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The Elite 49

Our annual ranking of Southwest Florida's top companies.

(page 8 of 10)


Tucked away in Fort Myers is a company whose very existence makes it possible for the fruits and vegetables grown thousands of miles away to reach the local supermarkets’ produce departments.

Scotlynn USA is a division of Scotlynn Commodities, a transportation and logistics services company headquartered in Canada. Its business is acting as a middle entity between the people who produce the food and the people who move it to the places where it can be purchased.

#31 Ryan Carter, executive vice president of Scottlynn USA

And while such an operation—and the unusual difficulties it can yield—might not be everyone’s slice of melon, Executive Vice President Ryan Carter says there’s nothing else he’d rather be doing.

“I kind of thrive on it,” he says. “It drives me crazy and it weeds out people. I don’t enjoy dealing with the problems, but I like the challenge of taking them on.”

Among the unique concerns he’s wrestled with: getting a call in the wee hours telling him that the truck driver responsible for hauling a load of produce across the country, on a tight deadline, had abandoned his rig to “go beat up some guy who he heard was with his wife while he was away.”

“You spend every day dealing with problems, and some are massive problems,” Carter says. “You’re trying to get apples from Yakima to a Publix and trucks are breaking down in the mountain passes because of the snow. I’m a very laidback guy, and nothing really surprises me in this world. The craziest stuff happens, and it helps to stay very calm. You can’t help anything by getting too worked up.”

Carter, 29, was born in Indiana and grew up in Kentucky before earning a degree in economics from the University of Kentucky in 2006. He was working for a company in Charlotte, N.C., in 2010 when he had the opportunity to join Scotlynn and open up a Florida office.

He balked initially at making the move, but considers himself a local after three years in the area.

“I don’t know how we did it, quite frankly. It doesn’t make sense,” he says. “It was a process of establishing credibility. We managed to make it through the first year with seven or eight employees by the end of 2010, and we’ve grown quite a bit since then.”

The company now employs 32 locally, primarily in sales.

“Finding quality people to work is another challenge,” Carter says. “Plenty of people want to work, but it’s not for everybody. You really have to understand what hard work is, and I’m not a micromanager, I expect people to do their jobs and man up. If you’re not hungry to make money, you probably won’t succeed here.”

—Lyle Fitzsimmons


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