Lance Tibbet, president of the 129th Tournament of Roses, presented the just-issued Sweepstakes cup to Dole Packaged foods for its 2017 float, “Spirit of Hawaii.” L-R, Dole Packaged Foods Pres. Brad Bartlett, VP Marketing David Spare, Fiesta Parade Floats Pres. Tim Estes, and Tibbet. All photos copyright LB Monteros
by Laura Berthold Monteros
With an unprecedented run of garnering the prestigious Tournament of Roses Sweepstakes award for six of the last seven years, Dole Packaged Foods had another first on Tuesday when the company was presented with the new silver Sweepstakes cup. The award was for the 2017 Rose Parade entry “Spirit of Hawaii,” a gorgeous tribute to the Dole relationship with that state. Lance Tibbet, president of the 129th Tournament of Roses that will be held on Jan. 1, 2018, made the presentation at DPF headquarters in Westlake Village.
Vice President of Marketing David Spare used the occasion to announce that Dole will sponsor an eighth entry in the 2018 parade, which has the theme “Making a Difference.” He said, “The theme is terrific and timely, and fits with the things Dole is doing [to help people] along the way.” The goal is always to create the most beautiful float possible, he said, praising the contribution
s of Tim Estes, president and Jim Hynd, VP and floral director of Fiesta Parade floats, as well as the Dole associates who decorate the float.
Brad Bartlett, president of Dole Packaged Foods, said he is humbled to be presented with the Sweepstakes Trophy. “We’re proud to be a part of the Tournament of Roses,” he said. “A brand is difficult to maintain over 129 years. We’re 166 years old. It fits very well with who our company is.”
A trophy in hand
Float sponsors have not been given actual trophies for many decades, so the reinstatement of the Sweepstakes cup was quite an event. The award is for “most beautiful entry, encompassing float design, floral presentation, and entertainment.” Tibbet said the Tournament decided to have a tangible trophy “because in everybody’s mind, the Sweepstakes Trophy was the pinnacle. So we decided to go along with that and bring back the cup.”
In creating the new trophy, the Tournament looked far and wide for a silversmith who could design and manufacture it. The original silver trophy will remain in Tournament House, with the name of the winner engraved every year and rings added as necessary. A replica is given to the sponsor that earns the title.
FOOD Share was also a winner
“Dole was founded by farmers,” Bartlett said. “We still farm about one-third of what we sell.” When DPF moved into Ventura County, where some of those farms are located, a few years ago, they chose to help the community by aligning with FOOD Share, a non-profit that is aligned with Feeding America and services more than 70 partners throughout Ventura County. One in six people in the county is food insecure, and Bartlett sees FOOD Share as a tool to help people get back on their feet.
The company has a food drive in December; we wrote about it after attending the Dole Family Day at Fiesta Parade Floats. Spare said the 2016 drive was the best Dole has had, adding that for a company focused on family, purity, health and welfare, the Rose Parade is a perfect platform.
For Bonnie Atmore, President and CEO of FOOD Share, riding on the float was an opportunity to create awareness. “Ninety percent of the people we serve are you and I,” she said. They work, but are in a difficult place financially. In the days leading up to the Rose Parade and riding along the route, she said she saw people who stated hunger “isn’t OK with me.” “Being on the float, I feel part of the community…. They throw you kisses!” Atmore noted that she and her husband are farmers.
“I feel right at home, because I’m a farmer too,” Tibbet said. He is a horticulturist and second-generation nurseryman at Magic Growers. “The theme speaks to what Bonnie and Dole are about…. All those people that quietly, without desire for recognition or reward, make a difference in our lives.”
Building the Dole family
Whenever we speak with a Dole executive, the focus on family and team building comes up. After the presentation, Bartlett told us that the point in sponsoring a Rose Parade float is not to go after a trophy, but pride in being associated with a first-class event and the opportunity spread the positive message of Dole Packaged Foods. Spare has often mentioned the team-building aspect of working on the float. We asked Bartlett what makes Dole a good place to work.
“There’s not a one-line answer,” he responded. “We’re very focused on the environment here for our associates.” The company works with the community and encourages employees (which it always calls associates) to volunteer, as well. “The health of a business depends on the health of the community you’re in.” Dole strives to be “a good corporate citizen,” sell healthy products, and to “practice business in the right way.”
Associates also have input, with regular group meetings, open dialogue, accessible leadership, and events planned away from headquarters. The goal is for the 300 people who work at the Westlake Village facility to get to know everyone else by having informal, fun events such as the family day at Fiesta. “It opens up dialogue for everyone at different levels of the company,” Bartlett said.