100 Years and Growing: 100 Years and Innovating | 100 Years and Giving | 100 Years and Evolving
John Buckley.

CELEBRATING WILBUR-ELLIS’ 100TH ANNIVERSARY

Celebrating our 100th anniversary is a big moment for the company and its employees. It’s also an opportunity to thank all the people who’ve taken this incredible journey with us – our customers, suppliers, business partners, Board of Directors and, certainly, the extended Wilbur family. Your support has brought us to this milestone.

Family group image.

Message from Family

Hear from John Thacher, Executive Chairman, Wilbur-Ellis Board of Directors, as he conveys a heartfelt message on what the centennial means to the Wilbur Family.

A LOOK BACK AT OUR HISTORY

Wilbur-Ellis takes a look back at its history with A Good Little Company,” an entertaining documentary about the company’s 100-year history. You can also read about our history, decade-by-decade, with the Through the Decades series. And the Lessons From a Decade video series features company leaders talking about the lessons from the past that we can apply to the challenges of today.

100th Anniversary Highlights

Giving Program Archives

Kids' Giving Program: June

Hey kids … do you have a message for kids 25 years from now?

Winners

Evan, Li Yeung Ser, Malaysia (3 to 5)

My message to friends in the future is to enjoy the outdoors and our beautiful world while you can. I love to travel to new places, run in the field, picnic, cycle, swim in the sea and play with my baby brother. Mommy always plans new experiences for us. During our last holiday, I went skiing and sledding in the snow and met Rudolph the reindeer in Japan. I asked if we could go to Paris next because Peppa Pig went there with her daddy. I want to see the Eiffel Tower too. But due to Coronavirus, I cannot do all those things anymore. I cannot visit playgrounds or go to the park. I cannot fly in airplanes and go to faraway places. Last year was better than this year. We still were able to travel within Malaysia. I went to an island and swam with Jojo, the turtle. We now hide at home because we want to live and not get sick and die. I feel sad for my baby brother. He did not get to do what I did before the virus. He just sits at home and bites his toys. How boring a life it must be for him.

Now I watch videos and cartoons at home, play with my toys and draw, color and paint. Mommy and Daddy tell me stories and teach me about science and the world. They said we cannot travel, but we can go to many places by reading books and watching videos. My favorite one is about Mariana Trench creatures. The angler fish has a torchlight on its head so it can see in the deep ocean with no sunlight. It has sharp jagged teeth to easily catch prey, so I don’t think I will visit him or be friends with him. I also love to watch videos on toys being assembled. Especially cars, submarines and trucks. I will be an inventor one day when I grow up.

(Narrated by Evan Ser, 5, to Mommy)

Princess Jazen Mattea Lopez, Philippines (9 to 11)

I finally made it! I belong to the graduating class of 2021. The first batch who successfully finished the online class.

My message to a next generation is “be adaptable and accept change.” I grew up with a limited exposure to gadgets because my Mom is kinda strict. And I am thankful to my teachers and my Mom for patiently teaching me on how to use the new learning system properly. It is also important to have self-discipline in using gadgets and also have balance between study, physical activity and bonding with family.

As I enter to junior high, I really look forward to going back to a normal school life so I can be with my friends and teachers and create more good memories with them.

Hui Yang Poh, Malaysia (15 to 17)

To the next Generation out there:

Hello from the past, I am from the Generation Z.

In my day & age, the depleting of the ozone layer of our mother Earth & “Global Warming” issue had raised our concern. The intense heat & UV light of the Sun beat down mercilessly on the Earth, blasting its powerful rays & adversely impacting the quality of our daily life. Hate to say it, but our mother Earth is dying & we are doing everything that we could to save our planet. In the future, Mars may become your second planet, but I sincerely hope that you will continue the effort to save our beautiful mother Earth & prevent it from being destructed.

Apart from that, I really hope that you will continue pursuing your dream. Even though, you may encounter some challenges along the journey, but please never let yourself down. Walt Disney once said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” In a nutshell, you should keep your head up and tell the world that “I will never give up easily & all of my effort will be paid off one day”.

