Firebaugh, CA – For 40 years Jim Malanca has been at the helm of melon sales as an owner and integral leader of the Westside Produce Company BB #:149536 family in Firebaugh. This month he will step down from daily sales activities.
“Over the past four decades, Jim has made significant contributions to the melon industry, to the growth of Westside Produce and to the success of the TRI brand,” said Steve Patricio, company founder. “We will miss Jim’s voice on the desk, but his hard work, dedication and commitment have laid a solid foundation for Westside Produce moving forward. We are grateful for his support and leadership.”
Malanca, who was born and raised in Firebaugh and graduated with a degree in Ag Business from California State University, Fresno always knew he wanted to sell produce – specifically melons.
“I got my first sales job by walking into a melon packing shed in Bakersfield and expressing interest,” says Malanca. “Six months later, they hired me. I was still in college, but that was the beginning of my career in the melon industry.”
Malanca explains that he met Mr. Jess Telles, owner of TRI Produce, at a convention in 1980.
“He hired me on the spot and I went to work for the largest melon grower-packer-shipper in the world,” says Malanca. “Steve Patricio took over at TRI in 1987 and he named me sales manager. In 1993, Steve and Mr. Telles formed Westside Produce and they made me a part owner. Steve is the real reason I became a partner at Westside Produce and I appreciate what he has done for this company and for me.
“What I’ll miss most about being on the sales desk is the role I played in helping our growers, retail buyers, and foodservice customers,” says Malanca. “The people I’ve worked with throughout the years have become more than customers, they are friends.”
“After 42 years of selling melons, I’m stepping down from day-to-day sales, but my interest in the industry and helping Westside Produce and our growers will never end,” says Malanca. “I’ll just be able to play more golf.”
Westside Produce continues to be one of the largest grower-packer-shippers of cantaloupe and honeydew melons in California and Arizona. Taking over Malanca’s duties in overseeing sales is Mark George, who has worked alongside Malanca for the past 20 years and held the Sales Manager title prior.
“We welcome Mark to the executive leadership team at Westside Produce,” says Garrett Patricio, President of Westside Produce. “He has our full support as we begin this new chapter.”