Tanimura Family Foundation scholarship launches ex-Marine’s agribusiness career

Gustavo Torres grew up surrounded by agriculture. His family lived in Salinas; his parents worked in the fields, picking strawberries.

The message he got from them was simple: Get an education.

“My parents always told my brothers and me how hard it is to work in the fields. They did not want us to end up doing that,” Torres said.

Gustavo TorresA summer job set him on his career path. After a stint in the Marine Corps, he started as a general laborer at Driscoll’s, the Central Coast berry grower, while a student at Hartnell College. His original plan was to parlay his love of math into a career as a civil engineer.

Torres switched to agribusiness when, at the suggestion of a co-worker, he took a class in the subject and realized he enjoyed it. He earned an associate’s degree and transferred to CSU Monterey Bay in spring 2012.

He's graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a concentration in agribusiness management.

His job responsibilities grew along with his academic success. He’s now logistics coordinator for Driscoll’s Salinas distribution center, where he oversees day-to-day operations. He plans to stay there after graduation.

“Having my degree will definitely open doors to new opportunities,” he said. “My goal is to move into a management position, gain as much experience as I can, and keep working my way up.”

“Getting an agribusiness degree and giving back to the industry that made it possible gives me a sense of accomplishment,” he said. Torres, 34, benefitted from the Tanimura Family Foundation’s scholarships for students studying agribusiness management. “Their generosity has allowed me to be one step closer to my goal,” he said.

“Earning my degree will also demonstrate to my parents that their sacrifices will not have been in vain. They came to this country in search of a better life for their family and themselves, and they have also succeeded in what they set out  to do.”

– Joan Weiner