Zhen Yee Cheang, Malaysia (6 to 8)

Colouring is a fun activity that I enjoy because:
a) it sparks creativity and imaginative thinking.
b) provides me an excellent means to express my inner’s thoughts and feelings.
c) it develops fine motor skills as I learn to control my finger grip and movement to the ideas I am expressing.

In conjunction of Father’s Day this year, I drew and colored this simple ‘Superman Dad’ to show my love to my dad.

I want to be a professional artist in the future.

Last but not least, I would like to take an opportunity to wish Wilber-Ellis “Happy 100th anniversary”.

Wei Ning Kok, Malaysia (6 to 8)

Honorable Mentions

Wei Xuan Kok, Malaysia (12 to 14)

Chen Na Chong, Malaysia (6 to 8)

Colouring is a fun activity that I enjoy because:
a) it sparks creativity and imaginative thinking.
b) provides me an excellent means to express my inner thoughts and feelings.
c) it develops fine motor skills as I learn to control my finger grip and movement to the ideas I am expressing.

In conjunction of Father’s Day this year, I drew and colored this simple ‘Superman Dad’ to show my love to my dad. I want to be a professional artist in the future.

Last but not least, I would like to take an opportunity to wish Wilber-Ellis “Happy 100th anniversary”.

Chyn Shyang Chong, Malaysia (9 to 11)

World is getting hotter, trees have been cutting down for industry used to make papers and etc. Teachers said to protect the earth and more oxygen, we need to plant more trees. So, to continue enjoy fresh air everyday or 25 years and more to come, we need to start planting tree now. Some trees will take more years to grow. Please act now. Thank you.

Behind me is my favourite fruit..Is Durian tree and is flowering now….

Kids Submissions

Jocilyn Rubio, United States (9 to 11)

Averlynn & Javern Ong, Singapore (6 to 8)

Eve Hansen, United States (15 to 17)

Dear children of the not-so-distant future, did you know that you can learn anything from a book? When I was a kid twenty-five years ago, reading was one of my favorite things to do. I would read cookbooks to learn how to make new things for my family, I would read art books to learn how to draw better pictures, and I would read animal books to help me know more about and take better care of my pets! I don’t know what all forms of knowledge intake will be common in your day, be it audiobooks and digital copies, or eyeglasses with built-in screens and reading apps that appear right before your eyes; but my message is simple: find a way to read, listen, or whatever method of intake you choose and LEARN. Finding a fun way to learn is an excellent gateway to success.

Charis Chew, Malaysia (6 to 8)

June is my birthday month and I will be 6 years old this year. Mommy and daddy celebrated my birthday at our house that just finished being renovated. We cannot eat at restaurant because Covid-19 virus is still around. I am very happy that this year I can celebrate in school even though many friends no longer go to school because it is safer to be at home.

Mommy told me that her working place, Wilbur-Ellis, will be 100 years old this month too. Wow, that is so…old! (Giggled). Happy 100th birthday! I wish you to be 19th hundred birthday one day!

Wei Le Kok, Malaysia (12 to 14)

I would like to share my life experiences. My hobby is swimming and snorkeling. During this pandemic, my family and I started to learn how to cook many delicious foods. I also learned how to make cake and baked a cake. I like to play guitar because playing guitar can let be more happy and relax. I want to be a designer when I grow up because I like to design. At last, I wish Wilbur-Ellis Happy 100th Anniversary. Hooray!

Hui Zhe Poh, Malaysia (12 to 14)

The protection of our environment is crucial. Now, our mother Earth is sick, due to the pollution & deforestation activities that bring along by industrialization & urbanization. We should play our role to save our mother Earth by practicing 3R (Reduce, Reuse & Recycle). The recycling of papers, plastic & glass bottles will help protecting our mother Earth.

Moreover, we should not waste our food, as it is the necessity for all living being. We should feel thankful for the food that we have, as it was come from the hard work & effort of the farmers & fisherman. Food can feed the growing children and stop the hunger. Please put a “Stop” to food wasting.

Let’s do our part & look forward for a better & sustainable future.

Hang Kai Soo, Malaysia (3 to 5)

During the pandemic of COVID-19, I spent more time at home. I’m always encouraged by my mother to learn different skills. We make bread, pizza and cakes together. I love baking because I like eating bread :). Learning is a lifelong process and this makes me HAPPY !

