“To pursue the American Dream – to own land, freely practice his faith, and create a better life for his family.”
DUDA is owned by descendants of Andrew Duda, who emigrated from Slovakia to America in 1909 to pursue the American dream – to own land, freely practice his faith, and create a better life for his family. Among those who founded the small Slovak community of Slavia in Central Florida, Duda and his three sons, John, Andrew, Jr., and Ferdinand, harvested their first cash crop of celery in 1926 and established A. Duda & Sons.
The three brothers were visionary in building the business, acquiring land, diversifying their operations, relying on others inside and outside of the business for advice, having integrity in their business practices and – above all else – trusting in God.
In the early 1970s, the reins of management were transferred to the third generation sons of the Three Seniors. A more market-driven business strategy was developed for DUDA’s fresh produce operations to satisfy market demands. To offer farm fresh produce year round to their growing customer base, the company acquired farmland in California and Texas. Sod was also added to the company’s agricultural offerings in the 1970s.
In the 1980s, due to the growth of Brevard County, Florida, plans were set in motion to build a master-planned community on DUDA’s Cocoa Ranch. The town of Viera, which means “faith” in Slovak, was established in 1989. Eventually, a home building division, commercial sales division, and a championship golf course were all added to the company’s fully integrated real estate operations.
Now in its fourth generation of leadership, the company is professionally managed by men and women of the third, fourth and fifth generations of the Duda Family, and a team of experienced managers. The company is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of six members of the Duda family and four non-family members from varying business backgrounds. In 2004, the Duda family established the Duda Family Council to address some of the governance issues that family businesses in their third and subsequent generations must begin to address. Its mission is: One family, growing together, making an eternal difference. Through elected family representatives, the Council develops processes and structures for the family and owners.
The importance placed on philanthropy is reflected in DUDA’s stated purpose: We multiply and share God’s blessings. This philosophy is central to all of DUDA’s business operations and actions.
The values passed down from Andrew through each generation at DUDA have earned the company its reputation for quality, integrity and innovation. Its focus on market trends and customer needs has helped the company maintain a competitive edge in all of its business operations. The company has been rewarded by earning recognition for its leadership in business integrity, environmental stewardship and employee benefits.