Apex Award Winner 2012 - Jim Hicks

hicksJim is president and CEO of Jim Hicks and Company, Brea, California.  The company is a wholesale distributor of commercial fertilizers, serving the agricultural trade in the Western United States and Mexico.  They have a small manufacturing plant located at Casa Grande, Arizona, and have liquid terminals in California, Arizona and New Mexico.  The company was founded in 1982 with one employee and very little money.  The business has consistently grown over the years and currently sells several hundred thousand tons of fertilizer per year. 

Jim was raised on a small, poor farm in Morgan County, Indiana.  He attended Purdue from 1957 thru 1961, graduating with a BS Degree in Agricultural Economics.  He started his work career the day following graduation as a sales representative for the California Spray Chemical Company selling ag chemicals for tobacco and corn growers in Kentucky.  Later the company name was changed to Chevron Chemical Company.  After several sales and management jobs in the Midwest, Jim was sent to California to become the District Manager, Fertilizers.  In 1975 he left Chevron to co-found Western Ag Supply, Anaheim, California.  In 1982 he sold his interest in Western Ag Supply and started Jim Hicks and Company.

In October 1962 Jim's work career was interrupted when our Air Force Reserve unit was called to active duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Fortunately President Kennedy was able to convince the Russians to get their missiles out of Cuba and the interruption was short lived.

Jim and Neta were married in 1963 and have 4 wonderful children: 3 boys and 1 girl. Pat is 47, Grady 46, Steve, 40 and Jennifer 36.

Jim is on the Board of Directors of the California Ag in the Classroom program, the National Philanthropy Council of the Pacific Legal Foundation and a life member of the President’s Council of Purdue University.  He and his family have supported a number of other civic and charitable organizations, including funding scholarships for Purdue and Cal Poly.

His hobbies are all sports and it was a bitter disappointment to watch the Boilermakers lose this year to Kansas in the Big Dance.


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