40 Under 40 - Boston Baking Inc.

40 Under 40 - Boston Baking Inc.

A Griffin Report special feature The Griffin Report Concludes Its Annual Editorial Series: 40 Under 40 December 2015 New Channels By Mike Berger T...

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A Griffin Report special feature

The Griffin Report Concludes Its Annual Editorial Series: 40 Under 40

December 2015

New Channels By Mike Berger

The Griffin Report’s Top 40

IN NEW CHANNELS Rising Sun Snacks

Portugalia Marketplace Title:

DHIRAJ ARORA

Vice President Years with company:

15

Title:

Title:

Founder, CEO and President

Founder & CEO Years with company:

Resigned as director of business transformation at Utz Quality Foods Inc. on Jan. 1, 2015, to form Rising Sun

Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Bachelor’s of science in management, Pennsylvania State University; master’s of business administration (MBA), Indiana University; Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR).

MICHAEL BENEVIDES

Arora Creations LLC

SEAN ADAMS

Snacks Inc.

Who are the leaders of tomorrow? What are they thinking and what led to their success? An offshoot of The Griffin Report’s popular “Women of Influence” feature each February, 40 Under 40 identifies upcoming trade leaders of tomorrow. This month’s 40 Under 40 in the New Channels category profiles leaders in the organic, natural, specialty foods, big-box and drugstore arenas. They may be family members or rising executives whose talents and optimism have led to recognition. This feature began with the grocery channel in September; convenience stores in October; and food service in November. Nominations are made through Griffin Report contacts and personal outreach to companies. Who made the nomination is not divulged. This month we asked each nominee to offer his or her thoughts on the outlook of

the New Channels category. One unique answer on what makes his job exciting came from Robert LaBonne of LaBonne’s Market. He started a weekly email newsletter to more than 10,000 of the store’s loyalty card customers. “Each week I write a brief message about something that relates to what we’re doing at LaBonne’s and include a link to the weekly sale flyer. I always sign off at the end of the email by saying something like ‘just hit reply if you have any questions, comments or if I can help in any way.’ The engagement from these emails has been amazing so far. What makes my job exciting is taking on projects like this that combine authentic human interaction with technology. The advantage that small independent retailers have over the big-box stores is that there are ‘real people’ behind the brand. Our customers know if something ever goes wrong, their voice will be heard and we will make it right.”

Years with company: 16 Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Three bachelor’s degrees, University of Michigan. What makes your job exciting? Finding more and more people to empower and heal through food.

Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Bachelor’s in business administration, Johnson & Wales University. Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? My father, Fernando Benevides, president of Portugalia Marketplace, has been my biggest mentor. He has shown me great examples of customer service and hard work. He is incredibly business-savvy and amazing with people.

The Griffin Report’s

What makes your job exciting? Every day presents different challenges and therefore I am constantly learning. I love to be challenged and learning something new all the time.

Top 40 Grocery Industry What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? Being ahead of the curve with ancient remedies.

What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? I attribute my success to my customer service skills that have been instilled in me along with my “out-of-thebox” thinking.

RISING LEADERS

Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? I’ve been blessed to work with and learn from some of the best minds in the snack food industry at both Snyder’sLance and Utz Quality Foods. I wouldn’t be where I am today without so many people taking an interest in me.

What makes your job exciting? We are living the life of a Silicon Valley startup from the snack food capital of the world—Hanover, Pennsylvania. The potential of executing our plan to build an innovative natural snack brand is exhilarating. It’s why I jump out of bed each morning. We’ve built a detailed plan of how we will create significant value via data, innovation and building a strong trusted brand. It’s exciting to bring the plan to reality and bring value to our customers—present and future.

What is your outlook for the organic/natural/ specialty food industries? We are growing and here to stay.

Advice for upcoming professionals: Intern for free at companies that inspire you, ask questions and take notes.

Hobbies: Travel, tennis, golf, sailing, racing, soaking in the sun, dinner parties, music, reading, writing, long walks and cafés.

Advice for upcoming professionals: Focus heavily on quality goods and enhancing customer experiences. Hobbies: Travel, travel, travel! It’s been the greatest source of inspiration for me.

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RJ BIANCULLI

Emerald Brand Title:

Managing Partner Years with company:

10

Education, professional associations, and volunteer group affiliations: Professional associations include IFMA and SHFM. Charity and volunteer affiliations include Autism Speaks, Tuesday’s Children, Million Trees NYC, The Cancer Center for Kids at Winthrop University Hospital, Goodwill NY/NJ.

What makes your job exciting? The environmental milestones that Emerald Brand is achieving on a daily basis fulfills me in the most incredible way. It is one of the most gratifying feelings in the world. It makes me appreciate how much I love the environment. It makes me believe that we can change the world doing what we love.

Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? Throughout my life I have found inspiration from Vince Lombardi, not only as a football coach but also as a motivator and leader. I try to emulate Lombardi in many of my professional efforts.

What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? My family plays a key role in my success. A lot of siblings and parents who run businesses together find it very challenging. I am uniquely blessed with a family that complements each other and fosters one another’s development and success.

Years with company:

Eight Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Stern School of Business, NYU

MICHAEL CACACE

Michaels of Brooklyn Title:

CEO

ETHAN CASUCCI

Thought For Food & Son LLC Title:

Director of Client Services Years with company:

Three Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Bachelor’s degree in advertising and communications, Johnson & Wales University.

Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? My father and uncle set an amazing example of how to bring drive and determination to our business every day.

Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Bachelor’s of arts, Southern New Hampshire University; Board of directors, CFF

JAY BRANCATI

Foxon Park Beverages Inc. Title:

COO Years with company:

11

our restaurant from people who purchase our sauces from all over the country. They like it so much that they actually want to speak to us about it and visit the place that it’s made in. What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? Patience and the discipline to grind it out every day. Try to improve something about our business every day.

What makes your job exciting? Receiving telephone calls at

Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? The most important mentor is my father. He has owned his business for over 10 years and brought me into the business three years ago right out of college. It has been a privilege to learn from someone who has over 30 years of extensive knowledge and experience in the PR and advertising field. And, in just a short time, he has given me the opportunity to have a voice at such a young age in the world of public relations and to grow as a businessman. I continue to learn under his leadership, and I look forward to growing and expanding the family business with him over the next 20 years. What makes your job exciting? The key to a happy life is doing what you love and following your passion. As a true Italian, I love food. I also love working with our clients in the food industry and experiencing the many different

kinds of food products they have to offer to consumers. Our clients create the product and we create the brand platform and messaging. I get immense satisfaction out of helping companies grow and giving them the opportunity to compete on a national level. Seeing our clients in the New York Times, Better Homes and Gardens, Boston Globe or on television is unbelievingly rewarding. Knowing I had a helping hand in our clients’ success is what drives me. What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? I’m grateful to have the opportunity to bring new ideas to the forefront for our clients and that my father has been able to trust my perspective and act upon it, giving our clients great results. My father’s experience and knowledge merged with my “new age” thinking allows us to provide a really unique business platform for our clients.

Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? My father has always been a major factor in my career development. He has always given me critical feedback and has introduced me to key networking opportuni-

ties and has always had a friendly ear to share my frustrations as well as successes. What makes your job exciting? Closing a deal and getting our product into a new chain store or getting a distributor to take it on and watching it grow in other markets and regions. What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? Not taking no for an answer. Believing in the product and knowing once it’s on the shelf people will buy it and continue to buy it.

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MICHAEL CHEN

Eastland Food Corp. Title:

Marketing Manager Years with company:

Six Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Master’s of international management (MIM) with focus in global marketing, Portland State University.

are Bill Tung, VP of international sales at Columbia S p o r t s w e a r, who taught me how to distinguish myself when entering a new organization, as well as our VP Oscar Mekhaya, who has really helped me to excel at my position. He has a black belt-level knowledge in the Asian food industry. What makes your job exciting? My job is exciting as it allows me to travel to nearly every major city in America to promote high-quality Asian foods and ingredients, including the Fancy Food Show in New York City, San Francisco and the NRA Show in Chicago.

Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? The two most influential mentors to me

What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? A key factor for me was having an open mind in problem-solving and my love of foods especially, Asian foods.

JON DEMERS

assisted you in your career development? Coming into the industry with limited knowledge and connections, Stu Klane took our company under his wing and has helped us take our company to a national level.

Cheating Gourmet Title:

Co-Founder Years with company:

Three Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Associate’s degree in fire science Who are your mentors and how have they

What makes your job exciting? Being able to create. What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? Having a supportive family around me. It is not an easy or short road to grow a business from an idea to the shelves, but having those around that believe and continue to support has been huge.

What is your outlook for the organic/natural/ specialty food industries? I believe that this is a growing trend and will continue to grow, especially in the food service side, as consumers are becoming more knowledgeable and they wish for more transparency in the foods they consume. Advice for upcoming professionals: Be persistent in looking for new opportunities and provide workable solutions to your customer’s problems. Hobbies: Travel, food and auto racing.

JOSEPH CRISTELLA JR.

