Tag Archives: Fred Alejo

Meet the HQO Team: A Special Salute to Sara Davidson, Susan Knight and Fred Alejo

In honor of Independence Day, we wanted to take a moment and publicly acknowledge some of America’s finest on the High Quality Organics team.  Sara Davidson, Susan Knight and Fred Alejo, we salute you and sincerely thank you for your service to our country and fellow man.

Sara Davidson, National Guard

Sara Davidson this spring at HQO after earning Employee of the Month. She just began serving in the National Guard.

Sara Davidson this spring at HQO after earning Employee of the Month. She just began serving in the National Guard.

Sara is a more recent member to the HQO team as a Quality Control Technician. She works alongside our Manager of Quality Control and Product Development, Chef Dawn Wykoff, ensuring that we always uphold our reputation as the leading provider of the highest quality organic ingredients.  Sara just began serving as a member of the National Guard, a part-time commitment that allows her to continue to work at HQO. We couldn’t be more proud of her willingness to contribute to the safety of our country in this unique way.

Susan Knight enjoying a quick break on the hiking trails of Reno/Tahoe. She served in the U.S. Army after graduating from high school.

Susan Knight enjoying a quick break on the hiking trails of Reno/Tahoe. She served in the United States Army after graduating from high school.

Susan Knight, Army

Susan has been with HQO since its beginning. As a Sales Executive, she is an integral part of the HQO sales team and helps mentor new sales managers by sharing her vast knowledge and passion for organic ingredients. While Susan may not talk a lot about her military experience at work, she certainly exhibits the classic traits of a great soldier: discipline, determination and hard work. It’s no wonder she’s a top performer at HQO.

What made you join the military?
I was attracted to the military because of the GI Education Bill.
 
What was your branch/rank/job?
Helicopter Mechanic
 
What was your most memorable experience from serving in the military?
I was stationed in Germany and was able to travel around Europe. Looking back I should have done more but when you are only 18 you think you have all the time in the world.
 
What lesson(s) did the military teach you that you use to this day?
I think the military is a very good “in between” step after graduating
from high school to being on your own.  You are on your own but it is
structured.
 
Is there anything else you’d like to share from your military
experience? (Funny story, special encounter, etc.)
I think if I had to do it all over again I would make the same choices. It was a wonderful experience. I met many people from all over the world and saw a lot of
places.  The U.S. is a great place to live.
 
 
Fred and his father at his promotion from Staff Sargent to Second Lieutenant.

Fred and his father at his promotion from Staff Sargent to Second Lieutenant.

Fred Alejo, Army

Fred served in the United States Army prior to starting his professional career in the food industry. As the Vice President of Sales and Sustainability at HQO, he often refers to his military experience in team building exercises and when brainstorming customer solutions.

What made you join the military?
A sense of patriotism and adventure.
 
What was your branch/rank/job?
Army, 1st Lieutenant when I left, Infantry
 
What was your most memorable experience from serving in the military?
Getting into a massive brawl at a night club in Atlanta. [You’ll have to ask him about the details in person!]
 
What lesson(s) did the military teach you that you use to this day?
Failing a mission is not an option.
 
Is there anything else you’d like to share from your military
experience? (Funny story, special encounter, etc.)
There is no problem or obstacle that cannot be overcome
 
Photo credit: Swampland.time.com

Photo credit: Swampland.time.com

To all of the members of our armed forces, High Quality Organics thanks you and salutes you for your great contribution to the, “Land of the free, Home of the brave.”

Happy Fourth of July!

Kerala India

By Fred Alejo, VP of Sales & Sustainability

I traveled to India a few months ago to share High Quality Organic’s (HQO) knowledge of organic farming and meet some of our suppliers.

India is a beautiful place with expansive farmland in remote and very peaceful places.

India is a beautiful place with expansive farmland in remote and very peaceful places.

The first week was spent with the Ker International Herbal Fair where the Ministry of Forestry in India sponsored HQO to attend and help their over three million farmers with sustainable wild collection practices.  Unlike in the United States – and most developed countries – many of the crops in India are grown in the wild and harvested by village people.  However, most of these collectors have never received formal training on sustainable harvest practices.  The result has been approximately 30% of the plants on the verge of extinction.  With our global network and agriculture knowledge, we were able to share some simple practices that can easily help preserve and allow the wild crops to thrive in India.

The second part of my visit was meeting a world-class supplier; one of our number one suppliers. They grow birds eye chili pepper, turmeric, Arabica and robosta coffee in Karala. Below are some pictures from my tours of the nutmeg and pepper plantations.

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I also had the opportunity to view the turmeric crop. It looks amazing!

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My last day in India was spent traveling to Minora, a place very similar to the Sonoma Valley of California. There I visited several tea gardens varying in age from one to 180 years old.  There they pick their tea using the parameters, 2 leaves and a bud.

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This was my first time in India and it was eye opening.  I not only learned to invest in more moisture-wicking shirts, I also developed an amazing respect for the knowledge our Indian farmers have.  Despite India emerging as a nation, their knowledge of agriculture is, in a lot of ways, extremely developed.  For example, they call plants by their botanical name and could tell you more about them than almost any Wikipedia page could.

Our growers in India have been partners with HQO since the beginning.  This trip reaffirmed why we work with them: their passion for preserving the land and providing the best quality products possible.  It’s clear they will be valued partners for generations to come.

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Fred Alejo has been with High Quality Organics since February 2011 and leads the  rapidly growing organic ingredient company in sales and sustainable initiatives.  Prior work experience includes Rembrandt Foods, Dole Fresh Vegetables and the United States Army.  Fred is the proud father of three children and spends his time outside work coaching football, skiing and training for triathlons.