a dual major: Spanish interpretation and video production. He plans to pursue a master's degree in international business.
Knowing Spanish as well as the Hispanic culture "helps tremendously in this job," he said. It is especially advantageous that his studies have equipped him to "understand the different dialects in Spanish," of which there are over 20.
Mr. Calvo started at Prime Produce in Hispanic sales, dealing with Spanish-speaking retailers and wholesalers from California to Texas and even as far away as Chicago. Earlier this year, he was promoted to Hispanic sales manager.
In his photography business, which he does mainly on weekends, Mr. Calvo specializes in wedding photography and videography. On weekends when he is not shooting a wedding, he is usually biking or paddling. "During the winter, I close out my weddings and I go to Mammoth every weekend" to go skiing.
Mr. Calvo also pursues photography as a passion as well as a profession with a focus on social problems. His special interest is images depicting poverty, homelessness and other social issues against a background of affluence.