Bernard A. Egan (1914-2004)
- Bernard, Egan & Company (formerly Egan, Fickett, and Company)
- DNE World Fruit Sales
- Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.
- Indian River Citrus League
Bernard A. Egan was born on June 7, 1914 in the city of Elizabeth, New Jersey. His father founded a fruit and vegetable distributing company named Egan, Fickett, & Company during that same year. Egan would be immersed in the Citrus Industry from the time of his birth until his death over 90 years later.
Egan’s father, Joseph B. Egan, died in 1936, leaving the company to his nine children. Bernard, who was the youngest of the group, left his studies at Fordham University to help his older brothers run the company in New York. Egan outlived his brothers and assumed control of the company in the 1960’s. In 1968, Egan decided to move the company to Vero Beach, Florida in order to be closer to the direct source of fresh citrus. Egan bought more than 6 thousand acres of citrus land in the area and began to cultivate a reputation as one of the premier suppliers of Indian River citrus.
In the ensuing decades, the name of the company changed to Bernard Egan & Company, though Egan maintained his father’s sense of pride and high quality standards. As of the companies ninety-fifth anniversary in 2009, Bernard Egan & Company owns over 20 thousand acres of citrus in the counties of St. Lucie, Martin, Okeechobee and Indian River. The largest location is in the town of Fellsmere, where the company owns 14 thousand acres.
Part of Egan’s success stemmed from his efforts to open up the Citrus market world-wide. In 1968 he started the DNE World Fruit Sales as a marketing arm of his company. The DNE World Fruit Sales helped to expand grapefruit sales to Europe and in 1971, the DNE managed to open up the Japanese markets for grapefruit exports as well. In 1979 and again in 1990, the DNE received the E award from the United States Department of Commerce for Excellence in Exports. The E Award is one of the top honors the Department of Commerce can bestow on a company. In 1997, Bernard Egan & Company formed a marketing alliance with Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., agreeing to become the brand’s exclusive distributor of citrus. In an average year, the company sends out 2 to 3 million cartons of citrus worldwide. More than twenty-two countries import citrus from Egan’s company.
Egan held many influential positions in the citrus industry. Over the course of his career, Egan has served as a Commissioner on the Florida Citrus Commission and the President of the Indian River Citrus League. Egan has been the President of Multiple companies, including DNE World Fruit Sales, Inc., DNE Sales International, Inc., Atlantic Truck Brokers, St. Lucie Packing Corporation, Egan Fickett Fort Pierce, Inc., Egan Packing Company, East Coast Packers, Inc., Booth Manufacturing Company, Orange Ring, Inc., Indian River Terminal Company, Coastal Stevedoring Company, and of course, Bernard Egan & Company. In addition to his corporate work, Egan is the founding co-chair of the Samaritan Center, a homeless shelter located in his hometown of Vero Beach.
Egan passed away in June of 2004, a day after his ninetieth birthday. Egan incurred many honors over his lifetime, including the previously mentioned E Award for Excellence in Exports, the John T. Leslie Award for Excellence in Marketing and induction into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame. The Florida Citrus Hall of Fame is proud to add Bernard Egan to its ranks for his hard work and dedication to Florida’s Citrus Industry.