Cento Fine Foods Title:

COO Years with company:

Eight Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: BA in food marketing, Saint Joseph’s University, Haub School of Business North American Olive Oil Association Italy America Business Council & Network North Camden Little League Who are your mentors and how have they assisted

What is your outlook for the organic/natural/ specialty food industries? With specialty becoming widely available through mass merchants, the segment is ripe for growth as consumers that are aware of specialty but do not currently purchase start to purchase. Advice for upcoming professionals: My advice is to never stop learning and improving. The moment that you stop progressing is the moment you open the door for someone else to take your spot. Hobbies: Hanging out with my daughter.

SCOTT DEMERS

Cheating Gourmet Title:

Co-Founder Years with company:

Three Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Bachelor’s of science in finance, Bentley University, 2005 Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? First, my parents, Randy and Polly Demers. They instilled the belief in me that anything is possible. I’ve never felt like anything is unattainable and have

you in your career development? I’ve been fortunate to have several mentors. My parents’ work ethic and example taught me to work hard and encouraged me to take a disciplined approach to learning the business from an early age. My uncle and the founder of our business, Al Ciccotelli, consistently encouraged me to treat people right—regardless of what their position is or what they can or can’t do for you. Finally, my uncle and CEO of Cento, Rick Ciccotelli, has been a great mentor to me and taught me the art and science of objective decision-making. What makes your job exciting? Aside from the excitement of seeing consumers positively respond to our products, I enjoy meeting colleagues from around the world, traveling to their countries and experiencing their culture. I’m fortunate that my position allows me to travel across the nation and around the world

always been willing to reach for my goals. Second, Stu Klane, who we met early on. His advice, guidance and willingness to work with two guys with basically no experience was and is vitally important. There have been many other people that I’ve met who have been incredibly important, so to all of you I say thank you! What makes your job exciting? Building your own company is extremely exciting. Seeing an idea evolve into a tangible business is gratifying. There’s so much work that goes into every aspect, so when it all comes together to having live products in the market, it’s very cool. I’m a fan of being in control of your own destiny; being an entrepreneur allows me to do that. What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? We have always focused on uniqueness and

several times each year. What is your outlook for the organic/natural/ specialty food industries? Meeting and exceeding the expectations of informed, passionate consumers has been a longstanding goal and source of pride for us. We are eager to share information with our consumers, who increasingly want to know where and how their food is produced. Sustainably growing our business and our products is our ethical responsibility and an important trend in the industry. Advice for upcoming professionals: Take the time and make the effort to listen and understand the needs of your colleagues, consumers and the industry at large. When you listen to and engage with these groups, you’re in a better position to make good decisions. It will also help you to learn every aspect of your business from a variety of perspectives. That knowledge is invaluable and will serve you well.

value. Our first successful product—Lobster Crostini—is something my brother Jon (co-founder) and I created at home in the kitchen, which is true for almost all of our products. Also, people are willing to give you a shot if you show that you are competent and hungry. We have also had the fortune of meeting some people that have given advice you cannot buy. Probably the most important aspect is working hard and not giving up. Working with the right partner (in this case, my brother) has been a plus for us because we instinctively separate tasks and also are on the same page when we think we have a winning idea. What is your outlook for the organic/natural/ specialty food industries? I think every category will continue to evolve as consumers look for more quality, real food. People are aware of ingredients, nutritionals, food sources, etc. Companies that use that to their advantage should do well.

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MAURA DUGGAN

Fancypants Baking Co. Title:

President Years with company:

11

Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Bachelor’s of science in neuroscience, Northeastern University; master’s of education, Harvard University. Associations: Specialty Food Association, Small Business Association of New England (SBANE), Massachusetts Specialty Food Association (MSFA), American Bakers Association (ABA). Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development?

Dr. James Stellar, provost at U. Albany. I’ve known Jim since I was a student at Northeastern University, where he was my academic advisor and I worked in his lab. Despite a tremendously busy schedule, Jim always makes time for everyone around him. Selflessness is a characteristic that I admire in people and Jim epitomizes every day. I still keep in touch with Jim and try to live by his words, “get a little bit better each day.” I love that. Another group of people who I have come to know, respect and think of as guides are the bakery managers and store owners that we have worked with since the early years of the business.

Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Bachelor’s of science in business management, Southern Connecticut State University; tournament facilitator for the annual LaBonne’s Charity Golf Tournament, which benefits local food banks.

