Meet Tom Heeman, 30, field and strategic projects manager with Heeman’s and one of our 20 Under 40 Class of 2020 recipients
FROM INCREASING CROP yields and implementing bio-control programs to launching new business divisions and product lines, Tom Heeman has been instrumental in the growth and expansion of the progressive Heeman’s family farm and retail operation.
What would you say is your biggest business achievement?
The launching of our Hard Apple Cider business along with our apiary and meadery.
Who has been your biggest influence throughout your career?
My family — grandparents, parents, wife and siblings.
What has Covid-19 taught you about yourself and your work?
It’s taught me that your networks and suppliers are key in your success or failure. That human factor is key — when the chips are down, you have your team and you stand up and figure out how to play the hand you’re dealt.
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What advice would you give to your younger self?
Learn what people value, and the core processes that create and maintain that. Culture precedes shifts in demand, so find your wave of opportunity and build from there.
What’s next for you to do, professionally or otherwise?
I want to continue to support opportunities for distribution of local produce and products, while increasing the scale and scope of those systems.
What’s on the stereo these days?
David Bowie, Miles Davis, Howlin Wolf, Credence Clear Water Revival and Pink Floyd.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would your career be?
Ministry of Natural Resources forest firefighter.
Planting wildflowers in little forgotten corners of the world. And Woodford’s Reserve Bourbon. Interview by Kieran Delamont