Meet the TELUS Agriculture team members who are helping our customers create a more sustainable food future. Mike Watson, our director of customer development, is focused on helping customers optimize their supply chains for greater visibility, profitability and efficiency.
Mike’s first “real” job, in 1982, was in the food business. Although he may not have known what he was getting into at the time, the industry has become his life’s work. Now living in St. Simons, Georgia (USA), he also enjoys spending time with his four-year-old granddaughter, golfing (“Even as frustrating as that can be,” he acknowledges), and watching his beloved Georgia Bulldogs play football.
What is your role at TELUS Agriculture? As the director of customer development for supply chain management, I have two main priorities. The first involves selling supply chain solutions to our new customers. But just as important – or maybe even more important – is making sure that our current customers are happy, that their voices are being heard, and that we’re addressing their challenges.
What drew you to this business? When I graduated from the University of Georgia, I landed a job with Kraft Foods, working in the division that sold to restaurants and institutions. At that point, I had no idea how a restaurant got its food. All I really knew about Kraft was that they made a great macaroni and cheese. That’s how I got started in the business. Years later, I came to know AFS Technologies (which merged with Exceedra in 2019), and I joined the company as a customer advocate working with our distributor community on solutions to improve their operations as well as surface support issues to senior management. Later that role with the company morphed into more of a sales role, which has been rewarding as well.
What inspires you to come to work every day? The food industry is tough. It’s a low margin, quick turnaround business. Customers have to work really hard to make any money, but they’re not afraid of challenges. Most are family-run and entrepreneurial. They wear a lot of hats. They buy food every day, but they don’t buy software every day, so they’re counting on us. They’re really inspiring people, and I have learned a lot from them. I also work with a really good team. We all have the same perspective. We’re driven to help those hardworking customers. It’s great to be part of a group like that.
What’s the best career advice you ever received? When I accepted the job at Kraft, the general manager said, “Keep your head down and do the best you can to contribute to the success of your team. If you do that, your team will support you, I will support you, and together, we will be successful.” It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that. Keep focused on the task at hand. Don’t let things fall between the cracks. When the team wins, you win.
What do you want people to know about TELUS Agriculture? While there’s been a lot of digitization toward the food value chain, the industry doesn’t yet have complete visibility from end to end, particularly in the beginning of the chain. That’s what we’re bringing to you. As we complete the picture, we can identify where waste and inefficiencies are. As we connect the food chain, end to end, we’re making it safer, more stable, more efficient, and more profitable for you.
Since we’re talking about food, do you have a favorite meal? New York style pepperoni pizza and a couple of craft beers – preferably a local craft lager or pilsner.
Learn more about our supply chain management solutions purpose built for food, beverage, and consumer goods companies.