Frontera Produce Announces New Leadership Structure: President Amy Gates, CEO Will Steele, and Vice President of Operations Misty Ysasi
EDINBURG, TX - Life—and produce—happen while we are busy making plans. Few can attest to this narrative as strongly as those leading Frontera, which has undergone several new changes in recent months. Yet despite the threat of disruption, the company stands strong with new strategies and a new leadership structure.
This new approach can be described as nothing less than a trifecta as the company moves forward with extensive experience in growing, technology, and retail coming together in its newly appointed President, Amy Gates, CEO, Will Steele, and Vice President of Operations, Misty Ysasi.
“With the three of us as the leadership team, our expertise in diverse areas that complement each other allows us to guide our team in the new direction of providing the most superior services and solutions for our customers,” Amy shares with me.
Amy joined the Frontera team in 2004 after having worked with Famous Software for five years right out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
“I met Will Steele while working for Famous and assisting Frontera with its installation and use of the ERP software,” Amy recalls. “Will offered me an Operations Management position. Here I began using my knowledge of packers, shippers, importers, distributors, etc., to streamline Frontera operations, accounting, and more while curbing costs.”
Having served as Famous’ Territory Sales Manager to Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and Southern California, while also accruing a diverse industry background through business consulting and software installation, Amy moved up Frontera’s ranks quickly—from operations to Vice President of Administration and Finance, and then onto a Vice President role for the company overall.
“Beyond streamlining Frontera's operations and systems, I’ve created new companies, worked on investments and debt restructure, as well as creating what is now our Compliance Department to be a progressive leader in traceability and food safety. We were the first to implement SQF in a packing facility and actually helped rewrite protocol for the produce industry,” Amy shares.
Her greatest strength in leadership, she says, is the diversity of those that led with her.
Will, for example, started Frontera in 1993 with his father, Jim Steele. He has extensive sales and grower relations experience, and he is utilizing this by primarily focusing on working with Frontera’s farms, grower partner’s farms, and getting the right product to market.
“I feel there is something to be said to still be working with our original growers, and continuing to add to our grower-partner base year after year,” Will says of how the company has progressed. “This is a testament to the outstanding commitment of the employees at Frontera Produce.”
Additionally, Will’s reputation of being a fair-minded business partner has attracted many new growers and opportunities to Frontera, creating a blend of roots and extending branches as the company’s grower base continues to expand year after year.
Helping bridge the wisdom of the buy- and supply-sides of the produce chain is Misty, who spent 11 years in retail and five years on the supplier/shipper side.
“I am proud to be part of a team that thrives on change. Together, we have the ability to continue to lead the industry in innovations, while building our business and developing opportunities for our supply chain partners,” Misty says.
Her full-spectrum skill set, Amy shares, allows Frontera to focus on solutions geared to servicing retail partners and improving communications.
“Misty’s knowledge of retail challenges allows us a window into their world, so together we work to deliver the consumer the fresh, quality produce they keep coming back for,” Amy concludes.
How else would you phrase this but a trifecta? It’s no surprise when all three promise me that there is much coming down the pipeline.
This year might have been a whirlwind to start, but it is far from over. Keep your eyes trained to your inbox as we continue to report on what Frontera has up its sleeve.