Perseverance leads to sustainability
By Chris Michlewicz; photos courtesy of Rusty Walker
It might not have been obvious to him as a kid, but the hard work and dedication that helped Rusty Walker become a standout youth athlete helped prime him for later success in the business world.
Walker, a 13-year resident of The Village at Castle Pines and the CEO of FarmBox Foods LLC in Sedalia, grew up in a family of athletes in Kankakee, Ill., a community south of Chicago. His dad served as executive director of the Kankakee YMCA and Walker played baseball and swam competitively from the age of 6, later swimming at the collegiate level at the University of Illinois.
Likewise, his dad and three brothers excelled in swimming, and his mom, a schoolteacher by trade, was an All-American field hockey player in Baltimore in her youth. His brothers became swim coaches, including younger sibling Rick, who retired in 2019 after a decorated career coaching swimming at the University of Southern Illinois. Sports instilled in Walker a sense of purpose – and responsibility.
Immediately after college, Walker married Donna – now his wife of 40 years – and they had their first of two daughters. Realizing he needed to get out and start making some money, he accepted a job at a family-owned startup warehousing and trucking company in Chicago and quickly worked his way up to vice president of marketing and sales.
He learned the ropes, moved to Colorado and took a job as director of logistics for a railway company, and used his experience to create a warehousing and supply chain logistics company, which he still owns with his business partner.
Twenty-four years later, Walker is CEO of FarmBox Foods, a startup with infinite potential and a bright future on the horizon. FarmBox Foods turns shipping containers into high-tech, automated spaces for farming sustainably sourced, locally grown produce year-round (watch for our business feature on FarmBox Foods in next month’s edition).
But Walker still finds time to get back in the water, much of it via water skiing, fishing, boating and laps in the pool at the fitness center in The Villages at Castle Pines. He’s an avid exerciser, enjoys skiing with Donna, and squeezes in the occasional round of golf. His most notable memory on the course was playing in The International pro-am tournament at the Castle Pines Golf Club in 2006, the final year of the PGA event, alongside a friend and PGA player Boyd Summerhays. Walker shot a remarkable 82 on the challenging, pristine course.
Walker, a grandfather of three, also likes to take family vacations to places like Newport Beach, LEGOland and Disneyland. He and Donna, the executive director of the JeffCo library system, are thoroughly enjoying all that life in The Village at Castle Pines has to offer.