Recently, the California Walnut Board talked with walnut grower Georgia Crain of Crain Ranch about her career evolution in the industry, how she used technology to modernize the logistics department, who her female role models are in the male-dominated industry, and more. Georgia is part of the third Crain generation to work on the ranch since her grandfather planted his first walnut tree in 1962. The Crain family is committed to driving the industry forward both on and off the ranch. Georgia’s father and uncle serve on the California Walnut Board, where they help guide activities to support the industry and increase demand for California walnuts, complementing efforts at the ranch level. Read on to hear more:
Q – You’ve worked in many roles at Crain Ranch. Tell us about your career and your current role.
A – Growing up I always helped with the family’s business, whether it be in the office or out in the orchard. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Business Information Systems from Chico State University and used what I learned to guide me when I started working in the logistics department of Crain Ranch.
I’ve been working full-time in the industry for 12 years now, and in the last five years, I’ve been working in sales. I’m currently merging kernel and in-shell sales together, while also negotiating and meeting with customers domestically and internationally.
Q – What has been your biggest career success, so far?
A – Linking together various Crain Ranch departments in a way that has streamlined information and communication more effectively. This has leveled up the team and created a more cohesive environment.
Q – What other impacts have you made at Crain Ranch?
A – Through my work in the logistics department, I created a structure for inventory tracking that allows us to have more accurate, real-time data. Previously, we would manually track all the walnuts that came in, which wasn’t the most effective system. I created an automated system that tracks walnuts from the time they come in from the grower to when they go out on an outbound load. We also know how many walnuts are being processed.
Q – As a woman, how did you evolve in your role in this male dominated industry? What advice do you have for other women in similar positions?
A – The nut industry is certainly male dominated, with most women working in the broker or customer side of the industry. It takes a different type of female to be successful in a male dominated industry, but it’s not impossible. Over the years, I’ve learned to not let the big personalities get to me. My advice is to be direct, and most importantly, to be brave.
Q – Who are your female role models in the industry?
A – Detrie Smith is someone in the industry who everyone knows and respects. I look up to her because she’s a hard worker and a great person to work with. My grandma, Alice Crain, is also someone I have always deeply admired. She’s done everything from accounting, growing, sales and so much more. The company wouldn’t be where it is today without her. It was great growing up with such a determined mentor in the family and industry.