About The Sykes Company
We partner with the region’s most talented growers to offer only the best fresh produce to our customers.
The Sykes Company was founded in 1978 in Nogales, Arizona. After serving in Vietnam, Bill got his master’s from Thunderbird School of Global Management with an eye on the burgeoning produce industry. He is from a long-time Nogales family – with roots in cattle ranching in Mexico – and has a deep appreciation for the Sonoran Desert.
In those days, there was no palletizing and orders were loaded box-by-box onto trucks or rail. You can imagine the headache! The tomato and grape deals were booming as North America said, “we want more fresh produce year-round” and slowly but surely, Bill got his one-room office downtown and a small staff, and found his collaborators in Mexico.
Bill met the Baranzini family and the relationship was born. At that time, the Baranzinis were grape growers, and together with other producers in the region, The Sykes Company became a top distributor of regionally grown grapes.
The market has changed tremendously over the years, driven by shopper preferences and new entrants. The Sykes Company has always aimed to be proactive for a bright future through new products and varieties, certifications, and other differentiation tactics.
Fast-forward to today and the company is a multi-generation business that specializes in watermelon and squash and continues to innovate. Bill’s daughter, Lesley Sykes, joined the business after 10 years working in sustainable agriculture initiatives – and the duo has big plans for the future.
Meet Our Team
Founder & President
Bill Sykes has led a distinguished produce company through thoughtful leadership – which has endured and flourished in this ever-changing industry. Over the years, he has handled a variety of fruits and vegetables – from cucumbers, tomatoes, and grapes, to the watermelon and squash we ship today. During his free time, Bill golfs and enjoys the desert landscape from his home in Tubac, Arizona. His favorite produce? Watermelon, of course.
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Lesley leads our strategy to increase our footprint in the marketplace. She got her start in produce while in high school right here at The Sykes Company (Bill is her dad!), which led her to earn a Master’s in Agriculture and Environmental Science and Policy from Tufts University. Lesley brings us experience brokering produce from New England family farms for the non-profit, Red Tomato. Most recently, Lesley was at SCS Global Services, partnering with international growers to help provide visibility to their sustainability programs. During her free time, she enjoys being outdoors and traveling. Her favorite produce item? Anything tropical.
Email Lesley: firstname.lastname@example.org
Since 2001 Mike has been integral to our day-to-day sales and operational flow. He has nearly 30 years’ experience in produce and got his start in the industry right here in Nogales, working on the docks and then climbing the ladder to managerial positions. “Each day is different and a new challenge,” he said about what he liked most about the industry. Mike is an accomplished youth soccer coach, now coaching his grandson’s team. The produce item Mike can’t live without? Apples.
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Edgar is key to carrying out our daily sales and coordinating inbound shipments from our grower-partners. The Arizona native joined our company in 1995 after years of experience in warehouse management, quality assurance, and sales for agricultural companies in the region – including the Green Valley Pecan Company. Edgar also spent 12 years as Deputy Director of the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency. During his free time, he is either outdoors, playing guitar, or practicing martial arts. Edgar can’t choose a favorite produce item – it’s a tie between watermelon and jícama.
Email Edgar: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nora Iribe Alvarez
The newest addition to our team, Nora ensures the smooth running of our office. She was raised just across the border in Nogales, Mexico and brings us two decades of administrative experience on both sides of the border, including her and her husband’s own distribution business. Nora was exposed to farming early on, with a grandfather and uncles who ran farms in the state of Sinaloa, some of which are still in operation today. During her free time, Nora stays busy with her two teenage sons and actively participates in the local community. Her favorite fresh produce? Mangos and watermelon.
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