Sean Fort working out in the fields
Sean Fort working out in the fields

Ph.D. – Genetics, UC Davis
B.S. – Genetics, UC Davis

Years of Service at Sakata: 2000 to Present

Currently Breeding: Onion

 Sean, where did you get your passion?

My favorite subject in high school was biology and my favorite part of biology was the basic introduction to genetics. My interest in genetics led me to find a university which offered a major specific to the subject. Growing up in the Salinas Valley and being constantly exposed to agriculture led me to apply my interest in genetics to plant improvement. Nowadays this could imply either molecular research in a laboratory or traditional plant breeding, but I was always more interested in the latter.

What’s the best part of your job?

The best parts of my job include being able to work outside, traveling to different bulb nurseries throughout the country, and having different tasks to perform as the seasons change, such as planting, evaluation, bulb and seed harvest, etc. I don’t like being stuck in the office. Also, I like developing breeding populations, adapting them for use in different markets, and watching them gradually improve over the course of cycles and years. Lastly, I like the competitive nature of my job in the sense that I am chasing a variety of moving targets and must move quickly to develop and introduce relevant commercial hybrids.

Recently, Sakata celeebrated 40 years in NAFTA – do you have anything special you’d like to say about Sakata?

I am proud to be a part of Sakata as it has reached 100 years in business. I have learned a great deal about the history of the company in the last few months and have a deep respect for its contributions to the seed industry.

Briefly, can you tell us something that not everyone knows about you!

I have been married for over 20 years and have two sons, 15 and 10 years old. My favorite pastimes are bowling (fairly well, both right and left-handed) and golfing (poorly, regardless of how I hack at it).