Teamwork and Adaptability: Fresno Celebrates 15 Years

Tessenderlo Kerley’s plant in Fresno, California just celebrated its 15-year anniversary – and the only constant during that time has been change.

“There’s just been a lot of growing, a lot of transition during my time here,” said Kim Williams, who has served as the office manager in Fresno since 2009. “There’s never a dull moment.”

In just the last five years, the Fresno plant has made multiple changes in the products it produces to ensure West Coast growers receive the crop nutrition and protection that they need, when they need it. The plant also has a new management team that has embodied Tessenderlo Kerley’s core values of People, Teamwork and Entrepreneurial Spirit.

“They’re a young, fresh new set of eyes,” Williams said. “I’ve grown to really enjoy these guys, and we’re all doing our best to mesh our thoughts and ideas.”

Jeff Loy began his Tessenderlo Kerley career at an entry-level Operator D position 13 years ago. He took advantage of opportunities provided by Tessenderlo Kerley to advance his career, and was named Fresno’s plant manager in 2021.

Loy enjoys the opportunity to operate a plant in the heart of California’s agricultural industry.

“We’re right in the heart of the Central Valley, which is huge for agriculture,” Loy said. “It keeps us more connected in the sense of being closer to the customers and getting them our products.”

The Fresno plant makes a variety of crop nutrition and protection products, including CaTs®, MagThio®, and MAJOR 90 for Crop Vitality™, and Lime-Sulfur Solution™ and Surround® for NovaSource®. It also produces products used in water treatment and mining applications, such as Captor®, Calmet®, Tetragard® and TKI-330 for moleko.

“Our Fresno team is vital to our success in the Central Valley and beyond,” said Tessenderlo Kerley Executive Vice President Russell Sides. “I can’t say enough positive things about Jeff and his team. They have successfully navigated multiple transitions as we adjust to the always-changing needs of our customers and growers in the region.”

In 2018, the Fresno team made necessary adjustments to begin manufacturing CaTs, a key fertilizer for nuts and citrus, in order to meet the growing needs of farmers in the area. The facility earned a President’s award for its work on that project.

Right after Loy was named Fresno’s plant manager, his team made another transition to begin manufacturing MAJOR 90, a dry fertilizer that helps increase sulfur content and nutrient availability in soil. “That was a big undertaking for the company, and being part of that and seeing that through to finalization was a pretty big accomplishment,” Loy said.

"Crop Vitality is grateful for the dedicated Fresno team and for the varied abilities that their operation affords us,” said Garon Stewart, Crop Vitality’s VP of sales and marketing. “We appreciate their professionalism, flexibility and desire to meet our needs, as well as the needs of our customers. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to each and everyone them for 15 years of exemplary service."  

“The commitment to quality and hard work by our staff at the Fresno plant is crucial to our success,” said NovaSource Sales Specialist Alex Avila. “Their attention to detail ensures the quality manufacturing of our products that our customers rely on out in the field. They are a vital part of our organization.”

Loy makes sure to acknowledge his team’s hard work. He regularly holds team lunches and celebrates important accomplishments.

“We make sure that people feel appreciated for what they’re doing,” he said. “Everybody gets along really well, and the guys do things outside of work together where they build those relationships beyond being coworkers. A lot of them go fishing together, they bond over golf, and they’ve gone to sporting events together. They’ve had birthday parties or celebration parties that they’ve invited coworkers and their families to.”

One of Loy’s missions in Fresno is to give his team the same opportunities that Tessenderlo Kerley gave him to advance his career. He helped develop a “road map” to help his team follow in his footsteps, and a brand-new training center was recently constructed at the Fresno facility.

“It’s been a good company to work for, and I’ve said before: It really is a company you can grow with and make a career out of,” Loy said. “They’ve taken care of me as an employee. It’s not a stepping stone; it’s a place where you can grow, and it can be what you’re looking for in a lifelong career.”

With recent transitions and the changing needs of growers in the region, no two days are the same for the Fresno team. It’s one of Williams’ favorite parts of the job – and why she’s confident that Tessenderlo Kerley will flourish in the Central Valley for the next 15 years and beyond.

“We have some people who have been here for a long time -- 30 years or more -- so we’re close like family,” Williams said. “I just like how they all want to be a team. They really strive to pull together to be one big team, and they like the atmosphere that they’re in.”