Matt McLean is a pioneer, agricultural activist and entrepreneur in the organic industry. Currently President on the national Board of Directors for the Organic Trade Association (OTA), he helps shape the policies and standards for the organic industry.
His passion for farming and his steadfast commitment to the organic life led Matt to create Uncle Matt’s Organic, Inc. in 1999, one of the fastest growing organic juice and fresh fruit brands in the U.S. Prior to that, Matt managed his own juice brokerage business that exported juice to Europe and the Middle East.
A seventh generation Floridian, Matt’s citrus roots date back four generations to his great grandfather who farmed without the use of harmful pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Today, Matt, also known as “Uncle Matt”, manages over 500 acres of organic citrus along with his father and other family members. Fully integrated from farming to manufacturing to marketing, he also serves as a consultant for farmers wishing to convert to organics.
In Matt’s spare time, he enjoys football, basketball, triathlons, skiing and tennis. He lives in Winter Garden, Florida, with his wife and two children.
Ben “Benny” McLean has been working in the Florida citrus industry since the 1950s when he was put on his dad’s hand crew at the young age of ten. After high school, Benny earned a degree in Agriculture Economics with a minor in Fruit Crops from the University of Florida.
Over his long career in the Florida citrus industry, Benny has gained valuable experience as an agricultural statistician for the Florida Department of Agriculture, as a production manager for Libby, McNeil and Libby, as well as an entrepreneur in a grove care and consulting with business partner Dave Gurney.
In 1984, Benny was put in charge of a 5,000 acre citrus project in the Bahamas –– from clearing the land, to building the citrus nursery to planting and harvest. Following that project, Benny became an international citrus consultant to such countries as Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Panama. His experience in teaching nationals how to successfully grow citrus for the first time emboldened him to become one of Uncle Matt’s first growers to convert to organic.
Today, Benny is Uncle Matt’s production manager, responsible for implementing Uncle Matt’s organic farm plan which includes all aspects of grove care and growing citrus. In his spare time, Benny loves spending time with his 12 grandchildren, and working in his organic backyard grove.
Ben McLean III is a citrus grower, researcher and vice president of Uncle Matt’s Organic. His 30-year career in the Florida citrus industry has afforded him valuable experience in all aspects of citrus production with an emphasis in research and development.
Ben is committed to finding solutions to the citrus industry’s biggest challenges through the development of sustainable and low-input technologies. His field trial collaboration with some of the nation’s leading university researchers and scientists has helped establish him as an organic advocate for sustainable agriculture and production of nutrient dense foods.
Ben has represented the organic industry in Washington D.C., and has served on the USDA’S Organic Research and Extension Initiative, which is responsible for awarding approximately $20 million in organic research grants nationwide. He also serves as chairman for the Commercialization and Product Development Committee as an extension of the Citrus Research and Development Foundation. Ben holds a Masters of Horticulture degree from the University of Florida and resides in Clermont, Florida with his wife, Annie, and their four daughters. In his spare time, Ben enjoys reading history books, exercising, and conducting field trials out in the citrus groves with his new John Deere tractor.
Alex serves as Uncle Matt’s Head of New Business Development and is also one of Uncle Matt’s organic grove owners. Alex’s passion is for the “economic sustainability” of Uncle Matt’s Organic in order to fulfill its mission for environmentally-sustainable farming and providing families with premium organic fresh fruit and juices. Alex is also instrumental in acquiring new farm land to convert to organic and has brokered several contracts on behalf of Uncle Matt’s.
Alex holds a Master’s of Business Administration degree with a concentration in finance from Embry-Riddle University. He currently lives in Winter Garden, Florida with his wife and their six children. He enjoys biking, waterskiing, boating and flying.
Susan C. McLean, Marketing & Creative Director
Susan is the Marketing & Creative Director for Uncle Matt’s Organic, overseeing all branding, strategy, messaging, creative and packaging. She oversees the Marketing Team as well as the website, social media channels and media partnerships. She has over 20 years implementing creative solutions and brings her depth and expertise to Uncle Matt’s. She is also married to Founder & CEO, Matt McLean. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, cooking, cycling and CrossFit. She and Matt have two children and reside in Winter Garden, Florida.
Dave has over 40 years of experience in grove care, harvesting and packing house operations. His career in the citrus industry began at the age of 16 when he worked at a grove that shipped out Florida citrus gift fruit in bushel baskets via rail car.
