Getting to know Andres behind the produce
4 January 2023

Behind the Produce: Andres Duque 

Andres Duque is Vanguard Direct’s Operations Supervisor on the West Coast.  Andres is responsible for providing logistical and operational support to the sales team during the import and shipping of Vanguard’s owned grapes.  Duties include working closely with 3rd party inspectors, cold storage facilities, and repack operations to provide real-time information to the Vanguard Direct team.  

Let’s get to know Andres a little more!  

Vanguard- Has Bakersfield CA always been home, or did you re-locate for work?  

AD: I was born in Chile South America and I moved to Philadelphia in 2015 where I lived for a couple years before moving to Bakersfield California to work with Vanguard Direct. 

Vanguard – Have you always been destined for fresh produce?  How did your career begin? 

AD: Absolutely! I grew up in an agricultural environment because my grandparents were fruit and vegetable growers also my father was a grape farm manager, so I have literally lived a large part of my life next to grapes. 

Vanguard – We are well into managing in a global pandemic – what have been the greatest challenges?  Any positive outcomes of a change in SOP?  

AD:  The biggest challenge in operations and logistics was the decrease in workers at ports, warehouses, and trucking companies. All these generated delays in the arrivals of the fruit mainly in the west coast.  

In the following season as a preventive measure, we divided the shipments and sent more fruit to alternate ports which led to us managing a very fast season.  

Vanguard – Whose day to you impact on a regular basis. Who hears from you the most?   

AD: With my co-worker from east coast, we try to talk every day to share information between both coasts. We also share communication with entire the sales team by calls, texts, and emails. We have a great work environment, great communication and feedback between all of us. 

Vanguard – What has been a memorable moment of your time with Vanguard?  

AD: For sure my hiring day but something great, as I mentioned before, is that we have a great work environment so that makes for many memorable moments. I’m very happy and proud to be part of this team. 

Vanguard – What does your free time look like! Spending time with family, friends?  

AD: I’ve luckily met some fellow Chileans since moving to Bakersfield, so as Chileans do, we like to share a lot of good times over a grill and food., I also like to watch and play soccer – I am a horrible player but I still have fun. 

Vanguard – Do you have a favorite produce item? If yes how do you prefer to eat it (Snack? Signature Recipe?)  

AD: My favorite produce are watermelons, tomatoes, and grapes because they bring back childhood memories of the times when my family worked with those products. For me, the perfect way to eat them is fresh from the field.