This C. Fla. agribusiness pushes for sustainability ‘rooted in the land’

By Anjali Fluker and Denise Hicks – Orlando Business Journal Dec 31, 2018, 4:07pm EST

IMG Enterprises Inc. is a diversified agribusiness and holding company for Cherrylake tree farm and IMG Citrus.
The Groveland-based, family-owned company's mission is to manage a sustainable enterprise rooted in the land to benefit its family, employees and community, while having a positive environmental impact. IMG Enterprises' Cherrylake division, which alone boasts a diverse workforce of more than 300 people and jobs, landed among Orlando Business Journal's 2018 Best Places to Work.

"We contribute to the health and quality of life of people, by providing beautiful and functional landscapes, nutritious and great tasting fruit, all produced with respect for the environment," said CEO Michel Sallin. "We promote and encourage each other to think outside the status quo. We aren’t afraid to take risks and to learn from mistakes."

IMG Enterprises reported $63.83 million in 2017 revenue, ranking it at No. 36 on OBJ's 2018 Golden 100 list of Central Florida’s top privately-held firms. Here's more from EO Michel Sallin...

If you could change one thing about the company, what would it be?
I do not believe revolutionary change is good for a company. Rather, we need to look for small incremental change and continuous improvement. The only way to be sustainable is to always be looking for ways to change and evolve the company. One single change will not make a difference.

What about your company makes you most proud?
Our employees and their engagement. Our team is our most valuable asset and I am continually amazed by their commitment, dedication and spirit of innovation.

Describe your typical workday:
Every day, I get to learn something new, be challenged by a new thought or idea or crisis, and connect with passionate people.

What does success look like for you?
Developing something that is sustainable into the future. It doesn’t matter if it’s a product or a business model, the only way it can be successful is if it can be sustained for years to come.

When did you consider yourself a success?
You can't measure success in the present time. The future generations are the ones who will be able to tell us if we are successful.

How do you push through the worst times?
Deep conviction that the best opportunities come from crisis. Tough times have required ingenuity and forced me to look harder for the opportunities. Some of our greatest accomplishments came through the ability to create opportunity out of adversity. And in an agribusiness, there are plenty of those opportunities from freezes, hail and hurricanes to diseases such as citrus greening.

What is your greatest leadership blindspot?
It’s not always obvious for others to see what I see, and I need to take more time to communicate my vision and goals.

What is your greatest leadership skill?
Being a dreamer and visionary.

What is your favorite stress reducer?
Tennis, yoga and walking.

The trouble with having it all is...
We never have it all.

What key factors help your company attract and retain top talent?
Our culture. It’s who we are and it’s always evolving and changing for the better. We value our employees and each of them plays an invaluable role in our operations.

Do you have a succession plan?
To provide training and growth to as many deserving and capable people as possible. We can’t stick to a 1-to-1 ratio when doing succession planning. I have every intent for this company to continue to grow and diversify. To accomplish this, we are going to need many trained, capable and passionate leaders for areas and operations that haven’t even been conceived as thoughts yet. Training an army of capable leaders ensures that when the time is right, we will have the successors and leaders we need to grow new areas of the business.