Two executives from Giovanni Food Co., an New York state manufacturer of tomato-based products, have been honored by state and regional business associations. Louis J. DeMent, Giovanni CEO and vice president, was selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration as the New York State 2013 Small Business Person of the Year, and Timothy Budd, Giovanni plant manager, received the 2013 Innovator of the Year award from the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY).
DeMent was chosen for the award based on the company’s growth in sales and employees, staying power, response to adversity as well as charitable contributions. He is the third-generation leader of the company his family founded in 1934. Under his leadership, sales have increased 49% and the number of employees has grown from 41 to 68 over the past three years. DeMent will compete for the national Small Business Person of the Year award at SBA’s National Small Business Week celebration on June 21 at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Budd was recognized as Innovator of the Year for starting employee safety programs at the plant, automating more processes to improve efficiency and gaining the respect and appreciation of colleagues. The award recognizes individuals within a company who may not be executive level, yet consistently demonstrate forward-thinking ideas in the areas of technology, innovation and advancement of products and production. Winners are selected by a panel of manufacturing executives from Central and Upstate New York.
“I am very proud and humbled that our company has been recognized for these awards,” says DeMent. “I feel that these awards are a reflection of the teamwork that exists within our company and know that our vision of becoming a leader in the private-label market while expanding the distribution of our own brands is right on target. I look forward to the opportunities that await us.”
Giovanni Food Co. has been making pasta sauces since 1934, when the DeMent family first opened their Italian-style restaurant in Oswego, N.Y. Giovanni products can be found on grocery and specialty store shelves across the U.S. The company also packs pasta sauces, pizza sauces, salsas and barbecue sauces for many private-label customers who distribute products worldwide. Its newest brand, Greenview Kitchen, is a premium line of products that consists of all-natural and organic pasta sauce, pizza sauce and a bruschetta topping. These products are gluten-free, kosher and made with non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) ingredients. This brand is starting to gain distribution in the Northeast and is now available through United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI), North America’s leading distributor of natural, organic and specialty products.