Hey kids, keep learning is important and it makes your dreams come true !!

Hang Shuen Soo (3 to 5)

Pax Hansen, United States (9 to 11)

I love to play video games and in the future I hope that one day that I can be a video game tutorial YouTuber. I hope to give information on my favorite video games. I received a 3D printer as a Christmas present last year, and I’ve been printing all sort of figures with it and it’s been very fun. My best friends are named Jeffrey and TJ. I love playing games with them. I wish Wilbur-Ellis a happy 100th anniversary!

Jay Hansen, United States (12 to 14)

Happy 100th anniversary Wilbur-Ellis! My dad has been working at Wilbur-Ellis as long as I can remember. I enjoy going to church every Sunday and have been planning to become a librarian ever since I first learned how to read. I hope that libraries still exist when this is opened! I have a large family and enjoy playing with my seven siblings.

Joshua Jr. Hansen, United States (6 to 8)

I like to draw Star Wars and play games. I like to watch dad paint and play games with me. I love to read books and jump on the trampoline. I love my new little brother. When I grow up, I want to work in an office like dad. I like my friend Easton who lives far away in Mississippi, and I’d like to visit him someday. I love going to church and petting my ducks.

Valor Hansen, United States (3 to 5)

I like to play with my friends, and I like to be creative. I like to collect pinecones and bring them home. I like to draw video game characters. I also like to play outside and jump on the trampoline. I love to watch movies with my family, and I love doing jobs to earn treats.

Vera Hansen, United States (6 to 8)

Some of the fun things I like to do are rollerblading, riding my bike and jumping on our trampoline. I have two cats, four ducks, seven siblings and twelve bunnies including three that are babies. I also have a new baby brother named Cyrus. He is one week-old. Happy 100th anniversary Wilbur-Ellis!

Adults' Giving Program: June

Wilbur-Ellis employees and friends … do you have a message for employees 25 years from now?

John Hoyle, United States (Agribusiness)

John sent the photos, saying: “Pics of some good Central Texas cotton and cotton flower blooms.”

Stephen Maj, Canada (Nachurs Alpine Solutions)

Stephen provided the photo, saying: “Today, the New Hamburg, ON, based team had the opportunity to enjoy an appreciation BBQ for their hard work and effort in supporting all of the Nachurs Alpine businesses, and our customers. Their work, effort, and dedication is consistently recognized by our customers in the services offered and products provided. It was also an opportunity to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Nachurs Alpine, the 100th Anniversary of Wilbur-Ellis, and Canada Day (July 1). We look forward to celebrating future milestones!”

Patrick Troy, United States (Agribusiness)

Patrick is a Crop Research Lead in Agribusiness. He sent some photos of his workplace – in the field.

Steve Wilson, New Zealand (Connell)

Steve sent this photo, saying: “Even our dogs are celebrating Wilbur Ellis 100 years, showing their love heart.”

Steve also said: “We know we are fortunate in New Zealand when we can attend Fieldays again, we joined 133,000 others to visit the largest Agricultural Event in the Southern Hemisphere. Agriculture is still the backbone of the New Zealand economy, and people from all walks of life attend. (2.7% of the NZ population attends, would be the equivalent of ~9 Million people attending an Agricultural show in the US.)

Maybe it is my imagination, but people seemed much calmer as we queued up to enter. There was increased camaraderie amongst both the attendees and exhibitors, sensing even though we had the most extraordinary 2020, we are thankful we are all safe and are now finding ways to navigate our way through the challenges of 2021.”

Chadd Hermann, United States (Connell)

Chadd with his daughters Megan and Kendall.

Franki Porter, United States (Agribusiness)

Franki in the yellow shirt, shared this photo of her daughters Alisha and Jessica (Wilbur hat), grandkids twin boys River and Oliver, and granddaughter Avalon.

Cheah Ching Yee, Malaysia (Connell)

Congratulation to Wilbur-Ellis’ 100th anniversary! Yeah! You (WE) have made it happen.

It is not an easy task for a family-owned business to stay over a long period of time and see the transformation of few eras of history.

It reminds me of a saving, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulder of giants.”

As the next generation in a company, we need to carry on our earlier predecessor vision, creativity, courage, hard work, combined with technology and great talent to grow and expedite transformation to diversity of business model in the 4th industrial revolution, 5G impact as well the current COVID -19 pandemic.

