Though he grew up in Turlock in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley, Jackson had no produce industry ties nor any thoughts that his career would eventually be agriculturally oriented. After graduating from college with a degree in finance and accounting, he went to work for Coca Cola Enterprises and over the next several years worked for three or four different companies within the Coca Cola family. For a good portion of his career, he was involved in evaluating franchises as they were being repurchased and then moving to the city and helping to establish a Coca Cola Enterprises business unit. In fact he was splitting his time between St. Louis and Oklahoma City when a former business associate at Apio offered him the position of controller at Apio.
Jackson checked out the Central Coast, liked it a lot and took the job, not expecting to make produce his life long career. He eventually was promoted to CFO and then was offered the CEO position at Beachside.