Packer 25 2020 — Wyard Stomp
The classic combination of strawberries and cream seems to work for Wyard Stomp, since he has a track record for building demand for both components.
Stomp, 43, a native of the Netherlands, joined Watsonville, Calif.-based Driscoll’s in 2012 as part of the company’s European unit, after having worked for a dairy cooperative in Europe. He moved to the California office three years ago to be group vice president of sales & marketing.
Success in the dairy business seemed to be a path to fresh produce, he said.
“Working for the dairy company made me realize that I love value chains that connect farming to consumers,” he said.?
“Produce attracted me because of the everyday dynamics and the huge opportunity that fresh products present to improve quality of life on both health and happiness. Working in produce really provides a deeper purpose to anyone’s job, which I find extremely valuable.”
Driscoll’s, in particular, has a strong “family heritage of innovation and leadership” that enhances that purpose, Stomp said.
“The berry category is complex, and our ability to increase consumption through great flavor is pretty powerful,” he said.
Stomp is a good fit for the leadership mold at Driscoll’s, said Soren Bjorn, president of Driscoll’s of the Americas.
“Driscoll’s has been fortunate to attract and retain talented leaders as part of our organization,” he said. “Wyard demonstrates a strong passion and drive to improve the berry business while keeping true our culture and DNA of collaboration and innovation. His contributions in both of our organizational business units in Europe and in the U.S. have benefitted from his business acumen and strategic direction,” he said.
Stomp said his own leadership style is an ideal fit for Driscoll’s.
“It is difficult to describe my style, but what is important to me is to be a leader that is authentic, shows up with integrity, creates energy through projecting an exciting future and drives results towards that objective with ease and focus,” Stomp said.
Stomp said he has had ample chances to demonstrate those traits at Driscoll’s.
“Since I have moved to the U.S., we have worked to impact our commercial strategy by orchestrating all the components across sales, customer development, marketing, consumer insights, product business management and sales operations,” he said. This year has presented profound challenges, Stomp said.
“It has been extraordinary what the Driscoll’s team has been able to achieve and manage through the chaos of COVID-19 and, most recently, the complexity of California wildfires during peak harvesting,” he said.?
“Berry quality and customer satisfaction has been high without risking the health and safety of employees in our broader business enterprise.”
Few industry issues energize Stomp like the challenge of building consumer demand, and it helps to have a product that lures people naturally, he said.
“Current consumption levels are minimum, and we can all create a healthier world if we can increase awareness and solutions for consumers,” he said.
If the industry can build trust and confidence, produce can continue to build demand, Stomp said.
“My contribution thus far is to focus on increased levels of demand planning and communication, focus on category growth and use data and insights to drive intentional strategies,” he said.
That’s one way the “team” aspect of the business can help, Stomp said. “With the constant moving parts of the business, it is very important to have a support system around you that keeps you real and focused,” he said.
As a leader, Stomp works to “pay that back” and provide similar support to others, he said.
“At the end of the day, it is one of the most rewarding experiences to see people grow, succeed, and handle challenges through some of the guidance you have been able to provide.”