ROB LABONNE

LaBonne’s Markets Title:

VP Years with company:

Five

Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? The most influential mentor in my professional life, without question, is my father, who has been lecturing me since I was a kid about honesty, reputation, hard work, respect and the value of surrounding myself with good people. “Taking action to create value for someone else” is how he recently described the definition of “service”

Years with company:

Four

KRISTY LEWIS

Quinn Foods Title:

Founder & CEO

What makes your job exciting? People are looking for better options at the grocery store, and it’s pushing a big shift towards healthier and simpler. It’s exciting to be a part of driving this forward. At Quinn, we are reimagining outdated go-tos, like microwave popcorn, by sourcing great ingredients, opening up about how we make our snacks and creating something even more delicious than the original (it’s crazy how much better real food tastes!). Every day is dynamic (read: crazy), and we’re hustling to make things happen with a big mission and a small team.

JC GIFFORD

Gifford’s Ice Cream Title:

VP of Sales Years with company:

12 Education, professional

to me. He lives his personal and professional life by this daily, which is something I strive to do as well. The other mentors in my life come from all over the world; some are no longer alive and the majority I will never meet in person. Luckily for me, these people have chosen to condense their years of knowledge and wisdom into books, which I can consume in a matter of weeks. Timothy Ferriss and Seth Godin are two of the authors that I admire most. Reading is the highest leverage activity that I do towards advancing my career and personal life, and it costs around $10 and a few hours of my time.

What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? I’m so grateful to be in the natural food community. I’ve had help from so many different folks along the way. We’re all trying to change the grocery aisles and we are up against BIG players. It’s simple—we can do more if we work together. A win for any one company is a win for all of us. What is your outlook for the organic/natural/specialty food industries? More awareness, more demand, more innovation, more access, more mainstream...more!

associations, volunteer group affiliations: Syracuse University.

am very fortunate to be able to go to a place where everyone is considered family.

Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? My mentors are my parents. They’ve been very supportive and have taught me so much over the years as I have taken on new responsibilities within the company. My parents both helped me build a strong work ethic.

What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? My experience working my way up through the company has helped me when communicating with current or potential customers. I have a respect for and an understanding of the entire process, which cannot be taught without hands-on experience. Equally important to me is the support of our entire family—the support and hard work of others pushes me to be better each and every day.

What makes your job exciting? Working with the entire family every day is what makes my job so exciting. I

IncredIble InnovatIons ™ would like to congratulate

KevIn schIffman 2015 40 Under 40 Nominee

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ANNAROSE MONGIELLO

Formaggio Cheese Title:

Brand Manager Years with company:

Three Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Graduate, Connecticut School of Broadcasting; volunteer for Make a Wish Foundation and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

GAVIN MUTTER

Wellshire Farms Inc. Title:

Executive VP, Branded Sales Years with company:

One Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Bachelor’s of science in business administration, Susquehanna University; MBA, Joseph’s University Food Marketing Program. Affiliations: Christian Businessman’s Connection (CBMC) of Central PA; Tree of Life Lutheran Church. Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you

Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? Throughout the years my mentor has been my father. He has been teaching me the ins and outs of being a well-rounded businesswoman. He taught me the key tools in how to run a successful business. Working side by side with him running our family company is a true blessing, and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. What makes your job exciting? What doesn’t make my job exciting!? From food shows to pitching meetings to Formaggio events and, of course, bringing new products out to market. I enjoy every aspect of this business. To have the opportunity to be able to interact with the public and spread Formaggio’s mission, it

in your career development? Mark Frohlich, former VP of business development at J&J Snack Foods and now proprietor of Sassy Bass Amazin’ Grill of Gulf Shores, Alabama; Gerry Shreiber, chairman, president and CEO of J&J Snack Foods; Steve Taylor, VP of foodservice sales, J&J Snack Foods; Chris Kunzler, president and CEO of Kunzler & Co.; Louis B. Colameco III, president and CEO of Wellshire Farms; and Jasmel Sidhu, COO of Wellshire Farms. Speaking in particular of Mark Frohlich, I was constantly challenged to “think big” and do whatever it takes to get the job done. He was integral in helping form a strong foundation and manner that would later drive all my business decision-making and really help me develop the principles of how I conduct myself as a leader today. All of the people I regard as mentors today provided me the true fortune of being able to learn from their experiences and instincts that they developed during their careers. I have been extremely fortu-

Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? My father, Kevin Murphy, was my mentor. He took me under his wing, and I even had the honor of sharing an office with him for a few years.

puts a smile on my face. What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? The key factor to in the rise to my success has been always staying true to myself. Having eagerness to learn every single aspect that there is to my family business. I am a very hardworking individual. And to know that Formaggio has made history inspires me to continue my family’s legacy. Advice for upcoming professionals: Work hard by trying to do all that you can to achieve your goals, show up every day and, of course, accentuate the positive! Hobbies: Singer, songwriter, model and beauty pageant winner/consultant.

