August 9, 1939 – September 13, 2022 Jim Hicks was born in Carbondale, Illinois in 1939, the second of four sons. Not long after his birth, his family moved to Eminence, Indiana. In Eminence, Jim attended a small, rural K-12 school. There were fewer than thirty people in his graduating class. He played on the basketball team and by all accounts had many friends. He attended Purdue university, where in 1961 he earned a degree in Agriculture Economics. As a college student, he worked at a local pub, Harry’s Chocolate Shop, that is still a local haunt of Boilermakers.
Jim graduated on a Saturday and by Monday was working his first job at Chevron as a fertilizer salesman. He would confess later that one of the primary reasons he took the Chevron job was it came with a company car. He also liked to say that Chevron hired him because they found him out standing in the field, a bit of a pun referring to his rural background. Jim would go onto work for Chevron for 14 years. During his tenure, he was transfer all over the Midwest – Evansville, St Louis, Fort Madison before eventually landing in Whittier, CA.
Jim left Chevron in 1975 and started a business with a friend, West Ag Supply. In 1982 Jim’s partner bought him out. Jim started Jim Hicks and company beginning with one employee and by the time of his retirement in 2016 had grown to employee over 27 people with offices in Arizona, and Texas.
Jim was very committed to providing employees of Jim Hicks and Co with not only competitive incentives, but in many ways treated them like his own family. From nearly the onset of the company, all employees were provided with full family medical insurance. Employees were also able to participate in a no cost profit sharing plan.
During his fifty plus years working in the fertilizer industry, Jim was very well respected and participated in many agriculture associations. Throughout his career, Jim was committed to promoting Agriculture Education. He has provided generous endowments to Cal Poly Pomona, the University of Arizona and Purdue. These investments have provided countless scholarships, ensuring a generation of young people will be able to innovate and contribute to the growth of Agriculture industry for generations to come.
Jim is survived by his wife, Neta, four children, Pat, Grady, Steve, Jennifer, and daughter-in-law Marlene.
Published by Los Angeles Times on Sep. 18, 2022.
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