The Covid-19 pandemic has taught me to learn a lot by myself, about our colleagues and how to manage and navigate through the many obstacles.

I always believe that “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor”, instead of fretting how difficult things are, we should really be looking out for these life lessons.

Adrielle Yeow, Malaysia (Connell)

Covid-19 virus has become a pandemic beginning last year: 2020. I never thought I will face a pandemic in my lifetime. It is scary and is affecting every society of life and sadly it is ending many lives prematurely. Vaccines have started to be administered, but not fast enough in some countries. Covid-19 pandemic is also indirectly affecting people’s livelihood when non-essential businesses are not allowed to operate, and many people have been laid off from work due to business wind down or reduction of headcount.

I have been WFH (acronym for ‘working from home’) since March 2020. Reason is to keep people from moving about and to reduce the chance and possibility of infection by Covid-19 virus. It is no laughing joke as we must care for ourselves especially when we have dependents (children or elderly). It has been really draining emotionally because we can’t meet our loved ones or friends in person. Also, I wonder how others who cannot work or lose jobs face each day with no income, less income and their savings is dwindling.

Then one fine day this month, I discovered opportunity to help the needy who need food in my residency. This lifted my spirit. I have been distributing cooked food to my neighbors who are facing difficulty to meet their basic needs.

To Wilbur-Ellis, blessed 100th anniversary to you! I am so honored to be part of this global organization that is thriving, caring and very generous in giving. Even though we cannot celebrate this auspicious day grandly in person, but you did it by organizing questions that gives donation to Red Cross. That is the reason that my daughter and I answered the questions every month. 4 USD donation per submission may not be a lot but to the needy, it is and I have nothing to lose but gain. Of course, I am blessed that Charis has won thrice so far. Thank you, Wilbur-Ellis, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for making a difference in my life and the lives of others. May you grow leaps and bounds. God bless Wilbur-Ellis! I am so going to miss answering questions (smile).

Tara Cox, United States (Agribusiness)

I am very fortunate to be working at a 2nd family-owned, 100-year-old company. An amazing achievement! And is nothing better than a family-owned company! In my career, I have never met more resilient, creative, and caring people than the employees of Wilbur-Ellis. What we do everyday matters…our efforts towards serving our customers, creating the best products, and our innovation. The next 100 years are going to be the best yet. The company has weathered many tough years and the employees themselves toughed through the 2020 pandemic. We still gave back, championed, and celebrated life. We just had to be creative, flexible, with a positive mindset. And that my friends, will take us into the future with success. Cheers!

Raj Aryan, India

Be happy and experience your bliss, be the reason someone smiles, feels loved and believes in the goodness in people.

People are the most important asset and everyone matters here in our Wilbur-Ellis family.

Jeanne Forbis, United States (Corporate)

As we’ve learned about the company’s 100-year history during the year-long celebration, I’ve been very impressed by how Wilbur-Ellis rose to so many challenges presented on the world stage. In the 1920s, the stock market crashed, leading to a Depression in the 1930s. In the 1940s, World War II created hardship and loss for so many. In the 1950s and beyond, the company was on a growth trajectory that continues to the present day. The history of Wilbur-Ellis illustrates that no company is sheltered from global events. But how we respond to them – and how we find opportunities in troubled times – may be the biggest difference between organizations that go by the wayside, and those, like Wilbur-Ellis, that persevere and prevail.

Mallory Lucas, United States (Agribusiness)

While the world halted during the pandemic, farms kept going just as they always have. It has been a joy to maintain interaction with our customers, even if we had masks and met outside long after the weather was comfortable. The consistency of work throughout the last year has been a huge stabilizing force. Between the steady flow of work and the constant presence of the barn, this year hasn’t had the impact it could have. I do miss my colleagues, but my current office mates are enjoyable, too!

Gerrie Rodewald, United States (Nutrition)

2020-2021 has been a challenging year for all, but it has shown the resilience and capability of a people coming together to work through a pandemic. One day we were in the office, and the next day found us working from home. I do both, as I am in the office 3 days a week and 2 at home. In all instances, we have found a way to keep the same quality and consistent level of performance as we had done before. In some cases, we got better!