TJ MURPHY

Baldor Specialty Foods Title:

Owner and CEO Years with company:

13 Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Baldor educated me from the ground up. Started out sweeping the floors, driving trucks, receiving and sales. Favorite charity: Edible Schoolyard NYC

nate to have been exposed to very high level business people in the food industry at a fairly young age and early in my career. The guidance and information I have received from these people has proven invaluable to my professional growth and development. What makes your job exciting? The food industry is always changing and always challenging you in new ways. Food is a necessity, and consumers pay very close attention and challenge us to be better and better all the time as food is a staple in their lives. I truly enjoy the fact that, working with other good people, I can have impact on improving the lives of others and make a difference in people’s day-to-day grind through great food.

ELIZABETH ORTIZ

Boston Baking Inc. Title:

Office Operations Coordinator Years with company:

One Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Bachelor’s of science, Merrimack College; currently at Boston University working on master’s degree in international marketing.

What makes your job exciting? I love how I get to interact with all aspects of the company. I get the most fulfillment from my job when I get to work with the warehouse; their spirit of camaraderie is contagious. What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? I’ve surrounded myself with great people who understand the importance of what we do here. We have a nice balance of doing what we’ve always done that has gotten us to this point with now a new

Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? There have been a few people who have helped me throughout my career development. For starters, my father has been a great influence throughout my educational career. He has always pushed me to do more and to always work hard in whatever career path I chose. In terms of my marketing aspirations, VP of Sales Kristen Boschetto has really helped pave the way for me in discovering my real passion. What makes your job exciting? I love to work in a fastpaced environment that offers the opportunity to learn more about the industry. Boston Baking has given me an opportunity and provided this experience throughout the year that I have been working for them. I have learned that the food industry is very dynamic

dosage of innovation and thinking outside the box. What is your outlook for the organic/natural/ specialty food industries? The organic supply chain will continue to see challenges in meeting demand. This will force our industry to rethink how we market and communicate conventional vs. organic. Advice for upcoming professionals: I like what Wayne Gretzky said: “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” Hobbies: Surfing, traveling, fishing, cooking, spending time with my daughter, Nina.

and very competitive, and thinking of new and innovative ways of surpassing everyone’s expectations and striving to be the best in the industry is definitely an exciting challenge. What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? The biggest factor that has led me to where I am today has to be always keeping an open mind about any situation. It is sometimes difficult to learn what you are good at and what you enjoy unless you experience it firsthand. An open mind opens doors. What is your outlook for the industry? People are always going to eat, and in this very fastpaced world, they are going to want it fast. I think the industry is getting away from the fast, fat-filled offerings and going towards healthier and more sustainable ways to present food to a new, more healthconscious generation of consumers.

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ASHLI PACHECO

America’s Food Basket Title:

Human Resource Administrator & Assistant to CEO Years with company:

Since June 2015

Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? Coming into this position, I would definitely have to say that Mr. Cabassa has been a great mentor in my short time here so far. I have been blessed in my career to work for individuals above me who have taught me a great deal about the businesses I was in and about myself. There isn’t

a day that goes by that I’m not asked how I’m doing, if I need any help or a life lesson is given to me in an index card to refer back to it at a time I need to hear it once again. I’m learning a great deal! My father is my next choice. If there is one person who inspires me most, it’s him. I wouldn’t be who I am today if he never believed in me, encouraged me and pushed me to take different paths in my life. He’s an incredibly wise man and I hope to one day fill his shoes as I continue to find my own way.

Bachelor’s of arts in sociology, UNC-Greensboro; Western North Carolina Human Resources Association; Young Professionals of Asheville; NCSHRM2016 Communications Committee.

SHERI PECK

Earth Fare Title:

HR Recruiting Team Leader Years with company:

1.5 Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations:

What makes your job exciting? On a daily basis, I talk with individuals across the country—sometimes internationally—who are looking for their next opportunity to make a difference in a company. I am a firm believer that the people you hire are responsible for driving your business and that alone makes a company exceptionally successful. Knowing that my team and I have a direct impact on that is exciting, not only from a business perspective but also because we can notably improve people’s lives.

Title:

Senior Vice President Years with company:

Nine

Biena Foods Title

Founder & CEO Years with company

Four

Advice for upcoming professionals: Network and listen. Take the time to learn from your colleagues. Listening to those who’ve been in the business a long time is essential to your success, both internally and externally, at whatever organization you are a part of. Be mindful of the big picture: the work you do daily adds not only to your company’s success, but also to your own professional success as well. Most importantly, work outside of your comfort zone!

Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? Since starting my career in public relations, my main mentor has been George Regan (president of Regan Communications Group). George established his company in 1984—my birth year!—and it now is considered one of the largest privately-held PR firms in the country. In the beginning, Regan Communications’ primary focus was in the political space but over time, its areas of expertise have broadened greatly. At Regan, I was given the opportunity to really grow our foodservice portfolio, servicing all types of clients from restaurants and internationally acclaimed chefs to retail products created by A-list celebrities. And now, it is one of

What makes your job exciting? I have a passion for healthy eating and a background in brand

management—it’s the perfect combination to be able to launch a healthy food company that is on a mission to change how Americans snack. There is great power and potential in a single ingredient like a chickpea. I’ve used my cultural background and knowledge to revamp this snack and make it desirable to the American masses. It’s incredibly exciting to think about how many people’s health we can positively impact with this snack. Advice for upcoming professionals: Never be too timid to say no, and never be afraid to say yes. Make mistakes, and learn from them.

Congratulations to 2015 40 under 40 Nominee

To bring new talent into my organization, I network widely, using communication resources that aren’t the norm. I also realize, and use, my ability to partner and to build relationships within all levels of our business.

Michael Cacace of Michaels of Brooklyn

our strongest and top-performing concentrations. What makes your job exciting? In 2013, I started working with Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer and his team, Frank Cimler and Ron Mann, to assist in further establishing their USDA organic certified coffee company, Rockin’ & Roastin’, in the media market. At the time, Rockin’ & Roastin’ was transitioning from being an onlineonly business to having presence in many retail channels including grocery, wholesale, convenience stores, restaurants, hotels and educational institutions. It’s been wonderful to witness and be a small part of the success and growth the company has experienced in such a short period of time.

I - T R A D E I N T E R N AT I O N A L

LINDSAY ROTONDI

Regan Communications Group of Boston

POORVI PATODIA

What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date?

Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Boston University

Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations B.S., information decision systems, Carnegie Mellon University; MBA, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. In December, I will be honored with the “Rising Entrepreneur of the Year” award by TiE-Boston, a global organization that fosters and develops entrepreneurs.

INNOVATIVE SALES MANAGEMENT

Education, professional associations, and volunteer group affiliations: BB, fashion merchandising, LIM College; currently working on obtaining advanced certification in human resources from Molloy College.

from Ralph Carusillo, Angela Carusillo-Crane, Francesco Schettini and Thomas Savino

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MIKE SALGUERO

ButcherBox Getbutcherbox.com Title:

Founder Years with company:

Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? Russell Herndon, CEO of Hydra Biosciences, and Richard Barnett, SVP of Colliers International. Both have helped me to better understand myself, my abilities and true passions. What makes your job exciting? Bringing 100 percent grass-fed beef to more people throughout the United States. Learning how to market food online, mentoring and leading others.

What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? Determination, faith and a wife and child who support me 100 percent. What is your outlook for the organic/natural/specialty food industries? People are looking to know more about their food and are opting for healthier, more convenient options. This will not go away, and larger companies need to take notice of this trend. Advice for upcoming professionals: If you believe in something, don’t let someone’s doubts change your mind.

MICHAEL SCHAFFER

Title:

VP Years with company:

Eight full-time; also worked there as a teenager.

Title:

Sales Manager Years with company:

One

Eddie’s of Roland Park

KEVIN SCHIFFMAN

WikiFoods Inc. & Incredible Innovations

One Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Bachelor’s degree, Dickinson College.

invaluable in my professional development. Also, the decades of wisdom and experience that our employees have shared and continue to share with me.

Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? My mother taught me the importance of taking care of your employees, creating strong relationships with your vendors and always finding ways to put your customers first and strengthen community relations. And that you should always stand by your word and never act hastily when making decisions. Director of Operations Bill Snyder has helped to teach me the best practices of business operations. From the importance of the numbers and sales to how to merchandise and manage employees, he has been

What makes your job exciting? Diversity is what makes my job exciting. There is always something new to learn, a challenge to overcome or a problem to resolve. Grocery is a fast-paced industry, with the needs of the consumer ever changing, and it is always a challenge to stay on top, searching for new items and finding new ways to make our customers’ lives more convenient. Also, I love the holidays, when it is all hands on deck—being able to get back in the stores to help serve our customers.

Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Johnson & Wales University, Providence, Rhode Island; VP, SouthField Neighborhood Association. Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? The late Patty Bowen, who

was an amazing woman. She hired me to be her promotions assistant with FNX Radio in Rhode Island and Narragansett Beer. Patty literally taught me the ropes of promoting, and I’m forever grateful for her guidance. Scott Lerner, who gave me the opportunity to let me help grow his own line of beverages called Solixir in New England. He is an amazing entrepreneur, great leader and former Marine. Scott was my CEO and boss, but I can also call him a friend. What makes your job exciting? Every day is a new journey. It’s non-stop and very challenging but that’s what drives me to become more successful. I also get to work with some amazing individuals that I have created some great relationships with and continue to learn from each day. What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? Being very passionate for the brands I represent. I always believe in the products that I sell and promote, but I make sure to go above and beyond the call of duty. I’ll do whatever it takes to get my product in the consumer’s hands.

