S2G Ventures-backed controlled environment agriculture producer Shenandoah Growers has hired former Walmart executive Cameron Geiger as chief operating officer.
Geiger will report to Shenandoah Growers president Philip Karp in the Harrisonburg, Virginia-based position, which will draw on his experience in supply chains, automation and logistics.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Geiger joins Shenandoah Growers after an 18-year stint with Walmart that ended in January 2020 and included positions as senior vice-president for supply chain services for Walmart US and chief information officer at Walmart International. It also shows that previously, Geiger served as managing director at Atlanta-headquartered management consultant Kurt Salmon Associates and as a captain in the US Marine Corps.
Shenandoah Growers operates 12 facilities throughout the US, from which it supplies USDA-certified organic culinary herbs and greens under the That’s Tasty brand to more than 18,000 retail outlets daily. It also offers logistics services connecting small-scale herb and produce suppliers to most major retailers across the country.
The Rockingham, Virginia headquartered company was founded in 1989, previously focusing on provision of live potted plants and fresh-cut herbs. It also counts Middleland Capital and Advantage Capital Agribusiness Partners among its investors.
Geiger told Agri Investor his role focuses on logistics at the company’s existing facilities and ensuring any new capacity is built with operational efficiency in mind.
“Shenandoah Growers is getting to a stage in its development where what got us here won’t necessarily get us there,” he said, declining to offer detail on geographic or crop focus of any potential expansion beyond confirming both are likely. “Our investment priorities always stay pretty consistent, and they are around the quality of what we do in those facilities.”
In January 2020, Shenandoah Growers announced the addition of 15 new delivery trailers equipped with dual temperature transport capabilities that allow it to supply floral, produce and food service clients from the same vehicles.
Geiger said his experience with Walmart included designing its first e-commerce fulfilment center and helped familiarize him with the granular data-driven approach more common at large companies than small. That familiarity, he said, will inform his approach to helping Shenandoah Growers’ large retail customers to meet supply challenges he knows well.
“They [large retailers] are always balancing where they can get large volumes of great-quality product, including produce, with pushing the boundaries of what’s coming next,” he explained. “The emphasis from them is, they have to see controlled-environment evolve and become cost-effective at large scale – that’s what they care about.”