Scott Danner has always been a hard worker. While he was in business school at Thomas College almost 40 years ago, he spent summers getting his hands dirty picking sweet corn in the fields of Maine.
Upon graduating, Scott realized he could combine his passion for business and his love of farming. He relocated to Massachusetts, where he worked for state government, helping to strengthen the farming community and finding innovative ways to make produce more accessible to the public. Scott’s career grew, leading him into a variety of senior leadership roles at some of the top produce companies in the country. His achievements earned him a seat on the USDA Presidential Advisory Council under President George W. Bush, and he quickly became recognized as a nationwide leader in the U.S. agricultural industry.
Most recently, Scott became the President and Managing Partner of Premier Produce, Inc., based in Dania Beach, FL. Business was great – until the pandemic hit. Scott saw the company lose 70 percent of business overnight. With mandatory shutdowns and people scared to leave their homes, Scott was forced to reconfigure his entire business plan; reduce the workforce by 60 percent; and, cut remaining employees’ pay by 30 percent just to survive.
Scott’s ability to stay nimble and to adapt to the unforeseen crisis helped him to salvage his enterprise. But he credits much of the company’s survival to the team that has stayed with him, plus what he learned during his time at Thomas.
Thanks to Scott’s leadership, his team, and the company’s new business model in which it outsources produce to other sellers rather than selling directly to the public, Premier Produce is starting to rebound and experience new growth as it breaks into new markets.
Scott says, “There is no way I could have saved our company on my own. It is all about the people you have working with you. Thomas showed me how to lead; how to build people up; how to get buy-in; and, how to cherish everyone’s opinion. Much of what I learned at Thomas College contributes to why I still have a loyal, hardworking team behind me right now.”
*This story was originally published in the Fall 2020 Thomas Magazine & Annual Report.