What makes your job exciting? It’s extremely unique; I have so many different jobs within my job, from working as a butcher to store manager to factory owner to production and sales on a national level. Also as owner of our newest restaurant, Schaller’s Stube.

JEREMY SCHALLER

Schaller & Weber Title:

President Years with company:

10 Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Pace University Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? My grandfather and father. They founded my company and helped guide me to continue our legacy.

What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? Our level of quality has always been the best in the business.My biggest achievement has been taking that quality and modernizing it from a strictly ethnic brand to a fully accessible brand to any style of consumer, which has brought us a huge amount of recent success. What is your outlook for the organic/natural/specialty food industries? I really feel like it’s the future standard of food consumption in America and eventually the world. One of first things I did when I took over the company was to switch the line to All Natural. We’re currently looking to go beyond that and reach the organic requirements in the next few years. I feel that it’s imperative for our future success.

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DAVID SHAHID

ACE Bakery Ltd. Title:

Director, Canadian Foodservice Years with company:

Five Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Bachelor’s of commerce, dual major in economics and communication studies; Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals; chef trained.

Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? Over the course of my career I’ve had the opportunity to work with many amazing managers and mentors. I personally believe there is always something to gain from any organization you work for, regardless of the type of relationship you have with your manager. It is your responsibility to learn from them and the company. My time at Unilever working with their corporate chef taught me the value of respect in the kitchen, for the dishes you create, for customers you feed and ultimately left me a foundation in foodservice that starts first and foremost with great food. My experience at Dr. Oetker Foods taught me the value of sound program management, working with customers and delivering on commitments, having a solid foundation with customers built on consistency. At Saputo Dairy Products, I learned

the importance of having a strong financial plan for both direction and justification and the need to be accurate in your financial planning, which has served me greatly in my career. Currently, at ACE Bakery, I am learning the importance of long-term strategic planning, setting goals both in the immediate and the future sense. I’m quite fortunate that my feedback internally helps set the agenda for future Canadian Foodservice direction as well as the broader organization; it is both empowering and disquieting as you realize the impact of your work not only on your staff and their lives but also on the longevity of the company. What makes your job exciting? On any given day there are countless surprises waiting for me in my emails, voicemails and appointments. Everything from dealing with employee concerns, resolving customer crises, developing new products and launching new menu items with national customers. No day is the same.

AARON SORELLE

High Brew Coffee Title:

Director of Sales Years with company:

Two Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Bachelor’s in business management, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth; associate board member, New England Convenience Store Association; March of Dimes volunteer.

Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? I’ve had no shortage of great mentors over the past 15 years that have helped me along the way in this industry. Working alongside Paul Cronin from the Dr Pepper Snapple Group provided me with a constant blueprint on how to be professional and well respected in the workplace. He’s a true relationship builder who prides himself on punctuality and follow-through. I would be remiss if didn’t acknowledge my former boss from my days over at Polar Beverages, Gerry Martin. There isn’t a person walking into a meeting more prepared than Gerry. Not only does he have all the answers ready to go for that particular meeting, but he’s got the next two

in his back pocket as well. Truly an outside-the-box thinker who refuses to allow obstacles to stand in the way of goals. As impressive as Paul and Gerry are as professionals, they are even better in their personal lives. What makes your job exciting? It’s just a fun and addicting industry. The people really make it what it is. We all love reporting wins and reaching goals, but the teamwork aspect of working with another colleague or a counterpart within another company to make something happen is truly the exciting part. What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? If I didn’t absolutely love the business I don’t think I would have achieved much over the years.

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LANCE STIER

Nassau Candy Confections Title:

President/Managing Member; VP-Business Development & Principal Years with company:

Six Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: University of Pennsylvania; Young President’s Organization; Sid Jacobson-JCC;

Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? I have been fortunate to have wonderful mentors at each stage of my career. As a young investment banker, my mentors at Lehman Brothers included Sam Baruch, Howard Liao and Steve Pedone. As my career progressed in the private equity business, my mentors included Alexander Carles (Wellspring Capital Management), and Brian Block and Dexter Paine (Paine and Partners LLC). Now, at Nassau Candy, my mentors have included Les Stier, Barry Rosenbaum and our many professionals of all levels who teach me something new every day. Each of these mentors has taught me professionalism, the tools to be successful in my job, how to manage being analytical with being

a softer people person and, ultimately, how to get things done in each field – be it investment banking, private equity or entrepreneurial family business. What makes your job exciting? I enjoy building businesses both organically and through strategic investments/M&A. It is my passion in life. I have been a private equity investor and now a business owner/ operator in a growing family business. When I was a private equity investor, we achieved success by being analytical, cutting good deals, picking good businesses and betting on the right management teams. As an entrepreneurial business builder, I enjoy working with our customers, business partners, employees, family members everyday in setting goals and achieving goals.

