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Drawing on diverse backgrounds, John Vena adds two new staffers

John Vena Inc., located in the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, is one of the original companies to take occupancy when the facility opened in June 2011. The company has grown and evolved ever since, including increasing the size of its staff.

On April 20, the company announced that, drawing on diverse backgrounds, it hired two new team members who bring dynamic financial and scientific expertise to the company.

Joseph Gallagher Jr. joined the company as its new chief financial officer, and Nora Schmidt is the new food-safety and quality-assurance manager.

“Joe Gallagher has more than 30 years of experience in accounting and strategic financial planning,” said John Vena, company president. “He will work with our management team to strengthen financial reporting initiatives and monitor key performance indicators during a period of extended growth and expansion of services.”

Gallagher looks forward to aligning the company’s financial plans with its targeted growth goals. He said, “It’s exciting to work with a family-owned company that has such a rich history. There is still significant room for growth here, and I’m excited to help access the opportunities.”

Nora Schmidt is a quality-control and quality-assurance professional with experience in the food, beverage and chemical industries. Her work has focused on audit-readiness and development of successful food-safety programs, including HACCP plans, inspection programs, and environmental monitoring procedures.

“Nora is thrilled to be returning to the food industry after a stint in the chemical industry,” said Vena. “She will partner with our production and facilities team to ensure John Vena, Inc. remains on the forefront of food-safety science and protocol as innovation continues to improve available resources and evolve standards.”

The company has enjoyed strong operations growth, with two new employees also joining the warehouse team and two receiving promotions to supervisory positions.

“One of the most exciting areas of growth for us is the formation of an internal logistics team,” Vena stressed. “Our operations and sales teams are collaborating with logistics experts to develop our capacity to deliver to our customers and provide valuable logistic solutions. Our location makes us especially well positioned to service the needs of foodservice and retail customers with operations along the Eastern Seaboard. John Vena Inc. trucks will be on the road by the end of 2017.”

The company’s Hispanic and Asian lines of produce are also growing strongly. Its Hispanic line now includes roots and herbs.

Vena is also reporting strong growth in its repacking facility.

“Our foodservice clients have had tremendous success with split ethnic and exotic items,” he pointed out. “They allow chefs a more approachable entry point to new and different items. They remove the risk of experimentation, and reduce waste at all levels of the supply chain.”

The company has partnered with a start-up retail meal kit company to pack and distribute an exciting new line of ready-to-merchandise Thai-focused meal kits. The kits are currently available on the New York market, and John Vena looks forward to expanding the product line in the coming year.

“It’s an exciting item for the current market, strategically tapping into the Thai and ethnic food trends, while adding convenience value as well,” Vena pointed out.

John Vena has expanded since moving to the new PWPM. It now occupies seven units with a total of 30,000 square feet.