With a solid background in marketing, finance and business strategy to the table, Kris Kido is a good fit at Top Air Inc. headquartered in Parma, ID, and after six months with the operation, he took time to share with OnionBusiness his thoughts on the business and the ag industry overall.
Working alongside his dad, Top Air President Duane Kido, and other team members at the onion harvester solutions operation, Kris serves as executive vice president. When asked what areas of the operation he focuses on, Kris said, “Right now I’m getting exposed to a little bit of everything. I handle most of the administrative workload – finances, employee/HR topics and marketing.” And, he said, “We are working on some re-branding and expect to finish the roll out of that over the next month or two. This fall I started getting more involved in customer relations, and I look forward to handling more of that over time.”
Those areas are right in line with Kris’ previous positions and his educational background. Holding a degree in finance from the University of Idaho, Kris was vice president of enterprise solutions at Ubiquiti Networks prior to joining Top Air. In addition, he had held a number of positions at Micron Technology, Inc., including that of director and GM of Micron’s global graphics memory business.
While with Micron he was responsible for overseeing a global team that spanned the United States, Europe, Asia and Japan and handled Micron’s portfolio of high-speed memory solutions. He was also Micron’s director of business development for personal computing, director of DRAM business development, director of marketing for non-memory solutions and held other positions in finance, marketing and business strategy. Kris holds a degree in Finance from the University of Idaho.
Noting his father’s more than four decades in ag business, with over 25 of them at Top Air, Kris said he’s been absorbing a great deal from Duane. “The biggest thing for me to absorb is on the mechanical side,” Kris said. “Duane has so many details stored in his head about the Top Air equipment and how to best run it. It is really impressive. Most of the time he knows exactly which machine a customer has and how it’s equipped – from a purchase they might have made five or 10 years ago.”
He continued, “Duane can also troubleshoot issues on the fly and walk our customers through adjustments or fixes, something I’m trying to pick up on quickly.
Acknowledging it’s been a transition from high tech to ag, Kris said it’s also been an enjoyable move. “It has been fun and also a learning experience,” he said. “I still have a lot to learn on the farm side, and it is great that a lot of our customers share insights with me when they stop in or we go visit them.”
His admiration for ag is right on the surface. “Farmers are smart and incredibly driven guys, and I appreciate that about them,” Kris commented. “On the business side, the transition has been easy. It doesn’t matter what the industry is; people want to do business with people and companies that have integrity and make quality products. Trust is so important.”
And the team members at Top Air bring those qualities to their positions, he said. “I have known some of these guys for years, since before I joined the company full time. We have a really great, hardworking team across our administrative staff, engineering/CAD, production and parts. Everybody has their unique skills and focus areas. I spent a lot of time in the production areas this summer to better understand how we build the equipment, and I was really impressed and was able to see firsthand the great teamwork and solid focus on quality across all of the core functions.”
Kris said looking ahead, he thinks technological advancements could be a factor.
“There is a lot of talk right now around artificial intelligence and computer vision in agriculture,” he said. That AI would both provide intelligence and reduce reliance on labor, he said.
“Duane and I are starting to look into how some of these new technologies can be implemented on our equipment and whether there is any value for the farmer/operator there,” Kris said. “Personally, I think there will be tremendous value in building intelligent machines in the hopefully near future.”
However, the reality, he said, is “that we still have a ways to go to get this technology mature, especially when you consider the operating conditions they will be operating in.”
For more information on Top Air Inc. and its line of harvesting solutions, visit the company’s website at http://topair-usa.com/index.html.
Featured image: Duane and Kris Kido, courtesy of Kris Kido