TIFFANY TAYLOR

BJ’s Wholesale Club Title:

Buyer, Specialty Cheese & Prepared Foods Years with company:

12 Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Bachelor’s degree, Framingham State College. Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? I have been fortunate

where mentors are concerned. I have worked for and with a number of people that I have considered to be mentors. Each of them has contributed unique perspectives at different milestones throughout my career. What makes your job exciting? I have a passion for food! I love reading about the history and origins of food and how it has transformed and progressed throughout the years. I am fortunate enough, in this job, to be able to keep up with the current trends as well as technology in the industry, and I find that exciting. It is a fast-paced environment where every day is different. The position allows me to be creative and entrepreneurial every day.

success to date? Versatility and the ability to roll with the punches have been some of the characteristics that have helped me navigate thus far. Being direct and pulling the trigger and making a decision, whether right or wrong, is key both in work and in life. I take work/life balance very seriously and the advantages of having that balance show in your work. What is your outlook for the organic/natural/ specialty food industries? I think the outlook is exciting. The demand is there, and as people become more informed, it will continue to evolve. Advice for upcoming professionals: Take the work seriously, not yourselves, and if you are not failing you are not trying hard enough.

What has been the key factor in your rise to

Happy Holidays to all our customers, business partners, and team members Your Friends at

THE

DAVIDSON Specialty Foods

CO.

www.davidsonspecfoods.com • 860-655-1127 • 367 Alumni Rd • Newington CT 06111

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VINCENT WEAVER

Weaver Nut Company Inc. Title:

CFO/Commodities Buyer Years with company:

14 Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Most of my education has been real-world experience. Everything changes so fast; you have to keep learning as you go. Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career develop-

ment? My dad and mom, E. Paul Weaver III and Miriam Weaver. They started this business and have shown me how to set priorities, work hard and run a business. My brother, Edward, and I oversee the operations of our family business, now into the second generation. We grew up together really close, almost like twins, and have learned to run the business efficiently, operating in each other’s strengths. What makes your job exciting? I’m what you would call self-taught for the most part, and I take what I know and add to what I learn every day to make myself better at what I do. One of the greatest things about my job is being able take what I learn and tweak the business operation as we see fit. If I see something lacking in the business flow or how we’re serving customers, we can very quickly make a change to make sure things

are done better or more efficiently. Our goal is to serve our customers with quality, integrity and enthusiasm! This is what drives me to give it my all each and every day. What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? I have been blessed to be given this opportunity. From day one, my parents taught us that we are expected to work twice as hard as any other team member because we are part of the family. What is your outlook for the organic/natural/specialty food industries? I see the natural/organic and the healthy segment of snacking growing considerably. I myself want to eat more healthy, and that includes eating healthier snacks. At Weaver Nut Company, we’ve continued to add healthier snack options to serve this growing base.

KATE WHITNEY

Schlotterbeck and Foss Title:

Marketing & Account Manager Years with company:

Nine Education, professional associations, volunteer group affiliations: Bachelor’s of science in education, University of New England. Who are your mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development?

I am blessed with a supportive family who has been my cheering squad and instills confidence in me to continue growing in my career. My dad is a constant reminder of the kind of human I want to be in life, and so many of the traits I admire about him I work hard to bring to my business relationships and my work every day. I am fortunate to work for a man I call one of my mentors, Paul Dioli. Paul has created the environment that has allowed me the opportunity not only to find my professional passion, but to grow and move up in the company. He has challenged me and taught me an invaluable amount about business. What makes your job exciting? The advantage of being with a small, growing company for so many years is that I have been

able to work in various roles within the company, providing me with a broader understanding of the business. It has allowed me the growth that I have experienced and to be in a position where I am involved in every step of a product launch, from development to the product hitting store shelves. What has been the key factor in your rise to success to date? I have never been afraid to work outside the box. I have taken on every challenge that I have been tasked with and pushed myself to work outside of my comfort zone. Advice for upcoming professionals: Always look for ways to bring value to your employer. Be willing to execute whatever task is needed, be a team player and a leader. Believe in yourself and smile often.