Joseph F. Dutra began his career as a farmer in Sacramento, California; transitioning into entrepreneurial ventures in the late 1980s. After earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Plant and Soil Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Joe’s curiosity to see the world took him to Saudi Arabia, where he worked,from 1984-1987, as the Senior Agronomist for The HADCO Project—at the time, the largest, non-U.S., wheat farming operation in the world.
Upon returning to the U.S. in 1987, Joe changed gears, engaged his entrepreneurial spirit, and launched Westec Incorporated, an agricultural consulting business that aidedSouth American farmers with both the raising and managing of their crops.Today, Westec concentrates primarily on selling non-GMO and hybrid crop seed to countries across the Middle East. In fact, Westec has grown to becomethe leadingseller of non-GMO corn seed in Saudi Arabia, with approximately 60% of the market share!
In 2000, Joe happenedupon a new challenge that would take him in a completely different direction—Kimmie Candy. Kimmie produces fine, panned, chocolate confections, including original Sunbursts®, and the prestigious, “2003 Product of the Year” award-winning ChocoRocks®. Initially, Joe manufactured all of his confections in Korea. However, in 2007, with expansion in mind, and a keen desire to create local, U.S. jobs, Joe did the opposite of most American companies these days—he brought his entire operation “on-shore” to Reno, Nevada, creating a state-of-the art, candy production facility in the process. By 2009, Joe’s little candy company was able toboast of a customer-base stretching domestically from coast-to-coast; and encompassing more than 13 international countries.
Most recently, in May 2016, Joe’s candy company received a rare honor—a Presidential E-Award for excellence in exporting. Joe, along with 120 other companies from across the nation, was presented with the award by Penny Pritzer, the Secretary of Commerce,at the Commerce Department in Washington DC. Kimmie Candy is the first candy company ever to win the award, and only the ninth company from the State of Nevada! Joe Dutra is proud to be part of the Northern Nevada community, contributing to help it thrive wherever he can!!