About The Sykes Company

We partner with some of the most talented growers in our region to deliver fresh, great-tasting produce to North American markets.

Our Story

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 Nogales 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.

Bill Sykes (second from left) with grower-partners, including Agustín Baranzini (right), circa 1990.

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 all the time” and slowly but surely, Bill got his one-room office downtown and a small staff, and found his collaborator in Mexico.

Bill met the Baranzini family and the relationship was born. At that time, the Baranzini’s 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 marketing tactics.

Fast-forward to today and we’re a multi-generation business that specializes in watermelon and hardshell 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

Bill Sykes

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.

Email Bill: bill@thesykesco.com

Lesley Sykes

Executive Vice President

Lesley is responsible for increasing 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 her 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: lesley@thesykesco.com

Mike Annett

Sales

Mike is integral to our day-to-day sales and operational flow. Mike joined the company in 2001 and brought with him nearly 30 years’ experience in produce. He got his start in the industry right here in Nogales, working on the docks and quickly 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.

Email Mike: mike@thesykesco.com

Edgar Condes

Sales

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, jícama, and apple-pears.

Email Edgar: edgar@thesykesco.com

Irene Castillo

Office Manager

Irene is the one who really keeps this ship afloat. She handles wide-ranging duties, such as bookkeeping, inventory management, and other accounting functions. Plus, she became part of our team in 1987 – so she really knows this business. Irene loves to cook and is famous for her tamales. If we’re nice, we all get several dozen during the holiday season – a Mexican tradition! Irene spends her free time with her family of three children and seven grandchildren. The produce items Irene can’t live without? Watermelon and grapes.

Email Irene: irene@thesykesco.com