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The Roots of Resolve

The Roots of Resolve

The air is frigid, wind rushes past me, and a bright yellow Sony Walkman cassette player is firmly gripped in my little hand, delivering the sweet sound of the Spice Girls to my ears. I’m bombing down the mountain on my skis, and life couldn’t be better.

In that childhood moment, if you asked me what I was going to be when I grew up, I would have looked you straight in the eye and, with as much conviction as a six-year-old could muster, said a professional skier. Or Sporty Spice.

Considering I am sitting here now typing this article and am not decked out in fashionably baggy track pants with platform sneakers or having brought home gold for Team USA at the 2022 Winter Olympics, I think we can tell things did not pan out how I thought they would. But, they did turn out for the best. I was not cut out for the life of an international pop star, and skiing every day of my life would have taken some of the excitement out of the experience.

This got me thinking about the leader at the center of this article, Carlos Visconti, ­­­­­Chief Executive Officer of Red Sun Farms, USA and Canada. Growing up under the Mexican sun, would his six-year-old self imagine that someday he would be heading a company like Red Sun Farms?

While I can’t go back in time and ask Carlos the child, I do the next best thing; I sit down with Carlos the man—a leader with years of experience under his belt, a plethora of memories to sort through, and a passionate mind fine-tuned for growth.

From the start of our discussion, it becomes clear that Carlos is well-traveled, with a life—and career—spanning several countries. Born and raised in Mexico, his focus was not always set on the produce industry, instead, he was a graduate of Industrial Systems Engineering and went on to earn an MBA from Tecnológico de Monterrey. Additionally, he acquired certifications in upper management and quality control.

“When I joined Red Sun Farms, I wanted to bring with me the best concepts and operational practices from outside industries, which in turn challenged our methodology and ways of working,” Carlos enlightens me. “With the support of a dedicated team, these outside perspectives have helped the business evolve into the company we know today as Red Sun Farms.”

This knowledge he speaks of comes not only from his education but from working in the automotive industry. Before coming to Red Sun Farms 11 years ago, he was using his skills at Hella, an international German automotive parts supplier. Showcasing his natural leadership ability and penchant for growth, Carlos served in a variety of roles including Vice President of Operations at Hella Mexico, where he oversaw the manufacturing operations while directing more than 1,200 employees. He then climbed the ladder to the position of Vice President of Product Development in the company’s North American region.

Following his foray into the automotive world, he fatefully decided to enter the produce scene, leading Carlos to where he stands today.

He made the pivotal move to Red Sun Farms back in 2010, coming on board as Chief Operating Officer. Bringing valuable expertise to the table, he was promoted to CEO of U.S. and Canadian Operations in 2018. In this current role, Carlos is wielding his natural forward-thinking ability to enact continuous improvements—a key part of the company’s mission statement.

“When I joined Red Sun Farms, I wanted to bring with me the best concepts and operational practices from outside industries, which in turn challenged our methodology and ways of working.”

Carlos Visconti,
Chief Executive Officer, USA and Canada, Red Sun Farms™

Day after day, backed by this optimistic attitude and forethought, Carlos is helping to craft the company’s long-term evolution strategy that will launch Red Sun Farms into the stratosphere of consumer brand loyalty.

“As CEO, I am consistently working to build trust for our brand, promoting the high-quality produce we grow that continuously exceeds customer expectations,” he explains. “All of this is done while my team and I strive to deliver innovation and operational excellence.”

And deliver he has. Throughout his time with Red Sun, Carlos has played an intricate role in streamlining operations for all North American distribution centers, centralizing the company’s logistics, and executing the opening of new facilities, including the company’s largest distribution center in Pharr, Texas, and a high-tech greenhouse in Dublin, Virginia.

However, as Carlos explains, none of this would have been possible without the group working alongside him, all of which have made a crucial impact on his career. As he tells me, each of his crew members were strategically chosen based on their unique backgrounds, experiences, passion to deliver, and overall commitment to the company’s culture. The result is a force to be reckoned with, working day after day to defy expectations and deliver high-quality produce to the people.

“I am most proud of my team,” Carlos imparts when I ask him about his most fulfilling achievement while in the industry. “I have surrounded myself with the best possible colleagues to achieve a professional corporate environment that is focused on exceeding expectations. Our world-class team is defining the standards in customer service, quality produce, and year-round availability.”

But it’s more than just his team that is special. To the CEO of Red Sun Farms, it’s all of the individuals across fresh produce that make the industry such a unique environment to work in.

Just like Carlos, the people in fresh produce have a mind for not just meeting expectations, but exceeding them. After more than 11 years, that is what continues to impress the leader, feeding his drive and passion for expanding the boundaries of what is possible.

“There is a connection and interaction amongst produce teams, with retailers and within the growing community,” he beams. “Some of the most unique qualities pertaining to the produce industry stem from its close, tight-knit community and strong relationships. There is a personal connection between growers and retailers—that is what we are building at Red Sun Farms as we develop our team to ensure we deliver customer-centric service. We strive to build supportive relationships within our team, with our customers, and with our suppliers. This is achieved by understanding the needs and balancing our customers’ requirements through investment in acreage, technology, and people.”

Although successful in continuously meeting these goals, challenges did exist along the way. However, Carlos takes each of these hurdles in stride, using each instance as fuel to power Red Sun forward. In essence, he sees these obstacles as lessons.

“As CEO, I am consistently working to build trust for our brand, promoting the high-quality produce we grow that continuously exceeds customer expectations.”

“The produce industry is unique in that well-thought-out business plans are often challenged by outside forces such as climate, crop yields, sales demands, regulations, etcetera,” Carlos explains. “This environment demands a business to be agile and flexible in order to adapt to its volatile nature. These distinct challenges to our industry create new learning opportunities each day.”

Hearing Carlos’ passion for evolution through adversity, I begin to wonder what he does to decompress at the end of the day. How does he sit back and soak in the fruits of his labor and appreciate everything that he has created? While his career is marked by a fervent dedication to advancement, at home, he is Dad and Husband.

“I love to spend time with my family—my beautiful wife, Susy, and our two sons and daughter,” he conveys. “Together, we enjoy backyard barbecues. I like to consider myself a BBQ master, always in search of my next epicurean challenge. When we aren’t enjoying our time in our backyard, we love to travel together to experience new cultures and adventures.”

Speaking about his family and their explorations, Carlos radiates happiness. While for some, downtime could slow success, for him it seems to only strengthen his resolve, fueling his spirit as he guides Red Sun Farms into the future.

This balance Carlos maintains allows him to see the long game for both family and company. And for the company, his vision is nothing short of ambitious, because growth is always top of mind for this leader.

“I am committed to expanding the Red Sun Farms operations within Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. Equally important, I am passionate about developing the next Red Sun Farms generation by supporting the progression of the business and investing in our people and culture,” he tells me. “Ultimately, we will create a sustainable business model that will continue to offer the best produce in the industry.”

Wrapping up my conversation with Carlos, I reflect on all that I have learned from him as he shared a piece of his story, thinking back to my original ponderance about childhood. Although it is hard to picture him as a kid at first, clearing away the years of business acumen, travel, and life experience from his personality; once I do, I can see the link that still exists between the man and child—tenacity.

While the type of knowledge one like Carlos has garnered could overpower the imagination we hold so dear as children, the one that tells us we can be the next Sporty Spice or professional skier, he has simply fine-tuned it to lead his journey and Red Sun Farms into their next phase of evolution.

Whether it be my adult perception or my inner child coming through, I can’t help but be impressed, and I can’t shake the feeling that if I could go back in time and tell young Carlos this story, he would be too.