Kris Robb

On Orchard / GM, Clyde Orchards

School: Logan Park

Training Institute: B Com University of Otago, Dip Hort Otago Polytech

Current Employment: GM, Clyde Orchards

After completing high school in 1995 I came up to Clyde for an 8-week job processing dried apricots for at Sunbury Park Orchard. Pre- Season rugby training started during this time so a willingness to be part of the Clyde Earnscleugh team secured a full-time orchard position for the next couple of years. During this time, I developed a passion for fruit production, Orchard management and socializing so enrolled at Otago University to study management for 3 years.

After completing my degree, I returned to a full-time position at Sunbury Park, taking on more responsibility for the management of the Orchard. During this time, I got involved with grower groups including Clyde Fruit Growers Association and young grower competitions. This gave me valuable insights into the politics involved with the industry and the opportunity to network with other likeminded young leaders.

In 2008 the owners sold Sunbury Park and I was offered an opportunity to go into partnership with the new owners. Business partnership and ownership was certainly a steep learning curve and during the time of this venture I developed a deep level of respect for the families who have succeeded in the industry.

In 2011 I got my first taste of post-harvest management, joining the team at Clyde Orchards managing the packhouse for the summer. I returned to work for them the following season and really developed a passion for this part of the supply chain.

I decided to pull out of the partnership with Sunbury Park and after a short stint working in the Quality and Operations teams for ENZA in Ettrick, was offered a fulltime position at Clyde Orchards where I remain today.

I really enjoy the variety of work and people that are involved in the industry, from industry leaders to casual staff. I’m really excited about new technologies that are being developed and the career opportunities that are arising in a growing industry.