Giclas Thrived with Multiple Tasks
By Tim Linden H enry Lee Giclas III was born in Socorro, New Mexico and recently retired in nearby Albuquerque, but in between, he lived an adventurous life that took him around the world and through several professions. He is well known in the produce industry where he worked for Western Growers for 30 years but he also worked on the family farm, spent his 20s in the oil, gas and mineral exploration world, and spent a couple of years teaching vocational agriculture before settling into his WG career. Hank’s journey began in New Mexico in 1959. During his youth, his mother was working on her PhD in molecular biology and his father was a mechanical engineer. Their careers had the family moving a bit with the young Giclas spending time in New Mexico and Arizona before moving to San Diego while a teenager and graduating from Clairemont High School. During those formative years, Hank did develop a love of agriculture and the outdoors. When he was 16, he bargained with his parents to allow him to move to Buckeye, AZ, and work on the family farm, which is typically leased to local farmers. “My job was to burn weeds, set irrigation pipe and do other odd jobs,” he said. “I fell in love with desert agriculture.” Upon graduation from high school, Hank went to the University of Arizona and pursued a degree in what was called soil, water and engineering. “I expected that I would graduate from college and
work on a farm as a farm manager.” But he admits that he might have been lacking some scholarly motivation at the time. “At the end of my second year, I decided to leave school and go out and work a little bit and figure out what I wanted to do.” The short break turned into the better part of a decade. Giclas began working for an international company in oil, gas and mineral exploration. “I traveled extensively with all expenses paid, lived off my per diem and saved a lot of money.” Every time he considered quitting and going back to school, the company
gave him another hard-to-turn-down opportunity. “I was running crews all over the world in charge of people twice my age. I worked in Alaska on a project and then lived in Australia for a couple of years working on another project.” But in the late ‘80s, in his late 20’s, Hank did come back to the University of Arizona. By then, the college had eliminated his major, so he switched to agricultural education. He did graduate, secure his teaching credential and begin teaching vocational agriculture in Mesa, AZ, splitting his time between the local high school and a junior high school. By
(l to r) Sammy Duda of Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Hank Giclas, Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter and Barry Bedwell of CA Agricultural Leadership Foundation at theWGCIT 3-year anniversary celebration in 2019.
JULY | AUGUST 2020
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