Doors have opened for Dawn Geers, but she didn’t always wait for someone to open them for her.

She learned how to confidently open them herself.

Geers began her career as a sales clerk for another company when she decided to join her husband, Rog, at Riveridge Produce and Marketing in Sparta, Mich., 26 years ago.

As sales manager, Geers loves the revolving doors of her position.

From working with the sales and quality assurance staffs, the packing coordinator and exporting and logistics managers to communicating with retailers, Geers enjoys being in constant contact with all staff members.

Geers is the sales manager and she said her typical day includes scheduling new orders, hiring transport, discussing upcoming promotions, communicating with quality assurance people.

“I’ve been involved with the Michigan Apple Promoters, PMA Exhibitor Committee, Food Bank Procurement Committee ... USA Apple Export Council and several other volunteer activities,” she said.

Geers said she has also built a partnership with food banks to help feed the hungry around the country during her time at Riveridge. She helped launch an apple variety and created a marketing and advertising campaign highlighting the company’s apple growers.

Geers’ co-worker and logistics manager for Riveridge, Kris Morales, enjoys the strength in numbers approach to Geers’ leadership style and knows she can learn a lot from Geers’ expertise.

“Dawn excels in customer care needs and goes above and beyond for our customers.

“It’s a pleasure to work side by side with her and grow from her past experiences and knowledge.

Since becoming a mentor for others in the industry, Geers understands the importance of relying on advice and knowledge from those who have valued experience.

Geers’ advice for other women in the produce industry and beyond is “to never wait for a door to open. Be prepared for your next opportunity, stand up for what you believe, and surround yourself by those who want you to succeed,” she said.

She attributes her confidence and success to her mentor, Riveridge president Don Armock, who hired her, Geers said.

“He has always given me opportunities to grow and learn. The confidence I have today is built on the challenges he knew I could accomplish,” she said.

Geers loves the produce industry because she is always busy, she’s surrounded by a great staff and she gets the pleasure of working side by side her husband every day, something that may not appeal to every spouse, but for Geers it is just another bonus of a great gig.