In the following years, Dave became the assistant production manager for both Hi-Acres and R.D. Keen managing over 4,000 acres of citrus. Along with Benny McLean, Dave incorporated G&M Groves, a grove care, harvesting and consulting business and also helped develop the 5,000-acre citrus project in the Bahamas.
After the Bahamas project, Dave went on to specialize in operations for Cherry Lake Tree Farm and Oakley Transport where he managed the equipment and maintenance division for both companies
Dave joined the Uncle Matt’s team in 2004. As the Director of Operations, Dave oversees the harvesting, packing and shipment of Uncle Matt’s Organic citrus. He is also responsible for quality assurance and equipment maintenance.
About “going organic,” he reports, “while the challenges are greater, the rewards are greater as well.” Dave is married and lives with his wife in Fruitland Park. In his free time, he likes to spend time with his grandchildren and riding the groves.
Curt Rodgers, Chief Financial Officer
Curt is the Chief Financial Officer for Uncle Matt’s Organic, Inc. His responsibilities include accounting, financial reporting and analysis, audit and bank relations. He has over 25 years experience in Finance and Accounting and diverse industry experience including private label food production with Richelieu Foods in Chicago. Curt has three grown daughters and 11 grandchildren all living in Florida. He enjoys spending time with family and friends golfing, biking and enjoying the Florida sunshine.
Susan is married to Benny and they have lived on their grove in Clermont, Florida for over 35 years. She is the Human Resource Director and the Office Manager. She has a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Nursing from the University of Florida. Susan had an extensive career in the field of nursing and has been a political activist for health issues.
She is an active community volunteer, and currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of the South Lake Memorial Hospital.
Susan and Matt started the company, Uncle Matt’s Organic, Inc. in 1999 with one computer, a phone line and a lot of enthusiasm. Her hobbies include spending time with her 11 grandchildren and attending University of Florida Gator athletic events.
Patty Gurney, Accountant
Patti works in the Financial Department for Uncle Matt’s Organic. Her responsibilities include maintaining records for Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Payroll, invoicing, purchasing, grove care and budgeting. Patti settled in Clermont 19 years ago after her husband, Dan, retired from the USAF in which Patti also served 10 years. That is where she received her accounting experience. Patti enjoys reading, skiing, working in her rose garden and spending time with her five children and four grandchildren.
Cindy Kerns, Juice Operations Manager
Cindy oversees all the steps that go into making Uncle Matt’s Organic juices, from grove to bottle. Cindy tracks juice supply, manages juice and packaging inventory and interfaces with the bottling and processing plants. In addition, she administers the budgets and accounting for the juice division. Cindy’s prior work experience includes Human Resources, Customer Service and Assistant Teaching Elementary PE. Cindy was born and raised in Virginia. She and her husband, Dave, have lived in the Groveland area since 2005. In her spare time, Cindy enjoys spending time with her family cheering on their daughter and son at their many sporting events.
Carmen Daniels, Sales Operations Manager
Carmen is responsible for the daily operations of the Fresh Fruit Division. In addition, she manages all aspects of the organic certification process for Uncle Matt’s and all new growers wanting to farm organically. Carmen was born and raised here in Central Florida. Her prior work experience includes retail management, human resources and teaching Pre-K. Carmen and her husband, Mark, live in the Groveland area where they enjoy growing organic vegetables, peaches, nectarines and apples. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her four children and three grandchildren.
Shirlee Pritt – Juice Sales Assistant
Shirlee Pritt is part of the Juice Team at Uncle Matt’s Organic. Her primary responsibilities include processing and invoicing juice orders, coordinating shipping, customer service inquiries and general office duties. Shirlee is a Florida native from Miami but spent many years living in her second favorite city, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Go Steelers!). She and her husband, Scott, have lived in the Clermont area since 2003. She loves beach days, reading, genealogy and spending time with her son and daughter.
Sharon Davidson, Fresh Fruit & Marketing Assistant
Sharon’s responsibilities include helping the fresh fruit team with retailers, customers and other needs, as well as being the assistant to the Marketing Director. Sharon was born in North Carolina and has lived most of her life in Clermont. In her spare time, Sharon enjoys scrapbooking, gardening and creating butterfly gardens.