I am grateful to have worked for Wilbur-Ellis 16 1/2 years. While other industries have struggled to survive, we are stronger than ever and WE’s commitment to the employees is greatly appreciated. I congratulate Wilbur-Ellis on this amazing milestone of 100 years and look forward to seeing what the next generation will add to helping the world thrive.

John Thacher, United States (Corporate)

As we approach the company’s 100th anniversary, what I am reflecting on is resiliency. The resilience of Wilbur-Ellis to reach one hundred years. The resilience of our nation and the world to persevere in spite of such a challenging year. As we celebrate this milestone in the company’s history, we can be proud of not only weathering the last twelve months, but making fundamental progress in so many areas during these trying times. We share a spirit of generosity, of effort, and of values. We are personally invested, and together we will make our mark over the next ten decades.

Tze Ying Goh, Singapore (Connell)

The COVID pandemic has changed a lot of things that we take for granted. Mask is a must whenever we go outside of our house. Working from home becomes a norm. My coffee is my comfort drink and a perk me up. Team meetings become a way of working life. Kids are having zoom meetings with home based learning. It is a challenge to manage both work and the kids’ schedules at the same time, sometimes with us fighting for space to do video meetings at the same time. However it also allows us to spend more time together as a family. As a family, we play together and learn together. Kids come out with creative ways to keep themselves busy. Online shopping and deliveries are the little joys I looked forward to as international travel comes to a halt. Therefore during this trying times, it is important to stay positive and be kind to ourselves and others. There are silver linings in the dark clouds. There is light at the end of the tunnel. We will get through this tougher and stronger!

Marju Hermogeno, Philippines (Connell)

In this world where every minute second has its own story, where we have control of what we do and can do by ourselves and where we can influence people through encouragement and motivation, where technology teaches people to understand more the world, and where contribution has its own reward, let us remain in contact and continue to do what we’ve always dreamed of pursuing through faith, resilience and love.

Wei Kuen Cheang, Malaysia (Connell)

Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.
Colored this on 19 June 2021.
From Johanna Basford Worlds of Wonder A Coloring Book for the Curious.

Debbie Brannan, United States (Corporate)

I have worked for Wilbur-Ellis for over 8 years now, and I love my IT family. It is such a joy to work for a company that cares about their employees and puts family first. This last year has shown me that it is important to do the things you love and be with those you love. The image I have chosen is a collage of those things; my loving husband and our 4 children, our 4 grandchildren that we have been blessed with (and #5 due later this year), and our 5th wheel that allows us flexibility and traveling options. This is what life is about. God has blessed us greatly and I am thankful every day for what we have been given.

Maricar Lopez, Philippines (Connell)

2021 continues to be a challenging year in all areas of life. For a mom who recently gave birth during a pandemic period, I cannot help but to get worried not only for myself but most especially for my family. But thinking of the discipline and commitment to safety that I have acquired from my company which I religiously practice and shared with my family and friends, this helps me to have a positive mindset that everything can be okay. The reason why I am so thankful is because me and my family were and are all safe.

And why do I have this vision that my son will be working with Connell after 25 years? Maybe because, for 9 months in my tummy and up to this day, he’s part of me working for a great company.

John Buckley, United States (Corporate)

For over 15 months, my office has been my home. Working remotely was one step Wilbur-Ellis took to lower the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus. By reducing the number of people in the workplace, this helped protect both remote employees and those who continued to work at our locations.

Today, as we prepare to celebrate Wilbur-Ellis’ 100th anniversary on June 29th, I took a new photo that shows me in a different office – my real office at the company’s San Francisco headquarters.

It’s great to be back! But I also know that the pandemic is continuing for many around the world. So, as we celebrate a milestone for the company – and the progress we’ve made in fighting the pandemic – there’s still work to do, and I’m grateful for the strength and resilience of Wilbur-Ellis people around the world!

