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Ag Alumni Profile - John Slagel '82 AERS

Posted: December 8, 2013

John Slagel is the Director of Eastern Operations at Sunkist Growers, Inc., where he focuses on productivity and probability.
John Slagel, '82 AE RS is the Director of Eastern Operations for Sunkist Growers, Inc.

John Slagel, '82 AE RS is the Director of Eastern Operations for Sunkist Growers, Inc.

By Jena Sigel, Ag Alumni Relations Intern


Career: Director, Eastern Operations for Sunkist Growers, Inc.

Jena Sigel, Ag Alumni Relations Intern and Animal Sciences major, talked with John Slagel ’82 Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology about current and past business experiences.

 1.      What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

Every day is different. We are working with branded produce so dealing with Mother Nature is a big challenge. Bad weather means the crops can’t be picked and transportation can be difficult. It's not only the most challenging but also the most rewarding.

2.      How have you stayed connected to Penn State since you’ve graduate?

I have two daughters that have graduated from Penn State and a son that currently is at Penn State and another daughter considering Penn State. My family has kept me connected.

3.      What is your favorite Penn State creamery flavor?

Coconut chip

4.      What advice would you give to current students?

My advice to current students is to expose yourself to as many aspects of the agricultural industry as possible through classroom curriculum and outside experiences such as student clubs and internships. Be flexible and open to try new things.

5.      What characteristics are needed to be successful in your career and field?

Interpersonal skills, being able to work with different personalities, written communication skills, and being a good listener are all important.

Slagel coordinates with sales groups in North America. This includes pricing, promotional programs, operations, and category management. He's the east coast liaison which includes 22 representatives in North America, Canada and the U.S. Currently, Slagel is an active member of the Produce Marketing Association and the National Agrimarketing Association. He credits his current involvement with these organizations to leadership roles he held as a student in clubs such as the Marketing Club.

Slagel is married and has four children, three of which graduated from Penn State.

“You need to do what drives you to succeed. I think this sets an example for your kids or other kids so that they have an example to follow,” states Slagel.

For more information, contact Jena Sigel, Ag Alumni Relations Intern at jls6196@psu.edu.