Frank S. Bouis (1926-2011)
Bouis graduated from MIT with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1947 and from University of Florida with a B.S. in Agriculture in 1952. In 1959 he moved to Leesburg, where he founded Florida Fruit Managers, Inc. He led the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association in the fight over free trade with Mexico.
Slough Grove Company
Florida Fruit Managers, Inc.
Florida Citrus Mutual
Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association
U.S.-European Economic Community Agriculture Conference
Florida Society of Agricultural Engineers
Citrus Growers Associates, Inc.
Florida State Board of Regent Committee on Agriculture
Institute of Food & Agricultural Services
Florida Fruit Company
Born in Pennsylvania in 1926, Frank S. Bouis grew up in New York where his father worked as an engineer for the Chrysler Corporation. After earning a Bachelor’s of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1947, Bouis worked at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio as an entry-level researcher for the Defense Department.
As a child in the 1920s Bouis had visited his grandfather Clarence Bouis, a substantial citrus grower in Lake County. He never forgot what he saw and always yearned to return to the Sunshine State. In 1950 Bouis took his savings and moved to Gainesville, Florida, where he enrolled in the University of Florida. In 1952, he earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree (with honors) in agriculture. Working for his grandfather as a foreman in his grove near Fort Meade, Bouis learned the citrus industry first hand. Four years later he was hired for the Slough Grove Company in Dade City. Throughout his career he worked as a business analyst for 13 small corporations that encompassed citrus, cattle, livestock feed lots, and even one that sold pots and pans. By 1959 he moved to Leesburg, where he founded Florida Fruit Managers, Inc. At its peak in the early 1980s, the company managed over 4,000 acres of fruit, primarily for absentee land owners.
Throughout his life Bouis served on numerous citrus trade associations and citrus and agriculture governmental bodies, including Florida Citrus Mutual (1975-1979) and the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association. He led the association in the fight over free trade with Mexico. His efforts helped win several key concessions from the first Bush administration, and created a brake on the agreement that called for a gradual phase-out of tariffs. Bouis served as a delegate for the US-European Economic Community Agricultural Conference. He was also a member of the Florida Society of Agricultural Engineers, the Florida Citrus Production Managers Association, the Florida Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, and the Florida Agricultural Council. He also served as president of the Citrus Grower Associates, Inc. He was a former member of the Florida State Board of Regents Committee on Agriculture, and is a Director Emeritus for the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS).
Throughout his life, Bouis has won many awards. He won the FFVA Distinguished Service Award, the Gamma Sigma Delta Agriculture Honor Society Award of Merit, the Florida Farm Bureau Federation Distinguished Service Award, the Lake County Man of the Year Award, and the University of Florida Agriculture Man of the Year Award.
Bouis has always been in the forefront of the fight for growers’ rights. His numerous years of experience in networking with other industry leaders and government officials proved to be an invaluable resource in securing growers’ rights. The tumultuous time of free trade talks, globalization, and the opening of foreign markets made it very hard for family farmers. He always championed the role of the family farmer and the need for horticultural interests to join together to protect domestic farmers’ rights in the U.S. market. He was known as the “voice of reason,” as well as an activist. He never backed away from a fight, and his presence played a key role in helping others look at the big picture.
Recently he helped to revive interest in the fresh-squeezed segment of the citrus industry. In the January 12, 2005 the Orlando Sentinel he was quoted as saying, “There’s no orange product that tastes better than fresh juice. All over the world, people squeeze fresh oranges” to get fresh flavor and aroma. The freshly squeezed juice would sell for higher prices, and therefore it would be targeted to the higher-income shoppers. When generic citrus ads for citrus products came out in the form of commercials, Bouis was a very harsh critic of them. He questioned the effectiveness of the generic advertising for orange juice as opposed to brand-name advertising and called for research to discover whether generic advertising represented the best use of Citrus Department money. Bouis wanted advertising dollars raised from the box tax put squarely behind 100 percent Florida juices.
In 1986, Bouis married Cathye; together they have four children from previous marriages. At this writing, Bouis is President of Florida Fruit Company and Montverde Groves, which he operates as a family business with his wife and family. In recognition of Bouis’ work as a leader in the industry, he was inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame in 2000.