Bertha Crevolin, United States (Agribusiness)

2020-2021 brought forth many adversities that most had to face. In addition to the global pandemic and world shut down, many faced fear for their health and safety, mental health issues, and for our youth & students having education moved to a virtual classroom setting. Our youngest daughter Tori was to have walked for her college graduation from California State University of Fresno in May of 2020, but with Covid-19 that was not possible. Despite not having that opportunity and a key staple in life set-back, she moved forward in a positive light with the knowledge of successfully obtaining her degree. Well, I am happy to say that our daughter did eventually have her moment in May of 2021, with a combined graduation of the class of 2020 & 2021. Although a much different setting and many restrictions, she none the less walked proudly in her ceremony and all celebrated in her great achievement. We look forward to seeing her shine in her new career as an elementary school teacher. I would like to say that I commend and am proud of all students who faced the adversities that the pandemic laid in front of them, with faith & hope leading their way.

Win Ching Chong, Malaysia (Connell)

Life is short, we never know what will happen to us tomorrow, so we live in the present moment. A lady which who is a cancer patient said, “We can’t wait for all things to be ok to feel happy.” This is so true. Cheers!!

Kyrie Esarey, United States (Agribusiness)

Every storm brings beauty.

Kyrie Esarey, United States (Agribusiness)

Stop and watch the sunset because no matter the chaos it will always be a beautiful sight.

Gina Colfer, United States (Agribusiness)

I spend my free time at the beach on the Central Coast of CA enjoying the sand, the water and wildlife with my husband. We are dedicated to the preservation of our amazing ocean and work every day with water on our minds. I appreciate the focus that Wilbur-Ellis has on Organics and Sustainability and the push forward for alternative answers to reduce pollutants in our environment. We need to preserve our resources now for our next generations to thrive.

Andrew Loder, United States (Nutrition)

My son is Sebastian and he is 17 years old. His club soccer team is called Keliix-Intra Premier, based in Minneapolis. Sebastian and his team are in the distant background of the photo under the tent. It was 95 degrees that night. This is my wife, Marci, and me at a game.

Eric Klindt, United States (Agribusiness)

I usually take everything to the next level (little overboard) because it’s 100 years of Agricultural Aviation. August 3, 1921 was the first application over trees. And being Wilbur-Ellis’ 100th anniversary gave me the drive to finish “Dusty” the airplane. I did the fuel truck about 5 years ago for when the movie, Planes, came out.

At the first parade, it was so fun to watch kids reaction a block away jumping up and down when they saw the plane coming down the street. I want everyone to remember Wilbur-Ellis when ever they see an airplane! And more importantly “that’s Eric!”

Gary Dempsay, United States (Nutrition)

As we have gone through the last year of dealing with the Covid-19 virus, we need to remember that we need to stop and smell the roses. Spend time with family and friends and remember the beauty that surrounds us on a daily basis.

Julie Magnuson, United States (Nutrition)

A day in the life of our family! This picture was taken by my son, Zack, while we (husband, Dave, daughter, Haley and Buddy our Lhasa Apso) took a day trip to the Oregon Coast (Arch Cape pictured here with Castle Rock in the background). Wilbur-Ellis has provided many opportunities over the years which our family has grown to appreciate. From the wonderful people who I’ve worked alongside to the vendors and customers I have come to call friends; all have made a tremendous impact on our lives. The appreciation the company shows to us as employees as well as the benefits, flexibility and opportunities to grow as individuals is unlike any other company I have worked for previously. While work is not the only focus in my life, the career path I have experienced here has been the vehicle to help my family and I live a great life. Thank you, Wilbur-Ellis! Cheers to another 100 years!

Heather Messer, United States (Agribusiness)

We are celebrating our own milestones in the Messer family this month, with the high school graduation of our youngest son, Colton. As with almost every event this year, outdoor accommodations were made to comply with Covid guidelines – but we were happy that we could celebrate and honor our graduates – which was not guaranteed this year. Having your most important people around you, as you gather to celebrate milestones of any kind (family, school, work, sports) is one of my favorite highlights of any year!

im Glatzhofer, United States (Agribusiness)

Despite many challenges and raw material issues caused by the pandemic, the Branded Products Formulation Team in the Fresno, CA, Product Development Laboratory continued to produce significant new products and a record number of samples for R&D testing in 2021. This work will result in pipeline contributions to Wilbur-Ellis Branded Products well into the future. The effort this year will also provide a foundation of technologies for use in long term growth of Wilbur-Ellis’ products and for our customers to continue to produce food and crops more efficiently and effectively.