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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

CEO Spotlight

CEO Spotlight: Texas Olive Oil Entrepreneur Cara Gambini

Cara Gambini is the co-owner of Texas Hill Country Olive Company in Dripping Springs, Texas. She is the daughter of the founder, John Gambini, and has helped the company grow since 2013. The Texas olive oil company is an olive oil farm and retail seller with a 15-acre property that houses orchards, a mill, and a bistro.

Cara Gambini is a central part of the company’s operations and continued success. The following is a history of Gambini’s role at the Texas olive oil company, her early beginnings, and her start in the family business.

A Family Trade

The Texas Hill Country Olive Company is a family business founded in 2009. John Gambini and family, started the venture by buying 17 acres of land in Dripping Springs.  The family wanted to create an olive orchard for premium Texas olive oil farming.

The Gambini’s are third-generation Italians in Texas. John Gambini wanted to pay homage to his heritage and plant olive trees to bring authentic Italian flavors to rural Texas. The family chose Dripping Springs because it resembles their motherland. It acts as the optimal location where farmland had good conditions for olive tree growth.

The soil and landscape in the Texas hill country were similar to farms in Italy. The limestone soil in Dripping Springs is alkaline and sits on a sloped, rocky land that makes water drainage and irrigation easier. The area is also breezy like the Italian countryside and helps pollinate Pendolino olive trees on the farms.

John came up with the idea on Thanksgiving in 2008 and as the family discussed the idea, a plan came into being. The Gambini’s were inspired by previous Texas olive tree farmers who had planted olive trees. They dove right into starting in the new industry and founded the company in just a few months, with the first olive trees planted in the spring of 2009. The company began producing olive oil in 2010 and has ever since. Its production volume has expanded to nearly 11,000 liters of olive oil per annum.

The company started out as a family business venture so John and his daughter partnered up in the early 2010s to expand the company. Cara Gambini was committed to the goal of olive oil products that honored her heritage as a fourth-generation Italian and encouraged a thriving olive oil industry in Texas.

Gambini’s entry came in 2013 and she immediately put her project management skills to good use by creating a business partnership with Main Street Hub.  Today, the Texas olive oil company remains a family-owned business and collaboration. Cara Gambini and her father still preserve the vision of premium olive oil products and the continuation of their heritage.

Before Texas Olive Oil

Although Gambini is now a Texas olive oil expert and a savvy businesswoman, her early start was not in olive oil farming or production. Her career began in a different direction at the Halliburton Company.

She served as a business lifecycle manager of their Fiber Optics Program for over six years before she joined her father as the co-owner of Texas Hill Country Olive Co. in 2013. Gambini expanded her business portfolio further in 2016 when she ventured into real estate and became co-owner of McGowan Real Estate Ventures.

Gambini’s career path also shifted her educational aspirations. Gambini originally graduated from St. Edwards University in 2002 with a degree in Computer Science. She went back to school nine years later in 2011 to achieve further education in Business Development from the Mays Business School.

The move was meant to prepare her for her current role at Texas Hill where she serves as a business developer and helps the olive oil company prosper. Gambini’s graduation from the school in 2013 meant she was now able to productively contribute to the business operations of her small family farm.

Cara Gambini at Texas Hill Country Olive Co.

Gambini wears many hats today in her daily work at Texas Hill Country Olive Co. She works on business development and store merchandising, exploring more product options and agritourism ventures. Under her leadership, the company now hosts tastings and has unique infused olive oil blends.

She oversees marketing and social media marketing operations for the company, including advertising events and promoting the company’s brand and products. Gambini’s management of daily operations is also crucial to sustain the activities of the orchards, mills, bistro, events, and the overall business.

Gambini’s technical prowess is also the main reason behind the business’s continued success. She is responsible for sustaining and creating the company’s website to establish a digital presence. The strategy has allowed the Texas olive oil company to reach a wider customer base, sell its goods online, advertise its products and events, and promote its brand.

Gambini’s knowledge base of Texas olive oil, farming, and processing, has expanded greatly. The former olive oil novice used to view the oil as a mere ingredient in her time before Texas Hill Country Olive Co.

However, today she is an advocate for extra virgin, pure, Texas olive oil varieties. Her business is committed to educating the public on the benefits of naturally-pressed or extra virgin olive oil and offers educational Extra Virgin 101 experiences on orchard walking tours.


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Anna Papadopoulos
Vice President & Executive Editor. Anna Papadopoulos is the Vice President and Executive Editor of the CEOWORLD magazine. In that role she resumes responsibility for the CEOWORLD magazine newsroom, setting daily news priorities, and directing all of CEOWORLD magazine's news-gathering teams. Previously, Anna was the senior supervising editor of CEOWORLD magazine's International Desk. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or connect on LinkedIn. Email her at AP@ceoworld.biz
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