At Seaboard, we create career opportunities for select individuals that are passionate about working for a multinational company in exciting locations. We enjoy the challenges that come with operating a successful business with operations around the world. Our team is made up of talented and diverse individuals that bring a unique blend of qualifications and experience to our business. The best way to learn about a career at Seaboard is to hear from our employees in their own words. That said, we will regularly profile some of the key roles at Seaboard around the world.
Fitzroy McLeod, Financial Controller, National Milling Company of Guyana Inc. & SeaRice Caribbean Inc.,
Guyana (South America)
How long have you worked for Seaboard Overseas?
I have worked at Seaboard since July 2012, and prior I worked for ADM Milling in Kansas. Before that, I was with its Jamaican subsidiary, Jamaica Flour Milling Limited.
What are your duties?
I am responsible for the financial leadership, reporting, and decision-making for Seaboard owned companies in Guyana, including Namilco (a flour manufacturing company), and SeaRice Caribbean Inc. Also, I help protect the company assets by establishing and enforcing strong internal controls (i.e. policies and procedures to ensure reliability of the accounts system and secure the assets of the company). I partner with the local management team to maintain the health and profitability of the operations.
What are some of your Seaboard career highlights (i.e., favorite project, the things you are most proud of or efficient processes you’ve implemented)?
One particular project I am extremely proud of is that I implemented an effective IT and communication infrastructure allowing for real-time communication of data between offices, and automation of previously manual processes, for our new rice milling operation. This was necessary to address control issues arising from the fact that mills are in remote locations. I successfully lobbied for changes to tax rules (e.g. waivers on Value-Added Tax for products), which proved advantageous to the company as well as our customers.
I have actively promoted safety awareness programs, and I am involved in promotional activities including sponsorship and coordination of sport competitions and involvement in business expo’s to heighten the company profile.
What do you enjoy most about working for Seaboard?
I like working at Seaboard because it is a family-friendly Fortune 500 company that has local autonomy. Our local management understands the “lay of the land” and is allowed to provide significant input regarding strategy. For example, in Guyana there are numerous flour-based value-added products based on traditional Guyanese cuisine (e.g. Pholourie mixes).
As for being family-friendly, whenever I visit the headquarters in Kansas City, I always receive a warm reception.
What surprised you most about the job or its location?
The location has a particular effect on the job – the terrain and culture definitely impact our operations. For example, Georgetown is below sea level with high groundwater levels, which has an impact on our buildings and limits grain storage options to bins and flat storage. This brings particular challenges compared with dry silos in other locations in the region.
And, the Amazon rainforest environment is surprisingly different from our Caribbean neighbors with whom they share many interests. Known as “the land of many waters,” boats are a critical means of transportation for many locations. The waterways throughout the city, along with the seawall, are a constant reminder of the country’s Dutch influence.
There are numerous opportunities to participate in safaris and other means of viewing the largely un-spoilt and picturesque landscape, and the interaction of the indigenous (Amerindian) groups.
What education and/or skills from the past have prepared you most for your current role? Prior experience in the milling industry was a big help. I believe I have a good understanding of the commodity trading market, and its specific challenges.
Why did you choose to work in the agribusiness commodity industry?
My previous background in food processing steered me in this direction. I had a long held interest in the food manufacturing industry having grown up in up in a farming community. I have always been concerned about the loss of product as a result of inadequate storage or manufacturing capacity.
Which publications (industry, business, technology) do you read regularly?
I read World Grain magazine, and Agrimoney.com provides information on external activities which impact local performance.
What advice would you give to a potential candidate for your role?
I would say be open-minded, and adopt the attitude of a pioneer by being willing to learn and adapt to the needs of the environment. Things are never exactly what you expect, but they may become better, depending on your attitude.
How do you spend your free time?
I try to stay updated on news and events from my homes: Kansas City, Jamaica and Canada. I am involved with local youth group activities, including music and sports (soccer). Having played club soccer, and children involved in soccer programs for many years, I now lend my support to a local club whenever possible. My son plays for Sporting Kansas City Academy, and will be playing college soccer next semester. He is a Manchester United fan, whereas I am a rabid Arsenal supporter. So, the discussions can get very passionate!
What do you like to do in the city where you live?
Well, there are relatively diverse entertainment options, including Bollywood, Caribbean and U.S. acts frequently visiting and performing the city.
The restaurants offer diverse cuisine, including Indian, Brazilian, Jamaican and Chinese in addition to Guyanese delights.
What is your hidden talent?
I reluctantly play the guitar in a local church.