John Alindajao lives the good values he was taught by parents who worked in agriculture. These values show in his dedication to his career, his respect for fellow employees and never-ending desire to see customers succeed and help their communities thrive.
John Alindajao, purchasing manager for Buttonwillow Warehouse Company (BWC), considers himself privileged. He lives in his hometown, is involved in his community, works on behalf of farmers from all over California and is supported by family, coworkers, superiors and owners in a career he loves. He is also the latest addition to UPL’s Allies for Agriculture, a hard-earned and well-deserved recognition.
John grew up and lives in Delano, California, just 30 miles north of BWC’s Bakersfield headquarters, where he works. Being in a family with seven siblings and with parents who worked in agriculture, he quickly learned to pull his own weight.
“I got my work ethic from my parents,” John says. “It’s not always easy working in agriculture, whether in operations or field work. Their dedication to their work impacted me in a positive way. To watch them get up early day in and day out, while still taking great care of our family, inspires me to do the same today.”
John and his wife are following the same path with their children. Their daughter obtained an education degree and now teaches science in the Delano school district. Their son will graduate high school in 2023 and is excited about exploring new adventures.
“It’s great watching them grow up and letting them see what’s out in the world for them,” John says. “It’s also nice to see my daughter giving back to our community with her teaching.”
John started with Buttonwillow 18 years ago working in dispatch in the Delano warehouse. In 2015, he was named purchasing manager and began working from Bakersfield.
“I oversee all vendor relations, make sure our prices are competitive and make sure the growers have everything they need on time to grow healthy, sustainable crops,” John says. “Clear communications are extremely important, especially so the last couple of years with the supply chain challenges we’ve experienced. When it comes to logistics, we’ve really worked hard to ensure product coming in from all over the country, whether by rail or truck, is arriving on time and in the right quantities.
“It means daily conversations with suppliers to make sure they understand our needs and our growers’ needs. We also work closely with pest control advisers [PCAs] who work directly with growers to ensure we’re all on the same page when it comes to knowing when and what growers will need.”
It’s no small job. There are more than 4,000 SKUs including insecticides, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, nutritional sprays, biologicals and other products to manage. John is quick to credit procurement team members Adam Morales, Ron Carrasco and Kristina Castanon for their expertise in securing supplies and ensuring inventory matches needs for every season.
“In the last seven years, we have centralized purchasing, so we take care of 12 locations that cover 14 counties,” John says. “Our awesome team comes from varied backgrounds, which makes us stronger. One worked with us in dispatch for 15 years, so he brings a lot of company and logistics knowledge; another came from the education field and the third came from a farming company owned by one of our customers.
Success is a bridge that is never crossed alone.
“Our customers grow a variety of crops including almonds, cotton, table grapes, wine grapes, berries, citrus, pistachios, even berries for niche markets and more, so we have to make sure we have on hand what each grower needs when he or she needs it,” John adds.
John mentions work at BWC is less like a job and more akin to being part of a family.
“We have great relationships with our customers — it’s like family and we want to make sure they’re taken care of,” he says. “The ag community and communities, in general, around all our locations support us. There are a lot of good people in these communities, and it’s important that we give back as much as we can.”
One of BWC’s signature community activities is working with local food banks and churches each holiday season to provide food baskets to families in need in each county that has a BWC location. A team of company volunteers coordinates efforts, helps gather food and helps deliver it, often using BWC trucks. It’s an effort that unifies employees companywide and increases community pride.
BWC doesn’t stop there. The company also supports rodeos, junior sports leagues and other activities specific to each community.
Complementing these efforts is the annual holiday party where employees gather in one location and celebrate the events of the year. John says it’s great to see coworkers who he normally only talks with via phone and email. He also enjoys meeting new employees.
“The best part about working for Buttonwillow Warehouse Company is it definitely feels like family,” he says. “It’s been family owned and operated for more than 50 years, and working close with the family, the leadership and great employees is why I love working here. They give you the tools you need to succeed, as well as the support you need. It’s been an awesome journey these last 18 years.”
John says being named an Ally for Agriculture is one of the highlights of his career, and it increased his awareness of what can be achieved.
“Growing up in Delano, which is a 100 percent ag community, it’s good to know that I can do a little bit to give back to my community and to the food industry. Being named an Ally for Agriculture has caused me to step back and look at what we all do,” John says.
“Being named an Ally is definitely an honor. It’s also a reminder that success is a bridge that is never crossed alone. You go to work day to day and do your thing and often don’t realize what you and your coworkers are contributing to the ag industry and to feeding the world. This honor reminds us that we can all contribute to our industry and to our communities. And being recognized by peers for doing so makes it even more rewarding.”
Welcome to Buttonwillow Warehouse Company
Planning the day’s deliveries
Ensuring smooth operations in the warehouse
Final instructions before delivery