Richard Eastes

Retired Fresh Fruit Importer and Marketer
Spanish, 1968

When I enrolled in the fall of 1964 my course work was based on a premed education in Zoology and Chemistry. However, given that there would be no draft deferment for medical school after 4 years, I switched to a liberal arts degree in Spanish literature with a minor in economics (with a few classes in Portuguese) to be able to graduate in four years. Being able to get a 'minor' in economics in the liberal arts college allowed me to finish my degree in four years. I was able to legally to avoid the draft, which allowed me, then, to get an additional bachelor's degree in International business (while continuing to study Spanish) from Thunderbird, now part of ASU.

The flexibility to combine a Spanish literature major with an economics minor prepared me for a beginning career with the importation of vegetables from Mexico to North America, and then to become a pioneer in the importation of counter-seasonal deciduous fruits from both Chile and Argentina, as well as table grapes from Mexico.

Later in my career I facilitated the branding of counter-seasonal seedless citrus from both South Africa and Australia to retailers in Asian markets including Japan, South Korean, Hong Kong, and Indonesia.

I've learned that a broad-based education was pivotal in a complex global market where a knowledge of local histories, culture, and language, are as important as technical or scientific training in the global fresh fruit trading business.

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