iFD People: Bob Goldin – Pentallect, Chicago

We highlight heritage, people and progress through our corporate history writing services. We’ve designed iFD People as a series to introduce foodservice distribution leaders, sales stars and others who have made or are making history in the industry. We offer 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? Here is our third profile in the series.

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Bob Goldin has a new gig as co-founder and partner at Pentallect Inc.  The Chicago-based consulting firm specializes in emerging and specialty food industry segments and channels, including club stores/cash-and-carry, consumer- and business-direct, specialty distribution, nontraditional retail and ethnic markets.

For many years, Bob was vice chairman at Technomic Inc. He headed the firm’s research and consulting practice and created and directed major programs including Volumix, iLAB, Long-Term Forecasting, Distributor Intelligence Report and the Foodservice Category Management Institute.

He created the Foodservice Essentials training program in cooperation with the International Foodservice Distributors Association, which has been responsible for onboarding many people new to the industry. He cut his teeth in distribution at CFS Continental.

People may not know that Bob is also a certified public accountant. He has a BA and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

What are you most proud of in your career?
BG:
To have had a platform and support system at Technomic and Pentallect that enable me to provide my perspectives and analysis of the industry and to interact with industry leaders.

When you think of icons in the industry, who comes to mind first?
BG: John Woodhouse and John Baugh. I’d also include Howard Schultz on the list. And, as did everyone who knew him, I adored Sam Bailin.

Who are your role models?
BG: Ron Paul, who was a great mentor and boss at Technomic in addition to being a true industry guru.

What books or other reading matter are on your bedside table right now?
BG: I have a fully loaded Kindle to accommodate my eclectic reading tastes. Right now I am plowing through “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow and “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance. I also recently discovered George Saunders, whose short stories amaze me.

If you could time travel to another point in history, when would it be?
BG: I’d love to relive my formative years, knowing then what I know now.

If you could come back as a particular person or thing, who/what would that be?
BG: It probably sounds a bit crass, but I sure wouldn’t mind coming back as Frank Sinatra.

What three people, living or dead, would you like to have dinner with?
BG: Jeff Bezos, John F. Kennedy, Louis Armstrong

How would you describe yourself in one word?
BG: Candid

What’s one dramatic change that you predict we’ll see in within the next 10 years?
BG: Massive improvements in health care, with Big Data and technology having a huge positive impact on prevention, treatment and overall outcomes.

Birth of a Giant: Sysco Nears 50 Years

Half a century ago, John Baugh, who had been a president of the National Frozen Food Distributors Association, was mulling over the direction of foodservice. He started meeting several times a year with a few of his distributor friends to discuss the future. Where was the industry going? What role would distribution play? How could they take advantage of changes that could occur? What might those changes be?

Baugh was not unfamiliar with managing change. In 1946, he left his position as manager of a flagship A&P supermarket in Houston and started Zero Foods, a retail frozen food distribution company. The concept of frozen foods was exploding, strangely enough as an unexpected consequence of World War II. Canned food required precious metals, which had been rationed, so another process was needed. Enter frozen foods. Frozen French fries and fish portions were flying off grocery store shelves.

Retail frozen food distributors, who had responded to the demand, owned the market and provided good customer service. Their salesmen arranged merchandise in display cases and kept them stocked. But their success was to be short-lived: Grocery chains quickly recognized the emerging profit center and soon decided to take frozen food distribution in-house. Eventually, those pioneering retail distributors turned to foodservice. It was the 1950s, the halcyon days of convenience foods. Frozen was in and foodservice demand was growing fast.

Baugh and his cohorts identified multiunit restaurant chains as a new growth opportunity and realized it would take a different type of distributor to service their geographic needs. They decided the best approach would be to band together to obtain financing for product line and facilities expansions and to increase their geographic reach.

Ultimately, 10 companies joined forces. They had a public offering in 1969 and, by March 1970, Sysco – short for Systems and Service Co. – was launched. John Baugh, the visionary behind the effort, was the conglomerate’s first chairman.

The rest, as they say, is history. The idea proved to be a brilliant one and as the foodservice industry grew, so did Sysco. By the end of its first decade, Sysco had 35 operating companies and sales of more than $1 billion. Today, Sysco continues to lead the foodservice distribution industry with 198 distribution facilities serving 425,000 customers. With more than $50 billion in sales, it is focused on growing in U.S. markets as well as globally.

By joining forces, understanding change and having a vision for the future – essentially serving as the ‘disruptors’ of their time – those companies, led by Baugh, gave birth to the giant that is still No. 1 in the industry. Soon, Sysco will turn 50, with decades of growth to celebrate. All because of 10 founders who had a vision for the future.

iFD People: Jim Cremins, Y. Hata & Co., Honolulu

 

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? Here is our second profile.

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Jim has been in Hawaii since 2012, following a long career in foodservice distribution stateside. Many people will remember him from his position as VP of sales for Performance Food Group but he has also had a number of roles with both specialty and broadline companies.

He is currently in an active role with Y. Hata & Company, in Honolulu, working with the team of department directors, division managers and senior leadership on implementing business strategy and protocols and developing people for the future success of the company. He had been a consultant to the company since 2004.

Jim says, “I also represent the company in several organizations focused on culinary education and food security for the State of Hawaii, a very important part of the values of the company.”

His expertise is primarily in business strategy, people development and organizational structure, as well as personal profiling, acquisition integration and executive coaching.

What are you most proud of in your career?
JC:
The people I have helped develop.

When you think of icons in the industry, who comes to mind first?
JC: Sam Balin

Who are your role models?
JC:
Sam Balin, Isadore Feldman, Paul Gordon

What books or other reading matter are on your bedside table right now?
JC:
“Out of Line” by Barbara Lynch

If you could time travel to another point in history, when would it be?
JC:
2030

If you could come back as a particular person or thing, who/what would that be?
JC: A younger me

What three people, living or dead, would you like to have dinner with?
JC:
Paul Prudhomme, Ella Brennan, Nelson Mandela

How would you describe yourself in one word?
JC: Curious

What’s one dramatic change that you predict we’ll see in within the next 10 years?
JC: Self-driving cars will become mainstream.