Kellogg World Alumni Magazine Winter 2007Kellogg School of Management
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Alumni Newsmaker: Luke Parker '93

Former GMA president refreshed by organic juice business

By Aubrey Henretty

Luke Parker '93, the CEO of Sell and Parker Metal Merchants, has worked in his family's metal-recycling business since 1995. While his extended family has been mining the scrap yards for more than 40 years, Parker's immediate family found success mining the marketplace for ideas.

When his wife Alicia was pregnant with the couple's first child, the Parkers added healthier food to their lives, buying organic produce and juices wherever they could. They noticed a pattern: Every organic juice they tried tasted awful. Most were processed or loaded with preservatives.

Alicia's family had founded Mr. Juicy — one of Australia's largest fruit-juice companies — 35 years ago. Sensing a ripe opportunity, the Parkers proposed a small startup: Parker's Organic Juices.

"The idea was to employ two or three people in a small factory, and they'd make organic orange juice," he says of the business, which recently moved into a 30,000 square-foot factory to keep up with demand for the dozen varieties of juice and soda the company now distributes. "How na´ve we were."

If the success of the business surprised Parker, members of his Kellogg family saw it coming.

"I am not surprised by Luke's success," says Associate Dean Emeritus Ed Wilson, recalling the former Graduate Management Association president's leadership as a student. "The skills he displayed at Kellogg are fully in evidence in his career today."

Says Parker: "There's probably not a single thing I did at Kellogg that doesn't touch somewhere in my career."

Though both of his occupations have roots in environmentally friendly ideas, Parker says he's not "a huge greenie" — he's simply found that sustainability is good business.

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