William G. “Bill” Strickland (1908-2000)
American Fruit Growers
Florida Fresh Citrus Shippers Association
Florida Citrus Packers
Grapefruit Maturity Standards
Florida Citrus Mutual
Indian River Citrus League
Joint Citrus Industry Legislative Committee
Growers & Shippers League
William Strickland was born in Ray City, Ga., in 1908. A tall athletic man he spent 10 years playing professional baseball, signing with the St. Louis Browns in 1938, eventually spending one year in the majors, participating in nine games and 21 innings. After leaving baseball Strickland moved to Florida and began working as a packer with American Fruit Growers. Over the next 48 years he rose to become a citrus industry leader and important figure.
In 1960 Strickland helped to form the Florida Fresh Citrus Shippers Association, which became the Florida Citrus Packers. He became its first general manager and executive vice president. He led that organization for 18 years during which time it succeeded in eliminating the 3/5 bushel shipping container in favor of the 4/5 bushel container, which helped improve the arrival condition of citrus. Under his leadership, maturity standards for grapefruit were improved and he helped influence numerous other governmental rules and regulations for the betterment of the industry. He helped to keep the fledgling trade association alive while membership went from 50 percent representation to over 90 percent representation of the citrus shippers sector. He remained with the Florida Citrus packers until 1978.
Strickland also served on a number of boards and advisory committees including his membership on the Florida Citrus Mutual’s Board of Directors, the Indian River Citrus League, the Joint Citrus Industry Legislative Committee, and the Growers and Shippers League. According to Frank Trovillion, assistant general manager Florida Citrus Mutual, Strickland was considered by his industry peers as a “man who got things done, is highly respected and knew the industry inside and out.”