IRVINE, Calif. — The Western Growers Family of Companies is mourning the passing of Hank Giclas. Dave Puglia, President and CEO, made this statement:
“Hank Giclas dedicated himself, totally and fully, in service to the people of the fresh produce industry. His career was an unabashed love affair with agriculture, second only to his dedication and devotion to the love of his life, Kathy, and their two children. We have a saying in our organization, that someone especially enamored with and dedicated to the people of our industry ‘bleeds Western Growers green.’ Hank probably coined that saying but whether he did or not, no one will ever embody its spirit more fully.
“Our industry is immeasurably better for Hank’s vision and leadership. Few in our industry labored as long and hard as Hank to produce scientifically valid food safety guidance. For much of his career, he blazed that trail with little company along the way, but because of his perseverance our industry today places food safety at the top of the agenda. Similarly, Hank saw the unlimited potential for technological innovation to solve the most intractable problems and improve every aspect of our industry. It was Hank’s vision to create and then grow the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology, which is today at the center of agtech innovation for the fresh produce industry.
“His career achievements go far beyond these, but in everything he did, Hank Giclas was that rare and special person who brought strategic vision forward and ensured its successful and practical execution.
“Yet for all he accomplished, Hank was persistently – almost stubbornly – humble. The industry accolades made him blush and he was quick to credit others and even faster to find his way back to work. He was always there to help a colleague or friend (and for Hank there was little distinction between them), no matter the inconvenience. With one of the heaviest workloads on the Western Growers team, it was a rarity to hear him grumble about the weight he carried, because he was animated by the knowledge that he was carrying it for the farmers he loved to serve.
“Thousands of hearts will hurt with Hank’s passing, but we can also celebrate that this person of great faith fulfilled his mission before being called home. The entire Western Growers family extends our deepest condolences to Kathy, Hannah and Henry, as well as their extended family and friends.”
Hank Giclas served the Western fresh produce industry in various capacities with Western Growers over three decades from 1990 until he retired as Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning, Science & Technology in 2020.