Chris Wada, third generation at Wada Farms, enjoys traveling in the United States and abroad
- by Rand Green | September 20, 2009
Christopher Wada, 29, son of Albert Wada, who is chairman of Wada Farms in Pingree, ID, and grandson of the company's founder, Frank Wada, grew up in the potato business but worked briefly outside the industry after graduating from college before returning to the family business in October 2004.
At that time, he joined the company's marketing entity, Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC in Idaho Falls, ID.
His older brother, Brian Wada, is chief operating officer of Wada Farms Marketing.
Chris Wada was born Aug. 16, 1980. "I grew up helping my dad on the farm," he told The Produce News
Sept. 8. "I graduated high school here in Idaho, then went to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for two years as an ag business major." He then transferred to the University of Hawaii where he received a bachelor of arts degree in marketing in 2004.
"I've been strictly marketing since I've been back - nothing to do with the farm," he said. "Growing up, I was pretty attached to working for the family business, mostly on the farm." But since coming back to Idaho and rejoining the family business, this time on the marketing side, he has found that "this is definitely the side of the business I prefer."
Mr. Wada acknowledged that he cannot be certain where his future will lead. But he thinks it likely that he will remain with the family business. "As of now, that is where my head is," he said.
In the two years that he has been working in marketing at Wada Farms, with his formal training in agricultural business and marketing to draw on, Mr. Wada has been given a variety of assignments. "They kind of shuffled me around, gave me three or four months on each area, like transportation, sales, [the] WalMart team and various other things," he said. "My role is changing a lot. I've been put in charge of a lot of things" that no one had previously been focusing on.
Among his assigned tasks has been "marketing new items and varieties" and "trying to get our name out there a little better, in a little more professional manner."
Recently, "they've had me in a merchandising role, where I'll go out across the country and visit with a lot of our customers" and "check out the products" in the customers' stores, he said.
Away from the office, Mr. Wada enjoys a variety of activities, particularly outdoor activities and water sports, "but I'm not an avid, die-hard anything," he said. His interest is purely recreational.
There were, naturally, more opportunities for water sports in Hawaii than in Idaho, but "here you take advantage of what you can," he said. The family has a cabin on Island Park Reservoir, "and I spend a lot of time there, wake boarding" and participating in other water activities. He also enjoys golfing. But what he really enjoys doing when the opportunity arises is traveling, both within the United States and abroad. "Recently, I've been traveling a lot," he said. "That's what I do the most. I try to make trips here and there."
Mr. Wada's merchandising activities with the company have given him an opportunity to see "a lot of parts of this country I never thought I would go to," he said. He recently spent time in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.
His travels abroad have included Rome, Florence, Venice, Berlin, Paris, London, Ireland and Mexico. "I've never been to Asia," he said. That is the part of the world he wants to visit next.