2015 Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business Man of the Year
When Jaime Chamberlain was a little kid, his dreams were to attend the University of Notre Dame and sell tomatoes.
“I always wanted to be in the business since I knew about business,” he said. “I never got to Notre Dame, but I sell tomatoes.”
A lot of tomatoes, along with bell peppers, squash, cucumbers and beans.
It’s been a nice life for the Nogales, Ariz., native who has cultivated his family’s produce distribution business into a thriving one.
Chamberlain is president of J-C Distributing, which was established in 1971 by his mom on a $1,000 investment. The Nogales company now earns millions in revenues each year.
Chamberlain joined the family business in 1987 after realizing it was his calling.
He has had such an impact on his industry – politically and economically – he’s one of the state’s leaders in domestic discussions when it comes to dealings with its Mexican neighbors.
For his efforts, Chamberlain has been named 2015 Hispanic Business Man of the Year by the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
He will be honored Oct. 17 at the chamber’s Noche de Exitos Gala and Bi-National Business Awards 2015 at Casino del Sol Resort.
“It’s amazing – I was really surprised,” he said of the award. “They are doing great things for the community and the Hispanic community. It’s a great honor. I saw the list of the last few recipients of the award, and there are some gentlemen who are true business leaders.”
Chamberlain is now among them. His résumé is expansive and includes serving as past board chair for the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas. He’s heavily involved with government affairs involving business between the United States and Mexico.
“The business of it and our industry is constantly changing,” Chamberlain said. “It’s something you don’t get bored doing.
There are constantly challenges and new things coming up – federal regulations or industry changes. That’s what I still enjoy about my job.”
This married father of one said the last five years of his life have been the most enjoyable.
“I want to get up at 5 a.m. and I want the phones to be ringing as if we were at the stock market,” he said. “I like the fluctuations of prices and I like the competitiveness of people saying they can get tomatoes for $1 cheaper somewhere else, and me convincing them there is a value to a higher price. I still enjoy it.”