In honor of Women’s History Month in March, Gills Onions is devoting the entire month to sharing the stories of four extraordinary women within our team. Join us for the third week as we dive into our next employee spotlight, where she’ll share her inspiring story and the pivotal role she plays as a woman in agriculture.

We’re fortunate to work day in and day out with incredible people. Among these exceptional individuals is Laura Lopez, a quality assurance foreman and Gills Onions employee for more than 30 years. We recently sat down with Laura to learn more about her story and how she got where she is today.

As we continually work to produce the highest-quality onion products on the market, Laura plays a key role in ensuring that happens. Her day starts early, around 4:45 a.m., as she and her team perform their pre-operational inspections. They’re focused on meticulously checking each piece of equipment that will come in direct contact with our onions, ensuring it has been cleaned properly and making certain all equipment is working as it should. 

Once she and her team have given our production crew the green light for the day, their job is far from over. They monitor the temperature within the production area and onions themselves, verify the quality of the product our departments are producing, and generally ensure we continue to go above and beyond in meeting customer specifications.

Over the years, we’ve made significant changes regarding technology – transforming the way Laura conducts her day-to-day responsibilities. When she first began, everything was documented on paper and it took time. She now manages tasks seamlessly with her tablet and is able to track our progress live, contributing to our increased efficiency and greatly reducing the risk for potential errors in our daily operations. Smiling, she says it’s, “like having a personal secretary.”

Making Progress

Her life today, though, is much different than when she and her family first moved from Mexico. With limited contacts and knowledge of the job opportunities available in the area, they took a chance hoping to find work in the fields. Soon after she arrived, Laura began picking strawberries, jalapeños, and tomatoes before making her way to our sister company, Rio Farms. While a team member there, her job was to help sort onions.

Recognizing the importance of an education for career advancement, Laura decided to improve her English skills by attending night classes. She did this all while balancing the responsibilities as a full-time working mom of two boys. The cards soon fell in her favor when she noticed a sign posted on the break room wall – Gills was searching for a quality assurance foreman. Intrigued by the idea, she decided to take a chance and applied for the position.

Little did Laura know the profound impact those two decisions would have on her family’s future. Today, her two granddaughters are enrolled as full-time college students, with one aspiring to become a teacher. Laura has continually emphasized the importance of education within her own family, especially in overcoming financial challenges.

“For me, it’s important to go to school – for my two sons and my two granddaughters,” she said. “We were poor, and when we have an education, you can do many things.”

As we celebrate  Women’s History Month, Laura’s story exemplifies the strides made in creating an inclusive and diverse environment at Gills Onions. We take pride in recognizing the significant contributions of women in agriculture and understand the pivotal role they play in shaping the industry’s future. Through continued investment in dedicated individuals like Laura, we not only accelerate progress but also inspire a culture of inclusion that transcends conventional boundaries.

Have you caught up on our last two employee spotlights featuring Eddyth and Angelica? Dive into the inspiring journeys of these remarkable women in agriculture.

Be sure to stay tuned for our final spotlight next week as we continue celebrating  Women’s History Month.