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A Big Week For Ramseys… And For Mann Packing

August 9th was Bill Ramsey’s birthday. August 8th was Dick Ramsey’s 33rd anniversary of working at Mann Packing, and today, August 10th, Bill Ramsey’s first great-grandchild, who is also Dick Ramsey’s first grandchild, is scheduled for delivery.

As if this wasn’t a big enough week for the Ramsey family, Mann Packing sent along this announcement:


Bill Ramsey Resigns as Part of Succession Plan,
Son Named Co-Chairman

Salinas, CA — Mann Packing Company is announcing today the appointment of Dick Ramsey as co-chairman of its board of directors. The appointment follows the resignation of his father, Bill, who is becoming an ex-officio member.

Mike Jarrard, president and CEO, comments, “Bill has long planned to pass the torch, so to speak, to his eldest son on his 75th birthday, which is August 9th. This move allows him to stay involved with the business, but also provides more flexibility in his schedule.”

Dick Ramsey joins Lorri Koster who represents her family on the board. Both are the third generation of their families to be involved in the industry, their grandfathers founded and operated W&S Packing from 1936 to 1967. Bill Ramsey joined Mann Packing in 1955 and Koster’s father, Don Nucci, came on board in 1967. Both were made full partners by H.W. Mann in 1976. After Mr. Mann’s passing in 1996 the Ramsey and Nucci families acquired his interest in the company.

Jarrard continues, “Dick and Lorri are second generation leadership here at Mann. Their experience in the industry is an essential ingredient to our success.”

Dick Ramsey literally grew up in the business. He spent summers as many Salinas Valley youth do moving irrigation pipe, driving tractors and working the ranches through high school and college. After graduating from Chico State University he returned to Salinas and became a full time ranch manager in 1974. In 1976 Don Nucci asked Dick to move into the office and help with the quickly expanding sales department.

While under his tenure in sales Mann Packing saw its business morph from being largely a broccoli supplier to frozen food companies, to the world’s largest shipper of bunch broccoli. In 1982 Mann entered the fresh-cut foodservice business which followed an entry into fresh-cut at retail in the late 1980’s. Today the company is the category share leader in fresh-cut vegetables and known for its innovative products such as Broccolini® and Garden Valley® Stringless Sugar Snap Peas.

He comments, “We have been able to adapt to ever-changing markets. That has been a key formula to our success, in addition to hands-on management and strong customer and grower relations.” In 2000 Dick moved from sales to raw product procurement where he works today as vice president of field operations for broccoli and Broccolini®.

Lorri Koster, comments, “I feel fortunate Bill will be here as a mentor to provide a historic perspective on how Mann got to where it is today. Dick and I respect the legacy that is passing on to us. We worked our way through Mann Packing from the ground up. We appreciate first-hand what makes this company special.”

Bill Ramsey comments, “It’s hard to imagine it’s been 51 (?) years. I’m confident Dick and Lorri will carry this company to the next chapters in its life and I’m fortunate to be here to guide them on the journey whenever they need my support or guidance.”

This week marks a busy one for the Ramsey family. In addition to Bill’s 75th birthday on the 9th, August 8th is Dick’s 33 anniversary of working at Mann Packing and Bill’s first great-grandchild, also Dick’s first grandchild, is scheduled for delivery on Friday the 10th.

Bill concludes, “It is heart-felt. I planned this for so long it’s hard to imagine it’s here. Now, with the great-grandchild coming, it just feels right.”

Here at the Pundit, we are always thrilled to receive releases such as this. Why? Because orderly notices of transition, such as this, carry with them the hallmarks of appropriate succession planning.

Mann is an unusual company in many ways. The industry has many family-owned companies with all family management, but only a few, including Mann, Strube and Pandol Bros., have successfully integrated family employees with a non-family CEO, in Mann’s case Mike Jarrard.

Transitioning a family business through multiple generations is a business management project all its own. There are tax implications, family dynamics to consider and many other considerations. Family businesses that don’t plan to survive — usually don’t.

Of course, no amount of planning guarantees a smooth transition. The deaths in rapid succession of Joe Nucci and his father, Don Nucci, could not reasonably have been anticipated. Yet the hallmark of an exceptional business is to plan for what can be planned for and, in going through that process, develop the strength of purpose and depth of connection to be able to deal with the unexpected.

As the Ramseys’ pass the baton, there must be much pride. For a father to look upon his son as a grown man, rich in achievement and worthy of the trust of safeguarding the family legacy, brings forth a powerful emotion. And for a man of 75 to survey a company he helped build, strong and vibrant despite being buffeted by mighty winds, it must be a source of enormous satisfaction.

Congratulations to the Ramsey family and all at Mann Packing. May the wind be at their back in the years to come.

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