iFD People: Caroline Perkins, iFD Co-Founder


In line with our goal of highlighting heritage, people and progress through our corporate history writing services, we’ve designed iFD People as a series of quick-read, Q&A-style blog posts periodically introducing foodservice distribution leaders, sales stars and others who have made or are making history in the industry. We’re bypassing the usual work-related questions, however. Instead, we’re offering insights into what makes iFD People tick. Who are their role models? What books are they reading? How would they describe themselves in one word?

To start the ball rolling and as a preview of what’s to come, here’s a sample Q&A with iFD co-founder Caroline Perkins. Stay tuned for more in the weeks ahead.

iFD People: Caroline Perkins, co-founder and chronicler, inside foodservice distribution
What are you most proud of in your career?
CP: Being able to tell the stories of so many wonderful companies and people in our industry. Foodservice distribution is one of the few remaining industries that is primarily made up of family-owned businesses. It has been my privilege to learn about and share their stories.

When you think of icons in the industry, who comes to mind first?
CP: Bob Civin, former editor of ID magazine; John Martin of Martin Bros. Distributing; Mike Roach, former president of Ben E. Keith Foods; John Woodhouse, former chairman and CEO of Sysco Corp.; the Tracy family of Dot Foods; and the Gordon family of Gordon Food Service

Who are your role models?
John Martin, Martin Bros. Distributing; Carla Cooper, former CEO of Daymon Worldwide and former president of the Women’s Foodservice Forum; Alice in Wonderland

What books or other reading matter are on your bedside table right now?
“The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations and Its Prospects” by Lewis Mumford; “Four Quartets” by T.S. Eliot; autobiography of Christian Dior; “The Obsidian Chamber” by Preston & Child; “The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach; and poems by Emily Dickinson

If you could time travel to another point in history, when would it be?
The 1830s and 40s in Concord and Amherst, Mass., when there was such a fabulous group of brilliant writers and thinkers, including Emerson, Thoreau, Channing, Dickinson, the Alcotts and Hawthorne, to mention a few.

If you could come back as a particular person or thing, who/what would that be?
The person who finds a cure for cystic fibrosis.

What three people, living or dead, would you like to have dinner with?
Marcel Proust, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot

How would you describe yourself in one word?

What dramatic industry changes do you predict we’ll see in within the next 10 years?
There will be a significant increase in mergers and acquisitions. Successful distribution companies will be solutions providers for their customers in terms of their having to keep up with changes in technology, food safety, food origin and creative ways for operators to deliver food to consumers. In other words, taking consultative selling to the max and into the future.

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