Wilcox Family Farms, a staple egg farm in the Yelm area, has been in operation since 1909 when Judson Wilcox purchased the farm with his wife, Elizabeth. Donnie Wilcox, the fifth generation of the family, joined the business earlier this year.
“After graduating from the University of Washington in 2014, Donnie spent five years at Amazon.com in multiple departments including marketing for electronics and product development for dairy products,” states the Wilcox Family Farms website. “It was the only job he’s ever had outside of the family business — and it’s likely to stay that way.”
Donnie Wilcox said that growing up on the farm was a great way to spend his childhood.
“We have a big family,” he said. “When I was a kid I would get off the bus and go to my great grandma’s house and get ice cream, and go to the next house down and my great aunt and great uncle are there, and the next house down was my grandma’s house, and then I’d hop over the fence and walk over to my house, so it’s pretty unique and pretty special.”
He may have not liked working during the summer as a kid, but he is now grateful for the experience.
“It’s funny — a lot of the things when I was younger I didn’t like,” he said. “But looking back, those things were awesome … It was actually really good that I got that experience. You hear a lot of people saying that it’s hard to find people with really good work ethics, but there’s no better place than a farm to teach you that.”
Donnie Wilcox’s first job at the farm was feeding calves for a dollar an hour when he was a 6-year-old. Since then, he’s done just about everything there is to do at the farm.
After gaining experience in the industry outside of the farm and returning from his work with Amazon.com, Donnie Wilcox took on the role of food service sales manager for Wilcox Family Farms.
“I always kind of figured that I would be coming back to the farm at some point,” he said. “I talked with Brent (Wilcox) a couple times a year usually for the last few years and he came to me last year and said, ‘Hey, I need to hire a new sales person and I’m going out to hire someone with pretty much the same resume that you have.”
After accepting the job offer, Donnie Wilcox handles a few retail accounts, among other sales duties. He also does analytical services for the farm, crunching the data in ways he learned at Amazon.com.
Making sure that the farm is on the correct supply and demand curve is all part of the job.
In addition, he either convinces existing customers to take on more Wilcox products or is out there securing new business for the company.
Finally, Donnie Wilcox said that it is nice working for a farm that he can invite potential and existing clients out to.
“One of the things that people talk about a lot is wanting to know where their food is from,” he said. “People want to feel like their food is from a place. I think that’s what Wilcox has done really well. People see Wilcox and they know it means something … You can actually meet us. You can come to our farm and see it. Customers want to be close to their food.”