Our client is a privately-held Iowa-based Company that produces and distributes an array of proprietary, value-added blends and ingredient products for the food, dairy, tortilla, bakery and other specialty markets. Product offerings include anti-caking systems, analogue cheese blends, tortilla formulations, shelf life extenders, leavening systems, enzyme blends, dough conditioners, dusting and functional food grade starches and liquid preservatives. Products are broadly segregated into three business groups:

  • Dairy Group includes anti-caking and analogue systems sold into the cheese industry including extender products which lengthen the shelf life of specific food products.
  • Bakery Group includes enzyme-based blends and dough conditioners, leavening systems, dusting starches for products such as noodles, specialty blends for tortilla producers, and liquid preservatives specially formulated for tortilla corn chip manufacturers.
  • Specialty Products Group includes commercial laundry starches as well as toll blending activities.

The Company has three operating facilities:

  • Keokuk, Iowa manufactures dry and liquid blended products for food-grade production on multiple blending lines. The successful candidate will be located at this facility for a minimum of three (3) years after which they may choose to relocate to the St. Louis, Missouri or Bell, California areas.
  • Bell, California manufactures dry and liquid products for the tortilla and dairy industries on multiple production lines. The Tortilla Innovation Center is also located at this site.
  • St. Louis, Missouri stands alone as the R&D Center for the Company.

Overview of Company’s Leadership Needs:

The VP Sales will be expected to provide the leadership, management and vision necessary to be the imminent CEO successor (within 6 months of hire). He/she will utilize the VP Sales responsibilities to learn the Company’s product and customer base as well as demonstrate strategic vision for future growth. As CEO, this person must ensure that the Company has proper operations, controls, administrative and reporting procedures in place to effectively grow the business while ensuring operating efficiency. The overriding Company strategy during the next 3-5 years is to complement new business development activities from existing accounts with growth via: (1) new product development, business and customer group (market share) acquisitions and (2) the creation of strategic business alliances. Accordingly, the Company is looking for someone with a “big picture” view, with an operational background, but who is accustomed to “rolling up their sleeves” to capitalize on opportunities and effectively manage growth. The ideal candidate is entrepreneurial yet knows the critical importance of financial and operational disciplines and controls. Previous experience in food products manufacturing or distribution is necessary.

Purpose of Position:

The VP Sales is responsible for the day-to-day sales activities of the Company. The position involves developing an annual sales plan including a sales forecast and expense budget with assumptions and strategies for achievement (the “Plan”); leading and directing a technically oriented sales team to implement the Plan and holding responsible parties accountable for results. Critical performance elements include: leadership, guidance and mentoring sales staff members to achieve performance goals; ensuring consistent, high-quality and timely service to customers; supporting the Company’s growth strategies primarily through the efficient integration of acquired customers, product line development and expansion; and by supporting strategic business alliances.

Travel is planned and scheduled by the VP Sales and expected to be in the 30 – 35% range.

Skills, Abilities, Experience and Education:

  • Excellent analytical, creativity and problem-solving skills
  • Advanced oral and written communication skills
  • Negotiation and strategy skills, business savvy, and strong interpersonal skills
  • Proven ability to gain support for ideas and strategy plans, create common goals, lead and inspire others to accomplish stated objectives
  • The highest ethical standards including honesty, integrity and dedication
  • Ability to diplomatically manage difficult customer and/or employee situations with sensitivity
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain confidentiality
  • 15+ years of executive management experience in an appropriate / related business setting
  • Experience in both institutional and entrepreneurial environments preferred
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering/Business or related field required, with advanced degree preferred
  • Direct industry experience required

Supervise, Lead & Direct Staff: Oversee, lead and mentor the staff; conduct regular team meetings; hold staff members accountable for performance against budget and plan; conduct annual performance reviews with staff; ensure that the responsibilities, authorities and accountability of all members of the staff are defined and understood; foster a success-oriented and productive environment for the team; participate in key customer and prospect sales calls with sales staff as needed; become involved in customer problem-resolution issues as needed; cultivate name recognition for the Company and its products and constantly strive to enhance the Company’s image in the marketplace. 50%

Manage Select Key Accounts: Assume accountability for certain key customer Accounts as may be determined in consultation with the CEO and sales staff. 10%

Coordinate Closely with VP Technical Services: Ensure that the sales department maintains regular interaction with the Company R&D staff regarding new product development and product improvement activities. 10%

Coordinate Closely with Operations: Ensure that the sales department maintains a close and healthy relationship with manufacturing and operations. 10%

Oversee the Development, Execution and Annual Updating of the Company’s Sales Plan: Direct the preparation of short-term and long-range sales plans and budgets with the sales staff; oversee the development of annual sales forecasts; manage and monitor the annual sales budget in concert with the Company’s overall business and financial plan. 10%

Serve as a Member of the Management Team: Attend regular meetings with Management Team members and other included parties for the purpose of reviewing and reporting on the sales performance of the Company and evaluating the overall result of sales against plan. 5%

Other Services as Required 5%

All applicants for this position must be authorized to work in the U.S. now and in the future without requiring sponsorship.

For additional information, please contact Moira McGrath, (954) 428-3888 or moira@foodscience.com.